“Be the role model you needed” is good advice that Jordy has taken to heart on his latest album, BOY (★★★☆☆). As he tells it, one of his earliest memories is how much he wanted to see his own experiences and desires reflected in the love songs he heard, and now that he is in a position to do something about it, he is going out of his way to make up the difference.
Buoyed by a GLAAD nomination and the viral success of his recent single “Story of A Boy,” Jordy is determined to be the queer artist he wished he could have heard on the radio as a kid.
Being an openly queer artist is not quite enough for Jordy, who goes out of his way to make BOY an overtly queer album. “Story Of A Boy” is his queer reimagining of Nine Days’ “Absolutely (Story of a Girl).” With its perky synths, the track sounds like it could have come right out of the early-2000s — even the subject matter of a boy pining for another boy, while it would have been unlikely to have gotten much radio play at the time, feels timeless.
The single very much sets the tone for the rest of an album full of tracks that take on the well-worn themes of love, insecurity, yearning, and heartbreak, and puts a decidedly gay spin on them.
Queerness may be the thread tying most of the songs together, but this is not so much an album about queerness as it is about Jordy. He is unabashedly sincere and lets his personality shine throughout BOY, more often than not opening up with surprising bluntness.
“Good Not Great” lays out his insecurities and the many ways he tries to talk himself out of them. He also gets frank on “Dry Spell” about his relationship woes, laying out his own contradictions between his desire for quick gratification and wondering what he could possibly do to pull himself out of it. His frustration comes to a head on “IDK SH!T,” on which he admits to feeling broke, lonely, and jaded, admitting over a bright beat that he’s just “faking it til I make it.”
That healthy sense of self-deprecation grounds him and goes a long way towards keeping the album lighthearted, although he shelves it temporarily on “Becky’s Brother,” a sweet, sincere familial love letter to his younger sister.
For the most part, BOY is a collection of light, upbeat pop music. Jordy plays to his own strengths, delivering few surprises but doing an admirable job inside his own wheelhouse. Even though he remains within a familiar, legible pop territory, the songs are delivered with polish and there are no real clunkers to be found.
Still, Jordy is arguably at his best when he does flip the script, as he does on “Hypothetical Party,” a sardonic send-up of FOMO, social burnout, and the millennial urge to be in bed by 10:45 that is by far one of the album’s most memorable tracks.
There are enough of these standout moments that BOY rarely feels like it lags, and it helps that it goes out on a high note with the one-two punch of his plaintive ballad “Unburnable” and his infectiously catchy closer, “luv u bye.”
It is not lost on Jordy that music has come a long way since his younger days yearning to hear a boy singing about a boy. BOY was released into an era in which queer artists have proliferated and you don’t have to dig too hard or deep to find excellent pop music that deals explicitly with queer themes.
Even so, BOY feels like a necessary and welcome answer to the years when this wasn’t the case. When it comes to queerness in pop music, Jordy’s sophomore album makes a convincing argument that more is, in fact, more.
BOY is available to stream and purchase on all major platforms. Visit www.jordymusic.com.
Follow Jordy on Twitter at @jordymusic.
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