October’s Very Own has been busy this month. Both of the Drake-founded label’s singer-producer duos dropped sophomore albums. After a mere eighteen months, Majid Jordan are back. Although my initial praise for their debut has died down, I am still quite fond of the duo. Producer Jordan Ullman’s dance synthpop sound is typically the highlight of their tracks. Their Afterhours and A Place Like This EP’s wowed me. The groovy vibes and subtle vocals generated an off-the-wall atmosphere. It’s impossible to remain stationary when “Give Me a Reason for Lovin’ You” or “Hold Tight” come on. However, on their debut, Majid Jordan shifted to a more pop-driven direction. As a result, there was a lot to enjoy on the album. The tracks had a stricter structure. And the beats felt slightly more ambitious. They certainly exceeded expectations. Conversely, Majid Al Maskati’s voice kept the rookie offering from fully blossoming.
Unfortunately, this stifling key element has only grown with time. I hate going in on Majid; I really do. But it’s necessary. While Ullman’s instrumentals carry most of the load, Majid continues his monotonous tone. As their fame expands, fans expect more vocal-heavy tracks. Or so it seems. I don’t know why else his voice would be the focal point. To appeal to a pop audience, artists must sing a tune that can catch fire. Their Drake affiliation gives them a pop audience automatically. Therefore, a duo whose strong suit leans more towards sonics instead writes generic love songs. Without a doubt, The Space Between features the flattest, most lifeless batch of vocals I’ve heard in years. To make matters worse, the songwriting here is mostly unvarying. A lone track, “Phases” boasts lyrics of any substance. It’s a helluva song, by the way. Majid finally speaks about something real.
“I came to this country, didn’t know a damn thing / 18 years old and in need of planning”. Those opening bars were like a finding a well in the middle of a harsh desert. Most of Jordan’s The Space Between beats simply go to waste. Try listening to “Asleep,” “One I Want,” or the title track. You can’t tell me this dude has pipes. Majid’s vocals are borderline unbearable. Could they be worse? Absolutely. He is nowhere near the worst singer to ever grace my ears. However, he is holding back the potential of these 13 tracks. Both artists co-write these tracks. Despite a few catchy moments here and there, The Space Between contains snooze-worthy lyrics. “One I Want” featuring PARTYNEXTDOOR has the strongest hook on the project. We all know why that is. Majid’s contribution sounds like an affordable, fifth-choice feature for PND.
I do like the title track in spite of its vocal performance. The melody is pleasant. The album starts fairly strong with cuts like the smooth, connective intro, “Gave Your Love Away,” and “OG Heartthrob”. “OG” is a little corny but the hook is gold (okay, maybe silver). Sadly, for every solid groove and semi-decent chorus is an oppositely and equally cringeworthy vocal performance. A year and a half is clearly not enough time between projects for the duo. What The Space Between is good for are: late-night, hand-on-thigh cruises; weekend day drinking; and spring cleaning. As long as you’re not paying full attention to what’s being said, this album is casually enjoyable. Of course, if you love Majid Jordan, you won’t be too disappointed. Nevertheless, their sophomore effort is just another forgettable collection of pop-R&B. Rather than explore and expand their sound, they opt for the ultra-safe route. Sigh…