Never quite lives up to the hype and becomes a saturation of false hope.
JJ – V
Enigmatic swedish outfit JJ is known for their grandiose gestures. They have gifted fans with a euphoric Lil Wayne sample, a free Christmas Eve mix tape and a name change. However, there is still an atmosphere of mystique that clouds the band. Unlike most modern bands, you won’t find them doing routine press interviews. Amid their eclectic taste is a missing personal connection that is almost obligatory in our social media age. V stands to change that. According to the band V is a statement of communication. JJ’s discography features gritty tropical flavors that never truly feel too bubblegum pop. That same gritty flavor was well represented in the trailer for V. In true idiosyncratic fashion strong images of psychological pain, fire, and hard decisions warps in and out. The expectation was that the album would deliver relatable and believable honesty. The reality is that for better or worse, JJ sacrificed big sugary pop indulgent sounds for sculptured clarity.
JJ’s tendencies towards drama proves promising as V opens up to an airy and dire 48 seconds. The stark instrumental boils over into a picturesque sound reminiscent of a song that could be perfectly placed at the beginning of a coming of age indie flick. Perhaps it wasn’t accidental. By stripping down the beginning JJ interjected a feeling of transparency. On the second track, “Dynasti”, gradual drum beats dance as Elin Kastlander’s signature heavy vocals is perfectly choreographed. But not much separates this track from those found at the end of every Grey’s Anatomy episode. That essentially becomes V’s narrative. The band frequently presents their useful dichotomy of synthy chorus hooks and laid back delivery. “Dean & Me” is the epitome of what V has to offer. A familiar formula of dream-sequence-like opening that boils into a fiery pot of semi-interesting beats.
Amid that formula, the lead single “All White Everything” becomes more interesting even if the tempo never really explodes. Raw lyricism shine along the gorgeous piano notes. JJ manages to give a sharp imagery of isolation and the beautiful disturbance that surrounds the color white. However, the album contain loads of sleeper tracks. Songs like “When I Need You”, “Full”, “Innerlight” will be forgotten t-minus one full listen of V. “I” is a reused anecdote with the protagonist asking the ex lover if their current lover “do this like me, kiss like me or takes you there.” On top of that the album features basic lyrics like, “If you show me love you might get a hug but if you don’t I wont care at all.” Song after song the album feels less interesting and more like a pot of contrived moves that resulted in boring cohesiveness.
In the middle of it all, “Fågelsången’s” jungle vibe is a short bite of something more promising. V itself is promising. The scale of the songs are grander but less exciting. For every forgettable track there is one that’s decent. V leaves something to be desired. Missing are the different textures and disturbances that are previewed on the album trailer. There is a lack of intensity and sonic disruption. The album never quite lives up to the hype and becomes a saturation of false hope.