This is me, back from the dead, after dying. Losing my life. I swear to God.
I went to update one of my recent posts, my Week In My Life, and for some reason, the entire post was a bit slow to load, while I reposted the blog post again – major key, cheers Mia – and when I updated the time that I posted it, I realised that the entire post was just gone. Checked my phone, gone. Closed and refreshed the page, gone.
Thank God, for the little ‘History’ button up the top, or else I’d have lost a week long writing and editing endeavour that does not deserve that type of treatment.
But on to today’s post.
I apologise if you’re bored of reading this man’s name, but here I am again, with a blog post about me just plugging my love/adoration/awe/respect/undying love for Long Island singer/songwriter/producer/rapper Jon Bellion. This will in fact be the second post about Jon.
Strap yourselves in.
Surely that video is introduction enough.
And yes. I did watch this video on YouTube when I was getting the link for it and then again before I continued writing.
I first heard a Jon Bellion song when I was 15 years old. In the last post I did on Jon, I mentioned that Guillotine was the first song I ever heard by him, but that was a lie. Apologies.
The first song I ever heard was Ooh, featuring Christianne Jensen (his sister!!!), from his 2014 album, The Definition. And in all honestly, I wasn’t hooked straight off the first bar.
One of my favourite things about Jon’s music is the ever-changing and growing nature of it. It feels like it’s this constant rollercoaster and unless you’re already well accustomed to his style or his catalogue, you can’t predict where he’s going to take you. Halfway through the song, you can be assured that he’s probably going to take to somewhere completely unexpected.
That was what made me stick around for the rest of the song, his switch ups were so unpredictable.
That and the insane drum pockets he manages to find in all his songs, whether he’s beat boxing them into the microphone himself or loading samples into a drum machine so he play out the rhythm and the groove just the way he wants them.
Like Jon, I’m obsessed with finding intricate grooves and pockets for drum rhythms within songs. While I’m still trying to work on it in regards to my own music, watching Jon physically play all the beats on his drum machine, or record his vocals, whether he’s yelling, beat boxing or moving around the room to really create a huge sonic space, then turning them into bite sized samples that he pieces together to form the framework for the rest of the song to flow through, is mind boggling.
His entire production style and way of thinking is just so inspiring and innovative. Things like trumpet lines that he chooses to play through an AKAI for Luxury, or using his voice and editing it as a substitution for a lead guitar in Superman, The Gift and The Curse.
Guillotine was the next song I listened to, and it’s the one that made me cry, and scream and literally jump and want to rip my hair out and I know. It sounds like I’m exaggerating, but it 100% is no exaggeration.
The other day, my dad and I ended up having to go into the city around the same time, so we caught the train in together, he to work and I to university. He’s become accustomed to hearing me sing Jon’s songs around the house often, and that morning’s car drive to the station had been me explaining my absolute love the man and his music, and how if I ever somehow got to meet him, my body would quite possible shut down. Which then went on to him kinda, but not completely, getting a grasp of how influential this man and his music was on my life, and then me pulling up ‘The Making of Guillotine’ on YouTube as we stood on the train, and forcing him to watch it.
We only got halfway through, but that same day when my dad came home from work in the evening, he came and sat down next to me on the couch, and asked to finish the rest of it. Which turned into me showing him nearly every single ‘The Making Of’ video, as well as live performances and interviews and acoustic versions. Long story short, I’m pretty sure if Jon Bellion comes to Australia, my dad’s coming with me to the concert.
//photo by @dxtrf//
The thing that I love the most about Jon, is that his music stands the test of time. One of the biggest lessons I’ve ever, ever learnt, is to try not to make ‘time sensitive’ or ‘time relevant’ music, because eventually, it becomes irrelevant, and people aren’t likely to listen to it. It drastically decreases the shelf life of a song, if you base the entirety of it’s production or lyrical content around a current trend that’s more than likely to die off in a year or two. It’s better to make a song you’re proud of that’s just genuinely a good tune than to try and make a song based and defined by current trends.
You could hear the same song of his two or three years apart and still feel it in you blood as it gives you goosebumps.
One of the biggest factors that allows me to solidify Jon Bellion as one of my idols, is the fact that when I first discovered him, I was only 15 and he blew my mind. Then I discovered his ‘The Making Of’ videos on YouTube when I was 17, and he blew my mind. I fully understood the depth of his genius, ingenuity, talent and passion at 19, soon to be 20, and he still blew my mind. I genuinely find myself with his songs running through my head all through the day, from morning until the night and even then, I have them in my head while I’m in bed and I’m positive I probably sing them in my sleep too.
The fact that the same songs, regardless of how many more amazing new songs he puts out, still manage to drop my jaw to the floor and have me shooketh, is a testament to how they’re purely incredible songs, and they stand alone in how great they are, regardless of the trending genre or popular production styles at the current moment.
//photo by @dxtrf//
Of the many things I’ve already listed that have added to this obsession, another is his lyrics. If not the beats, then the lyrics definitely make my jaw drop at least once in each song. There are so many clever double-meanings, insinuations, rhymes that shouldn’t rhyme, things that he says that you would just never expect to hear in a song for some reason, and he makes it all sound so incredible.
He somehow manages to reference Jim Morrison and The Doors, Abbey Road, Blueprint, Michael Jordan, Kanye, The Notorious B.I.G (Christopher Wallace), Bob Marley, Chris Zarou and Will Smith in his song Jim Morrison, a song that has become a staple during car drives with my dad.
Honestly just think about the chorus in The Monster by Eminem featuring Rihanna and hear the gears turn in your head when you realise that holy shit, Jon Bellion wrote that too. Along with a whole tirade of songs that he produced and wrote for other artists.
His voice is so versatile and strong, going from singing like an angel in Human to rapping like a god in New York Soul – Pt. ii, and then doing both in Halloween. He is insane.
He’s a huge inspiration for me. I could only think of a few other artists who I see at the same level as Jon Bellion, personally. The way he writes, the way he produces, the words he chooses to share and the stories he tells either have me laughing, smiling, screaming along or crying. Without failure. He doesn’t lie in his music, and he isn’t afraid of calling himself out, or speaking about things that others may not try and touch, lyrically.
To make it even better, last year, on my birthday, the song Obsession with Vice and Kyle, and it was like…Jon. @ me next time please. Happy Birthday to me.
I rarely make artist specific playlists. The only two I have, are my lads playlist which is definitely on private, and definitely dedicated to One Direction for moments when I need a fix, and my jon bellion playlist. Make sure you check it out. I say that a lot, but I mean it a lot more this time.
Below, is a list of some of my favourite Jon Bellion songs. We all know the love I have for Guillotine, but there are heaps of songs that hit me in the soul the way that one does too, and his previous three albums are a treasure trove of incredible, blood pumping music.
(note how I’ve linked every single song because of how serious I am about this music)
(also appreciate the immense effort it’s taken not to keep coming back to this post and adding more songs to this list every other hour)
Guillotine – Jon Bellion
He Is The Same – Jon Bellion
Dead Man Walking – Jon Bellion
New York Soul – Part. ii – Jon Bellion
Luxury – Jon Bellion
Human – Jon Bellion
Woke The F*ck Uo – Jon Bellion
Superman, The Gift And The Curse – Jon Bellion
Morning In America – Jon Bellion
Hand Of God – Outro – Jon Bellion
Halloween – Jon Bellion
Jim Morrison – Jon Bellion
For The Dreamers – Jon Bellion
Woodstock (Psychedelic Fiction) – Jon Bellion
Omg EDIT; you definitely need to hear some of his acoustic versions. Linked for your convenience and to ensure you don’t have an excuse not to hear this magic.
Run. Wild. Acoustic. Version.
Magic to your ears, bless your souls, feed your children, feed your children’s children, all you need.
Run Wild (Acoustic)
Woke The F*ck Up (Acoustic)
All Time Low (Acoustic)
I hope you guys enjoyed this post. Articulating my thoughts, about artists as inspiring and as talented as Jon can be challenging for me to do so without sounding like I’m babbling, but hopefully the message got across! I know it’s a but of an overkill linking you guys five videos and hoping you watch them all, but honestly, Jon Bellion can’t be summed up into words. We’re four weeks into the university semester and I’ve definitely already managed to somehow work him into my latest assignment.
As of this moment, I’ve scheduled this post, and then come back to add more and more to it a minimum of six times.
Oh well, off to wait patiently for my Jon Bellion merch to arrive :)) My birthday’s today and I was hoping it’d be here by now, but we can wait…
EDIT: I have quite possibly started a cult. Story time. I was at another rehearsal, and my drummer suddenly piped up going, “Hey have you guys heard this song, Guillotine?” Yes my dude. So then my guitarist goes, “Where did you hear it?” and we learn that my guitarist’s girlfriend, and my friend, showed it to my drummer. So then my guitarist goes, “Hey, she heard it from me!” which obviously causes me to grin at him, and go “And where did you hear it from?” knowing full well I showed him at work, so now the Jon love is spreading and it’s only a matter of time before I form a club. Message me for membership info.
Feel free to follow me on my social media!
Instagram: priya_francis (personal)