Justin Don is a creative who has crafted a uniquely ambient playlist for music fans, bringing together elements of hip hop and dreamlike electronica alike, paving the way for a calming experience that’s as fit for escapism as it is those moments where we desire a little understanding or some humanity.
Romance Dawn as an opener works perfectly. This near six minute journey creates a soothing soundscape around you, within which Don’s sleepy delivery and thoughtful statements make for a mildly poetic, easy to embrace few minutes of music.
As the album continues, the mood follows suit for the most part, the vocals hold tight to that reliable and honest delivery. There’s character to it all and this makes you want to listen – as if the project wasn’t made for you, but was purely made for the artist, and you’ve merely stumbled upon a secret. Everyday Shit works perfectly in this respect.
Adding a dash of instrumental eclecticism, Cloud 17 drives with an acoustic guitar part and a dash of jazz that again fits the overall mood gorgeously. Don’s stream of consciousness-style lyricism is contrasted with his unwavering vocal rhythm, which impresses and subtly entertains in the same instance. Waves follows and feels a little more energetic, melody and riff-led – a mainstream hit in the making perhaps. Something like dance-hall lingers in the distance. Ride adds more of this and keeps things light and easy to enjoy. The production throughout the album is eclectic yet ever in keeping with the threads of personality that make up the Justin Don approach to creativity.
Numbers brings a little weight to the scene, bass-heavy intensity and darkness, a modern day rap feel – the lyrics feed well into this vibe. Afterwards, Alive is a stunning moment – inspiring and musically beautiful.
Throughout the latter half of the album, Don seems to pour much more of his personal background, his experiences, into the process. You acclimatize to the musical delicacy and so it’s the voice and the lyrics that stand out. Tracks like Family and Anime offer intriguing lines that let you feel a little closer to the artist behind the music.
Distance is a latter half melodic highlight, something a little Post Malone-like emerges. Need U follows and totally lifts the mood, leaning in a mainstream direction yet again with a song that’s upbeat, energizing, and easy to love. A personal favourite that again balances well between widely accessible and personally truthful.
Bringing the project to a close is the mildly passionate Valentine’s Birthday, a piece that fuses confidence, optimism, and a simple appreciation for the good times. The song’s hook is one that can easily be transferred to any individual or group as the weekend kicks in. Don’s tone and overall performance style meet the higher energy of the soundscape really well, closing the album down in a colourful and notably memorable way. The hook is so simple, but simple works, and production-wise – as is always the case – the track leaves you surrounded by these crisp and satisfying layers of musicality. Will Of The D is an easy contender to embrace among today’s alt-pop and rap worlds alike.