Throughout history there’s always many artists in every generation, who are truly able to capture that moment in time. Quite perfectly through their art. Becoming the voice of not only heartbreak, vulnerability, honesty and soul, but also a painstaking relatability. That everyone, new and old. Can truly relate to. Once in a lifetime artists that are also able to standout amongst their peers. Who are authentic to the very soul of the art. Their timeless classic vocals, lyrics, songwriting, production, growth, arrangements and raw feelings that they’re able to channel. Helping perfectly describe the many temporary highs and lows. One goes through in not only the tumultuous journey of falling in and out of love throughout a lifetime, but the many other highs and lows. That one goes through in other aspects of just life in general. Artists that are truly authentic and timeless. Just like their music and can really fit in almost any musically great era. From her very cinematic and timeless mini-movie EP, Don’t Explain, FEELS and -Ugh, those feels again. Snoh Aalegra, has continously over and over again. Proved to be that artist for this generation.
The Swedish/Iranian singer and songwriter. Who was born in Sweden, but has resided in Los Angeles for nearly a decade. Proving so yet again with her, a couple of months ago released latest solo album, TEMPORARY HIGHS IN THE VIOLET SKIES. Which despite once again like its predecessor’s, being executive produced by her ARTium Recordings label head. Legendary Chicago producer, No I.D. Is Aalegra’s most expansive release to date. Which you can tell when you see how eye-popping and expensive her eyes and jewlery look on the photo of her as the cover to the album.
I don’t know if it’s due to this also being her first Roc Nation release. But the cinematic soul sound we are used to is still there, but also expanding on that sound as well. With several other producer’s outside of the regular contributions we have come to expect from the likes of No I.D., Maneesh, Christian Rich, Doctor O, Joel Compass, and Dpat & Atu. On the majority of Aalegra’s previous releases. Also calling on such big names as The Neptunes and Tyler, the Creator. As well as Terrace Martin. Just to name a few of the producer’s she worked with for the first time on one of her project’s.
Like her previous releases. TEMPORARY HIGHS IN THE VIOLET SKIES. Once again finds Aalegra exploring the many highs and lows of love and romance. Wheter it be the euphoric bliss of being in love or the painstakingly raw feelings of heartbreak, self-doubt or even love-infused insecurity. So many of us wrestle our hearts with in the tug-of-war love journey in our lifetimes. Which is why the title of the album fits so perfectly too.
Those feelings of indecisiveness and struggling with that tug-of-war. Of what distinct definition you had with a partner really was. Explored on the very remarkably amazing No I.D.-produced opening record. Appropriately titled, INDECISIVE and co-produced by, Johan Lenox. Where with the dreamy production you hear within the first few seconds, Aalegra’s lush and more mature heavenly vocals. That’s a true standout record, broken down so beautifully into three parts. That is the perfect intoroduction to the album too. That lets you know what a truly dreamy and amazing album you are in for. That perfectly segues into another standout. With the previously released. Very emotionally soulful single, LOST YOU. That finds Aalegra singing once again all the soulfully emotional feels we have come to expect from her about an uncertain love affair. In which Aalegra lost a love she didn’t want to leave. Another tell all tale of both love and regret that so many can relate to. Which also once again shows Aalegra’s great storytelling and songwriting too.
As previously mentioned. Though there is a lot of records that stick to Aalegra’s tried and trued proven formula. There is a lot of records that also shows how much she has grown and brought on new creative influences. Such as the very standout The Neptunes-produced, IN YOUR EYES. Where Pharrell incorporates his signature four-count and ad-libs. The giddy energy he infuses on the record making it easily one of the best records on not only the album. But even arguably so far of Aalegra’s career. With the way she’s able to shapesift so seamlessly and shine. With the lyrics about being seen through a lover’s eyes and deliver what’s easily one of the most memorable hooks on the album. That you can also tell was very heavily-influenced by one of her biggest inspirations. The late great, Michael Jackson. That then perfectly segues into the very sneaky good Christian Rich-produced, JUST LIKE THAT. A song in which Aalegra really shows her sexual prowess so effortlessly over the incredibly mesmerizing and watery synth hook. In a way we aren’t normally used to hearing from her. Where she seems like she is absolutely transfixed by a higher power, losing all functions but the blissful coo of her vocals. As she sings such carefree sensual lyrics as, “Go deeper, do what I say so. (Yeah). Say my name, say it like you know it. (Yeah) Take my breath from when you go. (Yeah). ‘Cause I like that.”
The incredible run that Aalegra has to start the album and is one of the better five track runs you will ever hear to start an album. Doesn’t stop there either. As the, Tyler, the Creator-produced standout, NEON PEACH. That’s the first of two Tyler produced and featured tracks on the album. Is a true 80’s-influenced jam. That you can definitely hear the Janet Jackson influence in Aalegra’s vocals too. For a record that is also one of those very infectious ones. You just can’t get enough of and would be perfect as a single. Especially with the way Aalegra and Tyler both complement each other so perfectly on it. Even despite the growled guest verses normally not fitting. It’s somehow able to work though. Showing the true genius of Tyler too.
As we reach near the midway point of the album. Aalegra delivers what are arguably not only the two best tracks on the album with, WE DON’T HAVE TO TALK ABOUT IT and TANGERINE DREAM. But two of the best records in Aalegra’s already great and extensive discography. Starting with the very beautifully and super emotional No I.D. and Doctor O co-produced, WE DON’T HAVE TO TALK ABOUT IT. A very beautifully power ballad. In which Aalegra over the fleetingly beautiful drums, gives by far her most soulfully emotional and heartfelt performance of the whole album. As she sings about yet another post breakup song. That she has become an expert at. With such clever lyrics as, “You say we in it for the long haul. I didn’t even get to U-Haul. I didn’t even get that far. We didn’t even get that far. But we don’t have to talk about it. No, no, we don’t have to talk about it.” Truly cutting home on the miscommunication so many have in relationships. That’s the root of what makes so many of them eventually not work out. The transition from that into the very dreamy Joel Compass-produced, TANGERINE DREAM. Is truly one of those heartbreaking, yet beautifully dreamy records. That is so smooth and laidback. It really lets you feel all of the deep emotions of heartbreak and what truly could have been. As Aalegra really shows off her truly great storytelling, songwriting and dreamy heavenly vocals. As she sings so beautifully about a dreamscape she has running into an ex on a plane. Thinking of what could have been in that relationship. That was never going to work, but you still have regret over it. The diary and conversation like tone that’s so relatable to so many. Among the many reasons why it’s not only arguably the best track on the album or even her career. But that you may possibly ever hear in your life.
The actual midway point of the album, sees Aalegra breaking down the title track up into two tracks. That could have easily been one track. But they still work this way. With the brief interlude like, TEMPORARY HIGH. Finding Aalegra giving a very woozy performance with her heavenly angelic vocals truly being showcased. As she driftingly questions the motives about being single. While crooning some echoing vocal runs. That perfectly sets up the Swagg R’Celious & Sensei Bueno co-produced, VIOLET SKIES. A beautiful melody that sounds like a nursery rhyme. With the way Aalegra is able to so seamlessly sing about the beautifully perfect, Violet Skies. So many of us hopeless romantics long for in a perfect, not always reachable romantic bliss. That then perfectly segues into the Tyler, the Creator-produced and featured, IN THE MOMENT. Yet another great collaboration between both Aalegra and Tyler. That so brilliantly sees them in an almost passionate falsetto arguing back and forth. Blaming each other about why things went wrong in a relationship. For a record that standouts because of how many people can relate to it. Whether you have ever been in a romantic relationship or not.
As we reach the latter part of the album. Aalegra goes back to something more familiar with the other last feature on the album. Her longtime labelmate and fellow great singer and songwriter, James Fauntleroy. Who makes a very great connection with his guest spot on the outro to the very beautifully nostalgic standout, ON MY MIND. That lets Aalegra over the very airy smooth drums and keys backed nostalgic production from Sevn Thomas, Leon Thomas and Ali P. To so beautifully and magically vulnerably sing and croon about an inability to forget about a past lover. Fauntleroy also doing the same as the perfect complement to Aalegra on the outro to the track. Their voices in tandem to close the record, so syrupy and beautiful. To show they still have as great a chemistry as they did on their previous collaboration, Charleville 9200. That’s also still among of the top and fan favorite records in Aalegra’s ever-growing great discography. That then perfectly seguing into the No I.D.-produced, TASTE. That Terrace Martin also co-produced and sees Aalegra curiously adopting to and using auto-tune. As well as a more repetitive chorus to the current R&B sound. That she is somehow able to make work though. As she reminisces about the hunger for love. So many long for. When they are longing for just getting a taste, before actually getting love with someone.
Reaching the last three tracks of the album. Aalegra gives everything of her heart and soul she pours out onto one of my personal favorites. That’s easily one of the best records not only on the album, but so far from her discography. With the appropriately titled, EVERYTHING. That finds Aalegra over the beautifully slowed-done piano-laden production from Aalegra herself, Sensei Bueno and Mellodust. Singing so beautifully about all love that is, “everything to,” her. As part of the chorus suggests. One of those beautifully magical baby-making type records. That really is everything. With the way Aalegra. Truly is able to showcase her very beautiful vocals, songwriting and message on the record. As well as another aspect that’s great from Aalegra with her said to have also produced part of the record. That perfectly seguing into yet another truly standout record from the singer. With,the previously released lead single to the album, DYING 4 YOUR LOVE. The very soulfully amazing P2J-produced record. Finding Aalegra over the very thumping drums and soulful keys of P2J. Singing all the soulfully emotional feels we have come to expect from her about an uncertain love affair. In which she is willing to be, “dying for.” As part of the chorus suggests. The album then perfectly closing out with the Dpat & Atu-produced, SAVE YOURSELF. A very emotional futuristic sounding record. In which Aalegra over the rainy-sounding backdrop, emotionally reminisces about a love she once had and will always love. But she also knows she’s good without no longer having. Aalegra even in perfect harmony, telling herself how she should save herself. By not ever going back to this person, even despite how much love she will always have for them.
Overall, TEMPORARY HIGHS IN THE VIOLET SKIES. Though not as great as her last album, -Ugh, those feels again. Which is still by far Snoh Aalegra’s best album to date. Is still a very remarkably great album. That’s her most mature and expansive to date. That shows even in experimenting with some Pop and other sounds. R&B/Soul will always be at the forefront of Aalegra’s sound. No matter how much it grows and expands. This is yet another very honest, vulnerably emotional and moving album from Aalegra. That’s also another timeless masterpiece album from her as well. That will once again get plenty of spins and make plenty of year-end lists for not only top R&B album. But arguably even the top album across all of music released so far here in 2021. Perhaps with how much Aalegra’s sound has expanded on this album. It’s will even get her a long overdue Grammy nomination as well.