Majid Jordan: Promising New PBR&B

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Among the current candidates, Majid Jordan is the most prominent act to come out of Drake’s small OVO Sound label. Of course, being featured on a hit song like “Hold On, We’re Going Home” would guarantee such a stasis, but they’re the first from the label (besides Drake of course) to actually release a full length album. Their self-titled debut was released a few weeks ago, and now it’s been placed onto the carving table for the critics to rip into. The album seems to be another entry into the growing genre of PBR&B, which includes such noted artists like Janelle Monae, The Weeknd, and Frank Ocean. And while Majid Jordan’s debut isn’t as great as the stuff produced by those guys, it’s certainly worth listening to.

The production, for one, is quite excellent. Much of it is accomplished through Majid Jordan themselves, but they get some help from other OVO Sound collaborators such as 40 and Nineteen85. The album consists of mostly calm beats creating a slow, relaxed listening environment, and this is what makes the album work for me. The sound never gets too intense, yet the music isn’t so calm that it becomes sleep-inducing. It has a good amount of bumpy synths, drumbeats, and basses and variety within those sounds to keep the listener engaged, with songs like “My Love”, “Small Talk”, “Pacifico”, and my personal favorite, “Day and Night” showcasing that quality. Even when they stray out of their comfort zone, like with “Shake Shake Shake”, Majid Jordan are quite apt to the PBR&B format.

With such great production, it’s a bit of a disappointment that the other aspects of the album kinda fall flat. Majid Jordan’s vocals aren’t very distinguishable from other artists (many draw comparisons to the Weeknd’s voice) and don’t really possess much personality beyond that. Worse, at some points they sound off-key, and that can be irritating for some. The album’s themes also don’t really shine through that well. A lot of the songs tend to be about love and relationships, and with a few exceptions, don’t stray far from that concept. While it is easy to ignore those parts and just enjoy the music, these flaws are noticeable throughout the album.

Regardless, Majid Jordan’s excellent musicality makes this 12 track collection worthy of hearing. I hope that for their next attempt they bring in some better songwriting and vocals, but what they put out will do just fine. 

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