Common Kings – Lost In Paradise
1.) Lost in Paradise
2.) Mary Wanna
3.) I Want Your Body
4.) Take Her
5.) License to Smoke
8.) Everybody Wants to Fool the World
9.) Speaking My Language
10.) Always Beside You
12.) Wide Awake
The Pier Album Rating:
Release Date: February 3rd, 2017
Record Label: Island Empire Records
Official Website: Common Kings Website
Originally from Orange County, CA -– Common Kings have been continuing their forward charge after picking up steam with their recent Hits & Mrs EP from 2015. Building on their momentum, they’ve been able to grab the attention and turn heads of their listeners with every track release and live show, blending their unique style of reggae with hints of R&B, pop and classic soul influences. Over the past couple of years they have had the opportunity to support and collaborate with many artists including Justin Timberlake, Ballyhoo!, Tomorrow’s Bad Seeds, Meghan Trainor and more. The group prides themselves on drawing their influences from every direction and genre of music imaginable, which is made evident by the way it ingrains itself into their music. The group is comprised of lead vocalist JR King, guitarist Taumata Grey (T Grey), bassist Ivan Kirimaua (Uncle Lui), and drummer Jerome Taito (Rome).
While Common Kings has a couple of EP’s and plenty of song releases already under their belt, Lost in Paradise is their debut full-length album and is their best work yet. The general feel of the album certainly contains their own unique style of reggae and island-centric mannerisms, but Lost in Paradise can be highlighted by its overall relaxing vibes, chill tones and radio-friendly selection of tracks with an overarching reggae-pop feel.
The biggest contributor to the album is far and away the self-titled lead-off track “Lost in Paradise.” Already considered to be a top hit within the reggae community upon its release as a single in December, the highly dance-able track help sets the tone early led by the simplistic guitar vibes, a sneaky, catchy chorus and top-notch vocal efforts from JR King (which you will find is a common theme for the duration of the album). The song ebbs and flows from start to finish and dares you not to play it again before progressing to the rest of the album –- good luck with that.
Moving on to the rest of the album, listeners are greeted with a strong second track “Mary Wanna” -– layered with a compelling bass/guitar duel-intro and progressive drumming, all the while building towards another appealing chorus. “I Want Your Body” is next in the lineup with tough shoes to fill from the first two tracks. The song is highlighted by another this-will-get-stuck-in-your-head chorus and more rhythmic guitar work accompanied by some nice, deep bass. “Take Her” follows up as the fourth and shortest track of the album, allowing listeners to retreat to a more mellow state of mind; one of several songs that offers more of a romantic theme for the duration of the song. “License to Smoke,” follows suit as the next track with a relaxing aura and more solid guitar work from T Grey.
Listeners may not know it right away, but as the sixth track “Stretch” invades their speakers, they are listening to a track co-written by Justin Bieber and notable producer Jason ‘Poo Bear’ Boyd (who has previously worked with Usher, Lupe Fiasco, Justin Bieber and more). The track slows things down with its majestic introduction and helps listeners unwind with its ‘loosen-up’ feel. “Run” immediately follows to kick things back up a notch with more cohesive instrumentals to define itself as perhaps the most definitive reggae track on the album.
A hidden gem late in the album, “Everybody Wants to Fool the World” is up next -– The song lures in listeners with a quiet and simplistic intro and progresses quickly to reveal a loaded and contagious chorus. “Speaking My Language” lulls the listener to sleep with its tender, candle-lit feel assembled from more light instrumentals and is carried by more great vocal support from JR King. “Always Beside You” enters next with a dance-able piano intro and incorporates a light horn section throughout the song, and is followed up by “Pray”, a quick yet progressive and uplifting track with positive messaging. The album concludes with another soothing track “Wide Awake,” embracing and emphasizing the take-it-easy vibes made evident throughout the rest of the album in its entirety.
A fresh dozen from the rising Orange County quartet highlighted by the exceptional self-titled single, Lost in Paradise has plenty of substance to give itself an identity. Common Kings make a statement with Lost in Paradise that they are one of the leading artists who most successfully infuse an overall pop sound into their music. There is plenty of feel-good imagery in Common Kings’ music that will leave you longing to be somewhere tropical and the songs render themselves very repeatable for plenty of listens after the first. Overall, this is a great debut from a group with massive potential for the future.
Written & Reviewed By: Brian Glaser
[Editors Note: All reviews are reflective of the album in it’s entirety, from start to finish. These reviews are the honest opinion of each writer/reviewer expressing their feedback as a genuine fan of the music. Each star rating reflects their review of the album, NOT the band. Music is subjective. Regardless of the review or star rating, we encourage you to listen to the music yourself & form your own opinion. Spread the awareness of all music in its art & contribution]
Watch: Common Kings – “Lost In Paradise”