Saudade has had a few months to simmer for me, and at first I wasn’t sure what to expect from this former member of The Procussions. What I did like at first was that it was new music from Mr. J. Medeiros, someone who has been very hungry to create and be heard, so I admire his hustle and ambition. What caught me off guard, at least with this one, is how he has become a bit of a split personality, which might irk a few people but I wanted to give both of them a shot.
Does he have a split personality? No, but I do see him trying to cover wider ground than the norm. What is the norm these days? If you’re a rapper, you generally stay within the genre’s norm, but even those who are celebrated are breaking down walls. For Saudade, he’s splitting himself between writing and creating incredible sharp hip-hop tracks as he has for many years, but also dipping a bit into creating songs that are indie rock- and indie pop-friendly. It’s hard to tell what J.’s “saudade” is directed at, if it’s musical, a longing for something in his personal life, a metaphor for something he’s not able to grasp, but what I do hear is someone who is willing to search for whatever that thing is, even if he himself isn’t quite sure just yet. Is he continuing to look for a comfort zone? I will say that his indie pop work is just as good as his hip-hop, and could easily be used to either define or redefine him, depending on the path he chooses to take. If he can fine balance things, great, but I have a feeling he’s seeking something that will take him further than where he is at, musically, professionally, socially.
Should someone’s own musical direction irk others? Not at all, and I hope no one listens to Saudade thinks it’s misdirected, or it comes from someone who is unsure of which direction to go. “Is he trying to make hipster music?”, “is he breaking out for the sake of falling for any level of success he can find?”, I don’t know and I can’t say, I’m not him. But even listening to this is not a clue as to what he might do next. I read recently that he may be headed towards a more electronic route, or at least will bring that into his book of recipes. Maybe he realizes if people are truly listening, he’s going to throw out all of the treats, and I’m glad he’s doing this.
Favorite track: “So”.