Two years after the release of his beloved album The Human Condition, indie pop R&B artist Jon Bellion has dropped his fifth studio album called Glory Sound Prep. The record was available for download and streaming worldwide on November 9th, 2018, just seven days after the third single drop off the album.
The record begins with the first single released prior to the album Conversations with my Wife, a beautiful love ballad dedicated to Bellion’s wife, as per the title. The lyrics involve Jon questioning his wife’s commitment to him beyond the internet and social media. It seems that he desires for their love to be real and last outside of follower counts and musical fame. The use of the word “wife” confused some fans, as it was unclear whether Bellion was indeed married or not. After some digging, a fan on Twitter discovered that the singer was in fact married since the beginning of the year, at least up to that point as it is still unclear of Jon’s current relationship status.
The second song on the album as well as the second single released off Glory Sound Prep called “JT” involves Bellion reminiscing on the past when he used to dream of where he’s at in his life right now. As the pre-chorus goes “Lay me down, put me out. Call me home, let me know. I’m ready to go, ’cause I was down, now, I’ve flown. Oh, what’s reality lately?” suggests that the singer is reflecting on how his current reality seems like a dream, as he’s living out his dreams in real life. The title of the song, “JT” as well as the use of the name “John Travolta” in the lyrics is a play on words in conjunction with the country “Greece”, as Travolta starred in the popular film & musical “Grease” in 1978. Bellion posted an audio snippet with cool animation to his Instagram prior to it’s initial release.
The album continues with rap masterpiece “Let’s Begin” featuring Travis Mendes, B.Keyz, RZA & Roc Marciano and the third and final single released off Glory Sound Prep “Stupid Deep”. “Stupid Deep” involves Bellion reflecting yet again on his life, as well as questioning the driving force behind his accomplishments up to this point in his career have only been attempts to fill a large hole in his heart- a heart that, to him, feels bottomless. Jon also seems to wonder whether the things he currently hopes for may be the very things he already has. Bellion’s vocal progression throughout this particular song is a masterpiece to behold- he is an artist who consistently is fearless when admitting when he has succeeded as well as when he’s failed. This transparent style of music that he conveys through his own self-expression has us as committed and loyal fans.
The intermission song, “The Internet” is an upbeat dance anthem for any and all types of listeners. It is a continuation of the dialogue Bellion began in “Woke The F*ck Up” and touched on again in “Conversations With My Wife” about social media and the difference between the way people present their lives on these social platforms versus the way their lives actually are in reality. “The Internet” is essentially Bellion taking a humorous jab at how people in society have become so focused on how others view them & what they do on the internet and that their actual deeds no longer matter to them. The point seems to be that there’s this societal construct of “it’s not about the deed, it’s about making sure other people think it happened.” due to social media.
The sixth song on Glory Sound Prep is a love song from Jon to his wife. In “Blu”, Jon describes the internal struggles he’s facing as he crucifies aspects of himself and his life that he has always had control over, but now has to share as he falls deeper in love with his spouse; as said in the lyric “Then I realize, what the hell is love if you’re in complete control.” Jon seems to use word visuals like “shot into outer space” and “sinking into your ocean” to convey the daunting and helpless situation he’s discovered himself in; marriage and love have found Bellion in a more vulnerable state as he realizes how much he needs his wife’s love, all depicted in the animated cover art for the song. The word Blu most likely refers to his wife’s blue eyes and he describes falling in love as “falling into your blue”.
Continuing onto Adult Swim, the predominantly rap song features underground MC, Tuamie, as well as the voice of Piccolo on the famous anime, Dragon Ball Z. The eighth song off Glory Sound Prep, “Couples Retreat”, details a rocky relationship where both people involved are tense and have a lot to deal with/on their minds, but ultimately find peace with each other- especially when they “say sorry with [their bodies]”. The song’s production is a softer, slow-jam which is quite fitting for the overall message and being at the back end of the record.
Transitioning seamlessly into “Cautionary Tales”, this song depicts Jon Bellion as the headmaster, telling stories of treacherous and difficult paths and journeys that he’s been on. The overall message of the song is ultimately how fame and glory really block out everything and everyone in your life, and it really is the hardest of all the difficult journeys for Jon to face because of the physical and emotional toll it takes on him; as told in the bridge lyrics “It was never enough, he just needed saving from himself”. The song also unofficially features Will Smith’s additional vocals on the chorus, “Bang bang, the six, the seven. Hey hey, the king, the legend. Bang bang, the truth, the weapon.”
The album closes with lengthy, eight-minute masterpiece “Mah’s Joint” featuring Quincy Jones. This song is Jon talking to his mother and sharing a story of hers, as well as the toll it’s taken on him to watch her suffer. It seems as though his grandmother is sick with a degenerative brain disease and as she becomes progressively iller, things only become much more difficult for his mother, who seems to be taking care of her at her home. Bellion dedicated this song to his mother in her honor to share an appreciation for the memories that he’s gained from this experience.
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