Von Pea is a third of the group Tanya Morgan, and this is his debut solo album. Apparently, the idea behind this album came about when Pea found his journal from high school and he decided to set it to music. The result is an interesting mix of a mature adult making his way as a working musician and a young adolescent trying to sort out all of life’s changes.

The production on this album is great. Fortunately for me, Pea and I are about the same age, so having him harken back to the mid ‘90s takes me back as well, and I love it. While Pea normally does the majority of the production for Tanya Morgan, he only produced three tracks on this album. Aeon, a producer from Philadelphia, contributes six tracks. My favorite song on the album, “The Yorker,” is produced by Brick Beats, which features a great sample of “Native New Yorker” by Odyssey. If you’re not dancing to this song, we’re not friends. It doesn’t stop there, though. This album is full of R&B-flavored jams that were all over the radio back in the ‘90s. The smooth synth bass lines, the snare hits, and the claps are all there. Yet for all the dated references, it manages to be relevant. Maybe it’s because this is all done lovingly, or maybe it’s because not many producers are tapping into this musical vocabulary right now, but this album sounds great.

Lyrically, Pea is does an excellent job adapting the words of a high school journal. There are times when it gets a bit immature, but that’s to be expected. He’s a little girl crazy and there’s some teen angst, but those are touchstones of the teenage experience. I don’t know how much Pea had to work on the journals to bring it up to par, but I think he does an excellent job of presenting the material in a way that’s true to the age and time frame without sounding childish. Also, I know Pea is from Brooklyn, but the laid-back twang in his delivery makes me wonder if he has spent time in the South.

Donwill set the bar for Tanya Morgan solo projects, and Von Pea is more than up to the challenge. He’s given us an album that successfully takes us back to high school and sounds fresh. It recalls emotions and sounds from a past era and manages to make it all sound contemporary. That’s no small feat.