Jaden Smith's debut album SYRE was undoubtedly one of the most surprising albums of the year. Full of depth and emotion, SYRE was a hip-hop album that seamlessly brought together rap, rock, and electronica in a tasteful, daring, yet not entirely unfamiliar fashion. The rock element of the album really held it together in the background, and Smith is ready to expand upon it. Jaden Smith explores his music in a different way in SYRE: The Guitar Album, an EP of guitar-based reworks of some tracks off of SYRE.
Five tracks make up SYRE: The Guitar Album, all from his debut record. All of the songs are explored in a new light: opening track 'B,' which opens both SYRE and this EP, shows how exactly the guitar is being used: Smith is really using it to build a moody, reverberating atmosphere so that his lyrics have more of a place to feel free. The guitar and lyrics support each other with equal standing, the lyrics not really functioning with the guitar and vice-versa. 'Lost Boy' perhaps shows this relation even better, the haunting vocal melodies pairing wonderfully with the relaxing guitar chords.
While SYRE: The Guitar Album is certainly an interesting project, an issue does arise. These tracks are stripped down, as well as slowed down. When the songs are primarily just a guitar and a vocal track, things do tend to drone on. The full version of these tracks have more elements to them to make them more dynamic and atmospheric; that's absent here. There's nothing wrong with acoustic versions, but usually there's a highlight to them. In this EP, most things generally get lost in the echo. Even on the second track, 'Ninety,' there really isn't much to note besides the indie vibe. 'Fallen' is six minutes long, and it's not until the final third that there's actually a dynamic change that breathes some life into it. The same is true for 'Icon?,' though it does bring the EP to a pained and wild end.
Jaden Smith explores his music in a different way in SYRE: The Guitar Album, stripping down some of the songs from his debut album to get deeper into the meaning of them. While some of the tracks do end up droning on, this is, regardless, an interesting look into the mind of one of music's newest, and most unique artists.
Favorite Track: B
Least Favorite Track: Ninety
Rating: 76 / 100
Stream or buy SYRE: The Guitar Album on Apple Music, and follow our 2018 Playlist on Spotify: