Being a music fan can sometimes feel like a battle of diminishing returns. Having heard so much music over my approximately ten years of running this site, the moments when something hits me a fresh and new way seem to be fewer and farther between. I wonder if the sheer volume of what I listen to is simply diminishing the effectiveness of songs I’d really enjoy if I were an average listener.
Then, sometimes I hear an artist that hits at the right place and the right time. Brijean is a collaboration between a visual artist that performs with both Toro y Moi and Poolside, and producer Doug Stuart. Listening to their album Feelings, this all makes sense. The “daytime disco” sensibilities of Poolside mixed with the dark psychedlic pop of Toro Y Moi delivers a satisfying result. When I heard Brijean for the first time, I had just landed in the Orlando Airport with my folks on a pandemic-friendly visit to my childhood vaca stomping grounds in Jupiter, FL.
I’ve had a pretty stressful few years balancing vocations, spiritual walk, and my own internal angst. Brijean emerges as a sort of my own personal spa music that soothes and invigorates. I was sitting the backseat of my folks car, zoning out to music (throwback to how I used to roll as a kiddo). Something about that immediate change of scenery, and my pondering what the next week would hold in terms of rest seemed to amplify the novelty of what I was hearing. The individual elements of Brijean were familiar, but it was a journey into a fresh place. There are elements of surprise, such as the melodic hook in “Hey Boy,” which is much more ethereal than desirous.
As I sit here writing this, I’m thinking about my life journey over the past year, and how I’m seeking to undo much of the residual angst that has persisted just under the surface. As I sit here, tempted to engage in old habits (darn you, toxic social media!) the title track of this album is gently encouraging me to take a break. Stay the course.
It’s hard to pick out individual tracks that I prefer because this album feels like one cohesive body of work. Yet, I’d be comfortable picking out individual tracks for a playlist alongside the aforementioned Toro Y Moi and Poolside, as well as favorites like Tycho, Washed Out, and Polyenso. I also am reminded a little bit of Superorganism, if they reigned in the quirkiness and settled into the atmosphere a bit more (but oh, what fun their quirks are!).
Warning: this album will either lull you to sleep or energize you, depending on your mood. The type of energy you carry will be amplified. Do with that information what you will.