Jon Bellion does not allow himself to be defined by one label. He is not only a singer, but a songwriter, rapper, producer and musical innovator who released his second studio album, Glory Sound Prep, on Friday Nov. 9.
Bellion is a different kind of pop star. He began his career giving mixtapes away for free to build a strong fanbase and even now with a more recognizable name and sound, topping the charts is not what matters most to him.
Over two years have passed since his first studio album, The Human Condition. While this latest project encompasses nearly every label Bellion has in stock, GSP will leave fans satisfied but perhaps not excited for the wait until his next release.
Leading up to the album’s official release, Bellion released three singles, “Conversations with my Wife,” “JT” and “Stupid Deep,” which are arguably the best and most catchy songs on the entire disc. These three together skillfully foreshadow the meaning and story Bellion created with the full album; social media and the Internet aren’t what really matters, but the people you have in your life and what they think of you that does.
“Conversations with my Wife” asks Bellion’s metaphorical wife if she would still accept if he didn’t have all the followers and fame, telling her he doesn’t want “to be some digital Jesus.” “Stupid Deep” intimately looks into Bellion’s head, wondering if he made the right choices in his life and career.
These singles are also the closest the album comes to resembling Bellion’s sound on THC—pop-rock melodies with unique other elements thrown in. The other seven songs on GSP stray from that sound, taking the “unique other elements” and putting them at the forefront. “Let’s Begin” starts with violins that give way to Bellion rapping over an intense, guitar-heavy beat. On “Adult Swim,” Bellion shows off his amazing rap skills again, covering different components of the human mind, from dealing with your ego to focusing on family.
Bellion’s ability to switch up his sounds, however, doesn’t take away from his intended meaning. Each of the ten tracks contributes to the overarching theme of dealing with fame in the Internet age and how these affect and are affected by interpersonal relationships in real life.
When Glory Sound Prep was finally released in its entirety, it was clear that Bellion had no intention of putting out more material in the same style of his last album, The Human Condition. He pushed the limits of his own creativity to deliver ten individual tracks that further his exploration of the human experience.
While not his best or strongest album yet, Bellion makes it clear that his songs are above all for himself and his investigation into what all this really means. We’re just along for the ride as we wait for his next release.