In his newest release and debut album “Northern Lights Spanish hip hop artist Janis who self-proclaims to bring something to the table that is “not the usual trap style” unfortunately blatantly fails to live up to his own description of his sound.  

Starting off with the most energetic track on the record “Faith” the emo trap influence is glaringly obvious from the beginning with the dark themes of the track and the trap beat easily distinguishable by the rattling hi-hats, sub bass and 808 snare sounds. Bringing in some upbeat elements with a pretty basic drum and bass snare build up added to the mix, some credit can be given on this track for the energetic flow despite its derivative nature. However, musically it only goes further downhill from here.  

The second track on the album “Civil War” follows basically all the same trap beat formula as the first but this time without even a crumb of energy to disguise it. Everything about this song sounds lazy, from the extremely mediocre production which continues throughout this album to the lack of any rhythmic change. Furthermore, possibly the worst element on this track is the heavy auto-tune used. Instead of tastefully complimenting the track or Janis’ voice it is over exaggerated to a point where it feels like a genuine assault on the ears.  

Throughout the entire album there is not a hint of experimentation or uniqueness to be found, Janis exhausts every trap stereotype until the very end. Songs such as “I’m Done” are almost indistinguishable from the music of artists such as Lil Peep with the strung-out reverb guitar combined with yet another recycled trap beat followed by pretentious lyrics about drug use and depression. It’s seriously a struggle to point to any variation in sound on any song on this album. However, on the rare occasion Janis does change it up on tracks such as “Yesterday” with a more light-hearted vibe to the instrumental I’m somehow left even more appalled by what I’m hearing. The instrumental of this track sounds like what you hear playing down your phone when you get put on hold by the dentists.  

As well as musically, lyrically this album has very little to show for it and is at times comically thoughtless. Whilst the album tackles serious issues such as suicidal ideation and drug use particularly on songs such as “I’m Done” and “Faith” the way in which Janis discusses these issues is so lacking in substance or eloquence of any kind that it completely takes away from any meaningfulness or authenticity. For example, works of profound lyrical genius such as “I just really wanna die…I just really wanna fly cos I’m going fucking mad”, “drugs in my nose good drugs in my cup” or “I fuck it all the time I do everything wrong/I fuck it all the time I don’t know how it’s gone”. With such hollow and idle lyricism, it almost seems like Janis is simply co-opting the aesthetics of drug use and depression to further blend into the emo trap category.  

Last but most certainly not least, I must emphasise my extreme displeasure with the same strong auto-tune Janis uses on his voice on track after track of this album which makes any singing talent he may have completely indistinguishable. It becomes genuinely painful to listen to by even the middle of this album. I mean Jesus Christ, if the corny and melodramatic lyrics weren’t enough I cannot take a single word I’m hearing from this guy seriously when he sounds like a moody, teenage robot has broken into the recording studio and stolen the mic.  

Overall, this album is formulaic from start to finish, and whilst following a basic formula can still make for a very pleasant listening experience for me even this opportunity for a redeeming feature is snatched away by the exhausted thick layers of auto-tune, highly repetitive nature of the songs structure and soulless, vapid lyricism.  

If you’re a fan of heavily auto-tuned, clichéd lyrics about drugs and suicide over a generic trap beat highly derivative of pioneers of the emo trap genre, this album might well be up your street. In fact, I would even recommend it to you. But if you’re listening to “Northern Lights” with the expectation of hearing anything authentic or innovative, I must warn you to be prepared for disappointment.