PJ Morton – Independently Major | Mixtape Review & Free DL

The very talented PJ Morton hits us with his latest release in the form of the mixtape Independently Major. PJ Morton has been around on the independent soul scene for a good few years now and has also made a name for himself in the gospel scene, writing for the like of Kierra ‘Kiki’ Sheard. This mixtape is a good return to the soulful side of things for PJ, yet it doesn’t totally abandon his gospel roots and influences, which can be heard in his vocals on ‘Lifetime’ and on the turnarounds and bridge of ‘Yours.’

Generally, I felt Morton has done well with this mixtape, however there are a few numbers on it that I wasn’t a fan of. I found although it was nice overall, ‘Don’t Ever Leave’ was slightly repetitive. ‘Change My mind’ was more R&B geared and although it showed diversity, I found it was at best OK. ‘History’ begins promisingly and then ends up dragging slightly.

On the whole, this mixtape is built upon some very nice grooves and strong riffs/motifs. Whether it’s a sparse arrangement, like on ‘3rd Degree’ or ‘Mathematics’ with it’s notable bass work, PJ Morton has a good groove based foundation for the majority of the tracks on this project.

PJ Morton shows how strong a writer he is, especially with the frankness of his lyrics on ‘I Need Your Love’ and ‘Growin’ Up’ and I feel this is what helps him enagage with his listener most. The former song has very interesting instrumentation and chord progressions to boot.

Amongst my favourites were ‘Galaxy’ a track that’s opening moves a little like Stevie Wonder’s ‘Another Star,’ with nice horn lines (that feature throughout this mixtape) and once again, notable bass work to make it bob along nicely. ‘Give It To Me’ is in contrast laidback, has a drum pattern that is a bit Kanye West with very tasty piano and vocals that make this a joint that oozes soul.

‘You Make Me Smile’ was a track apparently penned for Brandy, however Morton decided to keep it for itself. It has all the hallmarks of a Brandy track and you can envision her doing her magic on this well written song with a very heart warming sentiment. ‘Sunshine In The Morning’ is a neo soul track with a lower end reminiscent of D’Angelo.

Amongst my favourites, ‘Yours’ is perhaps the track that standouts most to me on this offering. Seemingly out of nowhere, we get a taste of PJ Morton’s sweet falsetto and this track would equally be at home on a Bilal album. It has a lovely catchy chorus and the Gospel influence is very much in tact.

To be frank, I find it a shame we didn’t get more upfront vocal production, I feel like PJ Morton has a really nice vocal tone, with carefully chosen and executed ad-libs, however this didn’t come across half as well as it should have. At times I felt the quality of the sounds used weren’t that good either or at least could have been mixed better, as I felt that this detracted from some of the stronger songs on the album. All in all, I await PJ Morton’s next release and am impressed with this one.

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