Usher once said that JMSN was his “favorite new act.” But, if you’re like me, you don’t give a fuck what Usher has to say. The fact is that anyone with any kind of taste should dig JMSN, and if you need convincing of that, take a listen to his new album “JMSN (The Blue Album).”
The talented Michigan musician/singer has struck out on his own after spending time at Atlantic and Universal Motown, releasing “The Blue Album” after his collab with Ab-Soul went cold. But that’s alright. For anyone catching JMSN for the first time, you’ll want to hear him in isolation – and “The Blue Album” is all JMSN from front to back.
“The Blue Album” borrows heavily from Motown, especially the doo-wop-y vocals sampled on “Waves,” and easy jazz, creating a cooly atmospheric album of R&B soundscapes that bleed and inhabit the room for long stretches. The opener “My Way” lingers for five-and-a-half minutes before succumbing to the next overture. “Addicted,” perhaps the song’s best, and certainly it’s most catchy, song dwindles to an ember before reigniting in an unexpectedly careful sequel.
If there’s one thing you can fault JMSN for, other than the fact that he looks a bit too much like Cisco Adler, it’s that the songs fade too gradually to an end. Though the extended, Pink Floydian outros are good comedowns from the ethereal goodness of JMSN’s croons, “The Blue Album” is too good to have inter-track patience. Sometimes, when the Albanian-American singer is trying to create moods, he ends up killing anticipation.
Though JMSN is most commonly related to fellow R&B revitalizer The Weeknd, he’s more similar to Justin Timberlake in terms of his vocals. With his perched (but not cloying) falsetto, JMSN is truly a marvel on the mic. He traces vocal altitudes other singers balk at with ease, harmonizing all his foreground lyrics with wispy ad-libs.
“The Blue Album” hit Spotify for free on Tuesday, but you can also buy the long-awaited sophomore LP from JMSN on iTunes.