Review: Jake Miller’s time has come on new album ‘2:00am in LA’

Following some recent career high and lows, Jake Miller dropped his second album, 2:00am in LA, on June 16. With a lot on his mind lately, he unloads his late night thoughts across 10 new tracks. On the self-released record, Jake flexes his independence as a producer and songwriter, creating a project that’s mature, moody and impressively smooth. Miller rebounds with 2:00am.

Earlier this year, Miller postponed a U.S. tour and released a few songs on SoundCloud outside his label. With the surprise announcement of the album on June 5, Jake also revealed that he split from Warner Bros. Records and that a recent breakup didn’t make things any better. Instead of staying down, Miller kept writing and recording in his bedroom, where he channeled all those emotions into 2:00am in LA.

2:00 a.m. is usually the time when the booty call texts come through and Miller touches on that on “Can’t Help Myself,” the album’s best track. Sleek synths and a wobbling beat back Jake finding himself in an ex’s bed. “It’s too hard to resist you when you f**k like that,” he sings. Miller’s sensual pop romp is as irresistible as the title suggests. Jake brings more of his grown side out on “No Return,” a mesmeric bedroom jam. “You’re naked in my bed right now / It’s getting so hard to breathe,” he croons. Miller turns up the heat and sex factor.

The breakup still weighs heavy on Miller’s heart as evidenced by the haunting “Sleeping with Strangers.” Atop piano, swirling synths and booming beats, he begins to regret the flings after a former flame. “I’m only in this stranger’s apartment because you seem like the stranger now,” Jake sings. It’s a beautifully heartbreaking ballad. For any girls in the future, Miller lays the ground rules out on “Halfway Love,” a tropical bop with Justin Bieber vibes. “Are you in or out? / ‘Cause I don’t want no halfway love,” he declares. Then Jake’s back at it again on the pulsating dance track “I Wish You Didn’t Love Me.” With his soaring falsetto, Miller admits, “Baby, I ain’t no magician / But I might disappear tonight.”

Miller later confronts himself on “Palm Blvd,” a breezy ode to his hometown street in Florida. Feeling changed from moving to L.A. to chase his dream, he decides to take a step back. “Need to feel real love / Give my mom a hug / Call all my friends up ’cause I’m on my way home,” Jake croons. Similarly on “Answers,” Miller digs deep and reaches an after hours epiphany. The smile across his face is palpable when he’s singing, “I finally figured out we’re never going to find the answers.” It’s sweet release on the feel good anthem.

For the longtime Miller fans, he goes back to his rapping roots on “Back to the Start,” the album’s only moment that sounds like it could’ve been better mastered. With his heart all in it, 2:00am in LA largely speaks to Jake’s skill as an all-around musician. The independent route sounds a lot better on him. Miller’s time has come on 2:00am.

AXS Rating: 4.5/5

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