JMSN is one of music’s great unsung artists. Every year for the past few years he’s seemingly put out no less than two projects per year and written for just about every major artist out there. His catalog is growing to be quite impressive and he’s one of the last true bastions of traditional neo-soul/R&B. But despite all of this, it’s taken him quite a long time to start really getting the recognition he deserves. It felt like it really wasn’t until sometime last year that I started to hear his name in conversations on a consistent basis. There’s no telling if he’ll ever reach mass mainstream success, but he’s not one to stand around and wait and he’s already back with his first album of 2017 called Whatever Makes U Happy.
Whatever Makes U Happy is a short, concentrated affair that doesn’t waste a beat in it’s execution. The production on here is really top notch with fully realized bass, sharp percussion, and incredible grooves. The opener, “Drinkin'”, has some of the best bass on the whole album, as it sets the slow, sensual tone of the project as a whole. “Slide” is probably my favorite song out of the bunch and it’s country guitar paired with it’s slick soulful piano keys gives it a unique sound that stands out from the rest. The other standout was “Where Do U Go”, and it sounds like it could’ve been pulled straight out of a dreary noire film. JMSN is firmly committed to that classic 90’s neo-soul sound and while everything on hand isn’t the most unique in that sense, it is all pulled off extremely well.
“Brother I know times have been tough
But just like you I’ve been out here makin’ it up
Sister maybe I ain’t done enough
But I guess that’s just why they call it tough love”
The thing that really sets JMSN apart from other modern singers is his incredible voice. He can really sing; no auto-tune, no sing-rapping, just pure vocal ability. And in a time where true singers are seemingly becoming rarer by the day it’s his greatest asset. He has great range and a great falsetto, and while he does use it to great effect on Whatever Makes U Happy, he spends the majority of the album in that mid-range area. The album is more about the groove than a vocal exhibition. Whatever Makes U Happy is a great start to 2017 for JMSN and while I don’t think it’ll afford him anymore mainstream recognition, it’s yet another extremely solid offering from the soulful singer.
Have you heard Whatever Makes U Happy? What’d you think about it? Do you think JMSN should adjust his approach or stay where he’s at? Let me know in the comments below and be sure to leave your own ratings and reactions for the album.
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