Jonah Kue makes what I would call progressive R&B. The vocals are smooth, relaxed and on the verge of being spoken at times. Not unlike contemporaries like Frank Ocean and Kendrick Lamar they sound as if he was recording with a glass of chardonnay and doesn't have a care in the world. His latest release Road To Market utilizes beds of white noise, subtle percussive elements, bells, pads, and distant electric guitars to create atmospheres that float as effortlessly as a cloud on sunny afternoon. The music used is very appropriate for his voice. It marries itself together quite well like peanut butter and jelly. One thing I can say about Jonah Kue's music is there is a good mix of genres that will appeal to a wide variety of people. If you like TV on the Radio you may like this, if you like The Chromatics you may like this. He was able to blend a lot of attractive elements from different genres and at the same time not ostracize any of them. His music felt uniform and never thought to myself that he was trying to do to much when listening to the music.
The album opens with "Road" which is an intro to the album. The first thing you hear is a vocal sample from god knows where but eventually it subdues and is replaced by light percussive bells. After "Road" we are introduced to "The Token" which is a smooth song that revolves around a low-end bass, deep bass drum and waves of synths. Make no mistake about it that the vocals are the driving force here and everything else plays second fiddle to his voice. His vocals are clear and are sometimes treated with filters but what's most important here is his delivery. He's got the right amount of nonchalant attitude to make it really work well, a skill that cannot be learned. "Pride (feat Lykke Li)" was one of my favorites on the album as the vocals were infectious, memorable and drove the song. "Fools and Martyrs" had a good balance of R&B and experimentation. The vocals here felt a little more straightforward and didn't have as much as an R&B feel but instead felt a bit more rock oriented. Overall, Jonah Kue has made an impressive record that does a great job of taking a sometimes stagnant genre like R&B and revitalizing the sound.
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