Personally speaking, my favorite elements of Jay Douglas’ work under the NEWMONEY alias were always its unique quirks and unexpected deviations. An unconventional phrase here, a sly diss or oblique punchline there. But while Douglas’ new project Jay Americana maintains a similar offbeat candor and lo-fi murk as its predecessor, “Party of One” also carries with it a sense of elevated stakes. For starters, dig that sticky chorus! Douglas has never had a problem with confidence, and here the rising rapper sounds as steady and as assured as ever, dropping a wavy trap pop hook that’s blissfully casual and catchy.
Directed by Olivia Barrett, the video is a decidedly DIY affair that shows Douglas throwing a party—for one, of course—while a group of sad-faced clowns blow on party horns, pop glitter-filled balloons, and devour cake with their hands. Taken at face value, it’s hard to escape the feeling of melancholy emanating from both the video’s muted color palette and the song’s plodding production. But underlying everything is a message of self-love that speaks to a hard truth: celebrating ourselves can be difficult and lonely, but that doesn’t make it any less vital.
“Party of One” is the latest single from Jay Americana’s forthcoming EP, Pageant, out Dec. 31.
Jay Americana will perform tonight at the Sock Hop Music & Arts Festival at the Mammal Gallery. Doors open at 6:30 p.m. Admission is $5.