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SAINt JHN - While the World Was Burning Music Album Reviews

SAINt JHN - While the World Was Burning Music Album Reviews
After an illegal remix made him a TikTok hit, the Brooklyn rapper-singer struggles to create an identity on his new album,  enlisting high-profile guests like Kanye, Lil Uzi Vert, and Future in the effort. 

SAINt JHN was crooning woozy knock-off Future verses when a 19-year-old in a village in Kazakhstan illegally made him a hit. In 2019, three years after the song was released, a budding DJ named Imanbek Zeikenov uploaded a remix of SAINt JHN’s glowering “Roses.” In Imanbek’s version, SAINt JHN’s voice is pitched up to a bouncy, unrecognizable register amid constantly thwacking bass. Enter TikTok: The remix became inescapable on the app this spring, with its rows of sweatshirted teens (and Jason Derulo) wriggling along to the beat. The track’s success made an intriguing dilemma for a rapper who once created a fake PR company to promote himself — virality without recognition, ubiquity without any sense of identity.
SAINt JHN’s new project struggles to build a persona for him from these confusing beginnings. The album is laden with shockingly high-profile features—Kanye, Lil Uzi Vert, Kehlani, Future himself—and amorphous, vapor-like production from f a l l e n, a relatively unknown producer who shares SAINt JHNs proclivity towards aggravating name stylizations. The production is both anonymous and instantly familiar, recalling the hazy crooning and dribbled-out drums of both Travis Scott and Gunna. There is a vague sadness at the record’s core, but SAINt JHN only spells it out occasionally and clumsily. “I’m scared of overdosin’/I’m scared of falling in love,” he moans on “High School Reunion, Prom,” but there’s no emotion in his confession.

We get wisps of SAINt JHN’s background: allusions to the poverty line, a lyric about being kicked out of his mother’s home on New Year’s Eve, the words “abandonment issues.” Unfortunately, most of these details are packed into the opener “Sucks to Be You,” which gets bogged down in its grating guilt trip of a chorus. “It sucks to be you, ‘cause I would have loved you,” he wails. “I’d watch the whole world burn to see you dance.” This tendency towards clumsy, cringe-inducing lyrics punctures the album’s better tracks. “I don’t think I even thought twice that I thought it,” he mumbles on “Gorgeous,” one of the sleeker and more propulsive tracks.

On “Ransom,” an almost-tender track anchored by Kehlani and 6lack features, SAINt JHN finds a smoother, more assured balance between singing and rapping. But the chorus hinges on a garbled metaphor that compares texting to a hostage negotiation, made more absurd by SAINt JHN gravely proclaiming, “I’m too handsome.” Like much of the album, “Time for Demons” cobbles together a pastiche of rap tropes, blurring them into nonsense. “I’m savage mode, I’m not average, I’m on demon time, just in my cabbage,” he chirps. “Cut from a different cloth, from a different upholstery,” he states on “Pray 4 Me,” fumbling for meaning with soft murmurs and glistens of piano, before Kanye deploys a verse that mentions Israel and centrifugal force like so many MadLibs.

While the World Was Burning presents itself as a victory lap for SAINt JHN. Three of the thirteen tracks are old, repurposed songs; two of those are versions of “Roses.” DaBaby remains apparently game as ever to hop on any remix, and he updates the plodding “Monica Lewinsky, Election Year” with a leering verse. (The actual Monica Lewinsky has said she wished she got royalties for the song.) And then there’s the second-most popular version of “Roses,” where Future’s adlibs and dynamic, gravelly rasp are in direct contrast with SAINt JHN’s shuffling verse. It’s a symbolic, full-circle moment, the imitator collaborating with his inspiration, but the gravity Future instinctively brings to any track gets lost here. In SAINt JHNs songs, like so in much of TikTok, sadness becomes aesthetic and anesthetized, until it’s just another vibe.
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About Wanni Arachchige Udara Madusanka Perera

Hey, I'm Perera! I will try to give you technology reviews(mobile,gadgets,smart watch & other technology things), Automobiles, News and entertainment for built up your knowledge.
SAINt JHN - While the World Was Burning Music Album Reviews SAINt JHN - While the World Was Burning Music Album Reviews Reviewed by Wanni Arachchige Udara Madusanka Perera on Monday, November 30, 2020 Rating: 5

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