Review: Jason Jamal – Sweet
National Music Reviews
Jason Jamal = Gallant x Jamie xx
Trombonist turned singer-songwriter Jason Jamal’s new EP, Sweet, is an ode to “love for classic and mid-2000’s R&B,” with a classical music flair underpinning it. The four tracks are all, in their own way, dreamy. The album cover, a palate of bright blue and soft pink, fits with the overall aesthetic, as well. On their own, each of the songs also contribute to the type of music you’d be accustomed to hearing in a coffee shop—full of ambience and delicate musical flair.
The first single and album opener, “U,” acts as an ushering welcome into the euphoric vibe of Sweet. There’s a certain flourishing to the tracks and production overall that is reminiscent of work from artists like Jamie xx and Gallant. The chorus of the second track, “Memories,” is perhaps the strongest cohesive moment throughout the EP. From the music itself, to the lyrics and the production—that specific moment is a wonderful pause, a breath of exalted air.
The third track, “All The Things,” is perhaps the most “coffee shop” song on the EP—gentle, but also easily forgotten in the background aside from the horns. The closing track, “2gether” is my favorite because of both the flowering trumpets and for its overall theme. The track embodies freedom and the true sweetness of love. Lyrics like, “I’m 21 all over again” are perhaps the strongest throughout the collection.
As a whole, Sweet is a delicate and thoughtful experiment, but the dreaminess and euphoria don’t always make up for the quality of lyrics. When it comes to artists like John Legend, who Jamal looks to as an influence, the strength in their laid-back, stripped-down music is upheld by strong and impactful lyrics. The classic spin on R&B in Sweet is admirable overall, but lyrically, Jamal needs to find that sweet spot where his music is carried by the lyrical connotation—where you can not only connect to the lyrics, but feel them too. –Palak Jayswal