Stop the press! It would seem that one of the most highly anticipated albums of the last few years has finally dropped. Or has it? Is this just a mixtape? For now all we can do is assume it is in fact Jai Paul’s self entitled debut. It was made available via his bandcamp page early yesterday and you can preview it in full below.
Like ‘BTSTU’ and ‘Jasmine’ it came from nowhere, no press release, no extravagant trailers, no soundcloud previews and without the public fanfare you come to expect from hyped artists these days. It’s baffling that a musician so hyped by his peers, labels and fans alike, refuses to use any of it to reach a bigger audience, and ultimately sell more. In an age where information is so readily available, you kinda have to work really hard to find out anything about this guy and his music. The closest you get to how he views his work is the tags on the page which include ‘pop’ ‘electropop’ and ‘power pop’. Even the fact that it was released on bandcamp, says to me that Jai Paul isn’t concerned with all the fluff that comes with releasing music, he wants complete control of his artistic direction and who has access to his work, how and when. He’s precious about his music as he defiantly states on track 10 ‘it’s mine and I mixed it so long…’
Comparisons to Prince have already been made and although I’m cautious about making the same comparisons, I can see why they are made. Jai Paul manages to inject soul, funk and integrity into what is essentially pop music, a genre of music you don’t usually associate with those words. You get a sense of who he is musically, from the incredible interpretation of Jennifer Paige’s ‘Crush’ to the tracks containing Asian music samples and even more so in the tender love songs dotted across this track list.
This body of work doesn’t disappoint, musically it’s so rich in layers, it’s fun, it’s heartbreaking, its fresh, it’s 80s, it’s 90s, it’s London! Intriguing samples, intricate drum patterns and stunning guitar riffs. I’ve listened 3 times already, and today being the warmest day of the year so far might be having an impact, but for me this is already one of the album’s of the year. Jai Paul once again proving that age old adage to be true, good things come to those who wait…..no actually, GREAT things come to those who wait.