After making waves with the 2013 Dark Star EP, 2014’s Habits Of My Heart EP and featured vocals on songs by ZHU and David Guetta, Los Angeles singer-songwriter Jaymes Young has finally released his debut album Feel Something. It’s an openhearted, deeply layered and often euphoric record that could only be made by someone with who has tasted some success and simply wants to make statement proving he’s earned it.
Feel Something opens with the dramatic piano chords of “Tied Down” that segue into a spare beat before and building vocals that break into an arena-ready chorus of “Ohh, I’ll keep you tied down,” It’s slickly sexual, sort of domineering – “All of the world will let you know that you’re mine now” but the propulsion of the quiet verses back into the hook gets a little more playful each time. It’s not a cookie cutter cut-and-paste job. There’s a sense of personality in the song that is missing on song built on drum machines and snyths. It makes it feel more human.
It’s those moments that work best on the album. “Stoned On You” is all falsetto built on rhythmic, shuffling guitar, while “Don’t You Know” has a kick drum sound that will stick between your ears if the circular synths don’t. The title track feels huge, a song that simply shimmers with the size of its chorus and the robotic synth voice that call and responds Young’s voice. “Make me feel something/show me that you’re human.” It’s here that his message is clear: these songs are about yearning for connection and trying to find that any way possible.
“We Won’t” features the album’s only true feature, a duet with singer-songwriter Phoebe Ryan, who has written for Britney Spears and appeared on songs by The Chainsmokers. Don’t let her clientele fool you. The track’s light bounce coupled with Ryan’s sweet vocal holds serious weight with Young’s equally expressive voice. Both singers have a sensitivity in their voice that makes lyrics like “Don’t call me up at 2 a.m. tonight/and if feels so damn good and I wish you would,” sound serious instead of saccharine.
So, it might have taken a few years, but Feel Something is a careful and calculated debut by a songwriter who has taken all he has learned so far and instilled a careful touch to each of these twelve songs. There are little moments on the album – the delivery of a vocal, or how a guitar line may go on just a little bit longer than the rest of the instrumentation that gives the feeling that each song simply wasn’t cast off. By the album’s title, Jaymes Young had a very serious intention. He accomplished it and then some.
- Brendan Hilliard, Obviate Media
This review was written by Brendan Hilliard, of Obviate Media. Obviate Media is a Chicago-based blog covering music and pop culture. Check them out, here: Obviate Media.