JMSN (pronounced “Jameson.” You’re welcome) is a Michigan based indie musician. Beyond being labeled as indie, it’s hard to define JMSN’s sound. It’s a rather eclectic blend of jazz, hip-hop, gospel, and R&B. That sounds a little all over the place, but to JMSN’s credit, he pulls these elements together rather coherently in this album, It Is. That isn’t to say there aren’t issues with what is presented in these thirteen tracks, because It Is ends up leaving a lot to be desired.
The most glaring problem I kept facing with this album was the length of most of the songs. Several tracks are consistent and coherent up to the last minute or so, then they just kind of linger. They linger just long enough to overstay their welcome, in fact. The album as a whole would benefit from half of these songs being a minute to thirty seconds shorter than they are.
Then there’s the lyrics. Make no mistake, JMSN is a very, very talented vocalist. His voice is dynamic, he has a great range, and he’s smooth. It’s too bad that you don’t get to dive into those vocals more than you do. Too often vocal tracks are laid down over vocal tracks, muddying up what would otherwise be beautiful stretches of singing. Plus, at certain points in the album, JMSN falls into what is almost like a caterwauling, wailing range that pulls you out of the music. The lyrics themselves come as somewhat of a mixed bag, too. In some instances, the lyrics are poignant and sharp. In others, they are somewhat juvenile and vulgar for what seems like just the sake of it. To be fair, it’s a double edged sword. F*ck U, the third track on the album, takes what is usually a derisive comment and turns it on it’s head, making it into a call to action to better yourself and your situation. It’s smart and well done. That isn’t always the case, though. I always understood what point he was going for, but a lot of times it was a little too on the nose.
Basically this is an acceptable album that I wish had been better. Like I said, JMSN is obviously a really talented singer, I just feel like he is trying to do too much sometimes. The tracks lose their form and he kind of goes off on tangents that detract from what he’s trying to accomplish or whatever message he’s trying to delivery. It’s almost like he’s trying to redefine something when, at least in my opinion, he would be better served to simplify a little and really lean into his strengths. A more concise combination of his lyrics over this type of music could blow minds. This effort didn’t quite get there.
Overall Rating: 2 of 5 Stars
Favorite Track: Cruel Intentions