When Jeremih emerged in 2009 with the quaint (but highly sensual) No. 4 hit “Birthday Sex,” there was no sign until after his second album that he’d turned into the kind of auteur figure who toils away at his craft for far longer than the usual mainstream album cycle could oblige. But after he began to work on what would become an infamously delayed third album, he released the runaway underground success Late Nights with Jeremih, a 2012 mixtape showcasing a spontaneous side of the singer that appealed to a whole new audience.
After celebrating his 29th birthday with a set at the Pitchfork Festival in Chicago, hometown hero Jeremih hinted at some new music, which arrived last Wednesday in the form of Late Nights: Europe. Jeremih Felton has been rather bounteous in recent times, adding this mixtape to his discography just a few months after Late Nights: the Album dropped in December 2015. The latter project was his third bonafide studio effort, for those who observe the distinction strictly, trailing 2010’s All About You by five years.
For a long time, it seemed like Jeremih would forever be on the cusp of becoming one of R&B’s A-list artists. It was a transitional period that was due to both label troubles at Def Jam and the 29-year-old Chicagoan’s own perfectionism. Last year’s Late Nights: The Album came five years after the release of his previous album, 2010’s All About You.
I haven’t been impressed by the mass import of female R&B artists over wonky (but not too wonky) backdrops from the UK. The effect is supposed to combine sweeter vocals with, call them industrial soundscapes, but most of the time, it often feels like it’s a pose. The darkness is too clean and the movement’s too lurchy (the spacing of the hook on “Girlfriend” leaves something to be desired).