I’ve never been a James Reid fan—and no, I don’t go around like I deserve a medal for not being one.
But it takes only 10 seconds to be easily converted into a fan. In my case, it only took 10 seconds of “Down Low” to do the trick.
There’s a reason why “Palm Dreams” is James Reid’s most talked about album to date. Does his fame immediately make this album an instant success? Is it loved because it’s more sophisticated than his previous records? Or did no one simply think he was capable of producing such tracks?
While these may be the case, we’d like to think otherwise. It would be quite unfair to credit the unprecedented success of “Palm Dreams” to any of these factors. Instead, we should acknowledge the album for what it is: A good record regardless of who the singer is and what songs he has been singing (yup, one of them being “Energy Gap”).
The album isn’t some artist awakening—nor does it have to be—even as it challenges the limit set for actors-turned-recording stars.
The superstars of television are often manufactured to produce records, for the sole reason that these releases easily hit the multiplatinum mark. But the famous actor dispelled the frequent practice and independently curated a good mix of EDM ballads.
The nine-track “Palm Dreams” doesn’t have a clear edge in the genre it wishes to place itself in, but the Hip-hop and R&B-flavored album features a consistent palette of low-key dance beats paired with decently catchy lyrics that can hook listeners in a trance.
The songs aren’t the usual serenades or proclamations of love in verse. Instead, these contain straightforward rushes of emotion—or more particularly, of desire. But even as Reid sings stories of intimacy, songs have never felt this distant.
It has its parts where it dazzles with blitz of ambient tones and synth chords, but it’s not entirely experimental. Every track falls perfectly into a single mood, its indistinct tunes failing to give each song individuality.
However, we still let it inhabit an eargasmic space as it submerges listeners into a tropical party, that often detours to passionate grooves. The grungy and cool vibe perfectly blends with Reid’s downy vocals. Although tonally familiar, Reid’s newest releases deserve a spot on our daily playlists.
“Palm Dreams” is capable of turning countless of skeptics into fans with a single track. It is the album James Reid has always meant to create and we just hope there’s more where that came from.