So you’re probably already well aware that I am not a fan of these social media rise-to-fame musicians but I have to hand it to Jacob Whitesides, the kid is good. They tell you from an early age to not judge a book by it’s cover and I did just that. Here I was expecting overly manufactured bubblegum-pop and what I was pleasantly acquainted with was a mature collection of alternative pop. Whitesides debut album “Why” experiments with pop, folk, blues and RNB and still manages to master intimate moments while all this is sonically going on. Opening with the moody folk inspired “Focus” he showcases a strong production knowledge with a classic build up and incorporation of smooth falsetto before the final chorus. And then he launches into the playful “Heartbeat” which really could be the love child of Ed Sheeran and Adam Levine because it has that strong acoustic guitar presence before launching into a massive hook that screams sex appeal and a breakdown that needs to be heard live. “Let me get a second with your heartbeat, so I can finally find the rhythm I need. Tell me what you’re thinking, do you want me?”. The pop/rock moments offer a more playful side to his personality and opens up a versatility in his vocal delivery. “Hold On Honey” is one of the albums most genuine tracks with it’s clean acoustic pop delivery but “Lovesick” and “Black And Blue” add jazz and synths to this established sound and still give you highly catchy hooks. The folk and blues sound is prominent on this release and “She Ain’t Got A Thing”, “Levitate”, “Why?” and “Bury Our Love” master this incredibly well while the RNB tinged “Jaded Love” has great verses but lacks drive with a anti-climatic weak hook. And then we get to the ballads. “Love Slow” is a romantic moment which will have you swooning while new single “Open Book” is stronger than any of Shawn Mendes recent material and makes you question why it hasn’t received the same attention. The only song that is forgettable and worth a skip is “You Told Me So” and that is just because standing next to another 12 great songs it just doesn’t contribute anything new or different. All these tracks tackle different aspect of young love and even if you’re not in the expected age demographic you can still relate. As a debut album Jacob Whitesides has delivered an impressive collection of material which completely blindsided me and made me remember I shouldn’t judge a book by it’s cover. Now, all I have to say is Shawn Mendes it’s time you show me this level of versatility.