Jayda G - Significant Changes

  • A modern disco album inspired by academia and conservation.
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  • "Why are these whales threatened, and what are we going to do about it?" You might not expect a conservationist's plea in the middle of a disco album, but here we are. The loping, piano-driven "Missy Knows What's Up" includes dialogue by the biologist Misty MacDuffee relating to a landmark Canadian court case, which last year held the government responsible for harming the habitat of Southern Resident orcas. It's a subject close to Jayda Guy's heart. She earned a master's degree in resource and environmental management—about orca whales and humans' effect on them—around the time she completed Significant Changes, her first LP. This odd mix of environmentalism and '70s-style disco bops is just one of the album's many idiosyncrasies. The title could be a reference to how music upended Guy's life, moving her from Vancouver to Berlin, all while she tried to finish her degree. Her rise to fame has been stunning, bolstered by Boiler Room appearances where her lost-in-the-moment dancing behind the decks meant you could feel her energy even if you weren't in the room with her. All this, alongside her taste in disco bangers and a party-rocking mixing style, has made her a star. But Significant Changes also refers to her master's thesis—it's a phrase she used repeatedly to describe the environmental impact on orcas. The album is even structured like an academic paper. The first track, for example, is subtitled "abstract." "Academia can be so daunting and intimidating," Guy once told Motherboard. "I want to take that knottiness and intimidation out so that people can really feel like they understand something, and that they can ask the questions they want to ask without feeling judged or silly." This approach extends to her music, too. Guy will play the well-worn bangers other DJs might be afraid to pull out. She avoids the elitist attitude of so many selectors and freaks out to good tunes, no matter how obvious they might be. The songs radiate with sincerity, whether happy or tender. The slap bass, chunky breaks and heavenly vocal phrases of album highlight "Sunshine In The Valley," featuring Alexa Dash, are vitamin D in a song. When Guy herself takes the lead on vocals, it can get a little rocky. "Stanley's Get Down (No Parking On The DF)" has a hell of a groove, but Guy's pitched-down hectoring—"I see you on your phone / Lookin' at Instagram / This is the dance floor baby! / This is where you're supposed to get down!"—is more grating than funny. Her vocals are better on "Move To The Front (Disco Mix)," whose calls for dancers to "shake it" mirror the flamboyance of the disco records she loves playing. The untreated vocals, the orchestration, the amount of space in the mix and loose-feeling drums give Significant Changes a retro flavour that echoes classic disco labels like West End Records and Salsoul. (Think Taana Gardner's "Heartbeat.") There's something in it for old-school disco heads and young Jayda acolytes alike. It's easy to get swept up in songs like "Leave Room 2 Breathe"—with its wordy hook, "you've got to push, pull, it's antithetical!"—or "Move To The Front," both of which have undeniable rhythms and disco-band instrumentation. They show how well Significant Changes gives feel-good vibes of '70s disco a contemporary spin.
  • Tracklist
      01. Unifying The Center (Abstract) 02. Renewal (Hyla Mix) 03. Stanley's Get Down (No Parking On The DF) 04. Jayda G & Alexa Dash - Leave Room 2 Breathe 05. Orca's Reprise 06. Missy Knows What’s Up 07. Jayda G & Alexa Dash - Sunshine In The Valley 08. Move To The Front (Disco Mix) 09. Conclusion