Nite Jewel still practices the art of seduction on her fourth album, Real High.Gloriette Records , 2017
6.9 / 10
Ramona Gonzalez, aka Nite Jewel, returns faster than one second of love with her fourth album, Real High. Just last year, she released Liquid Cool. However, Gonzalez recorded the songs of Real High over the course of four years with her husband, Cole M.G.N. So, if anything, we should be saying, “About time,” rather than, “Well, that was fast.” Or we could choose not to be rude and just be thankful that new music from Nite Jewel is here once again. For the new album, Gonzalez draws inspiration from Janet Jackson’s 1993 album, janet., and focuses the album’s theme on love. More particularly how love sometimes screws us up to where we lose our own identities in the process.
Gonzalez gives her songs a sultry, R&B pop backdrop. None of them are bangers. Most of the album is very down-tempo, sometimes minimal and reminiscent of Jessy Lanza’s work. Gonzalez’s vocals border on whispering; her breathy performance adding a jolt of sex appeal. Musically, there’s many melodic similarities between the songs, so it’s easy for some of them to get lost in the mix. But every now and then, Gonzalez will hit you with a lyric that catches the ear. Once that draws your attention back in, you can’t help but fall for the song’s seduction. So, it’s like a relationship that’s on-again, off-again. Only you have that happen over the course of the album’s runtime.
However, when this listener to album relationship is on-again, it’s quite good. “I Don’t Know” features a bouncing melody, but it never bounces too forcefully or too high. Gonzalez plays the part of an uncertain woman, not quite sure about how she feels about someone. She just wants to live in the moment without thinking about the future. While “I Don’t Know” deals with uncertainty, “When I Decide (It’s Alright)” is all about empowerment. She sings, “Didn’t want to smile/ Because life’s let me down/ Don’t tell me to smile/ Cause I’m keeping a frown.” The song seemingly hits back at guys always thinking women should put on a happy face. Her emotions belong to her.
Then, it’s kind of strange that “R We Talking Long” features somewhat of a predatory verse from guest Droop-E. “No more talky/ I just want to touch you/ Grab you close/ Put my lips on yours and shut you up.” This comes after some woozy, flirtatious singing from Gonzalez, but assume much? Sorry, if artists are going to promote a safe environment of consent, then the music should do it as well. However, misstep aside, the song is still solid. And the album as a whole stands Real High.