Columbus alternative-indie rapper-producer Richie Leone recently released a batch of nine reflective tracks titled Jaded Summer. Much like the title suggests, this isn’t necessarily an album that you would throw on to celebrate the warmest season but one to get into your feelings with. To progressively sulk in your apartment alone while the rest of the world seems to be out and enjoying the finer things. It’s not all that bad.
The song that does the best job at showcasing Leone’s talents as an alternative-indie rapper is the first track, “Momma Told Me.” It encompasses some of the mainstay elements of these combined genres. From the glitzy guitar to the mid-screeching synths and even the live percussive parts that parade in at just under a minute. The youthful energy of indie music is even in the lyrics, where Leone delves into introspective lessons passed down from their mother.
Jaded Summer has good rhythm when it comes to track-to-track transitions. While the first track off the record might have you laying in your bed looking up at the ceiling for answers, “Pull Up” comes with the bounce to get you out of that slump. It also highlights one of the many strengths of this LP: hook-writing. The cadence of choruses such as, “Pull up, pull up/I want ya/I need ya/I feel ya/Clean up, clean up/I got ya/ I see ya/I read ya,” will still put you deep in your own thoughts even though the irresistibility to swing and groove to the beat seems to tough to tempt. You can’t deny Jaded Summer’s most infectious moments.
No song on Jaded Summer captures the overall mood of the record more so than “How You Move.” Leone’s voice on this hook is much more focused and clear than its counterparts. We’re still hearing the blown-out, slowed-down vocal qualities outside of their verses. Coming in at the album’s middle, the poignant delivery proves that this artist is more than just a blanket statement. The layering is emotionally riveting.
The beats on these records call back to the glitzy Odd Future sounds of the 2010s, or even further back to The Neptunes. The splashy, beachy guitar tones (“Sweet Nothing” and “Petty Lies/ Dear Friend”) suggest 2000s indie-rock vibes as well. This album would be a fun one to ingest to live, even with its blown-out voice that appears on almost every song on the album. Leone is experimenting with different vocal deliveries and qualities that match the sounds of their beats quite remarkably.
There’s as much emotion packed into the LP’s licks, though, as there are in the ruminative words Leone is pushing out. Overall, the songs have a lot of swing and bounce to them. Catchy hooks such as, “Summer time full of petty lies/I was in the streets with my melody/I don’t know if I’m hypnotized/I believe in you, don’t believe in me,” off of “Petty Lies/ Dear Friend” make an appearance voraciously throughout the album. That is to say, there isn’t a chorus on this album that won’t have you eating it up and singing it back to yourself.
Overall, Jaded Summer is a pretty impressive feat from Richie Leone. With lots of funk and conscious bars written into the DNA of this LP, it’s hard to resist. Even in Leone’s realest moments. It’s a good lesson on enjoying life even when times are tough.