Anna Goetz- A&E Editor
n Sept. 26, 2017, Jhene Aiko released her fourth studio album, “Trip,” available on streaming sites everywhere. The artist has mixed her style over time to be a kaleidoscope of R&B and traditional soul. The down-to-earth singer narrates her psychedelic journey on life, death and love through 22 songs.
The 29-year-old singer songwriter recorded the album “Trip” over the course of 3 years, and surprised her fans with an unannounced album release. The release followed a short film made by the singer herself, also called “Trip.” Aiko featured herself on the film as a fictional character of “Penny”, on a journey of self-enlightenment and discovery. A perfect preview for her surprise album, the film was shared across Aiko’s social media, hinting her fans in on what was to come.
In her lifetime, Aiko has experienced the death of her brother, divorce, grief, love and light. The singer beautifully ties her struggles and her triumphs into a piece of work that perfectly highlights her psychedelic journey through the cluster of life. With 22 songs on the album and several features, it is clear to fans that Aiko took her time on this piece of art.
With features from Big Sean, TWENTY88, Swae Lee, Kurupt, Dr. Chill, Namiko Love, Brandy and Mali Music, Aiko creates a wonderful blend of different styles and personalities that help make “Trip” the masterpiece it is.
The singer also includes voicemails from her deceased brother as interludes, or endings to tracks on the album. Her brother often leaves her messages reflecting on life, love and giving advice to his little sister. It creates a heart-wrenching ache for listeners, understanding who the voice belongs to and why Aiko included it. However, the singer creates waves of happiness and sadness throughout the album, much like the waves listeners experience in their own lives. No sad note lasts for very long, and Aiko kicks it up again with a fun, upbeat tone.
Capturing a perfect blend of soul, pop, R&B, funk and psychedelic jazz, Aiko nails her fourth studio album as one for the books. Besides the vulnerability and honesty Aiko puts into the piece, it relates largely to her listeners, and their own journeys.
The singer also made a point to release the album as a surprise, with no prior hype or advertising. Greeted with endless praise and acclamation, Aiko’s work stand out without any needs for advertising or clues to fans.