[Album Review] “Classical Notions of Happiness” by Jordana

Jordana is a Maryland-born and newly ascended bedroom pop-rocker here to bestow her re-released debut project titled “Classical Notions of Happiness”.

Jordana explores self reflection and relationships on her debut album.

Source: Bandcamp

Jordana is a Maryland-born and newly ascended bedroom pop-rocker here to bestow her re-released debut project titled Classical Notions of Happiness. Finding her big break with Grand Jury Music, her freshman album got to hit commercial streaming services, and the masses alike, on March 27th 2020. 

  1. Remembering U
  2. Jackie’s 15
  3. Intrusive Thoughts
  4. I Wanna
  5. Interlude
  6. Canvas
  7. Calvary
  8. What Were You Thinking
  9. Losing It
  10. Weight of the World
  11. Sway
  12. Signs
  13. Crunch

Jordana begins the album with a gorgeous and intimate ukulele ballad reminiscing about someone in her past. A short song to be sure, but effective in the way she not only introduces herself, but the record as well. This theme continues throughout the album. The way the songs come together, and how they only last as long as they need to. She eliminates the fluff and filler to ensure the listeners are obtaining every point she wants to get across. For example, “Intrusive Thoughts” is not only comedic in the way she likens throwing her cat in the air to her unwanted thoughts, but the runtime of the track is a solid two and a half minutes of an arguably perfect song.

Source: Bandcamp

Continuing, we dive into the record’s storytelling. While it’s far from conceptual, it carries an underlying theme of introspection and relationships. Many of the songs that further these themes include “I Wanna”, “Intrusive Thoughts”, “Signs”, and “Crunch”. One of my favorite songs of this record has to be “I Wanna”. It’s a somber and quiet little piece where Jordana expresses her desires with vivid imagery. While the production comes off like a Sunday morning, it has an underlying sadness. Perhaps because we can’t always have the things we want. 

Another incredible cut is “Signs”. Bolstering some acidic synths and groovy bass lines, it makes for a great tune. Jordana has a way with making many of these songs comical, without compromising it’s integrity. Joking that she can’t be with someone because their star signs don’t match, has to be one of the funniest things I’ve heard in music this year. 

Getting into the instrumentation, production and vocal performances, it’s not bad at all. Many of the guitar melodies and solo lines may not be the most groundbreaking, but they are effective and interesting to listen to nonetheless. I have absolutely no gripes with the production at all, in fact it’s almost perfect. It ensures every song gets the love and attention it needs, in order to be heard the way it was intended. With the production in mind, Jordana has found a way to use her vocals in many ways to further her signature sound on this record. From the background vocals to melodies and simply as a vessel for her lyrics, which are also thoroughly thought out. 

Now let’s get into the few things that fell short for me personally. These shortcomings would include some very minor sonic issues. For instance, in the song “Sway”, there are some shrill guitars that come in almost unexpectedly and somewhat throw the song off course. Among other things, the interludes feel underwhelming. They do their job fine, but I feel they could be more bold and experimental. Perhaps some of the vocal performances could be more refined but at this point, I’m reaching for straws.

This record thoroughly surprised me. Never truly gone into a record with almost no context or knowledge beforehand, and I didn’t need to either. Jordana has made a name for herself surfing the wave of bedroom pop, and has done so convincingly. While this project isn’t perfect, it’s a slow burning and adorable album that has been on repeat. Being as good as this debut album is, I am excited to see where she goes next!

Rating B+

Classical Notions of Happiness by Jordana features tracks written and produced by MELVV and Jordana. Now available on all major streaming platforms, as well vinyl via Bandcamp.