Photo Credit: Nabil Elderkin
PartyMobile is the third studio album by Jahron Anthony Brathwaite, better known as PARTYNEXTDOOR. Party releases his music under Drake’s Toronto-based record label OVO (Warner Music Group). PartyMobile was released after a couple years of Party staying in the shadow, only being featured in other artists’ songs. We are presented with a neo-Jamaican sound and notes of afrobeat. However, the overall feeling is that Party wasn’t as enthusiastic about creating music as he was in previous projects. It seems as though the fact of releasing this album was a bigger priority than making something strong and memorable. Most verses are repetitive, which doesn’t give the album much lyrical volume.
Party’s voice sounds similar throughout the album, at times altered with a thick layer of Auto-Tune. This can give the impression that the artist was somewhat uninterested and a bit bored in the process. Of course, Party isn’t known for his vocals as much as his songwriting skills. He wrote “Work”, “Sex With Me” and the quintuple-platinum “Wild Thoughts” for Rihanna. Speaking of which, Rihanna being featured in the song “Believe it” is hands down the highlight of the album. The lyrics are basically about how it’s better to blindly believe your partner is faithful so you can continue the relationship and stay happy.
The opening track “Nothing less” starts at a slower, almost meditative tempo, reminding us vaguely of The Weeknd. The lines: “You get the best of me // Anything less you won’t accept it,” open up a discussion on choosing to see only good in your partner no matter their flawed actions are. The pace picks up in “Turn Up” where Party references Ini Kamoze’s “World A Music.” As far as references go, there is a brief nod to Michael Jackson’s “PYT” in “PGT” (“Pretty Ghetto Thing”) and the track “Showing You” starts with a gentle guitar intro and percussion that sounds much like “Bills, Bills, Bills” by Destiny’s Child.
“Loyal” featuring Drake became a hit song from PartyMobile. The song has a tropical vibe to it. “Loyal” discusses peace between different people in life: one’s lover and their friend circle. As a treat for Bad Bunny fans, there is an additional remix of this song with him delivering a verse in Spanish. Another reggaeton song perfect for dancing is “Eye on it.” “The News” is about Party’s partner cheating on him, and “Split Decision” is about him being unfaithful this time (on a side note, this song was published along with an announcement of the album release being postponed).
“Touch me” talks about not seeing his partner enough, “Another Day” speaks on not having physical relations, and “Trauma” and “Never Again” are about being devastated from losing a significant other altogether. Puzzle pieces are being thrown at the listener, seemingly creating one full storyline. Allegedly, most songs are about fellow musician Kehlani, Party’s on-and-off ex-girlfriend. In “Savage Anthem”, he tells his significant other that he will never change and she shouldn’t expect him to be anything other than a “savage.” Party mentions Kehlani’s hometown Oakland, hinting that it is in fact about her. Basically, most songs featured on PartyMobile are about two partners taking turns cheating on each other and about the heartbreak that follows – these lyrics don’t quite match our common understanding of the word “party.” We are left with a feeling that the album title PartyMobile was chosen to match the artist’s personal brand rather than to describe what the album is about.