Review: Majid Jordan — The Space Between

Categories:  The Arts    Music
Wednesday, November 1st, 2017 at 2:22 PM
Review: Majid Jordan — The Space Between by Roman Sabella

Rating: ★★★★☆

On the sophomore album from minimalist R&B duo Majid Jordan, we are greeted with more of the same ethereal atmosphere and hip hop drums fans have come to know, as well as the smooth-as-silk crooning that lead singer, Majid Al Maskati, delivers on each track. This album will deliver what you want if you’re a fan of the Toronto alt-R&B scene, being nearly single-handedly spearheaded by OVO Sound, Majid Jordan’s record label.

That being said, it doesn’t really challenge the status quo, so if you’re looking for something brand new, this may not be your cup of tea. But for those who are huge fans of the duo’s previous works, it feels like a far better mix of old and new than what was found in their eponymous freshman effort, which seemed to bode poorly for the duo’s future with tracks sounding far too upbeat for their taste.

One large differentiator that is present this time around is the inclusion of an intro and outro, named very simply as “Intro” and “Outro.” Creative, right? Well content-wise, they honestly are really well executed.

The “Intro” starts off with some soft piano loops and ambient sounds, then cuts in with some simple drum work before slowly building up and bleeding right into the next track, a personal favorite cut from the record, “Gave Your Love Away.”

“Outro,” however, takes a different approach, by pulling vocal and instrumental samples from the rest of the album and creating a song that has a collective sound. The experience is reminiscent of the album being remembered in flashbulb moments after leaving a live concert.

The real question to whether an album is worth the time or not though, lies not within the first and last song, but within the rest of the tracks, and as far as “The Space Between” goes, it’s a valiant effort.

Lyrically, the album portrays the type of material you’d expect from the genre, from songs about sexual encounters like “Body Talk” to songs about yearning for lost love like “OG Heartthrob.” They’re easy to remember and the down tempo nature of the majority of the album makes it easy to pick up on what they’re saying, even on the first listen through.

One of my personal favorite characteristics of the album is the setup of everything. It plays more like an album and less like a series of made-to-sell singles, which seemingly have become a plague in the genre as a whole.

A for the features, I personally don’t mind them, but I also would rather they weren’t on the album at all. They seem forced by OVO Sound, which also has dvsn, featured on “My Imagination,” and PARTYNEXTDOOR, featured on “One I Want,” on their label, which comes across as more of a selling tactic than a necessary and desired mashup.

As a whole, the album’s best merit is its consistency and adherence to combining mellow, minimalist soundscapes with stripped down hip hop beats and smooth vocal melodies. It’s something you can sing along with, chill out to or just kill some time with.

Music is all about human experience, so, even if it’s been done before, this time around it seems to me that it’s been done better. I’ve listened through the album multiple times since its release, and I already can say it’s one of my favorites from this year so far.

Standout tracks: “Body Talk,” “Gave Your Love Away” and “The Space Between.”

Roman Sabella can be reached at voices.spectator@gmail.com

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