Blue – Jonas Blue: “For a listener who isn’t really listening”
With Blue, Jonas Blue provides the basic quintessential soundtrack for the basic quintessential teen. Which is to say, it runs more like a party playlist designed for mass appeal than a real album, a patchwork of Ibiza beats and melodramatic, overly-sincere lyrics bled out by cut-jawed heartthrobs. This formula is undeniable; applied to make a loud product for a listener who isn’t really listening. Hence Bluecan afford to be (very, very) repetitive in content and theme and sound and structure and style and all other tangible elements of a song. Each is an electronic dance hopefully-anthem tailored for a post-exam lads’ holiday to an anglicised pseudo-exotic island. Repetition is both the album’s major feature and major limitation. These songs are temporarily enjoyable; they are party tracks, and will set the mood for a drunken mess. Even sober, listening to a few of them is intoxicating. But then, still sober, listen to more than a few of them (say, an album of them) and you will overdose.
Though the synths are poisonous, the subjects of a few of the songs, though tightly themed, are surprisingly heartfelt. They’re never nuanced exactly, but they don’t mean nothing either. One of the best singles to come out of the album, ‘Mama’, is a sugar-sweet song about going on a night out and worrying about your mum worrying. How adorable. What mindful kids. Other songs, like ‘Wild’, are just lusty trash, including lyrics such as ‘loca contigo hoy’ – which, for listeners who have recently taken GCSE Spanish (= half of listeners), translates as ‘get crazy with you today’ or ‘crazy with you today’ or…who cares? No one listening to this song, that’s who.
The features vary from obscure to meme-ish; and the lesser known talents, like Zak Abel, certainly keep up with the Disney-ites. Whether this is due to raw talent or clever rose-tinted production, who knows. But for the sake of this album’s purpose, it doesn’t matter. A catchy sound is a catchy sound; a cute singer is a cute singer. ‘I See Love’ ft. Joe Jonas is one such relentless meme. Like a lot of electropop, it is mindlessly fun, which means it is fulfilling its raison d’être: to be the fun sound to a fun time. Even tracks like ‘Polaroid’ ft. Liam Payne, which lack such edge as to literally be called things like ‘Polaroid’, kind of work.
Listening to this album, in order and whilst doing nothing else, is a mistake. It’s not what it was meant for; which is why, when done, it becomes nauseating. I’m sure Track 11, ‘Rise’ ft. Jack & Jack, is, in fact, just as good as the earlier tracks – in fact, it is probably the exact same. But after ten courses of the same meal, it is unpleasant. The trancy teens for whom this playlist is intended won’t feel the same though. No one will ever pay attention to 15 of these tracks in a row; they’ll be too busy having a good time.