Jordan Smith - Only Love
You ready for another singing competition winner's album? Jordan Smith is here to deliver. Smith who won the ninth season of The Voice recorded this record with big time Grammy winning producer RedOne ensuring some heavy hitting production here. The problem is, when pop is this distilled it becomes almost white noise. So little stands out about this record save for Smith's voice which is actually quite good. Yet He moves towards the middle so aggressively it almost gives you the spins. "Box" is possibly the most egregious with it's message of "coming out of your box". Smith belts "We don't need to be perfect!" over and over in the chorus, which is a nice message, but god it is pandering as hell. This idea that "Box" would be the home that all the misfits find and hold on to is pretty ridiculous at the outset. It is a razor sharp pop song, with almost ZERO blemishes, and sounds produced within a inch of it's like. Hell, there is even a child choir at the end just in case you thought minimal production was going to be an option. Jordan Smith sings like he's in an opera house, which wouldn't be a bad thing if that is the kind of music He was trying to make. Yet Smith is trying to create this youthful fresh pop vibe that just never fits. He's far closer to Micheal Buble than He is to Ariana Grande.
I never thought I had a problem with men singing super high but "Lonely Eyes" has changed things for me. Smith sings this like he is Aretha Franklin and it just sounds odd. There is a lot of turn of the lights and sing this at the top of your lungs kind of tracks on Only Love so many that they start to sound exactly the same. Their message, lyrics and even production sound exactly the same. Much has been made of how Smith wrote six of the twelve tracks himself, but without even looking it up you can tell which tracks they were. Sometimes a bit of something modern creeps in, like a slick auto-tune or electronic ad-lib, things that don't feel like Smith at all but give the album something fresh to work with. SO many of the decisions on this record feel like they specifically made to sell records rather than convey a message or create art. When you can see the strings behind the act it takes you completely out of it and you are unable to connect. That is what is missing from this record, any real connection. There are plenty of people out there with really great voices, Jordan Smith is one of them, but it takes another special something to break through. Only Love does not.
4.8 out of 10