THE SAILING SONGBIRD
Let’s paint a clear picture: she started off as a signed artist before taking the independent route where she ended up signing to a major label, collaborating with some of the hottest rappers of this time, to achieving a number one solo single. Jhene Aiko, 26, has been honing a unique craft for over a decade.
Souled Out, the last of the impressive trilogy of 2011 mixtape Sailing Souls and 2013 EP Sail Out, conceptualizes its predecessors. Jhene Aiko is clearly a writer who believes in storytelling brutally from personal experience. Her lyrics are strategically important to the overall message of her songs which are both engaging and refreshing. She adamantly expresses her spiritual philosophies on numerous tracks like the opening “Limbo, Limbo, Limbo” and “W.A.Y.S” where she pleads, “You have gotta lose your pride, you have gotta lose your mind, just to find your peace of mind.”
Although Aiko is aware of her voice’s capabilities, her delivery gives off the impression that the technical singing aspect of music isn’t as important as the feeling she wants to convey through voice. Through voice, she displays immense passion in her runs and throughout verses on “Remember” and “Brave” effortlessly. She leaves gaps open where she may be breathless on “It’s Cool,” where right after confessing, “I’m not even gonna front, at first I was just tryna fuck” she croons the love trifecta “definitely love, definitive love, infinite love… yea” as if she’s convincing herself.
The mellow effects of Souled Out’s production is obviously intentional. Besides The Fisticuffs’ “The Pressure” signature, the album is stacked with minimalistic aspects of a loop and one instrument of choice. “Pretty Bird,” a freestyle that features Common, beautifully displays that simplicity can also be substantial’s synonym. Just like “Wading,” there is an omnipresent vibe on all of the tracks where the music leaves you in the clouds that is dopamine infused.
Jhene Aiko’s natural ability and energy displays her passion, as well as her fearlessness of getting real and raw. While her demure charisma is just now being spotlighted, she has been a star all along.
What is your favorite song on the album? Is Jhene Aiko a force to be acknowledged? Let us know in the comments below.
*This review of Souled Out is based on the 14-track Deluxe Edition.
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