James Bay struck it big with his debut album. It was full of charming, albeit non-challenging, songs that anybody and everybody could gravitate towards. He was like the antithesis of say an Ed Sheeran, with his folky rock tunes, but for his follow-up, Electric Light, he’s taken things in a decidedly more mainstream pop direction. Even going so far as drastically changing his look more in line with the Zayns and Harry Styles of the world. And just like his look, his sound has gotten far more sensual and seductive with clear influences from R&B that give his sound a bit more ‘edge.’ It’s always a bit cringeworthy to see pop artists go through this now inevitable transformation but his transformation actually feels earned, and while the album is more poppy than before, there are still large chunks of the sound and identity he crafted the first go around present here. Evolving and progressing your sound is always a tricky affair but James has been able to pull it off ‘almost’ flawlessly – giving his core fans what they fell in love with in the first place while boldly pushing into a new audience and direction without it feeling forced or gimmicky.
Voicenotes isn't the most exciting or original album to come out of pop but it does provide a much stronger argument as to why we should care about Charlie Puth as an artist outside of an occasional big feature.
Janelle Monáe is at her most authentic self here, but while much of it is about self expression and living your truth, it's still very timely and aware of the larger things happening in our society (protest music you can party to). An album all her own sound that can only be described as 'futuristic funk' - it's sonics are lush, it's synths are bright, and it's bounce is irresistible.
Thirty Seconds to Mars try their hand at a politically charged record but they ultimately come up well short of saying or adding anything worthwhile to the conversation. It's essentially an album that's full of vapid buzz words/phrases set to painfully generic electro-infused pop rock. It's not a "terrible" album but it's not a particularly compelling one either.
Have you heard Electric Light? What’d you think about it? Do you like the more pop and R&B influences he fused into his music? Let me know in the comments below and be sure to leave your own ratings and reactions for the album.
James Bay – Electric Light Reaction
Evolving and progressing your sound is always a tricky affair but on "Electric Light" James Bay has been able to pull it off 'almost' flawlessly - giving his core fans what they fell in love with in the first place while boldly pushing into a new audience and direction without it feeling forced or gimmicky.