Jai Paul, the UK’s most internet-famous bedroom project, has officially released two songs since his debut six years ago. We may not know anything about the guy other than that he has a luscious fauxhawk, but we can surmise from his sparse output that he’s most likely a perfectionist. And yet, we just can’t let the dude do his own thing, we have to steal his laptop and put out his album before it’s even fucking ready, rocketing his count from two songs to sixteen in one Saturday night.
Paul’s label, XL, called the leak “a collection of various unfinished recordings.” But it doesn’t take a whole lot of logical listening to figure out that what was uploaded to Bandcamp two weeks ago (and quickly removed) was a well-sequenced and painstakingly constructed album — “finished” or not. The eight entirely full and new songs included in the leak are just as complete in structure as “BTSTU” or “Jasmine” when they dropped. How Jai intends (or intended) to finish them is obvious to no one. So what is the poor dude left with now? If he wants to maintain the level of anonymous mystery that he has cloaked his movements in thus far, he might as well just make an entirely new album, because an official release of these same tracks with minor changes will be entirely anticlimactic in a pitiful, corporate way. I think I speak for most music fans when I say, Jai Paul, we are sorry.
The reality is that leak illustrated Jai Paul’s immense talent in the worst possible way for his career. The leak is an unfortunate marvel, immediately infectious, yet far too detailed to absorb at once. On the same weekend that the music world was, in regular form, getting excited over Daft Punk’s new disco single/Cruel Summerish production porn, Jai Paul’s “Track 5” coasted quietly by in the center of the dense leak, a similarly retro song impregnated with enough artistic fury to blow “Get Lucky” away.