If Jordan Pedersen said some of the things Jeremih says, he’d be rightly tased.
There’s virtue in saying no. We’ve all got that one friend who says yes to everything and never shows up to anything. “Yeah I’ll see if I can stop by,” the noncommittal text, the “Maybe” RSVP on Facebook. At the risk of sounding like a total dad, sometimes you just need to commit.
Jeremih is a guy with a lot of invitations. His breezy Late Nights with Jeremih showed that he wasn’t just the goofball behind “Birthday Sex”: the hooks were solid, the production was fresh without being opportunistic, and Jeremih evinced just enough weirdness to set himself apart from the Jason DeRulos of the world. That a DJ Mustard-produced hit single followed soon after should come as no surprise.
Most promising to those of us who favor the weirder side of the R&B spectrum, though, has been Jeremih’s work with L.A. beat scene king Shlohmo. Ever since Shlohmo managed to submerge J’s buoyant “Fuck U All The Time” in bottom-feeder synths without it drowning, theirs has been a pairing to watch.
Unfortunately, the end result of their collaboration fails to deliver on that promise. No More certainly sounds the right way: Shlohmo coats the whole thing in aqueous electronics, and Jeremih yelps and coos just the way we’re expecting. But at the end of the day, this music shit requires, you know, focus and follow-through, and No More lacks either.
Of the six tracks here, only four are new; three if you don’t count the title track, which dropped on SoundCloud nearly five months ago. “Bo Peep” is unchanged, and it remains a treat: exquisitely paced, it builds deliberately from a raunchy percussive drizzle into a hi-hat ice storm, buoyed by Jeremih’s addictive earworm of a hook.
Too bad it’s more than a year old. Worse, Jeremih burdens Shlohmo’s two-year-old “Fuck U All The Time” remix with a rancid, unnecessary, new verse (“Damn lil mama you’re sticky-icky-icky” and it gets worse from there).
There’s some nice stuff in the new material: the title track’s serrated guitar feedback, distorted pan flutes on “The End,” the reliable hi-hat assault that gives “Dope” its only forward momentum. But mostly the new songs drag. They lack real hooks or the palpable sense of anxious excitement we get from Jeremih and Shlohmo’s best material. “Let It Go,” with its frenetic finger-snap breakdown, fares the best. “The End” is the worst, featuring a truly embarrassing verse from Chance the Rapper – ugh I think LA might be ruining him – and a noticeably flat Jeremih.
It’s a shame, because this is a collaboration I’ve looked forward to since it was announced. These are two undeniably talented guys – Shlohmo in particular remains my favorite producer in the LA beat scene – but No More doesn’t show two talents firing on all cylinders. It’s the sound of two guys with a ton on their plates who simply didn’t give this project the attention it demanded.
Come on, guys. You can do better.