Jade’s Soft Spot for innovation
In Chelsea Jade’s newly released album Soft Spot, it is safe to say that she has found her sweet spot. Jade, born in South Africa and raised in New Zealand, released her second album just in time for warm days and breezy nights. When the 32-year-old singer/producer is not writing and recording, she’s dancing in Lorde’s music videos or creating graphic designs for bands like Deafheaven. There’s not much Chelsea Jade doesn’t do. Four years since her last album, Jade has grown as an artist immensely. While sticking to her roots of buzzy pop, Jade combines this with dimensions of heart, hurt and whimsy.
The album opens with the title song, “Soft Spot.” The 67-second-long track lives up to its name. Taking sounds from daily life and putting a slow piano melody over top almost equates to her line in the track, “-love you with the little love I got.” There is not much happening, but enough to create an immersive experience. The other short track on the album, 51-second “Real Pearl,” gives the same kind of effect. Like “Soft Spot,” there is an airy, ethereal feel that is so much more than just easy filler between songs.
On “Good Taste,” you can hear the fun that Jade is having while recording and producing the record. She incorporates several instruments that seem to have disappeared for a while like the synthesizer and electronic drums. With songs like “Best Behavior” and “Tantrum in Duet,” her sound may be distinct, but it becomes somewhat predictable. Unfortunately, the repetition in these two tracks has a hard time enforcing the meaning and message that was attempting to be made. Jade’s voice sounds sweet and pure on both, but there is not much said that bears repeating. In other words, these two tracks don’t take away from the album in any way, but they don’t add anything either.
The tracks that make this album go from good to great, though, are “Superfan” and “Big Spill.” “Superfan,” the second track on the album, has the sound of a summer hit. With what feels like dozens of backbeats and layering vocals, Jade harmonizes with herself, and is really, really good at it. The lyrics are relatable, punchy and cater to an audience of all ages. “Big Spill” begins with the hiss of a tea kettle and from there on, listeners don’t know Jade’s next step. By far the most experimental on the album, Jade plays with many different speeds and frequencies. These two tracks take no shortcuts and are certainly not lazy. “Superfan” and “Big Spill” prove Jade to be the artist that she is.
What Chelsea Jade has created is a raw, potent representation of all she has to offer in the world of music. This 27-minute album seems to fly by and leaves listeners craving more. What some songs lack in diversity and disparity, they make up for it in thoughtfulness and overall feeling. With the obvious hard work put into this album, there is no doubt that Chelsea Jade will have her art in the public eye for a very long time.