Jacob Collier’s latest album is an experience in emotion

Hannah Smrcka, Editor

Jacob Collier‘s latest album, Djesse Vol. 3, was released on August 14, 2020. This is the third album for Djesse and has the most electronic sounds of the three. There are five of what he calls beat sketches: “Bird Scuff,” “What’s Impossible,” “Dreamer,” “Train to Saskatoon,” and “Believe in Love.” On Collier’s website he said, “About a minute long, taken from the edges of the album-making process – a collection of crazy sounds, little canvases, windows into universes I have visited over the course of my Vol. 3 creating time.” There will be four volumes in total. His goal is to combine all of the types of music he’s listened to his whole life, and if you’re just starting to widen your musical horizons, then his music is a good place to start. The genre styles that he writes in are:  jazz, pop, funk, a cappella, classical, and rhythm and blues, and he often does multiple styles within each song. Collier has a great passion for music and does a lot of the work for his albums within the confines of his bedroom. This was an album released during the pandemic, so it had to be constructed in isolation. He has been writing and performing music on YouTube since his teens. (Here is a cover he did of “Isn’t She Lovely“– he is about 18 or so here.)

The songs on the album are: “Clarity,” “Count the People,” “In My Bones,” “Time Alone With You,” “All I Need,” “In Too Deep,” “Butterflies,” “Sleeping On My Dreams,” “Running Outta Love,” “Light It Up On Me,” “He Won’t Hold You,” and “To Sleep.” My personal favorite would have to be “He Won’t Hold You,” which was released earlier than the initial album at the beginning of July, 2020. Part of why I loved this song so much was most likely half to do with how excited I was when I saw its early release date and knew that the next volume was coming out. Another thing I enjoyed, however, was the section in the middle at 2:30, and it has a beautiful concept. It’s a section of spoken word and then after the moving section of unsung words over music and how they almost sing without the melody in its seams, the music expands and fills the mind and grasps onto each empty bit of gray matter within you and the universe and turns them into rays of color, light, and sound. It’s an experience in itself and an emotion. You feel full. I’m not a huge fan of poetry, either. I like to read, but once there is that drive, like what is created in this song, that is coming from all sides around it with how it speaks and communicates to it, the meaning shifts beautifully with the music and other lyrics, blending and weaving in and out of emotions and concepts. It’s all connected and it is beautiful.

My least favorite song on the album is “Light It Up On Me.” It really just wasn’t my cup of tea. It felt like he was trying to accomplish a lot, and it didn’t seem finished. It felt weird and out of place with the rest of the album and the sounds were like some weird ASMR. None of the other songs seemed to give off the same odd vibe that I felt this one did.

In comparison to the other volumes of Djesse, volumes one and two, this one was probably my least favorite but had some of my favorite individual songs. I liked the different woks with textures, but the style of music isn’t necessarily the style that I personally most enjoy, but it is a good head start for other people widening their horizons to more classical and jazz music and just music that has more musicality to it. It’s very brainy and brilliant, but I enjoyed his other two volumes more. This album is very experimental and new compared to what he’s worked on in the past, so it does feel very different. Altogether though, the album is amazing and so is all of his work. I suggest giving this and his other music a listen if you get the chance. I’d rate it 4.5 stars out of 5 because there are things that he can still improve on. He is still relatively young and this is just a beginning to experimenting with these styles, and I am excited to see how he grows from this Volume to Djesse 4.