"I put together some songs that make me… this is how I feel man, and you know, this is just everything. This is my heart on my sleeve," confesses JAWNY in the opening skit for his major label debut project, For Abby. It is a bold choice that harkens back to the nostalgic feel of '90s and early 2000's hip-hop and alternative, and it is one that pays off in spades. Those few opening lines present JAWNY and his highly-anticipated debut as something greater than a collection of 10 tracks, something elated for the chance to thrive on the fringes.
For Abby is framed as a loose concept album, a highly-curated mixtape presented to the titular Abby as an apology of sorts. The mixtape framing device speaks to the project's myriad of tonal shifts, from the infectious and carefree "Super Bad Mantra" to the passionate and forlorn "4Tounce." Taken altogether, it gives off the feeling of someone putting together a kaleidoscopic mood board, aiming to capture the fleeting lows and highs of a relationship on its last legs.
With all that being said, let us make one thing perfectly clear, For Abby is not an A24-produced retrospective of a relationship told through the lens of honeyed nostalgia. Rather, it is the sonic equivalent of fumbling down your childhood sidewalk, 40 in hand, leaving the occasional drunk voicemail. The emotional catharsis is the same, but there is a noted humanity and levity to the entire affair, portrayed best in its opening and interlude skits and the funky "You Got a Man."
Yet, when JAWNY strips it all back in a track like "Coloring," he gives an undeniable weight to the words "This is my heart on my sleeve," even as its slurred outro fades out. For Abby may be JAWNY's major label debut but it feels like anything but; it is a deftly-curated mixtape of an idiosyncratic mind going through the lows and highs of a breakup, imaginary or not.
Listen to For Abby below: