Jaden Smith released his newest LP “CTV3: Cool Tape Volume Three” in August, and it’s giving me all kinds of bubblegum, rainbow vibes that’s getting me through the dreariness of 2020. I’ll be honest: I haven’t listened to Jaden Smith all that much since he featured in Justin Bieber’s “Never Say Never” back in 2010. After taking time to listen to his newest release, I can say that this is an artist I wish I had gotten into a whole lot sooner.
Smith took to Twitter to say that this “CTV3: Cool Tape Volume Three” was a prequel to his second album “SYRE” and with the leading track being titled “Circa 2015” we can get a clear picture at the timeline of this lyrical story. With lyrics about summertime and the feeling of being in love, this album makes you feel like you’re driving at golden hour under a pink sky with your crush.
There are clear influences that can be heard throughout the LP. The one that stuck out the most to me were references to The Beatles, especially the Sgt. Pepper era. There are many tracks that remind me of the Fab Four on this album. “LUCY!” seems like a direct nod to a song by The Beatles, and tracks like “Cabin Fever” and “Young in Love” take inspiration from the band’s psychedelic years with lyrics about marshmallow pies, kaleidoscope dreams and Mr. Kite.
Smith has also stayed true to his roots by using one of the features of this album on an old friend, Justin Bieber. Like I mentioned before, Smith debuted in music with a feature on a Bieber song. In “Falling For You,” Smith and Bieber join forces to bring a track about catching feelings for someone. It has a light beat that reminds me of a Michael Buble song or the candyman scene in the beginning of “Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory.” If you need a song to add to your summer playlist before summer is officially over, this song is perfect.
Although it was released at the end of August, “CTV3: Cool Tape Volume 3” is the perfect soundtrack to summer. With a combination of sweet vocals and lofi beats, Smith stays true to himself with a hip hop album, but he surprises us with tones of psychedelic pop similar to The Beatles or the Beach Boys. As a 22 year old, Smith is still evolving as a musician, and even if this is just an experimental album, I’m glad he made it. Smith has found a way to blend late '60s hippie music with today’s alternative hip hop, and it works.