The Student News Site of University of Arizona

The Daily Wildcat

66° Tucson, AZ

The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    jj’s latest album seems rushed



    Secretly Canadian

    Released March 9, 2010

    Score: C+

    Nº3, the newest release by record label Secretly Canadian’s still-mysterious Swedish group jj, is quite easy to understand: the production is bad. Perhaps jj should have waited for more than eight months to release their next album.

    With the successful release of Nº2 in July 2009, jj had successfully meshed breathy yet powerful vocals, calypso sounds, heavy bass percussion, piano and synth in a way that was listenable, ethereal and complex. They used tambourine, bongos and marimba and violin synth in one song — and it sounded unbelievably fresh.

    Nº3 feels like a hasty rehash of Nº2, if nothing more. Yes, jj covers another hip hop song featuring Lil Wayne, but “”My Life”” seems odd — not only because of its stripped instrumentation, just piano and an over-echoed vocal track, but because of its strange content. Nº2’s “”Ecstasy”” worked because the track fit in with jj’s trip-hop sound. Yet lyrics like “”You’ve taken so many of my people”” are just odd coming from these Gothenburg artists. When have the Swedes been targeted racially? It’s just odd. It’s not even really tongue-in-cheek.

    Songs like “”And Now”” and “”Into the Light”” suffer from an overdose of synthetic keyboard strings. The band has established that the lead singer has a smashing voice — why not actually exploit it instead of using the same echo-laden style every song? Nº3 demonstrates that there can be too much of a good thing.

    “”Let Go”” is arguably the best track on the album. Yet it was released as a single already. Why release an entire album of pretty much the same instrument palette? Boring.

    It seems as if Nº3 has turned out to be a highly anticipated failure for jj. The band has created a characteristic sound, but they need innovation as well. Weak production, a lack of versatility and poor choice of content leaves this album an ultimately boring piece of plastic. Or vinyl. Or hard drive space. Secretly Canadian will be selling all three.

    More to Discover
    Activate Search