Out of her bedroom and onto one of the most coveted labels to have for a new musician, Hannah Jadagu’s Aperture arrives like a breath of fresh air — diaristic and earnest songwriting atop indie rock and alternative R&B.
Aperture’s songs are great as a one-off listen embedded in a Spotify playlist, but its hazy and languid atmosphere make for a satisfying deep-dive as an album standing on its own. On the highlight “Warning Sign”, Jadagu analyzes her own self-destructing behavior over a glitchy, jazzy soundscape: “Every time I get this far / It always falls apart… / Never see a warning sign.” On other tracks like “Say It Now” or “Lose”, there’s a sense of timidness, not in the style of songwriting, but in what she’s actually singing. “It’s best if this is something new,” she sings on the latter song, “So why am I scared to lose?”
On other spots on the album though, her vulnerability is her strength. “Admit It,” written to her sister, describes the back-and-forth relationship they have, and the danger of it crossing the territory into being transactional and the anxieties this produces. “Hate that you think I would just ignore you,” she sings, after saying, “I will admit I want to be there for you.” She breaks ties with a former partner on “What You Did,” and sometimes, her frankness is shocking in the best way, like on the confession “I’m dreaming about you screwing me / Over now” on “Dreaming.”
There’s plenty of rock-infused tracks where it would be beneficial to let loose and explore with different registers of her voice, like how Maggie Rogers adapted on Surrender, but Jadagu largely sings small in hushed tones. It works well on “Warning Sign” and the existential, devastating “Explanation”, but you wonder what a fully formed and experimental version of Jadagu might sound like on tracks like “What You Did.” The writing, too, sometimes veers into familiar territory — “Shut Down” speaks of sleepless nights; “Scratch the Surface” about quick relationships — but are negligible: she’s only 20, after all.
Jadagu’s star power was evident with the determination to record an EP — 2021’s What Is Going On? — on her iPhone shortly after graduating high school. Aperture is a look at what happens when you let creative potential have a chance to bloom. She speaks real truths and scenes of romance and heartbreak on easy riffs and tangible hooks, and a debut album this consistently entertaining is impressive. All signs point to the obvious: Hannah Jadagu is one to watch.
Order Aperture by Hannah Jadagu HERE
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