In her sophomore album, age/sex/location, Ari Lennox delves deeper into her narrative of of finding love from online chatrooms, self-acceptance of her needing love, and her struggles she goes through in finding these romantic relationships. Her heavy melodies and potent lyricism deliver a solid album that you will find yourself coming back to.
With crisp instrumentation, better melodies than her previous work, and three solid features, it is clear that the three years between her releases have not been in vain. She has truly stepped up her game, and has made it crystal clear that she has no problem being her sex-positive, romantic self to the rest of the world.
Who is Ari Lennox?
Born in Virginia, Courtney Salter grew up in DC, creating music and uploading it online.
(Fun fact: She attended Jackson-Reed High School (formerly Woodrow Wilson), right here in Tenleytown!)
Getting signed to Dreamville Records was a pivotal moment in her career. Rapper and label executive J. Cole started Dreamville. Cole’s vision was to have a space for creatives to thrive.
Dreamville Records has taken the world by storm with compilation albums for the past decade, such as D-Day and the Revenge of the Dreamers series.
With age/sex/location, Dreamville has proved that time and time again, it is no one-person show for J. Cole and that they are willing to pour resources into other artists to advance their success.
The opener, “POF,” stands for Plenty of Fish. The opening verse covers the feeling of loneliness, and some insightful lyrical content about being an independent woman, while still feeling like she would like to have someone for herself.
Plenty of Fish alludes to the idiom “there’s plenty of fish in the sea.” Lennox uses this to express how many men there are, but the ones that swim to her aren’t up to her standards.
“POF” also goes along with the album’s theme of our online dating culture. With dating apps and online chat rooms, online dating has never been more accessible, and it seems like this is the project's central theme.
A bit less on the lyrical content and more of a vibe track, but “Hoodie” is still a solid track on this album.
The underlying guitar in the background, along with the melodies, encapsulates the feeling that this album needs.
Although, as noted by TheNeedleDrop, an online album reviewer, there are some questionable lyrics. If I’m thinking about cuddling with my partner, “spread it like some queso” as a sexual innuendo may not be the most appealing lyric to hear. I don’t know about you, but cheese isn’t the most sexually arousing thing that comes to people’s minds.
Personally, it isn’t my favorite, but overall, the track sticks to what it was meant to do and is a solid track on the album.
The sample on “Pressure” is from Shirley Brown’s “Blessed is the Woman.” This shows that Ari Lennox is bestowing her respect to the R&B greats that came before her and how the instrumentation has improved from her previous work. The words that come from the sample in the “pressure” add an element that fits the song perfectly, as well as the vocal sample that comes right after she says “pressure.”
“Pressure” is an incredibly well-produced track, lyrically on topic, and flows well sonically.
Boy Bye (ft. Lucky Daye)
In Boy Bye, she expresses her relationship exhaustion, which leads to the eventual breakup track in Blocking You.
Lucky Daye and Ari Lennox have fantastic chemistry throughout the song, and it was a collaboration that was needed for this album. Having a male R&B artist as a feature added to the album significantly since the audiences of Lucky Daye and Ari Lennox overlap, so it gives fans what they want.
Their back-and-forth dynamic of the chase during Boy Bye allows the story to progress while still showing glimpses of a fading relationship.
Their commentary between their verses is hilarious and allows the listener to immerse themselves in the project. For example, lucky Daye states that he “can tell you ain't ever had real love before.” And she replies, “It’s giving fraudulent.”
It feels eerily similar to Kendrick Lamar’s recent hit “We Cry Together”, except it is much less aggressive and primarily singing instead of screaming.
It is a MUST LISTEN if you would have to choose only one song off this project to listen to.
Overall, age/sex/location was an ambitious effort and a solid addition to Ari Lennox’s discography. I highly recommend it to anyone interested in getting into modern R&B or just checking out a fantastic album. You will find yourself being immersed in the soulful production and addictive melodies displayed on the project.
Anyone can enjoy this album, no matter where you come from. Everyone can relate to the online dating culture she talks about, and the music accompanies it perfectly. The harmonies and instrumentation are a huge step up from her previous work. In addition, she has delivered a solid narrative on dating culture while still making sonically solid songs. I appreciate Ari Lennox and Dreamville for creating quality album after quality album. If you haven’t listened to the album, I implore you to check it out. If you’re too broke for Spotify, it’s on YouTube. You have no excuses.
Photo courtesy of Spotify