Looking to receive a Bachelor’s degree in May, Justin Garner has developed a “good college boy” image. On his latest offering, Sound of My Heart, the artist fleshes out his musical persona, dedicating songs of love to girls in the classroom and beyond.
When I think of Garner’s sound, I think of a young, My Way-era Usher on a space shuttle. The young crooner’s work has a unique flair, but still holds universal appeal. For example, Rockit is a slow r&b burner with a victorious vibe and plenty of pop potential. Songs like Play in the Dark are sensual without being raunchy; I told you he was a good boy. It seems like Garner has found his own style with Sound of My Heart, but were six songs enough for him to achieve a true artistic breakthrough?
I’d say no. One of my issues with most EPs is that they don’t leave enough space to show depth as an artist, especially a new artist. The concept is to put a few of your best songs into (usually) 35 to 40 minutes or less and make them mesh. Sound of My Heart suffers from the same ailment that has plagued so many other EPs: it sounds more like six of Justin’s best tunes than a unified experience.
Luckily, this project’s rich production and high-quality songwriting makes up for its missteps. Justin’s voice, while not quite as exciting as those of the reigning r&b heavyweights, seems to be getting more distinct with each release, and he clearly has the potential to carve out his own niche in the industry. I just wish that Sound of My Heart added up to a more consistent and cohesive whole. Songs like “Luv Gun” are the type of lovers’ anthems that make this project truly sound like Garner’s heart on wax, but offerings like Start Me Up sound forced.
The heart is a complex thing – so complex that even an artist as talented as Justin Garner isn’t able to fully describe in only six songs. But I’d be interested to see him build on this concept on a larger scale.
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|01||Sound of My Heart|
|02||Start Me Up|
|06||Play In The Dark|
|07||Take Me Back|
|08||Like It Or Not|