Look at Christian Berishaj there in that sleeve. Shorn of locks, front and centre, looking like the Gavin “every mom at Christmas” meme. He knows he has a reason to be smug. That reason is this new album.
While JMSN might not be a household name just yet, it feels like it’s only a matter of time – either with the quality of his albums or the sheer frequency he pumps them out. Whatever Makes U Happy seems him abandon the ambient, electronic R&B sound for something that feels like JT’s Drink You Away across a full album. In a good way.
If happiness is a key theme here, then Berishaj certainly sounds like he has just that for the first time in a while. It’s all organ and blues-bar soul on this, from Drinkin‘ onwards, and even any heartbreak or existentialism is cloaked in a sense of fun. The mood is relaxed, like jam sessions that have only been very loosely scripted, like a house band in their element having a whale of a time while people sip on JD to escape the heat. Oh, and if the band consisted entirely of Berishaj clones as he forms the backing chorus for his own voice.
And mercifully it doesn’t outstay its welcome, ending just as fatigue sets in. The sound is roomy on Love Ain’t Enough, and only slightly jars when he takes a more Pearl-esque route of obvious MOR-pop on Slide. But he pulls it back with a sort of male Alicia Keys piano-R&B vibe on Slowly (“Needed emotion, but I gave you devotion”). The result is a record that bursts with warmth, melody, and enough happiness to light up your summer.