Klef Notes

Music Reviews

James Bakani's "Unstoppable"

Okay, we have seen the Timberlake’s, Biebers, Jonas’, Sheeran’s, Mendes’, and Zayns before guys – right?  And often we say to ourselves, “another one, let’s see if they have that “IT” factor and longevity.”  And usually we bet that they will be “unsung” within a year or two.  And sadly, we are usually right.  

But, honestly our doubts are just because we have seen artists like the above come and go due to the politics of music and the lack of talent of some artists.  Not to mention the fake promises laid out by the music reality shows who promise fame and fortune to their winners.  And this cycle continues to disappoint music lovers.  But then out of London England comes James Bakian – a talented artist who is set to break records, hearts, and doubts.

James Bakian is a singer/songwriter/musician whom I was introduced to by way of his single “Unstoppable” to which I reviewed in December of 2017.  Proving that age is nothin but a number – this emerging teen artist has the maturity and strength in his music to take him above his predecessors and peers as he is professional and honest.  To say that he is just another teen heartthrob would be an understatement.

His is not mimicking or trying too hard.  Like a real artist, he must sing, write, and perform or he could not exist – let’s look at the facts that sets him apart from the names mentioned above: 

FACT ONE:  he’s the only songwriter on this EP.

FACT TWO:  he’s the only vocalist on this EP.

FACT THREE:  yes, it is James who you hear on the background vocals of each cut.

FACT FOUR:  he’s INDEPENDENT!  (hoo-rah)

FACT FIVE:  he’s playing every stroke of the keys on this EP.  

But along with his driven work ethic, James is a team player as three producers helped Bakian bring his musical visualization to life while incorporating additional instrumentation:  Aubrey Whitfield, Jasper Dent, and Matt Allen.  

This is a full review of “Unstoppable,” a 6-track EP of Pop, R&B, and Soul.  Let’s climb this musical wall of emotions.  Are you with me??  

Unstoppable” opens the collection with its power.  This track will always be one of my favorites from Bakian.  Please read my review of this infectious single here:  www.klefnotes.com/music_reviews/james_bakians_unstoppable_single

Next, we are greeted by intriguing synth and poignant piano chords on “Ain’t Sure,”a song that embraces love’s insecurities.  The track quietly starts with a whisper and then soars into a ballad-licious ascend that recalls the classic Soul pattern rotated on the airwaves in the 1980s – equally, “Ain’t Sure” is jam-packed with rich synthesizers, melancholy vocal execution, and demanding beats.  Bakian sings “I ain't sure if I want you more or I'm letting go / You've broken me, you tore me up / I'm on the floor / I can't believe, I ever thought / You cared ‘bout me / The fault was mine / I don't know why I'm still angry.”  I am not just saying this because I have become a fan of Bakian’s work, but Justin Bieber has nothing on his range.  The opening notes gives way to this truth.  

Bakian’s words in “Colour” tells the story of the tints, hues, and vibrant emotions of a relationship.  “In the depths of despair / I'm in need, be there / The only thing on my mind / It's all you / The perfect find / Please let me hold your hand / I love you to bits / I'm your biggest fan / I'm drawn towards Your light, your comfort, your colour” the artist sings.  The lyrical imagery encircling this track is ear-provoking.  

Know You” is the fourth track and lyrically shares the anxious, seductive, viewpoint of an emotional longing.  Bakian’s trills, vibrato, as well as attitude on this track is reminiscent of Michael Jackson’s early work on “Off the Wall” (1979) and it’s that fresh take on choruses, leads, and echoed adlibs that makes this cut so ah-mazing.  “Know You” resonates to your inner ear on so many levels.  When the music scales back some it softens up the already pillow effect of this track. Bakian cautiously tiptoes through this song and it is great! 

And if most of the songs on “Unstoppable” show the longing of love, the fifth track “Poison” shows the opposite effect of love – how it can poison you to your core and become infectious.  When the track starts, you are already on cloud nine and you cannot come down until the song has reached its conclusion.  The lyrics assist this fact with the artist declaring “I’m trapped . . . Your lovin’ messed up everything and took control / A brand new show /The serpent's crawling up my arm / And everything it does is harm / Your words are leaving me with scars / I should've noticed from the start / Your poison, it hurts me, your poison.”  The desperation in Bakian’s voice sells this song very much like Usher’s vocals on “U Got It Bad” (2001).  Equally spell bounding is the bass licks supporting the throbbing darker approach to the music which is a twist from Bakian’s additional tracks.  The funk on this track is banging as well as the depth of his emotions.  

The EP closes with “Red Dress” – a crisp track which illustrates Bakian’s full range and the scope of his writing as an established artist.  “Red Dress” talks about fleeting love and the effect it has on the soul and how one item can be the mental trigger of that lost love.  Bakian’s “oh, well that’s life” approach to this cut makes it very practical and radio friendly. 

The final product is nothing short of wonderful!  “Unstoppable” is a perfect musical CV that gives proof that whether crooning about love or the effects of love, James Bakian has the status and the chops to compete and win in today’s competitive music market.  The artistry and careful selection of instruments to match the attitude and premise of each track on this EP shows the full scope of Bakian lyrically, vocally, and instrumentally.  

Musically illustrating that he is here to stay, Bakian is developing into a multifaceted music artist who is one to watch.  Not only does he have talent on his side, he has the ambition already set in his musical bones to garner longevity.  That’s right – this is not the last time you will see or hear of Bakian.  He IS here to stay; he is UNSTOPPABLE

Check back here on March 30th to read my review entitled James Bakian “The Singles” featuring “Usual,” “Seven Infections,” as well as other 2018 tracks dropping soon.  Until then, go to www.jamesbakian.com to find more fantastic music by the artist and follow him on Twitter @JamesBakian.

 

Comments

For some reason, the player on here is showing music by TK Skinner, which, I really dig. Not being daunted, to say the least, I aw the hyper link of Unstoppable in your commentary, and it took me to YouTube where I, not only heard, but, saw him in action. Magnetic, Appealing, noteworthy without a doubt. He's probably a natural talent vocal wise, and in all due respect, given a couple of vocal lessons to strengthen what he has naturally and he's of to the Grammy's. Without the lessons he's on his way. I used to be a recruiter for a performing arts school, so, in listening, its with my ear as a DJ, and as a

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