Album Review: Jhene Aiko’s Chilombo
Written by Jess Henderson on April 25, 2020
We deep-dived into Jhene Aiko‘s most recent album and examined her unique elements of sensuality, healing, and peace.
[Chi] is life force.
[l] is for Love. Love is Living On Valued Energy. Taking care of the future by being fully present in. this. moment.
[om] is the sound of the universe. The solution is sound.
[b] represents the leg and the foot… foundation. B is for base; basics, beginnings
[o] is eternity, infinite, wholeness… totality, perfection
Light an incense, grab some paints, open your windows and let that sunlight in because it’s time for some self-healing with the “P*$$y Fairy” that is Jhené Aiko.
About a month ago Jhené Aiko released her album Chilombo onto the world like a kaleidoscope of butterflies into nature for the first time. The album’s title comes from her namesake, Jhené Aiko Efuru Chilombo, a fitting name for a collection of songs that feel like an extension of the artist’s soul.
The album consists of 20 tracks that each play beautifully on their own, but blend seamlessly into each other. There is not one song that drags on for too long or any section of the album that begs to be skipped. At the moment of writing this article, my favorites include “Tryna Smoke” and “None of Your Concern feat. Big Sean” but even though I say that with every re-listen of this album I find new reasons to love a different track. Each song and each new rhythm pulls you in like a tide in the ocean.
If you’re familiar with Jhené’s music, you know that she specializes in the creation of smooth R&B, soft hip hop, and psychedelic neo-soul, and if that’s what you’re expecting, this album does not disappoint. She knows her strengths and capitalizes on them without any extra flashy “B.S.”.
Six of these songs include collaborations with artists like H.E.R, Dr. Chill, Nas, and a few other notable musicians. Whenever a new voice enters a verse it doesn’t feel like an unnecessary interruption in the way many pop songs are prone to, but instead, their inclusion adds to the depth of the song and the story being told between the notes. It’s not surprising that this album ranks second on Billboard’s Top R&B albums this year.
It’s amazing yet unsurprising how Aiko manages to create an album that simultaneously encourages you to vibe out & reflect while also moving your body with the confidence of a seduction goddess. The music she presented is sexy, peaceful, and full of heart. Jhené Aiko possesses the ability to make even the dirtiest of phrases and crudest of words sound pretty and sweet.
More importantly, however, throughout the album, Jhené explores the central theme of moving on from a failed relationship. Her songs echo lyrics like “Done dealing with you, Don’t know how to love me”, “I’m moving on; I’m free”, and “ I chose happiness over everything”. Words from a woman who has found serenity and strength in the death of an unfulfilling love.
This is truly an album to heal broken-hearted souls and give them a sense of peace within themselves. A reminder to inhale and exhale especially when everything in your world feels wrong and out of balance.
Check out the full album below!