After months of teasing fans with a string of singles and videos, newcomer Jon Bellion finally gives his dedicated early believers what they’ve been waiting for with the release of a (free!) full-length album.
Bellion landed on my radar last year when I came across his unplugged revision of Drake’s “The Motto”. Further investigation revealed J. Bell to be a unique pop artist whose music genre-straddling tendencies results in a sound that easily separates him from any male solo artist getting big time radio love right now. Translations Through Speakers serves as an excellent introduction to the uninitiated as the album showcases Jon’s vocal chops, songwriting skills and his penchant for blending influences from Kanye and Drake to Jason Mraz and Michael Jackson all while making the whole “everything but the kitchen sink” approach not only work, but making it seem effortless.
Previous releases, and personal faves, “Life” and “Paper Planes” are included here as well as a handful of new tracks that should keep fans, old and new, head bobbing for a minute . I’m still digesting the new material and while every song isn’t a homerun for me, early standouts are the honeydip-sleeping-in-the-studio shoutout “While You Count Sheep” and “For The Dreamers”, which somehow makes supper club balladry, hip hop, reggae, distorted vocals and spacey R&B seem like an obvious natural fit.
It’s this kind of forward thinking approach to music that makes current pop prince Justin Timberlake’s Timbaland retreads and Brat Pack humping comeback even more so frustrating and ultimately irrelevant. While J.T. rests on past glories, J.B. is impressively becoming the trailblazer that some of these mainstream dudes have mistakenly fancied themselves without actually having done the work.
Do yourself a favor, sample Translations Through Speakers below and then take advantage of Bellion’s generosity by helping yourself to a download of his latest album (did I mention he’s giving it away for free?) by clicking here.
Still not enough? How about Jon’s video for Translations… highlight “The Wonder Years”?...
Oh, and feel free to check out my choreo to Jon’s cover of “The Motto” while you’re still in a Bellion state of mind.
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