Jon Bellion makes me genuinely happy. He reminds me of car rides home when my friend and I would sing every consecutive "low" in the chorus of “All Time Low” without pausing to breathe. Or my junior year spring break when I listened to the entirety of his first album, The Human Condition, six times. Fast–forward to November 9 when the rapper, singer, and songwriter dropped his second album Glory Sound Prep—I'm now ecstatic.
Bellion is a rapper from Long Island whose last album is considered both hip hop and alternative R&B, while Glory Sound Prep is more pop. With the electronic tones that pervade his work, it seems almost impossible to classify Bellion under a specific genre. But that’s what makes his songs so wonderful. While I highly recommend checking out every track on Glory Sound Prep, here are my top picks.
“Conversations with my Wife”
To open the album, Bellion returns to his roots in “Conversations with my Wife.” The song begins with his signature electronic sound paired with a choppy, almost robotic voice. However, within seconds the strumming of a bass starts as Jon’s now soothing vocals asks:
“Will you love me when my phone turns off? / I don’t want to be some digital Jesus / No more followers, we’ll both get lost”
The lyrics reflect his anxiety with social media. In a 2016 interview, Bellion confessed that “social media, in my opinion, is one of the worst things to happen to the human race.” The relevance of the song’s message magnified by the eerie layered vocals and paired with the deep bass’ strumming constitutes a powerful, opening experience.
Following a fast–paced rap with a hard–hitting beat, Bellion slows things down in his fourth track. With a soft and steady beat accentuated by the occasional piano chord Jon’s mellow voice enters:
‘What if who I hoped to be was always me? / And the love I fought to feel was always free?”
Bellion is rethinking what he deems important and in doing so reveals a raw, passionate voice that, almost yelling by the final chorus, makes you feel his emotion in your very soul. Equally as impressive is the looped video paired with the song—a bird’s eye view of an animated Bellion attempting to climb a horizontal steel bridge but without ever reaching his destination.
Raved as the best song on the album in the YouTube comments, the song opens immediately with: “Messing with my pride / thinking anytime / you could just get up and go.”
Bellion explores falling in love and the vulnerability he feels throughout the process. What makes the track remarkable is the ever–changing beat, transitioning from fast to Bellion’s falsetto pronouncing a drawn–out, echoed “fall into your blue.” As a listener you feel the excitement, as well as the feeling of falling either into an ocean or Bellion’s lover’s eyes, both of which are connoted by the word "blue."
His second track, “JT,” is a bop with impressive lyrics such as “now my beats make fees for holidays in Greece / And I don’t mean John Travolta.” The theme continues in the second verse with the line “Champagne and orange juice / Mimosas were Pulp Fiction in the way."
“Adult Swim,” featuring Tuamie, is unlike anything I’ve ever heard before. The track opens with a cacophony of TV clips and very straightforward rapping. Throughout the song the sound of changing channels switches the mood and tempo. The track feature fast rapping with ambulance-like noises and a soulful, R&B sound.
Last week Street proposed Jon Bellion to open Spring Fling 2019. Maybe you remember the singer, songwriter, and rapper from his 2016 hit “All Time Low” and maybe you don’t. But if you are one of the latter, I highly recommend getting to know Bellion and his ultra–unique sound.