Life ain’t always much of a fairytale, but there is one piece of fiction that is true for certain: there is no place like Home. It’s 2017 and social pressures will say that in your mid-twenties you are projected to have a career, a place of your own, maybe a family. You know – a head on your shoulders. That shit needs to Ease Up. Not everyone is on that path. Not everyone wants to be. Sometimes you just Can’t Hang. I know this stress all too well, which makes it no surprise that I’m often Stuck Inside My Head too. “Give it Time,” I say to myself. Time will tell and it will heal. With patience and support, we as humans have a remarkable tendency to grow in even the harshest conditions. Like Flowers, we make it through the night and bloom come daytime. Pretty Cool, right? (I will make no Apologies for the cheesy metaphor!). Through the rough times there is nothing more reassuring than some buoyancy to keep you afloat though. Hey, My Friend’s are there for me when I’m down and they always know how to get me Back On Track. Together we blossom. We Drive one another to keep on going in an effort to One Day make it back Home.
Justin Jay’s latest album, Home, is a therapeutic odyssey of sound and mind. It will leave you feeling refreshed and uplifted. The vulnerability put into this album is commendable and inspiring from start to finish. Opening up with Home Pt. 1, the tone of the album is properly established with the repetition of just one word – ‘home.’ For 2 minutes and 19 second it is as though the opening title track is a deep exhale of ‘Om’ cleansing the soul. Which is quite suitable considering the following track’s lyrics. Check out the DIY video for Ease Up below featuring Josh Taylor!
“Ease Up. Cool down. Be kind. To yourself.”
These heartfelt reminders throughout the album are the relatable kind of encouragement everyone needs. And from the sounds of it, they are just as much for Justin himself as they are his listeners. Everyone needs to ease up every once in awhile whether you’re behind the decks or dancing in the crowd. I mean shit, Justin and I are the same age. I’d be stupid not to consider that we are experiencing the same troubles of early adulthood that noodle around in our heads. Whether it’s career worries, significant others, or wanting to stay a kid forever. I think that’s something that goes overlooked when fame enters someone’s life. People forget that they’re…people.
Perhaps you’ve been following JJ’s Facebook recently. If not – you might have missed the part where Justin disclosed some info that led up to this album’s birth. He retreated inward after parting ways with his manager, took some time soul searching, cancelled a bunch of shows, and moved back in with his parents. If anyone thinks that’s a lame move then respectfully I say, ‘Fuck you.’
JJ went bold with this album. He tried something new by making the tracks super DIY and lo-fi, tried his hand at singing/songwriting, and crushed it. Outside of the lush melancholy tone that is brought to life throughout, I fell in love with the new singer/songwriter approach Justin took. Everything about the record is from the heart – full transparency.
Everything is (over)thought through. In a good way.
Tracks like Stuck Inside My Head tell us exactly what’s going on right from the title. Being an over-thinker myself, I’m all too familiar with the struggle of feeling prisoner to my thoughts. If I had a conversation about it, I may struggle to express the feeling. But writing it makes it easier. It appears more clearly than ever that this creative, musical outlet is JJ’s way of sharing something personal with us. Something that may quite difficult to convey otherwise.
“These songs helped me feel good and stay grounded through the bumpy times. Music is pretty cool like that..” – Justin Jay
They say that Time has a way of healing and the impeccable placement of track 6 leads us right into Flowers. This track is all about growth. It takes your frown and turns it upside down. Mellow guitar riffs slowly building to a climactic chorus singing, “Flowers grow on the rain.” When I say climactic I’m talkin’ orchestra caliber rising. A testament that through gloomy times there is still, and always will be, progress.
From this point forward, Home is on the up and up for the most part. We journey into tracks like Cool and Drive, which start making you want to boogie more and more. Synthy bass vibes and faster pace. Yet still scattered along the way we have Apologies. And though it airs on the side of funky, the lyric heavy track is still a sincere call for forgiveness. Who knows? Maybe a bridge was burned. But it is certain that whatever it was, JJ cherishes the relationships he builds.
Hey My Friend plays with an interesting theme. The tone cries in minor and sinks with heavy downtempo strums. It seems that the lyrics are speaking to a dark time (ie. represented in the dark sounding music) as he thanks his friend(s) for getting him through it. I believe the artsy phrase to drop here would be, ‘The juxtaposition is flawless.’
Justin has mentioned through social media and evidently through these tracks that his friends helped him stay motivated and have been the ultimate homies no doubt. It’s no surprise that the last few tracks about friends and staying driven (Drive) to make music lead us into the closing track, and coming full circle, to Home Pt. 2.
“Baby I’m home. You’re all I need. No wastin’ time. Just chasin’ dreams.”