by Ola Mazzuca
The first time I encountered Toronto's Majid Jordan, it was on their track "Forever," with an exceptional music video to match. It inspired me so much that I would play it at Dupont Station before hitting Spadina, making it to the chorus just in time as I walked through the tunnel to catch the 510 streetcar.
Today, the OVO-backed duo is a powerhouse pair of contemporary crooners that are here to steal everyone's gal. At the persistent recommendation of my cousin, I purchased their debut full-length, Majid Jordan, which dropped February 5th, and slowly realized it's sonic hold. It is atmospheric and haunting, versatile in its ability to be a soundtrack for a chill house party or an evening with your lover (Yeah, let's face it. It's sex music). Lyrics about identity, relationships, love and life emote in a soft, somber, hopeful manner.
Some have gone as far as labeling Majid Jordan PBR&B - R&B that Pabst Blue Ribbon- drinking hipsters are akin to (hence the portmanteau and abbreviation). It is also considered indie-driven R&B, with elements of traditional hip-hop, electronica and alternative in between. Other artists that have fallen under this sub-genre include Miguel, Jesse Lanza, FKA Twigs and Bryson Tiller. Personally, PBR is shit. But the music isn't. So what explains the misleading beverage pairing?
The musicality of the record as a whole is a fine blend of house, hip-hop, 80s pop, downtempo, a contemporary stream of new wave and that unmistakable Toronto sound.
What do we mean when we say Toronto sound? It's something that possibly can't be defined, however the only thing I can really say about it is that it reflects the diversity of the city and its inhabitants - from neighbourhood landmarks to immigrant heritage, slang and everything in between. Toronto music is sonic diversity.
So following suit of Nuruddin's First Impression review of Life of Pablo - here's my take on Majid Jordan.
1. LEARN FROM EACH OTHER
Decent club vibes following a bassline
Lyrics of reassurance
Unconditional love is cute. Majid and Jordan are basically saying, "accept me when I burp and fart in your presence."
2. MAKE IT WORK
"Hold On (We're Going Home)" 2.0
Persistence and perseverance is key
Dance till we...make it work.
3. MY love (FT. DRAKE)
Dude is questioning her honesty and intentions
Don't worry, MJ, it's not because you bought her five negronis, she means it (NOT)
Drizzy back up in this thing he readyyyyy
Syncopation follows Drake's flow - lyrics are classic in their pondering and uncertainty
4. small talk
Love it already - great tempo and groove
Vocals are layered nicely like a piece of decadent chocolate cake - or kunafa...
Expressions of connecting with someone on a simple, yet deep level
Electro-fuelled synth pop
Driving down the 401 to meet his girl on a hazy summer night
Key-laden and Kavinsky-inspired interlude
6. SHAKE SHAKE SHAKE
A night at Scooter's Roller Palace
Post-Scooter's Roller Palace milkSHAKEs at Tom's Dairy Freeze - with a cherry on top
7. LOVE IS ALWAYS THERE
Turned it down a notch
90s R&B vibes
Slow-dance worthy - hope they play it at your third cousin's wedding
Bass turnt up but still downtempo
Highly melodic, what's the sample?
"Like you want to..." grab your dude in the club and dance with him
9. something about you
Heard it upon its release as the single track in the fall
That sudden change in the pre-chorus - hit that pitch then hear it drop
Some people are unique - deal with it, Majid Jordan
10. DAY AND NIGHT
Yes, we know what you're asking - so does she
A heart of gold, a hand to hold, a good soul... and the fourth thing?
Ah fuck it, don't give him shit - just dance with him
Ending like an old 80s soundtrack on a cassette tape
11. king city
Yo, this guy grew up in York Region - SAME! (Why do they miss it, though?)
The 'burbs are so damn special, they drive him wild
One-way traffic in the middle of the night? Or Tim Hortons parking lot on a Friday night?
12. Every Step every way
It feels like I'm in a swimming pool
Is there a Bose system on the deck?
He's going to whisper something in her ear, but will he bite it?
There's some cool accordion-esque notes in the background...
Majid Jordan's first full length release is sonically pleasing to the ear, as the duo are on the eyes. It definitely possesses an aesthetic. There is a craft to this. Don't press play and expect some sort of varied release that is progressive and conceptual, and lyrically complex. Rather, Majid Jordan goes straight to the point and if you want to stick to that point for the next hour or so, don't skip any tracks. Let it play. The music speaks for itself and whether you take it literally or not, leave it in the background for a while and it will set a mood - even if you're not in a specific one.