When Jhené Aiko dropped her third album Chilombo at the beginning of March no one could have imagined that life as we knew it then would change so drastically in a matter of days because of the coronavirus pandemic. The album quickly became one of our go-to projects to listen to calm our rattled nerves. Months later, we are still trying to adjust to this new normal, and Jhené is still here to soothe us with her newest release Chilombo (Deluxe), an expanded edition of her latest album. Featuring 9 new songs for a whopping total of 29 tracks altogether, Aiko had a lot more to say on Chilombo (Deluxe) and she shares some of her current thoughts on new single "Summer 2020."
"Summer 2020" builds on the track "Summer 2020 - interlude" from the original album. She replaces the piano from the interlude with a sample of Kool & The Gang's "Summer Madness." The familiar sound wraps us up in the warmth of nostalgia while Jhené's voice falls down like cool summer rain. On "Summer 2020" Aiko sings about feelings of joy and pain that this particular summer has brought. "I can’t wrap my head around what’s happening / I can’t sleep can’t get no peace of mind," she softly sings, subtly referencing the state of the world. Her lyrics get bolder as the song continues. "Times are changing, strange is getting stranger / Generations faced with genocide / Tryna make my way through pain and anger / Then I look into my baby’s eyes." Thankfully the warm and fuzzy feelings she has for her loved ones balance her rage and sadness.
The accompanying quarantine-style video for "Summer 2020" finds Jhené chilling alone in her magical backyard. She innocently entertains herself in a kiddie pool while computer-generated graphics surround her. Whether it's the moving pictures on the fence behind her, the 3D water that she plays with in the pool, the flowers that spontaneously bloom in her hair or the friendly butterflies and insects that join her, every scene is filled with fantastical elements that catch the eye. Yet and still, Aiko is the center of attention here, soaking up the sunshine and looking rather melancholy for the majority of the video to match the song's theme.
If you haven't listened to Chilombo (Deluxe) yet, grab a bottle of wine and indulge in its 29 tracks when you press play after you watch the "Summer 2020" video.