Even in the manifold world of music, electronic artists tend to be left out of the conversation because, as some seem to think, music can’t possibly be great without lyrics to enhance it. Sajeeb Saha, more prominently known as Jai Wolf, defies those odds.
His debut album, The Cure To Loneliness, was released Friday. The 12-track journey takes listeners to a setting that will awaken feelings of resonance, nostalgia and overall euphoria.
Before taking the stage name of Jai Wolf, Saha’s musical history began in 2011 under the moniker No Pets Allowed. He garnered much attention for his remixes of pop songs, including his compelling version of “Stay The Night” by Zedd ft. Hayley Williams. In 2014, he changed to Jai Wolf because, as he stated in an interview with Elektro, “I know a lot of people liked the name but it was almost embarrassing to tell people. I also think a lot about musical longevity and No Pets Allowed wasn’t something I wanted to be remembered as in the future.”
There are a lot of features on The Cure To Loneliness that include astounding vocalists who certainly add flavor, but the instrument-only tracks are just as fine on their own. “Intro” is a 40-second masterpiece that will instantly instill captivation into listeners and, if extended, could easily be the best on the album. The only slip up is “Half Hearted Interlude,” which sounds just as the title promises, though it does keep the album’s overarching themes of love and solitude intact. However, the remaining tracks wholly prove Wolf’s worthiness of a spot in the limelight. Each song — whether it’s one that includes a lot of lyrics or none at all — imparts a profound story, and it’s executed in a sublime fashion.
Here is a breakdown of the best five songs from The Cure To Loneliness:
5. “It All Started With A Feeling”
The only problem with this track is it needs to be longer. “It All Started With A Feeling” restates the title as its only lyrics several times while methodically blending with the synth buildup. The song seems to tell the narrative of a growing love for someone. It starts off with a dreary bass and transitions into nostalgic, groovy synths that remind all listeners what it’s like to fall in love for the first time. The instrumental break parallels the electronic hit “Resonance” by HOME, a song that became a meme after a Viner remixed it with a clip from The Simpsons. The track slowly fades out, seeming to show the falling action of a relationship. The title is repeated once again at the ending to show the reflective nature of thinking back on infatuation once it has ceased. The song is simply mesmerizing and paints a beautiful picture on the fluctuations that come hand-in-hand with love.
4. “Lose My Mind” (feat. Mr. Gabriel)
Transitioning ever-so-smoothly from the marvelous “Intro” is “Lose My Mind,” a stellar track about the troubles of developing stardom. People often forget the distressing lives celebrities lead, and Mr. Gabriel’s sensational lyrics intermixed with danceable synths depict this brilliantly: “Near and far, been sharing cars with dreamers just like me / On lily pads, hope it lasts before I sink too deep / I miss my bed and hiding in it (in it) / I miss that simple way of living (living).” Never have harmonies flowed with any instrumentation so well. The steady drum beat represents how these eminent figures keep going despite the anxious moments they experience every day.
3. “Manic Pixie Dream”
This should become an essential inclusion on all road trip playlists. “Manic Pixie Dream” integrates a guitar-like riff with inexplicably blissful synths that allow for an incredible journey, all in three-and-a-half minutes. The only lyrics — “The best I ever” — are repeated often to subtly and convincingly describe Wolf’s idea of the perfect significant other: a “manic pixie dream girl.” That term was coined by film critic Nathan Rubin in his review of the 2005 movie Elizabethtown to explain a vivacious girl who educates an unhappy boy on love and how to appreciate life. The song is instrumentally stunning and is idyllic for lovers of all genres of music.
2. “Around the World” (feat. Now, Now)
Concluding the album in a dismal manner is “Around the World,” an emotion-laden track made perfect by the juxtaposition of lifeless piano keys and exuberant synths. In two devastating sentences, Now, Now effectively imparts the tale of a love that was thought to last forever but terminated: “I thought I’d be halfway around the world with you, halfway around the world / I wanna be halfway around the world with you, halfway around the world.” The track finishes by stripping to just the melancholy piano and depicts life as it truly is: not always ending happily. It’s a heart-wrenching piece and will surely compel you to ponder on the frequent changes life entails, which isn’t necessarily bad since everyone grows from both good and bad moments.
1. “Drowning” (feat. Robokid)
Another desolate track, “Drowning,” claims its spot at the top of the list for how well Robokid’s monotonic vocals work with the strangely infectious instrumental breakdown. The flat vocals disclose his depressed mindset surrounding the broken relationship he’s enduring: “It feels like, it feels like you’re gone / When the blue light hits your dark side, I’m lost / And I could never believe it when you said it’d be good tonight / But when I saw you with him, it made me dead inside.” Near the ending, a groove guitar makes an appearance — just when you thought it couldn’t get any better — that intermixes faultlessly with the harmonies. The track is impeccable, and it’s unquestionably the best on The Cure To Loneliness.