Review Summary: An uninspired follow-up that's rushed and forgettable.
Sure, jj n° 2 was enjoyable enough as a collection of breezy summer jams; listening to it now happily recalls banging it in car stereos on long road trips, and chilling after a long, sun-drenched day, it playing in the background. But that's all it was basically good for, and, even then, in various addled states, I could tell that it was little more than some sun-flecked New Age sh
it; take away the inspired, polyrhythmic instrumentation, and you'd have little more than a new Enya album.
jj n° 3 seems to exist for little reason other than to prove me right. Despite being marketed as a "winter album" - odd, considering its March release date - the album contains an overwhelming amount of constant and embarrassing melodrama and especially idiotic lyrics. Moments of inspiration - the harmonica of "Let Go", the entirety of the somber, acoustic "Light" - are scarce; much of jj n° 3 is uninspired and oddly boring.
Even more puzzling is the amount of fat on jj n° 3's bones. Despite lasting twenty-seven minutes, the album's a curiously taxing listen, and meanders frequently, especially during the interminable closing minutes of "Golden Virginia". Not helping is the relative homogeneous feel of the music. Mostly synth-drenched and overwhelming, the majority of the material here is syrupy and lackadaisical; the tepid pace of "And Now", the first actual effort of jj n° 3 ("My Life", a Game cover imagined as a piano ballad, opens the album, and doesn't even deserve the mention I'm giving it) continues throughout. These songs just don't seem to go anywhere; their melodies are so slight and jj's singer seems so uninspired that the whole thing just ends up being rather unremarkable. I mean, jj's singer sounds as if she's falling asleep at any moment; it's hard not to want to do the same.
The crude instrumentation of jj n° 2 is still a negative factor; despite being slightly more embellished, the overabundance of sterile synths and a general lack of a human touch makes it close to impossible to become emotionally invested in the album, and it's far too melancholy and off-putting to even work as background, as I mostly used jj n° 2. Lyrically, it's not that much better; jj's singer apparently isn't a big believer in subtlety, and her lyrics are packed with big, open statements of adoration and sadness; all that melodrama tends to get a little messy. It doesn't help that her vocals are perfectly processed and way too far up in the mix, especially since you can hear every cringe-worthy line in total clarity.
With their blood-stained album art and general sense of mystery and anonymity, jj is, on the surface, quite interesting. However, this just makes their music all that more underwhelming; it doesn't even sound like they're trying here, which, as a listener who has invested my precious fuck
ing time listening to this, only upsets me more. Ultimately, jj has the concept and the intrigue down; if only they could get their music to match.