‘Glory Sound Prep’ album review
album: Glory Sound Prep
artist: Jon Bellion
release date: November 9, 2018
star rating: four out of five
review by Levi Yager
Jon Bellion just put out his new album, Glory Sound Prep, and it has everything a fan could want. The vocals are on-point, the beats are fresh and the synthesizers wobble, sizzle and pop to help make it a record that’s definitely one worth listening to.
Bellion bursts through the gate with two highlights, “Conversations with my Wife” and “JT.” The choruses in these songs, specifically, are catchy as hell. This makes them both earworms that you can’t help but sing along with. Their respective lyrical content, however, differs from each other; “Conversations with my Wife” deals with the juxtaposition of online activity and real life, while “JT” is about realizing your dreams. Both songs end up being easy favorites off Glory Sound Prep, and “JT” even has a sweet percussion spectrum that involves great sonic variety.
The rest of the album takes many different twists and turns. Tracks three and seven, “Let’s Begin” and “Adult Swim,” bring Bellion’s hip-hop side to the forefront, with “Adult Swim” being essentially a rap battle between Bellion and Tuamie that features a video game-style announcer who chimes in every once in awhile. While not necessarily one of the top songs on Glory Sound Prep, “Adult Swim” is, indeed, one of the most interesting. And “Let’s Begin” is intriguing in its own right; it has a ton of guest spots and features subject matter that’s all over the place. Additionally, “Let’s Begin” opens with orchestral strings and has some filthy bass sections.
A couple slower-paced cuts on the record are “Stupid Deep” and “Blu,” which are also standout tracks. You could almost call them sister songs due to the fact that they both touch on themes like purpose, destiny, significance, pleasure and spirituality while using somewhat similar instrumentation. Yet, each maintains a distinct sound from the other due to Bellion’s mastery of melody.
“Cautionary Tales” and “Mah’s Joint” are the final two tracks on Glory Sound Prep, and they’re a couple of the strongest. The opening, melodic bars in “Cautionary Tales” that Bellion raps frame the song in a way that certainly leaves an impression, and it also has one of the sickest consistent grooves on the album. The lyrics of “Cautionary Tales” are about the victories and failures of one man’s legend, very probably being a reference Bellion’s own story. “Mah’s Joint” then starts as a gut-wrenching closer about his grandma having dementia and how that affects his family. In addition, it puts an eternal, big-picture perspective on life and struggles. Horns are introduced near the one-third mark, and the mood in “Mah’s Joint” changes at that point to something more hopeful; it’s evocative of a big, happy, reunion in the life to come when all is well. This section later transitions to a cool outro that features synths and strings. “Mah’s Joint” is, without a doubt, a memorable last song.
When all is said and done, Glory Sound Prep stacks up as a great album. It’s not perfect, but it’s more than serviceable. On a sidenote, you can tell Bellion is playing with song structure quite a bit after listening through all the tracks; many of them don’t have a traditional verse-bridge-chorus layout. The lyrical content is equally varied, as Bellion drifts into the whimsical and wanders back to the serious at different points. This mix of emotions creates a three-dimensional characteristic felt on Glory Sound Prep. Honestly, there’s quite a bit here to unpack – musically and lyrically – which is kind of refreshing since many pop albums can’t boast that attribute. If you like the genre or enjoy Bellion’s previous record, I’d encourage you to give this one a spin.