JMSN knows what makes 'u' happy.White Room Records, 2017
7.5 / 10
It’s a little hard to take JMSN seriously. The Detroit-based singer/producer has a strong resume. He’s worked with some of the music industries best. Uh…his credits include working with Kendrick Lamar; that’s a BIG deal. So why is it so hard to take him seriously? Look at him on the cover art of his new album, Whatever Makes U Happy. Just a normal skinny-armed guy with a soft face and shaved head. You almost want to write him off because he’s so basic.
Then, you hear the production behind one of his songs, and it’s like ‘Whoa!’ That’s not what I was expecting. Then, you hear him croon with a voice stolen from a boy band, but he balances it out with a bad boy persona. So he’s got just enough edge to make him a little cool. Although his music sometimes borders on ridiculously cheesy, it strikes oil in the pleasure center of the brain.
He kicks off his latest album, Whatever Makes U Happy, with an immediately intoxicating jam, “Drinkin'”. You like throwing a few back with friends, right? But you don’t love drinkin’ so much that you’d write a song about it. A song that’s so soulful that it’s almost as if JMSN is in love with the devil’s mouthwash. They tried to make JMSN go to rehab but he said, “No, no, no.” He’s too busy swallowing his lover whole. Taking in her essence and accepting her gift of inebriation.
It’s surprising then that JMSN is able to function so well to orchestrate Whatever Makes U Happy‘s diverse production. Some songs would fit perfectly among ’90s R&B hits like “Slowly”. His line in that song, “Gave you devotion/ But you needed emotion,” is a heart stopper. Then, others are absolutely funky like “Always Somethin'”, a song that refuses for its party mood to die.
He also goes BIG with songs like “Slide” which progressively switches its style. At first, it sounds like the start to a ’90s rock radio single in the style of Collective Soul. But it soon takes a turn when the strings come into the mix and the backup singers. It drives to a huge finish to sweep listeners off their feet. Whatever Makes U Happy is a title that fits JMSN’s musical chameleon pedigree. He can take any genre and create something catchy that will hook you in, even if his basic appearance pushes you away.