4 MIN READ
A little less than a year after leaving JYP Entertainment and joining HIGHR MUSIC, Jay B just released his new solo EP ‘SOMO: FUME’, which stands for “Style Of My Own”. The album mixes different genres such as R&B and hip-hop and truly is a product of some all-star teamwork, with Cha Cha Malone, Gray, WOOGIE and GroovyRoom at the production, as well as Jay Park, Whee In, JUNNY, g1nger and sokodomo as featuring artists.
SOMO: FUME starts with the single “B.T.W.” produced by Cha Cha Malone and featuring Jay Park, which was released a few days before the album release. The track starts off with this catchy hip-hop beat that draws you in instantly. Jay B comes in with some suave vocals, using a lot of range, serenading the listeners with his flirty lyrics. The reverb effect used on Jay B’s voice falls in this whole theme of open spaces and freedom that seems to be a recurring theme around the album, whether it is in the big open spaces shot in the videos or the motorcycle ride on sand dunes in H1GHR MUSIC’s presentation video for Jay B. I do not know if this parallel was intended or not, but it feels as if Jay B now has the space as a solo artist to explore new avenues, which is directly reflected in his work.
Jay Park’s verse in “B.T.W.” gives a new dynamic to the song, contrasting Jay B’s more high-pitched and airy vocals. Jay Park’s addition to the song is quite similar to what we usually see him do, sticking with his winning formula that his fans know and love.
Following the opening track comes “AM PM”, a softer R&B song that uses a warm, sensual and enveloping beat produced by Gray. The guitar chords and vinyl-like sound texture instantly put on a warm atmosphere. Jay B’s vocals are husky and breathy, alternating with his higher range on the chorus. This song shows off Jay B’s soulful R&B side very well. Whee In’s verse naturally follows the same mood, mirroring her male counterpart. The artists feel like two lovers who can’t stop thinking about each other, day and night. The ad libs and back vocals that Whee In brings to the track add depth to the song, making it addictive. Her presence is also a nice nod to Jay B’s Kpop days, which will certainly warm some fans’ heart, but more than that, this duo makes sense on its own as Whee In’s voice perfectly fits and elevates the sound of the song.
The third track of the album is another certain hit. “FAME”’s beat made by GroovyRoom comes in as an energetic, bass-heavy track that contrasts with the precedent ones. This song is a groovy, feel-good track. Jay B and JUNNY’s verse bring a good vibe that makes you want to dance. The two artists seem to bounce off one another’s energy and it creates this wonderful, fun atmosphere. This track is destined to be a fan favorite!
With “In To You”, WOOGIE brings back a mellower mood, with soft guitar chords and a more serious tone. The energy of the song is slow, sensual and intimate. Jay B shows a more vulnerable side of himself, confessing his feelings for his lover, which is represented by g1nger who is questioning herself about her willingness to accept Jay B's love. She brings more complexity to the melody, adding layers to his vocals that come back like a sultry mantra throughout the whole song.
“Switch It Up”, which was released as a snippet for the album in May was greatly appreciated by many of Jay B’s listeners. Following “In To You”, it gives the album a new burst of energy, moving away from the gravitas. Cha Cha Malone’s beat is reminiscent of the airy quality of “B.T.W.”. Jay B’s vocals are breathy and he makes sure to show a great variety in his vocal delivery, which really adds texture to the song. sokodomo’s verse brings a new energy that hasn’t been seen on the album. His flow shake things up and create a nice contrast with Jay B’s energy. When I first heard this song in May, I was not really sold on it and it made me wonder if I would like the album, but when listening to it on the EP, I understood it better and it started to grow on me. It’s not my favorite track but I'm liking it more and more as it is a really catchy track!
The closing track of ‘SOMO: FUME’ called “Count On Me” is quite reminiscent of these classic 90’s R&B songs. GroovyRoom created one catchy beat with a guitar melody that falls in the line of TLC’s “No Scrubs” and other songs of the genre. Jay B delivers a performance that shows off his range nicely, blending different styles and proving he is capable of more than what we might expect. “Count On Me” is the only song of the album that does not feature any other artist, which allows Jay B to show what he can do on his own. This song is a nice way to wrap up the project, with a performance that lets us see his strengths and certify his credentials as a solid R&B artist.
‘SOMO: FUME’ is a successful EP with quality songs that will undoubtedly top some charts this summer. People who enjoy good R&B will be delighted with quality beats and featurings. Coming in this review, I did not expect to like this album as much as I did. I have listened to it on loop and I know that this album will become a classic in my music rotation, as I deeply enjoy the songs on it, especially "AM PM", "FAME" and "Count On Me". Jay B seems to have wanted to make a statement as a new solo artist with the album title “Style Of My Own”. The tracks allow a deeper understanding of him as an artist and his personal taste, showing his fun flirty side as well as his pensive and sensitive one. The solo artist obviously bloomed when making this album and has shown he is more than capable of making a quality project, which will allow him to reassure his old fan base and secure a new one along the way.