Jon Bellion: Glory Sound Prep Album Review

Story posted November 15, 2018 in Arts & Entertainment, CommRadio by Zach Hall

Jon Bellion’s rise to success is characterized by his unique talent and his perseverance through many years of hard work. Bellion made a name for himself with mixtapes like Translations Through Speakers, The Separation and The Definition, two of which he went on national tours for. Bellion produced and recorded each project largely on his own, all while crafting a sound that was unique to him.

Bellion’s debut album The Human Condition was a culmination of everything he had been perfecting over the years and was mostly successful despite a few thematic issues. Jon Bellion’s sophomore album Glory Sound Prep evolves his sound to more grandiose production while keeping the same charisma that characterized his previous projects. Despite some recurring issues present on Bellion’s previous work, Glory Sound Prep is an entertaining pop record with punchy production and simple yet effective lyricism.

The sound that Jon Bellion has curated over the years is at a high point with Glory Sound Prep. Some of Bellion’s strongest points across his discography are tracks that feature minimalistic production and shorter lyrics that pack more of a punch. As both a producer and a lyricist, Bellion focused on each aspect of the track first hand to ensure each aspect was as good as it could be. This sound has evolved over time and become much grander in scale. Glory Sound Prep takes everything that worked on Bellion’s previous projects and puts in on a much bigger stage.

Over the course of ten tracks, Bellion speaks on fame, family, love, internet culture and legacy. Bellion does a good job on Glory Sound Prep of organizing these ideas into a cohesive project, taking ample time on each idea to flesh it out and say what he needs to say. Some of Bellion’s deepest songs on the album favor saying more with less. This can be both good and bad. At his best, Bellion has moments on Glory Sound Prep that are both touching and simplistic all in a few words. Songs like “Stupid Deep” and “Mah’s Joint” say a lot in so little, making the emotional moments pack more of a punch. 

Songs like “Let’s Begin” and “Adult Swim” where Bellion Raps are his most complex, but still favor simplicity over tongue twisting.  At his worst, Bellion has moments on Glory Sound Prep where the idea isn’t fleshed out nearly as much as it could be. Tracks like “Couples Retreat” and “Blu” don’t offer much past catchy lyrics and are some of the most cliche pop of the entire record. Fortunately, these moments that lack depth don’t permeate the majority of the album.

The aspect of Jon Bellion’s music that has grown the most over the years is the production. With each new project, the sounds become grander and the features become more high profile. Bellion worked with both RZA and Quincy Jones, giving Glory Sound Prep moments of strong veteran talent.

Despite this grand evolution, Bellion’s production still has his signature touch. Punchy drums, smooth synths, and signature vocal samples make Bellion’s production stand out from the rest, and the same can be said for Glory Sound Prep. Because of Bellion’s rising success, he now has more access to equipment and collaborators to evolve his sound. Breakbeat drums and dissonant horns on “Let’s Begin.”

Scratchy yet catchy synth melodies on “Stupid Deep,” haunting vocal synths accompanying Bellion’s voice on “Mah’s Joint,” there is no shortage of great instrumental moments across Glory Sound Prep. Because Bellion takes a close hand with production, each instrumental compliments his voice excellently with a little flair to make it unique to him. 

Jon Bellion has come a long way from making beats in his college dorm room. After years of diligent creation and practice, Bellion’s music is being listened to by millions, and Glory Sound Prep is the culmination of what got him to that point. Bellion plays to his strengths on Glory Sound Prep with only a few missteps, making for an entertaining pop record that can be both catchy and introspective. As Bellion’s sound continues to evolve, it’ll be interesting to see where he takes it next.

Rating: 8/10

 

 

Zach Hall is a senior majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact him, email zth5043@psu.edu.