There is a narcotic effect to Rochelle Jordan’s Play With the Changes, a record that lulls you into a dream world. Your hands and arms and legs feel like cotton candy and you drift from room to room like a disembodied groupie toiling in a maze-like nightclub. And in each room the same musicians play in different bands with distinct sounds and in every room it’s the best music you’ve ever fucking heard.
Jordan in her career has straddled mainstream acclaim with underground cred and unlike most people who try that, remains beloved by both. Her press clippings are filled with the kind of praise that usually only comes after an artist dies and everyone is throwing flowers on the coffin. But she’s very much alive, and very much a superstar-in-the-making on what has to be considered one of the best albums of the new year.
For her fourth album Jordan recruited an array of producers, though several of them have individual connections that predate the project. Machinedrum produces here individually and as part of Sepalcure with Praveen Sharma. Jimmy Edgar produces two tracks on his own but is also otherwise half of JETS with Machinedrum. KLSH (pronounced “clash”) is a long-time collaborator with Rochelle Jordan and Alix Perez co-produces on the lead track, the vintage ’90s-updated-to-10-minutes-ago drum’n’bass glory of “Love U Good.” Had this track dropped in ’94 it would have been a stone cold old school classic. “Future classic” will have to do, though it’s a tag that I’m tempted to drape all over the music on Play With the Changes.
“Got ‘Em” is drenched in the fly faux-’90s accoutrements of UK Garage, like one of those club remixes that was remixed and produced in a run of 5 copies to send out to the Billboard reporters in every town (and now you know how the hits were made). The slinky shuffle continues on “Next To You,” with a spacious, techy sound courtesy of KLSH and Machinedrum. On the next track Rochelle Jordan spits out some of the best lyrics put to paper on the uptempo R&B of “All Along,” then skips to the slow jam “Broken Steel” and then the vibey deep house of “Already.” Jordan’s long stride from one mood, from one sound, from one room to the next is as effortless as it could be. This is one of those “She’s a singer’s singer” moments, and it’s far from the only one.
Will the audience follow all these “changes”? The album’s release on TOKiMONSTA’s Young Art label should give it a push in the right direction, and if you’re reading this in an electronic music magazine, you should follow too. Rochelle Jordan is a powerhouse of talent and Play With the Changes is a record that blows away the industry’s already lofty expectations. Put it on and play it loud.
Rochelle Jordan: Play With the Changes (Young Art / April 30 2021 – May 28 2021 / CD / 12″ Vinyl / Digital)
1. Rochelle Jordan: LOVE YOU GOOD (03:53)
2. Rochelle Jordan: GOT EM (03:46)
3. Rochelle Jordan: NEXT 2 YOU (03:00)
4. Rochelle Jordan: ALL ALONG (03:23)
5. Rochelle Jordan: BROKEN STEEL (FT. FARRAH FAWX) (04:24)
6. Rochelle Jordan: COUNT IT (03:28)
7. Rochelle Jordan: ALREADY (03:57)
8. Rochelle Jordan: NOTHING LEFT (03:31)
9. Rochelle Jordan: LAY (03:31)
10. Rochelle Jordan: SOMETHING (03:59)
11. Rochelle Jordan: DANCING ELEPHANTS (05:18)
12. Rochelle Jordan: SITUATION (04:13)
⚪️ Disclosure Statement: This record was submitted as a promo by Pitch Perfect PR.