One of my favourite genres is R&B/Soul. It’s passionate, deep and reflective. It explores common themes but infuses heart. The genre is like a great painting — it speaks to you. However, there isn’t much of it around these days. Everyone who stayed true to the genre either stopped making music, grew too old, or flat out hopped onto the mainstream bandwagon “betraying” the genre in the process.
Admittedly, finding great R&B/Soul projects is difficult these days. Most of the recent ones I’ve found are either foreign or by recommendation. The process with the latter is, someone recommends a song they think I’ll like. I listen to the song. I like the song. I check out the album, it’s great (quite rare). I blast it on repeat till it’s ruined. My recent discovery was Juneisatale by June.
The easiest way to describe this project is “it’s an enchanting experience”. On Juneisatale, June balances creating the R&B experience with reminding us that it’s a story. A journey to self discovery. This puts the project in something akin to a limbo (counterbalancing doubt and self belief). It’s matured yet new. The result of this balance is a reminder that R&B/Soul as a genre is not dead.
On Straight Up, she speaks her truth and uses the background vocals to ensure her truth reverberates. It’s the perfect introduction to the journey. The violins on The Sojourner’s Story transports you to some ancient memory. For me, it’s a reminder of a Korean epic. Her voice and the attention to detail in the production combine to create something vivid. Fly Away is by far my favourite song on the project. It brings cohesiveness to Juneisatale and humanises June. It’s easy to begin a journey but letting the audience know that you can relate to their everyday lives is the gem.
The next track Lonely, emphasises the soul component of the record. It draws you in and casts a blinding spell on you. While I have a few questions about the record’s overemphasis on live sets, I must give credit to the messaging on Lonely for being intentional. This messaging provides context for Hey June, a track as personal as it is vulnerable. I believe the placement of this track might’ve worked a bit better if it appeared earlier. Of course, this is from a purely sonic perspective (I found out when I put the project on shuffle).
If there were ever a playlist of songs to motivate you once you’re out of your bed, I believe Diy should have prime placement on such playlist (right next to Straight Up). June’s voice is telling and passionate. All the details combine to ensure that you leave with one thing— the will to do it yourself. There’s something majestic about Soon. You’ll hear it the moment you hit play. It’s her voice.
To truly enjoy this project, you’ll need 20 minutes of peace and quiet. My first time was on a flight. The project is for anybody who has been left out, for the outsider, for anyone who has stood on the outside looking in. While I expressed a few issues with the arrangement, I believe June’s tale was well told and is in fact a solid debut from an artiste I hope to see more of.