The music played so loud I could feel the beat vibrate against my back as the car climbed higher up the canyon. Fresh summer air rushed through the windows bringing the scent of pine trees and running water with it. My friend's hair whipped back and forth as they effortlessly sang every word to Jon Bellion's "Overwhelming", from his new album The Human Condition. You could see the sun slowly sink behind the mountain's peak casting a gentle glow on the road in front of us. We drove until it was dark and the album had started over for the third time. Despite how cheesy it seems in the movies, it was as if time had stopped and everything was good in the world, everyone could put their lives on hold and enjoy the moment. Part of the chorus in Jon's song "80's Film" says it perfectly "we just need a night like this." That simple summer night is one that will stay with me for a long time.
I'm brought back to this night every time I hear Jon's album play. If I close my eyes I can feel the warm air surround me and I'm right back with my friends dancing and singing in the car. I hear his songs and I am reminded of the moments where I can simply exist and life isn't complicated. A piece of work that has the ability to completely transport a person holds an undeniable power. The Human Condition contains this power.
Jon Bellion is the kind of man who lives for authenticity. You can feel it in his songs. When you listen to his lyrics you think to yourself; "yeah that is true" or "that's exactly how I feel." When describing his album in an interview Jon said "Us as humans all have the same problems. We struggle with pride and tons of different issues that nobody really wants to talk about. So I figured if I'm the honest one showing how human I am, it will make people feel better about themselves." This translates right into his first song of the album "He Is The Same" and is continued throughout the remaining fourteen.
There is a song for almost every feeling and every mood. When listening to the album you feel as if you just lived through someone's life and each song is a different event or story that happens. The construct of the album is important in this way although many may not realize it. The order of the songs is almost a piece of art in itself.
Jon separates himself from the large majority of other artists because he produces and composes all his own music, giving him the total power to control the direction and feel of the album. Nobody can dictate how he does his music; when he has a vision he sees it through until its exactly it should be. He writes his own lyrics and mixes genres as he pleases, making a unique sound that can be identified as his almost anywhere. He creates something entirely new using contemporary pop along with R&B, hip-hop, and Indie rock. To seamlessly weave all these genres is impressive but the way Jon Bellion does it is almost jaw-dropping. It's gripping and it leaves you wanting more.
The Human Condition is simply that, human. People can enjoy his music because they are his music. It's not an abstract idea of a life that only a certain group can relate to, its genuinely for everyone. Just like it can transport me to a simple but meaningful night it can do the same for anyone else. Everyone can find something worthwhile from this album.