A New Addition to a 2018 Playlist: “The Sunset Tapes: A Cool Tape Story”
By Monsetrratt Castillo
After Jaden Smith’s series of questionable tweets, notably “I Am Not A Human And I Don't Speak English,” from May 30, 2018, and a feature in a Louis Vuitton photoshoot in 2016 wearing a skirt, it is clear that Smith does not play by the rules. His representation of true freedom helped Smith gain a bigger fanbase.
Now, Smith has surprised the music industry. His alternative approach to hip hop is a hit. Smith’s music career started in 2010 after he was featured in the Justin Bieber song “Never Say Never.” Eight years later, Smith has released three full albums of his own.
His newest album, “The Sunset Tapes: A Cool Tape Story,” was released on Nov. 17, 2018. The album consists of 11 songs with no features. This album uses vocals as another instrument, so the style of the music is different compared to other artists. Smith autotunes his voice to best fit the instrumental and even dared to create a song that consists of only one instrument -- his voice. Three songs from the album, “Soho,” “Plastic,” and “SYRE in Abbey Road” display the variety of sounds that this album brings.
“The Sunset Tapes: A Cool Tape Story” starts off with an emotional song. It is called “SOHO” and is about a girl who leaves Smith heartbroken. The beat starts off with a few piano keys which turn into an upbeat instrumental, then Smith starts singing. Looking over the lyrics, Smith says “Broke up with me one day, girl your heart's just so cold,” and it is quite obvious this event has affected him greatly. This song could indicate a potential breakup between Jaden and his year-long girlfriend, Odessa Adlon. Overall, “SOHO” is a great song to start the album with.
A few tracks later is the song “Plastic.” Smith raps to an upbeat instrumental, and Smith’s voice is, of course, autotuned. Lines like “Bust down, ran outta plastic/Triple backflip, gymnastic.” make this song very catchy, much like “SOHO,” and is a great party song. Besides the strong beat, this song could represent Smith’s problem with the environment’s use of plastic. Smith is the founder of JUST water, a boxed water bottle brand, and Smith is considered an environmentalist. Overall, “Plastic” has a great message and beat.
One of the most interesting songs on this album is “SYRE in Abbey Road,” a one minute and 44 second song. Unlike every other song in the album, Smith’s voice is the only instrument used. This song consists of 17 lines, in which six consists of smith repeating “Oh, Yeah” or “Oh My.” The other lines say “Tonight, you're my everything/My everything, baby girl, everything,” and is clearly about spending a night with a girl. However, his voice is muffled and faded, so it is very hard to pick up what he is saying. Regardless of how few lyrics and instruments are used, this relaxing song was well executed. As for the title, Abbey Road is an area in London where Abbey Road Studios is located. That studio is famous for recording the Beatles in the 1960s and 1970s. Unsurprisingly, Smith wanted to do something different for his album, and he did by recording a song at that studio.
“The Sunset Tapes: A Cool Tape Story” is one of 2018’s best album releases. Smith did not fail to show his true character, and I am excited to see what else he has in store.