In comparison to his last album, there seems to have been a tonal shift in JMSN’s music. He seems like he’s a lot more angry about some of the circumstances of life where people take advantage of others, either by deception or by just adhering to the way things are. It’s a righteous anger, though, and we all can relate.
The production is great. While his last album has a jazz feel to it and elements of that are clearly heard in this one, there more of a bluesy overtone to the music (and in some of the titles). The hard organ, subtle guitar, and drawn drawling melodies match the temper of the theme of the album in a slow burn kind of way. The lyrics for this are very strong and more direct than the last, which also matches the emotional mood of the album and keeps with the feeling that the title gives, this is just the way it is. There has also been a marked improvement in his vocals since the last album. Last time, we remarked that there were several instances where he lost control of his tone and the notes either went off-pitch or changed drastically in volume. This time around he has managed to keep all of that in check while making is overall performance a lot more enjoyable.
If there is one complaint about the project that we have is that, despite how useful they are as a framing device, the spoken word tracks can absolutely bring you out of the flow of the album. While a track like Be A Man, Pt. 2 isn’t as disconcerting because the flow of the words feels like free-form poetry over the production and with the vocalizations from what sounds like a crowd that he is performing in front of, the Juice interlude goes on far too long and takes you out of the moment of the music.
Our favorite tracks are Power, It Is, and Be A Man. We would say that Juice (Interlude), and the end of Fuck U are probably the most skippable due to the spoken word factor.
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