What is Going On? by Hannah Jadagu album review by Adam Fink for Northern Transmissions

Sub Pop


Hannah Jadagu

What is Going On?

The technology to write and record a song on your own, anywhere, has been something that has just been getting better and better with each passing year. While the technology exists for anyone to record an album on their phone, it doesn’t mean that anyone should. Hannah Jadagu is the exception.

The 18 year old producer, singer and songwriter has crafted an amazing debut EP, What is Going On? which is out now via Sub Pop Records, using only her iPhone 7, GarageBand and her obvious natural talent. The five song EP is a dreamy blend of synth pop and indie rock that traverses the emotional experience of being a young Black woman in America. The Texas born, New York based phenom is clearly wise beyond her years and this comes through in the way she is able to make her very personal songs seem wholly universal.

The EP kicks off with “My Bones” and it’s a powerful introduction into Hannah’s world. The song, with its sharp opening synth drone opens the door into a world of romantic haze but while the music is light and ethereal the message that Jadagu is expressing is anything but. Based on the influx of media surrounding the treatment of Black women, Jadagu sings, “You can take my bones/And place them home/They won’t find out”, this refrain repeated in a dizzyingly hypnotic manner packs a subtle yet powerful punch. Jadagu explores a golden hour haze on “Sundown”, with it’s stacked background vocals that build throughout the track emphasising her experience when life felt overwhelmed with school, work and prepping for the future. She sings “When the day grows old/I’m not cut out for this” over a loopy groove and blurry guitars. Album stunner, “What is Going On?” is an absolute summer jam with a flowing, comfortable rhythm and ear worm of a guitar hook. Jadagu taps into that feeling of being young and in love and is able to share the excitement of all of it.

What is Going On? is an excellent introduction to Jadagu’s talent. It’s very telling of this talent that she is able to conjure intense emotions with such simplicity. If this is what Jadagu can do with only a phone and guitar, it’s so intriguing to consider where she may go from here. In the meantime, her debut EP is a wonderful thing to dig into and spend some quality time enjoying what Hannah Jadagu has shared with us today.

Order What Is Going On by Hannah Jadagu HERE

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