July 14, 2011

Music Is... Nikki Jean "Pennies In A Jar"

In today's music scene, it's tough for me to find a very well composed harmonious album, especially in popular culture. I feel that things have evolved from "quality" to "quantity". Not to say that artists of the past didn't create many works but, more emphasis was placed on the music, placed on good production. With "Pennies In A Jar", it's that attribute of quality and getting it right that I find at the forefront and that I really appreciate.

Very honestly I can say that in one way or another I enjoyed and continue to enjoy every song on this album. To quote SeanTheRobot (Head Cut Off), who reviewed this piece as well,
"Seeing that Nikki co-wrote a song with Lamont Dozier and that some of the other songwriters were also involved with Motown, it doesn’t come as a surprise that the sound of the album is somewhat reminiscent of the old Motown Sound without actually sounding old though."
It's exactly that. In a post I put up a while ago about longevity, I mentioned that even if an artists meshed the past with the present, it was the ability to maintain staying power and dish out something GOOD. The ability to release a genuine, full flavored product. Keeping that in mind, each and every song contains this vulnerable aspect that makes them that much more attractive. With each number, I feel like she's saying, "I'm giving you Nikki Jean. I'm giving you a piece of my heart on every track." Honesty. That's another attribute that makes itself obvious, at least to me. She gives you truth with every note. 

Each song works cohesively with each other. Lyrically, when I listen to songs such as the title track "Pennies In A Jar" or "Steel And Feathers (Don't Ever)" I get someone who has some excellent songwriting skills. And it's not even that the lyrics are complicated or super dense but, that they're so nicely written and thought out. Not too much though. You don't have to get cha' "Dig Dug" on just to understand what she's implying. She talks about love and the various aspects that go into that. She talks about emotions and various feelings towards that significant other and just the ins & outs of many things.

In terms of the sound, I love that she didn't follow suit with all the techno, trance, fast paced music that's out now. I'm not dissing that because I myslef like some of it. It's just that (and I'm gonna use what may seem to be a cliche phrase here) I really find this album to be a breath of fresh air. Feels like the majority of the time I've been inhaling 90% smog and 10% "Even worse". OK, I might be stretching it right there but, you get my point. I have to note too, that Black Thought and Lupe Fiasco lend some words on "Million Star Motel". What I respect there is that no one is overshadowed. Again, there's the cohesiveness that melds everything together. Personally, there is much to be said about "Pennies In A Jar". I feel this is one of those albums that will become a reference. Something that current and future artists will be able to look at and draw inspiration from.

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