Song Review-Promises featuring Miyagi and Namiko by Jhene Aiko produced by No ID
Jhene Aiko is hands down the sexiest voice in the world of R&B. Every discussion I have about her starts with “she has that phone sex voice…” her vocal register is entirely in the key of the sex pot singer from one of those old 50’s movies. This isn’t a knock at all. Stylistically it might be self limiting (she can’t really bust into the Whitney Houston/Mariah Carey end of the register without breaking the consistency of the song) but it’s an incredible strength. No ID got behind the boards to guide a minimalist sound that feels form fit for her style.
Those of us still on the fence about Aiko have hopes that she is the next generation Sade. Someone who will love in a low whisper and make music that feels spiritual in its consistency. In order to do that she has to be able to step out of the sexy zone and do other things as a writer. Promises is a touching step in the right direction, the elegant desperation of “if anything should happen, anything could happen” is positively Billie Holiday fearful/gorgeous.
Her new album Souled Out doesn’t really force any radio friendly jams or club music. It feels like early Fall sitting on the porch music; having a beer thinking about the people you love music. As seductive as her voice is her content has always been effortlessly casual. While this song is my favorite off Souled Out the heart of the album is It’s Cool which unfurls heartbreaking tales only to backpedal with a chorus that amounts to-but don’t worry about it, its fine. Even though it’s not cool and your mind knows it, she almost makes you believe it. It’s in her voice.