CD Review: Steph Jones — Gravity

[ 0 ] November 23, 2009 |

Steph Jones


Independent Release 

By Jennifer Gibson

If Janelle Monae has been described as the female version of
Prince or Andre 3000 (and she has), then Steph Jones can easily be interpreted
as the male version of Janelle Monae. He doesn’t quite dial up the freak factor
like she does, but he does open his new record, Gravity, with a futuristic,
fatalistic shout out, and he commands some seriously catchy, almost old school
hooks, all without making himself sound dated or tired. Where Monae sports a
level of funky eccentricity akin to early Michael Jackson, Jones occupies a
plane of chill weirdness like, say, PM Dawn, and both manage to pull it off as
a modern-day invention.

But it’s important to note that, ultimately, he’s
considerably different from Monae, even if the two share a seemingly sci-fi
bent. Jones has a velvety smooth, soulful, boy-next-door side that persists
over many genres, and he never relies on the strange to make himself stand out.
His fluid voice twists and soars above familiar R&B, reggae-tinged beats
and semi-torch songs, some of which are incredibly radio-friendly but still possess
a hint of originality. Yes, these styles are nothing new, but he manages to
make them his own.

And that’s the goal of this game, one where Jones has found
a nice juxtaposition of original and ordinary. So what if he’s a former model
who once spent a lengthy amount of time in a Parisian prison on trumped up
charges only to be mysteriously released several years before his sentence was
up. His songs and sentiments are those of a regular boy who’s just like
everybody else. As he says, “Everybody has their own ordinary, no matter how
extraordinary their story might be.”


Category: CD Reviews, Gigs

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