Jeremih -Late Nights: Europe (Review)

late-nights
Self-released (2016)

Looking to keep the ball rolling after dropping Late Nights: The Album, Jeremih hastily treats us to a follow-up project: Late Nights: Europe. Supposedly knocked together in two weeks while he was on tour, Jeremih gives us more of the angelic vocal lines that we love, while expanding on the more trappy themes that we heard on cuts like “Feel Like Phil” from his last project. Inspired by liquor-fuelled hunts for females as he travels an unfamiliar continent, Late Nights: Europe is the perfect ode to lust, drugs and, perhaps more broadly – fun.  The end  result is extremely pleasant and serves as a great demonstration of what R&B and trap can sound like when integrated in the correct manner.

So, we kick-off in “Dubai” (can somebody give this guy a fucking map?). Perhaps he is trying to prove a point concerning what he can do when his label isn’t whispering in his ear, nevertheless, Jeremih starts the tape on a much darker note than expected. An eerie music box cuts through the silence, closely followed by Jeremih exclaiming, “I came to fuck this shit up.” As the 808 starts thundering, we have already forgotten the dulcet tones oozing from his previous album.

By the third track, “Berlin (She Wit It),” however, we are back on familiar ground. Soundz sprinkles on some heavenly keys accompanied by ethereal synths, while Jeremih answers with some gorgeous melodies and a nice hook to boot. Continuing in a similar vein, the duo finesses this formula on stand-out track “Czech Republic:” Soundz sets a comfortable tempo with his keys again, leaving lots of room for Jeremih with his exquisite, harmonised chorus.

Who’s not jumping on the Dancehall trend? Jeremih certainly is and, in fairness, the track bangs. Tapping Stefflon Don and Krept & Konan for the London leg of the tape, the trio merge to form a unique blend of cultural flavours. Jeremih embraces the subtle change in genre, crooning, as he does so beautifully, over the delicate panpipes. The only real problem with this track is Konan’s stunted verse. Just as he seemed to be getting under way, hitting us with one of his wittier lines: “Coke bottle shape / I just wanna put my name on it” – we are hurled right back into the hook. Perhaps affording the pair a larger chunk of the track may have done the cultural merger a little more justice.

Anyway, elsewhere in the tape, Jeremih flexes his trap muscles; the Game assisted “Oslo, Norway” is perhaps the best demonstration of this. Soundz, who handles a hefty chunk of the production on the tape and plays a big part in its success, absolutely kills this one. Spiralling synth droplets bounce playfully off a melodic 808 pattern, while wraith-like vocals glide ominously over the top. As the beat drops and hi-hats buzz across the stereo field, Jeremih demonstrates his versatility with a particularly gravelly flow and gaudy hook, offering a refreshing counterpoint to his more honeyed vocals. Game, on the other hand, gets fairly explicit: “Fuck her homegirl put it in her rib” he raps; yet, this may not come as a surprise if you’ve seen his Instagram activity lately. Nevertheless, I can’t help but feel that his macho bars stink of desperation.

Moving forward, we get an excellent demonstration of the R&B/trap synthesis I mentioned elsewhere, on “Amsterdam.” While a distorted 808 pattern crashes through, we hear the evocative voice of a French girl adding a little je ne sais quoi to the intro (perhaps a lady-friend he met on tour?). As this subsides, Soundz dials in a menacing synth pattern which is juxtaposed beautifully with Jeremih’s melodic hook. However, bars like “On her hands and knees is all she down for,” keep the atmosphere from getting too light. The mood continues in this vein for “Hamburg,” with Soundz’ production getting steadily more obscure as the tape progresses; this is by no means a bad thing, however.

On “Copenhagen,” sexy guitar riffs and some playful rapport with Sonyae yank us out the darkness for the conclusion of the tape. This, I believe, is arguably the best song of the bunch. Why? Well, it seems that when Jeremih’s voice is matched with similarly velvety subject matter – namely love, not lust – we are rewarded with an angelic, irrefutable coherence. Now, don’t get me wrong: this track doesn’t leave me wishing for a different sort of tape from our songster, but rather it shines like a little beacon in contrast to some of the project’s grittier content.

There is, however, a bit of filler here and there: “Belgium,” “Lebanon” and the Ty Dolla $ign assisted “Paris” could have all got the cut in my opinion. Despite their glowing collaboration, “Impatient,” on Jeremih’s last project, the crooning duo just didn’t deliver the goods this time around; no-one said generating fourteen hooks in fourteen days would be easy.

The tape, however, is still an absolute success, considering: 1) Jeremih is exploring a new sound, and 2) He made it in two weeks! Not to mention the slew of bangers that he has provided. Hopefully, then, Jeremih will keep this rhythm going towards the end of 2016, perhaps blessing us with another tape before the year is out. Don’t get your hopes up though: Jeremih has wandered the R&B wilderness for years without dropping a tape before.

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