Jacob Collier’s Potential Reroute With "The Sun Is In Your Eyes"

(Ed note: This is the first voice memo review on AnalogPlanet) Jacob Collier rightfully displays a childlike fascination with music. It would be a mistake, though, to confuse his youthful exuberance with mediocrity. The 26 year old, who released his first album five years ago, gets praise from music business legends. Herbie Hancock is in awe of Collier’s performance and production abilities. Quincy Jones, recognizing the multi-instrumentalist’s potential, signed Collier to his personal management division.

Collier continues to push boundaries with his music. Now a month into the new year, his main focus remains the completion of the final installment in his four-part “Djesse” series. With four albums currently under his belt (Djesse Vol. 1-3 & In My Room—his Grammy Award winning 2016 debut of original and covers including The Beach Boys tune, recorded in his family’s music room), Collier’s made quite a name for himself.

I’ve heard various assessments of his music, some positive, some not. Still, no matter your stance, what can’t be ignored is that in addition to being a prodigious producer, the man is an exceptional musician with an ecstatic stage presence. Without a doubt there are thousands of musicians who view him with envy, though it seems to some that his talent has also acted as a distraction. Once Collier’s dazzling interlaced wall of harmonies has been breached, there’s a gaping emotional void that’s in serious need of filling. Need I say that this is a cause for concern?

Collier’s creations have crumbled in the hands of critics, me included, who note their lack of solid emotional centers so crucial to differentiating art from commerce. With the release of Collier’s latest single The Sun Is In Your Eyes, however, the multi-instrumentalist may have finally found his emotional footing.

Compared to past work, and even on its own, the most striking characteristic of the new single is its simplicity. Collier fans (and detractors) expecting the usual “auditory overwhelm” will be surprised to hear a solitary, you could say lonesome voice accompanied by one acoustic guitar. Let this song prove to the world that in Collier’s room production isn’t everything!

Though seemingly simple the lyrics truly are not. I will not be doing a complete lyrical dissection as I prefer leaving the interpreting to you. I will however point out the song’s versatility. Many stories can be told here; it could be one of joy, or one of great sorrow. Perhaps a snapshot of blame, or a feeling of unfathomable shame. The music I most enjoy is vague and subject to interpretation; no wonder then, that this blew me away.

Collier’s lyrics here invite scenario restructuring incapable of being simplified or easily defined. Is it a song of romance, or a cathartic collapse brought upon by one’s “sun”? No detail remains fixed within the song’s message, making it the furthest thing from broken (you’ll have to listen).

Because of its simplicity, lyrical malleability and musical intimacy, The Sun Is In Your Eyes has staying power unlike any of the artist’s earlier songs. Collier’s previously gone off the deep end by jam-packing his originals with musical distractions that please, but only serve to distance himself musically and especially emotionally from his audience. Gladly, whether by mistake or realization, he’s strayed from overproduction and moved towards relatability.

"With fans worldwide recording and uploading personal covers of the single across various online platforms, clearly I'm not the only one falling in love here. Is it fair to expect emotional maturity in Collier's next album? Surely. Through stripping the music bare, he's made room for a deeper connection, leaving me nothing but grateful."

(Nathan Zeller is a music-adoring Beatles fanatic from the chilling lands of Western Canada. Born with a piano teacher for a father, and a teacher at a music-oriented elementary school for a mother, you could say he didn’t choose this life, rather it chose him. Currently he’s trying to remember Spanish for his schoolwork. Follow Nathan… nowhere, because he’s discovered he may be better off without social media.)

COMMENTS
Ethan's picture

The embedded video here was my first proper experience of this single, but by god I couldn't have predicted that audio quality. I understand what he was working with, but I feel it negatively impacted my reception of the lyrical genius I know I was listening to.

Jake Pretula's picture

Couldn't agree more with how this song is such a delightful change from the overproduced collage (sometimes even mess) that Collier is known for. This single shows his musical talent, without all the bells and whistles, and as an avid listener to his works for a while now I can safely say that it is indeed a nice change and hopefully he'll incorporate it into his future music. It's good to know that someone else has a similar opinion as well.

...Blitz's picture

Hello Nat ...
I read your comments and was puzzled a bit .... then I read bits of your bio and it all made sense. What’s the adage about teachers ... they teach because they can’t do ! Didn’t you say BOTH your parents teach ? ...Seems a bit of that was passed down genetically to you my jealous sudo-journalist. Today’s music (I use the term “music” with poetic license) is so very full, in fact stuffed with over production your comments about Jacob are falling on deaf ears (yours..as it were). How many of the current top selling musicians (and again that term is used loosely) who are currently at the top of the “charts” would be there with out overproduction, auto-tune and looping ? Never mind, you probably wouldn’t know that either. The number of professional audio techs that are involved in any music today is staggering, at least when compared to the solo work of Jacob. He .. write, produces, edits, mixes everything. Let me repeat that for the canadian readers ... He does it ALL including choreography, dancing, costumes special effects, video production... again, concept, set and prop designs, lighting ... everything ! Perhaps you should produce some of your music and release it to the public for review before you critique some one else’s efforts. It would seem professionals like Herbie Hancock and Quincy Jones might disagree with your narrow perspective. Jacobs parent is a teacher of music as well but not at the local grade school deep in the cold wilderness of canada but rather the RoyalAcademy... just a bit different. She and her father both made names for themselves world wide before ever deciding to retire and teach. It’s sad that a professed Beatle fanatic can’t see creative genius in this new musical prodigy, Herbie sees it, plain and simple. Jealousy seems to have blinded you from recognizing budding talent in others. Maybe you should stick to Beatle mania with your opinions. Listen to Jacobs releases (so far) and it instantly neutralize everything you sad, I mean said. You’re sad. Locked away in the middle of nowhere complaining about someone you quite obviously know nothing about. Can you not enjoy the fun, excitement, joy and love this young man exudes from every pore when he makes music BY HIMSELF ! When was your last World Tour ?
Perhaps “I want to hold your hand” is better on your ears.
Your evaluation of Jacob Collier is worthless, as time will tell when your “review” is forgotten and his career goes viral.
Nice try Nat, but the only color that shows thru here is your true color ... Green ! Keep your future critique of others, including the Beatles under your hat where it belongs.

lilrecords's picture

try hard

lilrecords's picture

*not meant for the writer, but for the dude with the really long and unnecessarily mean paragraph*

Nathan Zeller's picture

I understand that my writing has made you frustrated, and for that I am dearly sorry. That is, never was, and never will be my intention. I cannot however apologize for my feelings. As a result, these reviews aren’t always glowing. All of us will feel differently about a given work, and that’s perfectly normal. Some do have a similar taste though, and so through speaking honestly in these reviews I’m allowing those with a similar taste to receive a preview of what may come should they listen.

Still, no matter how frustrated one becomes, thrashing out at another and their loved ones is never justified. I ask that you recognize just how horrid it is to label any person as insignificant, even if their name isn’t one recognized by the whole world.

Can I not enjoy the fun, excitement, joy, and love this young man exudes? I can… hence the reason I gave this single a perfect score with my music rating. I’m unable to see how this would offend such an avid fan. Was it the sound rating? It’d be dishonest of me to give this a higher score in that regard as the recording is sibilant and tinny. It’s unsurprising coming from an iPhone microphone, but nonetheless the truth.

If you feel I’ve crossed the line with my critiquing, please show me the area in which I’ve done so. I’m certainly not against learning to reword my commentary while simultaneously retaining my message.

Michael Fremer's picture
Was incredibly mean spirited and personal. Wholly out of bounds and unnecessary. You went so far as to attack this young man’s parents. How sick. He is a Collier fan who offered some well reasoned criticism. The only good to come out of this is that Nathan now fully realizes the hazards of putting one’s opinions out in the public domain. You are a bully projecting some other life grievance onto a teenager. I hope it makes you feel “empowered”.
dalklv's picture

review I was introduced to Mr. Collier's music. Obviously, I spend next to zero time in the popular arenas. So, 'The Sun is in Your Eyes' was the first composition of his that I heard. As a trained musician I heard several quirky melodic inflections that caught my attention. I have listened to his first three albums in the last two days, and have spent several hours on YOUTUBE listening to some of his interviews. I am fascinated by his loquacious intelligence and obvious musical talent. However, talent does not make an artist make. I completely agree with Nathan's review. I shall remain curious as to the potential development of this technician into an artist. One of the prerequisites of this metamorphosis is sincerity, which I perceive Mr. Collier to have in spades. The world always needs more artists. To his success.

Regards the sound quality. On my big rig, it is easy to hear the simplicity of the recording technique : a guy with a guitar in his room with no special acoustics : that goes hand in hand with the musical simplicity : humility in presentation.

Nathan Zeller's picture

It's nothing short of awesome that this turned you on to his music. Which of his albums have you found yourself enjoying the most?

dalklv's picture

In My Room, Djesse 1 & 2. I enjoyed Djesse 2 the most. Never bored, always fascinated, but emotionally disconnected. He sings well, how could he not with that ear, but the vocal tonality lacks that charismatic punch needed to make the emotional connection. I will listen to the rest over the weekend.

Nathan Zeller's picture

Between those three, I'd pick In My Room as my favourite. The title track is excellent, even if it is a cover. Djesse Vol. 1 has his version of "Every Little Thing She Does Is Magic," which is more exciting than the original in my opinion. His arrangement of "Moon River" on Djesse Vol. 2 is incredible. That's an instance where his over the top production worked.

Come to think of it, most of my favourite songs of his are covers.

...Blitz's picture

Hello Mr. Fermer
Dont worry ...Disk lexia isnt contagious, and Nate won’t wither on the vine from some comment from me. OK OK your right, my original comments yesterday were a bit mean spirited and I don’t want to offer up the same kind of tripe ol’Nate did ... so I will amend my original rant with this revised one ... most of its the same, look closely for the changes.
(as though someone cares)
Today’s music (I use the term “music” with poetic license) is so very full, in fact stuffed with over production your comments about Jacob Collier’s work are falling on deaf ears (yours..as it were). How many of the current top selling musicians (and again that term is used loosely) who are currently at the top of the “charts” would be there with out overproduction, auto-tune and looping. Most all of them use a production crew of dozens, professional orchestras and seasoned set musicians, hair & make-up specialists, booking agents, choreographers, costumers and experienced professional managers with deep pockets. Never mind, you probably wouldn’t know that either. You do realize that artists like Jacob ..just a short time ago would never have been discovered if not backed by multi-million dollar recording companies in Hollywood, New York and Nashville? The ones who “over-produce” everything and spend millions of dollars in advertising to create and promote SuperStars most of whom couldn’t carry a tune in a basket and without all that over-production would be worthless. Most would sound like crap a cappella. Jacob didn’t need the Voice to be heard. Do you know how many current artist even write their own music, let alone play ALL the instruments them selves? The strings, wood winds, percussion ALL of it. He writes, composes, edits, mixes and produces it as well? He’s even his own videographer. I can count all of them on one hand. The number of professional audio techs, computer geeks and promoters that are involved in any music today is staggering, at least when compared to the solo work of Jacob Collier. Once more, ..He .. writes, produces, edits, mixes everything.... He does it ALL including choreography, the dancing, costumes, special effects, video production... (much of it interactive) The concept, set and prop designs, lighting ... everything ! Perhaps you should produce some of your music and release it to the public for review before you critique some one else’s efforts. It would seem professionals like Herbie Hancock and Quincy Jones (both multi-millionaires in the industry) might disagree with your narrow perspective. You realize that Collier was selected from the huge pool of new and unique musical artists WorldWide (check out YouTube alone) and sent a personal invitation to perform solo, on-the-fly in front of a live audience for Ted Talks. He put on an amazing performance DJ style, By Himself ! Jacobs parent is a teacher of music at the RoyalAcademy... there’s a reason he’s ahead of the game. I’m disappointed you can’t see creative genius in this new musical prodigy and be happy for him. Mr. Quincy Jones sees it, the writings on the wall plain and simple. He signed him to his label. That speaks volumes alone. Maybe you should stick to Beatle mania with your opinions. Listen to Jacobs releases (so far, much more to come) and it instantly neutralize everything you said. Locked away in the middle of nowhere complaining about someone you quite obviously know nothing about. Can you not enjoy the fun, excitement, joy and love this young man exudes from every pore when he makes music “by himself” and he’s been doing this for years before posting on “UTube”. When was your last World Tour ? Quit critiquing and get up and dance Nate, loose yourself, you’ll feel better I’m sure. Perhaps your better suited to teaching .
...and that’s about as un-nasty and non-mean spirited as I can get about that. Stick to what you understand ..and that’s certainly not the music industry and how little of it is the direct responsibility of the singer. Jacob carry’s it ALL on HIS shoulders (so far) and for that I salute him. I’ll be out here listening Nate waiting for your first record to chart.
Good luck Nate...
See you at the Grammy’s.
...and Mr. Fremer ... stick with spinning disks, I’m sure Nate as a music critic will learn to defend himself. Real Life is tough, internet life is insignificant. What is today will not matter tomorrow .... look around.
Warm regards ......Blitz

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