Jaymes Young – Dark Star
Record Label: Unsigned
Release Date: August 20 2013
Liking “unknown” artists or bands is both a blessing and a curse at once. It’s a blessing, because it does feel really cool to know that you’re into something that not many people are aware of, but at the same time, it’s a curse because there’s barely anyone you can share it with. Even if you post about that band or artist on social networks, people may see it but not really care, so you’re left alone in enjoying that band or artist. That’s the case with R&B/pop/indie singer Jaymes Young. He’s relatively new to music, just releasing a handful of songs a few months ago, including title track from debut Dark Star. I downloaded that song for free, but never listened to it until a couple of weeks ago. I heard a clip of it, so that’s why I downloaded it, but I decided to sit down and listen to the whole thing. Needless to say, I was blown away. Young’s falsetto combined with a bass-heavy beat in the background, with rather romantic yet depressing lyrics, make for a great track. It’s the opening track on the mixtape, too, which is even better. To put it simply, though, Dark Star is one of the best mixtapes and records I’ve heard in a long time. It’s not really due to Young’s lyrics, which range from wonderful to really cliché and boring, but rather the overall instrumentation, and his voice in general. Young has a great voice that he uses quite well throughout the mixtape. He reminds me of artists like Frank Ocean and The Weeknd, both of which have a very atmospheric R&B sound, almost experimental, yet still quite accessible. Young follows suit here, and his brand of R&B/pop follows the same way, yet its still unique and interesting. The mixtape also includes a couple of cover songs, “What Is Love” by forgotten Eurodance/house artist Haddaway, and Justin Bieber’s “As Long as You Love Me.” Both covers are done surprisingly well, even though I’m not a fan of the original version of “As Long as You Love Me.” Both songs are done nicely, and they are what a cover should be – taking a song and having the artist put their own spin on it. Young takes these songs, which are more upbeat, and makes them rather sad and atmospheric. As with every record, there are some songs that just don’t really click with me, and the mixtape does fall into cliché pop territory at a few points, but these tracks are easily overlooked when you really look at the songs that are great, because when a song hits, it REALLY hits. I’m a sucker for pop and R&B, and needless to say, Jaymes Young is right up my alley.
The record begins with the title track, as I mentioned earlier, and this song is one of the more interesting songs, and not to mention, one of my favorites. It’s a bass-heavy R&B track that has a rather haunting sound to it. The lyrics are what helps to make it so haunting, though; it’s all about Young trying to explain to someone that he has a rather dark past, and he wonders if he tells that person, will they still love him and still accept him? It’s a really clever idea, because it’s not really talked about a lot, and even if it was, this is still interesting. It sets up a great mood for the mixtape, and it gets me really excited to keep going. In fact, the first four songs are absolutely fantastic. Second track “Two More Minutes” shows off a different side to Young, which is his more straightforward pop side. His vocals are still great, and the lyrics are rather cheesy, but still lovely. Third track “One Last Time” is a rather somber track about being with someone one last time before Young dies, most likely a long lost love. And fourth track “Moondust” is another rather atmospheric track that’s all about outer space. The lyrics have a lot of great imagery in them, likening outer space to moving on from a bad relationship. It’s after “Moondust,” though, where the mixtape does fall slightly flat, but let me explain. Sixth track “Wondering” is a track that doesn’t do much for me. It’s a nice track, that has a really cool piano riff throughout it, but it’s rather boring and repetitive. Thankfully, the cover of “What Is Love” comes right after, along with eighth track “Parachute,” and together, these two tracks absolutely kill it. After this, there are only a few songs left, but the only one that truly does anything for me is closing track “Northern Lights.” This is another song that shows everything about Young that I really enjoy; a really nice beat, his soulful/enchanting vocals, and lyrics that are really unique and interesting. Basically, it ends the same way the mixtape started. It’s a very fitting end for a mixtape that had me intrigued and enthralled throughout the whole thing. I’m really hoping that Young blows up at some point, because I can imagine him to be huge.