Jelani Lateef – Cold Days and Dark Nights
Jelani Lateef’s “Cold Days and Dark Nights” is a warm, welcoming album full of carefully selected samples and impeccable delivery. With a keen ear for melody and a knack for carefully constructed stories, Jelani Lateef brings these songs feel alive. Inspiration and striving for the future help to weave the songs together giving them a sense of purpose. The smooth samples and infectious grooves guide these songs forward.
Opening up with great fanfare on the aptly named “Action” Jelani Lateef brings together elements of electronic, hip hop, rock, and clever usage of samples to further emphasize the song’s message. For “Book of Life” Jelani Lateef lets a Shirley Bassey sample anchor the entirety of the song. Confidence oozes out of “I’m a Star” which is further heightened by the chopped up and manipulated samples. Slowing things down is “Look What You Done” where Jelani Lateef goes into more introspective territory. By far the highlight of the album is “How It Feels” where Jelani Lateef tells the story of how it feels to be trapped and the challenges that result from such a situation. Interestingly Jelani Lateef takes a curious turn for the story itself offering no clear resolution, simply anxiety. Quieter still is the reflective minimal work of “Flashback (cold days mix)”. Glitch effects define the flexible “Can’t Stop Now (cold days mix)”. Ending things on a high note is the powerful “Believe”.
The optimism and hope of “Cold Days and Dark Nights” shows what can happen with the development of self-confidence.