'Headspace': Born Stranger's Maddox Jones embarks on solo career and delivers a perfectly crafted pop record
From evocative dance-pop bops to romantic musings about life, this is a feel-good album that demonstrates Jones's mastery over the pop genre
British singer and songwriter Maddox Jones from the superlative pop act Born Stranger is branching out on his own as a solo artiste with his debut EP 'Headspace', out Thursday, July 10 via Radikal / Quattro Records.
'Headspace' is Jones' first major foray into solo work, having fronted Born Stranger for the last few years. Initially debuting as one half of the duo Born Stranger in 2018, David Maddox-Jones and the name 'Born Stranger' soon became synonymous with one another after Jones took over the reins and steered the act's sound through his soulful vocals, stellar songwriting, and groovy melodies. Over time, he began to push the boundaries of his own sonic vision, taking Born Stranger from pop to something more unique to the band itself.
Described by ROUGH as a "pop chameleon," Born Stranger became a one-of-a-kind genre-hopping act that seemingly found inspiration in everyone from Depeche Mode to The Weeknd, demonstrating a sort of mastery over pop that sets the band apart from its contemporaries. And now, Jones is stepping out from under the Born Stranger shadow and reintroducing himself to the world with 'Headspace'. While fronting a band like Born Stranger is no easy task, one has to appreciate the difficulty that goes along with taking one's artistry from a group project to a solo one.
Jones had his fair share of experience playing and collaborating with other artistes, and to that end, is no stranger to working in the capacity of a solo artiste. But standing alone and allowing his deepest emotions to flow through some of the most personal songs he has ever written was a completely different experience for the singer-songwriter. Free from any restrictions, this new creative process allowed the talented artiste to develop a body of work that features lyrics that delve into vulnerable themes blended with an exploration of a diverse sound palette. The result is a personal journey through hedonism, love, loss, and the pain of growing up, all echoed by Jones's honest vocals.
Perhaps the greatest example of Jones's musical journey comes in the form of the album's title track, 'Headspace'. Written by Jones and recorded and produced in a single day with close friend and producer Dave Crawford, 'Headspace' moves through an initial sparse production to a complex synth-washed pop number, before turning into a hands-in-the-air, eyes-closed soundscape, all while Jones builds his warm tenor to a propulsive chorus.
Speaking about the song, Jones states, "It’s a song that kept me company in the dead of night when I was used to sleeping next to somebody and found myself alone. It can force you to take a proper look at yourself when you only have yourself for company. I wonder if maybe lots of people might be feeling a bit like this right now, if they're isolating alone in this pandemic. It’s about searching for a connection with someone when they’re going through something hard and you just want to be there for them, to be a safe space for them."
These emotions have been translated into warm and comforting visuals with the evoking video accompanying the single, a collection of Instagrammable moments perfectly depicting the song’s yearning for meaningful connection. Both the song and its accompanying video begin solemnly and built into a stupendously cathartic release on a track that is both an evocative gem as well as a dance anthem. The rest of the album takes the listener through highs and lows and showcases Jones's remarkable ability to tell a clear, succinct story through his work. Each track speaks to you on some level, and each track demonstrates Jones's gift as a vocalist and a songwriter.
With 'Headspace', Maddox Jones is all set to step out into the limelight and make an impact on the international music scene as one of the most exciting emerging artistes of the year.