Design By Humans
Published On: Tue, Oct 10th, 2017

Jhené Aiko: Trip

Jhené Aiko
(Def Jam Recordings)

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Jhené Aiko’s Trip opens with “LSD,” concisely setting the tone for this extremely personal R&B album tinged with psychedelia. The second track “Jukai,” delves deep with its lyrics, while the instrumentals paint a cinematic backdrop.

“OLLA (Only Lovers Left Alive)” sets us up for a sorrow filled song, but its simple, 80s pop ish beat pulls this song out of the depths and makes it a true stand out.

“Sativa” (featuring Swae Lee) is one of the strongest tracks on the album, with the best feature too. The vocal harmonies flow over a smooth, gently stuttering hip-hop/ R&B beat.

“New Balance” softens the mood even more. A piano ballad that builds and moves smoothly through a sub space beat. It’s the sort of piece that Aiko has become known and loved for, but with something more open and raw as she sings about love, growth in romantic relationships, and gratefulness. This track effortlessly flows into “Newer Balance – Freestyle,” still soft but with a brighter mood.

“Nobody” is headstrong in its lyrics and atmospheric with its minimal instrumentals. “Psilocybin (Love in Full Effect)” is like the hypnotic album art come to sonic life. It’s pretty, but with pulsing bass, and cavernous percussion and vocals adding a hint of trippy ness.

The title track is the perfect end to the album. Aiko sings “turn the music up to keep from crying/ Wait ’til that sunshine/ Please don’t let the darkness keep me low/Halfway to the home base…It’s a real trip.” There’s definitely something trippy about it with its sub bass instrumentals, and it channels Aiko’s emotional depth.

Trip is clearly Jhené Aiko’s most personal album, and an intimate display of love, loss, grief, and healing combining her old sound, and her growth as an artist (especially in her lyrics and song structure). “It’s a real trip.”

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Jhené Aiko: Trip