Review: 'Do You Love Her Now' / 'He' - Jai Paul
Fans rejoice. Jai Paul is back.
When bits of his to-be debut album were leaked in 2013, Jai Paul disappeared from the digital world leaving his two official singles – BTSTU and jasmine (demo) – to become pieces of a fable that were so elusive and engrossing that it would inspire a generation of musicians. The two records were soon put on a pedestal – as examples of such distinctive sounds that musicians inspire to – even Caribou was so transfixed by the track that he stated he aspires to make music as exciting and unexpected as that.
Over the weekend, along with surprisingly uploading his 2013 leaked album, the divine musician quietly uploaded a double single to Spotify – Do You Love Her Now / He – and the internet exploded.
Do You Love Her Now is undoubtedly a conceptual, nostalgic love song– the fade in bass and stellar guitar riff that cuts through the mix is pulled straight from the 80s, with Jai Paul’s vocals dancing around the track, never taking centre stage but never shying away from the spotlight. With the addition of an utterly unique drum sequence, it is obvious that Jai Paul has well and truly grown as an artist – that playful, optimistic youthfulness of jasmine (demo) and BTSTU has disappeared, and been replaced with a melancholy, reflective attitude that acknowledges the disaster of six years ago but does not let it consume the musician. Jai Paul is determined to create something new whilst building on the past, and the groovy, dream-like ‘Do You Love Her Now’ does not fail in making that statement.
The track also features Fabiana Palladino on the bridge, who Jai Paul signed to ‘Paul Institute’ that aims to takes funk and soul in new directions. As well as being a welcoming addition to the track, Palladino’s feature serves as an alert to fans who may not have heard of the Institute – there’s more where this release is coming from, and the Institute are determined to change the face of modern soul music. Additionally, Palladino’s adoration for Stevie Wonder and Paul’s love for Prince are well and truly showcased – the song playing out like a homage to the late funk icon as Paul debates his love for ‘her’, and whether she loves him back.
The ballad fades out and we are brought back to the present moment, before ‘He’ breaks the silence, sending us on another indulgent, lucid four-minute experience. ‘He’ is classic Jai Paul, utilising his own and his brother’s astounding musical engineering skills to show restraint on production that doesn’t hold back the impact of the songs. The signature bassline, explosive guitar riffs and carefully articulated, fragile vocals give the song a sense of quiet before a phasing bass hit warps the track into a trippy, colourful 4-minute head nodder. The uplifting keys that fade in and out turn the track into an audial journey full of euphoria, sadness, delight and gloominess, whilst the lyrics discuss a struggling artist being tormented by an event, and paying respects to an icon who the artist looked up to.
As ‘He’ fades out you can’t help but feel like some sort of mind-expanding experience has left you better off than before. Even after the less-than-ten-minute double single is completed, the beat of ‘He’ stays with us. The fade out on both cuts makes the songs feel like it will live on forever, a tool that is rarely used in the modern era but Paul sees significance in, prompting us to tap along to the beat long after the song cuts to black. Paul’s leaked album was commonly titled by fans as ‘Timeless’, and it isn’t difficult to understand why – Paul’s music is bound to withstand the test of time, and ‘Do You Love Her Now / He’ – just like BTSTU and jasmine (demo) – will influence musicians and fans for years to come.
Jai Paul has returned. And if these two singles are anything to go by, this won’t be the end of him either. Besides, the mountain lion is dark and there is something on the wind.