As a reference point, JEONA (Jonas Halager) sits at the intersection of pop and R&B, where artists such as The Weeknd, Frank Ocean, Daniel Caesar and Black Atlass reside. JEONA is a creator who’s not afraid to look deep into his life and his second EP Kiss N Crash is born in the aftermath of his recent broken relationship. He mourns its passing with an EP containing far more uplift than you’d imagine. This is an EP about moving on, and as he says in Kiss N Crash – ‘no regrets.’
Tracks such as Visitor and CIHYLB have an irresistible pop/R&B groove, and you choose either as an antidote for a grey day. When he does slow the pace, it’s a beautiful, stirring ballad, Hate You. His songwriting ability alone is an art form to admire. Featuring Chili, the minimised production keeps the openness of both vocalists and the lyrics in focus. Thankfully, the entire EP is not drowned in reverbs or effects allowing the authenticity of his voice and emotions to be fully experienced.
From the EP’s outset, his tonal balance is a high calibre that holds its own. Sweet and airy, JEONA’s voice is captivating. Though not on the 5-track EP, JEONA revisits the track with Paloma Stripped and truly unveils vocals few of his contemporaries could match.
Unstripped, the excellent Paloma (based on the drink) remains a lyrically thoughtful tribute to those moments he shared.
One can’t help but feel it would have been very easy for JEONA to deliver standard pop fare; however, his chosen path is honesty and self-expression – not mass consumption. Yet it is, in fact, that pop community that should seek out his music. JEONAs’ Kiss N Crash would be a reminder of the quality of music possible when a natural-born singer, poet and charismatic artist tells you how he feels. And while I’d like to hear him on a deeper neo-soul production, this EP delivers exceptional pop/R&B listening.
Kiss N Crash - JEONA
It remains a frustration that international charts have yet to make household names of Danish artists/bands such as Jonas, D/troit, Phlake, Barbara Moleko, Lei Lowe, and Sahra da Silva. It's a barrier I sincerely hope JEONA breaks. Kiss N Crash should be on your list if you demand original, unpretentious, authentic music.