Good People / Afterhours
Majid Jordan’s fourth album arrives 10 years after the Toronto duo instigated Drake’s smooth lover-boy makeover on “Hold On We’re Going Home”. Since that breakthrough moment, they’ve never wavered from their mission to fuse neon-tinted ’80s-style productions and after-hours R&B into pristine pop songs. The very title of Good People reinforces that consistency of vision—it’s the original alias that singer Majid Al Maskati and producer Jordan Ullman used when recording the debut EP, 2012’s Afterhours, that got them signed to Drizzy’s OVO imprint. The album comes front-loaded with the sort of songs that feel uncannily familiar on first listen: “Waiting For You” is a stunning sophisti-soul collaboration with fellow OVO associate Naomi Sharon that you’d swear was a vintage Sade deep cut, while “Eyes Closed” plays like a Michael Jackson ballad retrofitted for a post-chillwave age. But the deeper you go into the record, the further afield it ventures, as the duo explore the outer limits of their sound without ever losing sight of its melodic core. “Hands Tied” rides a restless drum-machine beat that’s practically post-punky in its chilly austerity, with Al Maskati’s unadorned vocals evoking the greyscale romantic reveries of The xx, before the duo gradually turn up the heat to melt away the icy surface. And at seven minutes in length, “Violet” counts as the longest song in the Majid Jordan discography to date, a dreamily hypnotic R&B odyssey that eventually submerges itself in an oceanic abyss. But in the wake of these bold moves, Good People peaks with a pair of beautifully understated guitar-based devotionals—“The Message” and “Cyanide”—that peel back the production layers while upping the emotional ante, reaffirming Majid Jordan’s commitment to straight-from-the-heart songcraft, no matter what form it takes.