The Human Condition
Jhameel's The Human Condition Crosses Pop Boundaries
Jhameel’s second LP, The Human Condition, is an album of classically-influenced pop that struggles gracefully with the big issues of our time. It’s so graceful that it could put him in the running to be the voice of his generation — if enough people download it.
The Human Condition mixes electronic and acoustic elements into gorgeous music akin to Jonsí. “Until the Forest Knows,” opens the album with churchy strings plucked and bowed, but it’s about looking within for spiritual strength, rather than heavenward.
It’s followed by the title track, a slightly sweaty piece of MGMT style funk. Somehow the transition is easy to make. Maybe it’s because Jhameel’s colorful, androgynous voice presides over both of them.
The song “The Human Condition” is aching humanist gospel that puzzles over all our terrible contradictions. Jhameel is barely into his twenties, but he’s already turned aside from the officer’s track in the military and graduated with honors from UC Berkeley. Hopefully, older listeners will forgive his presumption in having something to say.
He also isn’t offering too many prescriptions, but he isn’t peddling despair either. “Cafe du Monde” continues with more of his hungrily searching lyrics and uplifting melodies.
“Old Words, New Times,” is like a nature worshipping guitar mass.”Come together and love one another,” he sings. It should sound hokey, but it doesn’t. And then”THC” is ’80s style freedom rock re-imagined. And, it’s totally about weed.
His tensely reflective folk song pondering why we go to war is, wisely, written as a dialogue with a soldier’s daughter. It’s anything but ponderous. That’s the strange thing about the songs, they’re buoyed by such restless hope — and they’re so perfectly executed — that they never even touch the ground. Their lightness allows him to blithely cross all kinds of pop music boundaries. He does it all so deftly that you might not notice.
Physical copies of his album will be available soon but he’s currently offering The Human Condition as a download on his website. It’s free, but he’s taking donations. It’s worth the donation.
Photo courtesy of Jhameel.