As CTV3 chronologically fits in the Jaden discography as a prequel to SYRE (and it shows), the album also shares the sonic kinship of ERYS with the majority of the album played with acoustic and heavily reverbed guitar, and bright woodwinds, that mirror the distorted guitar and heavy bass on ERYS.
It’s use of instrumentation creates a summery soundscape reminiscent of flower childs, and the peace movement that sits in the pocket of the laid back 60’s and throughout the album transitions to early 70’s swing, with songs placed throughout that remind you this is a 2020 album with a few sections of heavy bass and snares. It doesn’t sound like anything Jaden has released previously but that’s the norm for him and his listeners and out of his albums I think this is his most realized. He sounds the most comfortable on CTV3.
Whereas SYRE aesthetically and sonically had a lot of sadness in dealing with heartbreak as SYRE grows into himself, Cool Tape Vol. 3 (CTV3), is that peak adolescence of burgeoning relationships where things really are sunshine and daisies. His use of vocal harmonization’s and horns really have you feeling almost lovedrunk. “Falling For You” with Justin Beiber is simply talking about diving headfirst in to love, and sounds so pretty its almost easy listening. This is frolicking in a flowery field music. This that red and white tablecloth on the grass with cheese and wine music.
As the album follows the idealization of a relationship, to the disillusionment of one leading to the birth of SYRE, the sheer happiness and colorful soundscape pulls you in to reminiscing of your first early love, and the feelings that sprung from that.
With most of CTV3 being heavily sung, almost coming off as a frontman for a band on “Cabin Fever”, yet goes in with scattered raps and verses snuck into many songs that are truly a quality over quantity mentality. The only songs that could be considered majority rap is “Rainbow Bap”, “Young in Love” and “Sunburnt” with the former pulling all of the moments of brilliance Jaden has showcased throughout his discography and brings it all together in what could sonically fit in a Beatles album.
Sunburnt brings back the musical rewind found in the beginning of the album with plucked guitar as he laments about the girl of his dreams being the enemy. Where sonically and lyrically it sounds like a dangerous waltz where one wrong step would mean death as he spits bars about poetry and writing, taking LSD and ERYS references as the second verse is full of misdirections for those who don’t fully understand their history.
He wears a lot of his influences on his sleeve as 60’s rock and roll, to 70’s swing, to California surfer vibes. “Deep End sounds like it could fit on Tame Impala’s “Currents” album with the thick bassline, shaking tambourines and vocal delivery. He even clearly brings back SYRE’S poetic cadence, flow and sound (found at length on SYRE).
Boys and Girls is like an epilogue with a bright hope for the next generation, bringing a group of children to help in the chorus, with a chanting, stomping and clapping that reminds me of those pop punk crowd vocal breakdowns. When the chorus comes in it already sounds like just listening is helping change the world.
Jaden had clear intention with this album and its aesthetics, to have an alternative to the stereotypes of what the media presents as what an album from a black youth should sound like yet showing the rapping mechanics and sonic drizzles of what the current soundscape is like giving his peers a respectful nod. This is another example of how wide, all-encompassing the concept of rap, and hip-hop music can be and I’m here for the influence it has on hip-hop in later down the road.