Review: ‘Like a Baby’ by Jerry Paper

Caleb Mangruem, Staff Reporter

Californian alternative artist, Jerry Paper, real name, Lucas Nathan, is back with his sixth studio album titled “Like a Baby”. Nathan is known for his easy listening, psychedelic-pop sound. He says his music is genre-less but describes his music as having the “coldness of technology with the foolproof warmth of human music.” Nathan enjoys creating music under alter egos to convey different feelings and moods. Jerry Paper is the alias where he feels most free, where, “he can be anything.”

“Like a Baby” seems to be a culmination of everything Lucas Nathan as Jerry Paper claims to be. This 13 track album gives listeners a look into the “extraterrestrial” mind of Jerry Paper. This album has a very off the wall sound. Very reminiscent of artists such as Mac DeMarco and Steely Dan with shrill guitar chords, easy going drums, and simplistic vocals.

One standout song was the opening track, “Your Cocoon.” This track features an upbeat bass line, steel guitar, and psychedelic influenced synths. Here, he is singing about confining himself to unproductive ways, crumpled by others’ opinions of him, and being stuck in his metaphorical “cocoon.” This song’s lyrics are very straight to the point, not saying more than needs to be said.

The next track, “Gray Area” opens with hypnotic wood wind sounds and transitions into the very day-dreamy, easy listening sound he is known for. He is accompanied by background vocals and a woman’s voice melodically singing ad-libs alongside him. In this track, he is demonstrating a self reflection as he sings about how in the music industry, he’s supposed to be a corporate mascot, but he is still working for the fun and enjoyment for himself.

Moving down, the sixth track “Commercial Break” opens with an in your face baseline, soft woodwind sounds, and hand played drums. The song transitions into a faster paced tune with a drum set and occasional guitar overdrive and the same recurring synth sounds. In the reflection of his past, he remembers the times when he was young and had no cares or obligations, compared to now, and all he has to worry about.

The ninth track “Everything Borrowed” has been the most popular track among his musical peers as it’s received recognition from artists such as Tyler, the Creator. This track is the most instrumentally broad on the album with an array of guitars, drums, woodwinds, synths, and other sounds. On this track he analyzes the insignificance of life on the larger spectrum of time. He comes to the realization that everything in his life is just a small speck in an indefinite universe.

Overall this album was pretty boring for the most part. The lyrics and ideas being conveyed were interesting and there was potential in this album, but being a first time listener of Jerry Paper, it’s nothing that caught the ear. Every track sounded overwhelmingly similar to one another, with the same instruments and style of singing. The standout tracks mentioned above were the ones that were the least underwhelming, while the rest seemed to be only filler songs included to transition to the main tracks.

There is no doubt that Lucas Nathan is a talented artist. Although this album does not seem to be  a good starting point for the first time listener. This album is a 6/10 only due to the fact that musically, this album has a weird, experimental sound, but simply doesn’t sound good in context of album as a whole.