Crate Digging Weekly: Jon Bellion’s “The Human Condition” takes you on a journey with an unexpected twist

Jon Bellion’s debut studio album takes listeners on a journey into the human mind in a unique and whimsical way.

Album cover courtesy of Visionary Music Group and Capitol Records.

Album cover courtesy of Visionary Music Group and Capitol Records.

Kendall Little, Managing Editor

When I think of my favorite albums in existence, “The Human Condition” nears the top of the list. The beats are unique and the lyrics are catchy, but the reason why it tops my list is much more complex than that.

30-year-old songwriter, producer, and rapper Jon Bellion explores features of humanity in his studio debut album, hence the title: “The Human Condition.” Each song touches on a different emotion or struggle that Bellion and the collective humanity face.

Bellion is known for his hard-hitting lyrics accompanied by unique beats. His genre is difficult to identify as each song he puts out is different than the last. 

His most commonly used instrument is a beatpad, which is how he produced the variety of sounds heard in “The Human Condition.”

What a typical listener may not know is that the album is a movie soundtrack.

The album cover is a cartoon version of Bellion, drawn in a Disney-like style. Each song on the album has its own art to accompany it as well.

Collage made by Reddit user u/treymill33. Art courtesy of David Ardinaryas Lojaya and Jon Bellion.

Bellion had the art created in a Disney/Pixar style for a reason: it was his pitch to get a Pixar movie.

“I wanted the really deep, Pixar-looking album cover. I want to score a Pixar movie. It’s actually one of my life dreams,” he said in an interview with the Aquarian.

Bellion produced the album with Pixar animators and musicians in mind.

“I hope John Lasseter at Pixar or people over at Pixar see my efforts. We made a book, actually, that we’re going to be able to sell,” he said. “In the back of the book, there’s a letter to Pixar basically explaining the fact that I’m dying to work with them.”

Once you know that the album is a movie soundtrack, it completely changes how you listen to the album.

“80’s Films” presents itself in a more fun way with an upbeat tempo and a clear falsetto voice from Bellion. It’s one of the lighter songs on the album, but still maintains the theme of internal struggles for humanity.

“Weight of the World” explores a heavier topic of feeling alone and helpless until someone special comes along and takes away the weight of the world upon Bellion’s shoulders. The song maintains a slow and longing tone until the very end when hip hop and rap artist B.Keyz jumps on the track to deliver a powerful rap solo.

“Maybe IDK” tackles the common struggle that humans face of not knowing what the future holds or why things happen. The song begins with Bellion pondering a number of things, but leads into his acceptance of not knowing. The last line of the song really drives the message home: “Maybe I don’t know, maybe I don’t know, but maybe that’s okay.”

An in-depth analysis could be written for every song on the album because of how much thought went into the details of each track.

Every song tells a different story, but somehow, they’re all able to be connected in the final track, “Hand of God – Outro.”

The outro contains pieces of every song on the album, whether it be lyrics, beats, or riffs. It ties the entire piece together in five minutes and thirty-eight seconds.

To truly experience this album, you must listen to it in order and in full – multiple times.

I first listened to the record during my freshman year of high school and took different meanings from the songs than I do now, five years later.

If you’re looking for an album that takes you on a journey of the human mind, listen to “The Human Condition” on any streaming platform.

Kendall Little is the Managing Editor for the University Press. For information regarding this or other stories, email [email protected] or tweet her @klittlewrites.