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defend the album is a lyrics-first blog by me, bradley fields, about the stories and moments I find in albums that matter to me. Almost always in fewer than 1,000 words.

Majid Jordan’s The Space Between

Majid Jordan’s The Space Between is an invitation to get caught up in your feelings. It sounds like something you’d turn up, wistful, doing 45 in your Range through the city at 1am. 

I said I love you, baby, and I gave your love away.

Gave Your Love Away drips with regret. It admits a fuck-up, but not as epiphany. It’s the difference between realization and being read.

I’ve got a classic case of OG heartache.

In OG Heartthrob, the aftermath of giving love away is wishing someone would give it back. Its self-centered perspective is crystalline, though I hope never true for me. “Open up and let me in” reminds me of classic 90s R&B I can’t place. And the fadeout makes me wonder if this track’s a nod to DeBarge’s All This Love

So much to say. This is the only way to say it.

Body Talk is a dancehall-ish plea for a chance. 

You want my love, but you want it your own way.

Not Ashamed layers Weeknd-ish neurosis—the stylized fear that they’re coming for your cool—over a Michael Jackson sound. It may even approach Bill Withers‘s Use Me, because it’s explicit about how vulnerability (“Ashamed of the way you treat me”) can betray you (“Same mistake; I’m about to repeat it”). 

Hundred bands later, you the one I want.

While One I Want features the idea of love after you come up, the real theme is the come-up itself. Its gem is the lead-up to “Don’t show your colors unless its vibrant,” which is a lot like Weezy’s “Real G’s move in silence like ‘lasagna.’” 

Do you think about me too?

You’s full of remorse. It‘s awareness of having lost something special. It does a much better job of contrasting status with that loss (“Pocket full of cash, but I can’t buy the passed time”) than OG Heartthrob

Guess it’s me and myself again.

Phases illustrates the price of being stationary while others move. Asleep follows, and its “Even on a good day, I can’t help but feel this way” is real for me. 

All that you give me; all that you make me.

What You Do to Me is the album’s most mature track. It depicts need that isn’t needy by using lyrical proximity and complementary expressions of embrace. And the lucidity of “I wanna feel you rollin’ like water on my skin”? Ooh, boy. 

You remind me of a pretty girl.

My Imagination is inescapably reminiscent of Usher’s U Remind Me. And “Maybe it’s just what I’ve been drinking” definitely feels like an OVO adaption of The Temptations’ imagination running away with them

Live in the moment with me.

The title track is about taking risks while everyone else waits for an impetus (“Everybody’s on the wall, waiting on some alcohol”). It sets up a solid ending in Outro: two refrains over a sound similar to The Weeknd’s I Feel It Coming.

Notes

Release date

October 27, 2017

Producers

Jordan Ullman · Nineteen85 · StarGate

Writers

dvsn · Ilsey Juber · James Fauntleroy · Jordan Ullman · Majid Al Maskati · Majid Jordan · PARTYNEXTDOOR · StarGate

Darius Rucker's When Was the Last Time

Keyshia Cole's 11:11 Reset