Album Review: Jacob Whitesides 'Why?'

Saturday, September 10, 2016

Jacob Whitesides is taking the music industry by storm with the release of his debut album, Why? Whitesides first gained recognition after auditioning for X Factor in 2012 and continued to rise to fame through social media outlets such as YouTube and Vine. Since then, he's gone on to tour with the likes of Fifth Harmony and R5, and has even headlined multiple tours. The Tennessee songbird has graced us in the past with multiple EP's-- a few in which I've written reviews on back in my beans beats music blogging days-- and now we've been blessed with a full length album. Hallelujah!

At first glance, you may think he's the typical "pop star." He's young, he's talented, he's got great style (shoes!!! always the best shoes!), he's got screaming fans and charm. But he is so much more than that. I've had the chance to meet and watch him perform three times now (yes, I've written about that too) and let me tell you, he is so much more than a teeny bopper radio disney singer. Typically dawning an acoustic guitar strapped on his back, he croons out honest lyrics written by Jacob himself. I could go on for ages because I just love him that much, but let's get to the music shall we?
Focus: Opening up with the second single off the album, Focus sets the tone with its mid tempo melodies and a bit of a quicker pace than past works. It's catchy, it's fun, and there's a sick music video to go along with it. A great intro into an even better album.

Heartbeat: With it's upbeat chorus and rhythm soaked instrumentals, this one is a banger. This is the kind of song that makes you want to get up and dance while yelling out, "Lemme get a second with your heartbeat, so I can finally find the rhythm I need. Tell me what you’re thinking, do you want me? Lemme get a second with your heartbeat."

She Ain't Got a Thing: Keeping up the pace, this song is a cohesive blend of of high tempos laced together with a country twinge. The bluegrass roots of this Knoxville native definitely come out to play in this one. With playful lyrics like, "She’s got a thing for turning on the nice guys. Come back to town just to prove she’ll get you two times. She’s got a thing and I’m warning you- she aint got a thing for me, she aint got a thing for you," it's fun, it's intoxicating, and it will probably remind you of the fuckboy you wasted your time on in high school. Ha.

Jaded Love: Well, this is my first time listening to the album. I am literally doing a track by track review as I go along to give my most sincere first thoughts and opinion; and as of right now, this is my favorite track. Will I probably change my mind when I hear the rest of the album? Yes. But right now, THIS ONE IS SO GOOD!! When he says, "Hands up. Forever alone and never been happier," I swear he's speaking into my soul. Is this song written for me? Did I write this song myself? "My friends say they all found love (la la la la), well I’m doing just fine," hello, story of my life! Third wheels around the world unite!!

Levitate: The track opens up with J crooning out, "He doesn’t understand you and it’s easy to see. He can’t make you float, girl, he’s not like me. Time and time again he’s let you down." Slowing down the pace here, this song is gold. You know how the story goes: boy loves girl, girl has a boyfriend, said boyfriend treats said girl like crap and you are the one for her! This is another one of those songs about how you're better than the person's significant other you're currently pining after, but there's a maturity here that a lot of artists lack. Not only is it well written, but it's sweet and so lovely in all senses.

Bury Our Love: My favorite line from this one is, "Kill for you, steal for you, getaway car hold the wheel for you. Tonight it’s time to bury our love at the bottom of the river." How very Bonnie and Clyde of you Jacob.

Hold on Honey: Changed my mind, this is my favorite. Simply put- it's absolutely beautiful. It's so heartbreakingly honest and sincere. With lyrics like, "I wish I knew if it is what I’ve done or what’s been done to me. Am I a victim or the author of my own misery," it is raw and exactly how I've been feeling lately. You know those songs that you just need to hear, and they somehow find their way to you? This was that song for me. "So hold on honey don’t you let me go, I am barely hanging by the end of my rope // You are the only light I see, breaking through a galaxy that’s growing dim"

Love Slow: There are no amount of words in the world I could write to give this gorgeous piece the poetic justice it deserves. All I'm going to say is please listen to it. Really listen.

Why?: There's a reason the album was named after this one. It is the perfect blend of instrumentals, vocals, and soaked in soulful tones. It almost feels a little bluesy. Very well written and produced.

Lovesick: The first single and the first insight into the album, this one is just plain fun. I loved it from the second I heard it- and it's even better live. All my friend's and followers have probably heard my horrible screeching in the background of snapchat videos I took at my show.... sorry. Hopefully that didn't ruin this song for you though, because it's just too good. You really can't go wrong with an upbeat tempo, some 'yeah, yeah, yeah's' in there, and playful lyrics. It has all the makings of a perfect radio single. While it's not the most lyrically profound on the album, it's still one you would willingly want to listen to and dance around.

Black and Blue: We get a bit darker lyrically here, although that's masked by the high tempo. It's a bit angsty, but not in the "oh I'm 14 and my life sucks" kind of way; more of an enigmatic kind of way. The undertones are finely calibrated and the maturity of it was pleasantly surprising. Good jam, good jam. 

You Told Me So: Ok maybe this one is my favorite? Yeah, it's definitely my favorite. I can't make up my mind!! We come back down to a slower pace here, and the whole thing is mesmerizing- both lyrically and vocally. The chorus is so ethereal, crooning out, "I been running and running but I don’t know where to go. I’ve been chasing, replacing but I am still alone. What a mess, there’s nothing left, I lost my heart and soul. You told me so. I should have listened when you told me so." I honestly cannot put into words how perfect this is; and when he lets out, "You even loved a fool who made a mess of you. What have I become?" it's hard to believe he's only eighteen. How can one kid have so much talent? It is unreal. The whole song is hauntingly beautiful and delicate. I just want to wrap it up and carry it around with me and listen to it forever on end.

Open Book: This is my jam. I remember when he played this at the show, testing out new material and letting us get a feel for the direction his music was heading in. I catch myself singing this all the time, the chorus always resonating around in my head. It's just so catchy, and like Focus, there's also a music video for this one that is quite beautifully done.

Honestly, I am in love with this album. I know I write about Jacob a lot but that's just because he is so good and deserves way more recognition than he gets. I feel like a proud mom, you know? The whole album flows so cohesively, it is hard to believe this was his first full length debut. The maturity in his sound and writing surpasses a lot of artists these days, and he may be young, but he is no amateur. From radio singles to soft ballads of prose, the whole thing is so well rounded and finished with impeccable detail. If you're an old fan, you'll love this. He has progressed in such an amazing way and this album is proof of that. And if you're a new fan, well.... you've come at just the right time.

Love always,
Malia xxxxxxx

PS: Jacob if you're reading this, let's be friends.
PPS: If you haven't seen him yet, he's going on tour! Don't miss out! Get tickets to the Ben Rector tour here, and his European headline tour here!

get the album here: Why?


  1. Anonymous2:05 PM

    Jacob tweeted this!

  2. lauren2:06 PM

    came here through Jacob! Love this! thank you for sharing his music :)

  3. maddie2:08 PM

    love slow is the greatest song in history. PS saw this on jacobs twitter, congrats!!

    1. its an amazing song! Thank you xx