Updated: Sep 1, 2022
My name is Brittany (SAR 23’), I am from Houston, TX and I love music.
Can I sing? Not really.
Can I play an instrument? If you count playing the trumpet, baritone, and piano in middle school, then yes?
Should that count? No.
So what in the hell qualifies me to do album reviews? Nothing really, I can just appreciate all types of music and can find something worth enjoying in any song from the little taps in the drums or whining in a guitar to the power in a voice and the intentionality within the lyricism. My top genres are Hip-Hop/Rap, R&B, Neo-Soul, Classic Rock, and Pop. I also have FIRE Spotify playlists (@bigballerbritt) and have been told I can be put on aux in any situation because I can cater to anyone's music taste. But I’m not here to brag!
In my breakdowns I will be testing different formats such as song by song breakdowns, lyric analysis, video reactions, holistic album appreciations, and even artist history breakdowns. I really just want to put people on and start conversations about something that I believe brings everyone together.
I understand music is super subjective so I will happily go out of my way to ask the people around me for their thoughts and opinions on songs as well! I hope you enjoy this musical journey with me and I hope it inspires you to expand your musical horizons. The feeling when you've found THAT song is like when you finally understand a concept that you've been struggling with in class, it shifts your perspective and makes you feel seen.
Cheers to everyone finding their moment!
The first album that I will be reviewing is “For My Friends: A Cautionary Tale” by Jacob Banks, a Nigerian-born English singer-songwriter who specializes in guitar and piano.
I listened to this album with my friends. They each have their own specific niche when it comes to what they really like to listen to. One of my friends really likes to listen to Pop music. Not exactly Taylor Swift, but more of a Olivia Rodrigo type. The other likes Alternative Hip-Hop, an Isaiah Rashad or EARTHGANG type. And while we sat around and listened to all 24 minutes of the album , with every song, we kept looking at each other saying “there’s no way this album is this good.”
It just kept getting better.
It started off very strong with Parade, which I knew within the first 10 seconds of the song that I was going to absolutely love it and I could not have been more correct. The message was about no one raining on his parade, and the whole song felt like someone splashing and screaming in the rain. He has such powerful vocals and you can really hear the resilience in his voice.
There was a sharp shift from Parade to The Devil I Know. There was no guitar, no bass or drums, just his voice and a piano. It was far more mellow and it set the tone for the rest of the album, which was very soulful and smooth.
The guitar and drums re-enter the chat for the remainder of the album, still not as prominent as with Parade, but still necessary. Stranger has a very stop-go vibe, sort of like the first 30 seconds of Kanye West’s Violent Crimes. There was a very intense buildup toward the end of the song where you can hear Banks’ use of a sort of whining vocal which transitions well into the next song, Numb. I don't want to think too much into it, but I like how there was the crying sort of pain in Stranger and then we get to Numb and its about “really trying to feel something” so it sort of represents when you let out all of your emotions that you simply can't feel anything anymore. Around 1:50 in Numb, we hear an ensemble of instruments getting louder, sort of mimicking the feeling of FEELING SO MUCH that you almost feel nothing at all, if that makes sense. It also ends with a 15 second guitar solo which I absolutely loved.
Too Much, one of the longer songs of the album, takes a turn from the slow and soulful to a more of a rhythmic, foot tapping type beat, while still maintaining super rich vocals. The coffee shop vibe paired with the chorus in the background makes this a very versatile song and is a good transition to the remainder of the album.
It finishes off with Black N White, Found, and Rizla. Black N White is an amazing song and it's super catchy, if I could sing for real you would hear me sing it all the time. I would recommend this song for anyone who likes Neo-Soul and R&B for sure. Found is actually one of his most popular songs across his discography and I can see why. It is very emotional and this song was perfect for Banks’ deep, raspy singing voice. This one is for the “In My Feelings” playlist for real. So as we begin, we must end. Banks’ takes the same sharp switch in moods at the beginning of the album and applies it to the end with the shift from the deep emotion in “Found” to the jazzy and refreshing tone in “Rizla”. I think this was a perfect way to end the album and it really leaves you feeling more lively.
Jacob Banks put his soul in this album and you can feel it from start to finish.
I have listened to this album about 5 times since I first played and I will definitely continue to listen to it again.
I give it an overall rating of 8.5/10. It definitely made me want to discover more of his music. I would absolutely recommend this album to anyone that likes neo-soul, R&B, and blues because he incorporated them quite seamlessly. One thing you will learn about me through my reviews is I am a sucker for an electric guitar, a choir, horns, and a piano, and this album has all of it.
Perfect for a late night smoke sesh, early morning walk, or just some good ole alone time.
Top Songs: Parade, Stranger, Numb, Too Much, Black N White
He is currently on tour and is coming to Boston Monday, October 24, 2022! So maybe you’ll like the album so much that you become obsessed and see him live!