Jhené Aiko – Chilombo (Album Review)


GENRE: RnB, Soul.

Album Stream Link:

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CHILOMBO, a long overdue album from American smooth singer Jhené Aiko. It’s been more than two years since her last album “Trip” came along and if you feel Trip told a story, Chilombo(which is also her second name) tells the same story, but in a better manner.

It’s been worked on for so long with it’s release dates postponed a couple of times. It’s promotions started as far back as a year ago with the release of the single “Triggered” freestyle. It was a beauty to behold when the singer finally revealed the simple yet beautiful Artwork and Tracklist for the album via Social media.

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She made up for the delay by dishing out a full 20-track LP. Something you barely see in the RnB department.

Aiko’s music has always been about two major things; Sexual Feelings and Healing. Both combine to give a soothing and Tranquil effect that just works for her kind of airy vocals.

According to her, the album was recorded as a freestyle on the islands of Hawaii and was inspired by the island’s natural landscape. Aiko knows her music is of great healing effect, she knows its her biggest flex and she’s just going to go with it.

She told ESSENCE after a listening session about her music, here’s what she says:

I make music for healing purposes. It’s like Journaling or when people paint. It’s sort of an escape. It’s turning pain or frustration into something; into art. Sharing it is also therapeutic to me because when people express to you that they are relating to it, you’re like ‘Oh, I’m not alone in what I’m going through’

This album is an impressive collage of originally freestyle songs mixed and mastered into RnB, Modern RnB and alternative RnB jams.

It doesn’t lack any of the Jhené Aiko Ingredients; Sound Healing, Heartbreak and Toxicity, Sexual escapades and even Love.

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Songs in the album all tell different stories but leading up to the same one point, Being done with a partner but not being able to let go. The typical Big Sean story. 😁

This album has come at a point of transformation for Jhené Aiko and it shows in the music. The weight of the message each track carries is dear to Aiko, you can tell when you listen that she’s grown to love herself more.

Jhené Aiko didn’t just show how amazing vocally she can be on this album, she showed she’s one of the best in the RnB game when it comes to having ways with words. It is very hard to believe these lyrics are freestyles, they are so properly lined and rhymed up.

But there’s a reason why it’s scored 6/10 right? I feel Aiko has focused so much on the healing properties of her songs through word art that she’s left a big void in the outcome of the tune and how well those words mix with the beats. A few of the songs have resembling beats and it’s just because Aiko hasn’t made production, flow and all round musicality part of her important focus – and that sucks 😔

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Features like Big Sean, John Legend, Nas, Future, H.E.R., Miguel, Ty Dolla $ign only added the icing on the cake which is an average RnB all round self healing album.

Here are ALBUM TALKS™ Top 5 songs off CHILOMBO:

5.) LOVE

Probably the closest to Pop on the album, it’s production which includes the repeat bass and loud keyboard keys gives the Pop feel. Chorus is quite shallow but she makes up for it with basic but good lyrics and a direct message.

When I put my faith in God,

Nothing bothers me at all

I am more than my emotions

Aiko sings on “LOVE”

4.) Happiness Over Everything (H.O.E) [feat. Future & Miguel]

Miguel delivers a clutch chorus, Aiko joins him on the chorus later to make it a duet. The chorus is the best part of this song, it’s catchy, it’s got good vocals and flows. An RnB song could do no wrong when it’s got two RnB veterans. Future struggled.

A good RnB song anyway.

3.) Speak

Aiko’s vocals are so soothing, they just relax the energy points in your body and delivers the Chakras.

On a breezy sound, she talks about being free from a partner, being able to speak what’s on her mind and being free from the bondages love brings sometimes. Once again; amazing message, average Production.

So excited, realizing

That you weren’t here to judge me

No one to impress

I decided that I liked it, yeah

Lyrics of ‘Speak’ by Jhené Aiko

2.) Lightning & Thunder (feat. John Legend)

When the tracklist to this song dropped earlier, I looked forward to this track the most.

John Legend is literally legendary. Getting him on any feature is a big W for even made artists. The Aiko X Legend combo wasn’t what I thought I needed. The bass guitar and faint lead keys provide a good template for both their vocals to take center stage.

The arrangement of the track is good, the duels, single vocals, lead guitars, all done at the right time. A beautiful song.

1.) Born Tired

BORN TIRED IS A MOOD! Literally one of most talked about amongst the non pre-released songs. The social media can’t get tired of this track simply because it’s probably the most relatable song in the album amongst other things. This world is so exhausting.

The production is pretty good too, a breezy tune that includes repeating guitar chords mixed with soft bass.

Best song off the album.

6 thoughts on “Jhené Aiko – Chilombo (Album Review)

  1. Chilombo!….mehn I craving to have this album. It’s been long since I last had her album apart from single tracks.


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