“Neapolitan” is R&B groove therapy for the overcooked mind.

Summer comes packaged with a host of complaints—too muggy, sluggish, grimy—which would almost be too much if not for the irresistible charm of summery music—breezy, laidback, delightful. This summer, Autumn Jones, a student at Berklee College of Music, is in possession of the breeze machine. Her track “Neapolitan,” which came out on June 21st, packs a gust of R&B groove therapy in the spirit of Ari Lennox and Lizzo. Replete with psychedelic hooks, easygoing vamps, and catchy rhythms, it’s as easy to enjoy as AC.  

Born in Maplewood, NJ, a suburb of New York City, Jones found her niche at Berklee. She released “Neapolitan” with Disrupción Records, a student-run label and “artist accelerator,” founded by Berklee graduate students in Valencia, Spain, where the school has a campus. In tribute to the school’s environment, the song is named for a type of chord (built around the flat second) Jones learned in Tonal Harmony class, where technical support is complemented by emotional enrichment. “[Before Berklee], it was scary to display my craft,” Jones admits; “I wasn’t confident in myself. People in high school didn’t even know I could sing.” 

Summer heat, then, isn’t the only thing Jones’ music aims to assuage. She’s more interested in music as a form of mood therapy—a tool to change one’s perspective by changing how one feels. “I think when you really get lost in a track, close your eyes and sway, that’s when you’ve surrendered to the chill-out,” Jones explains. “Anxiety and stress can be crippling. I want to create music that heals the mind from such overpowering thoughts. [My music is] a little reminder that sometimes it’s okay to let go of worry, fear, and anxiety, and just let yourself be free to enjoy the present.” 

Adopting the perspective of a college student, it’s understandable to emphasize self-care. Although adult life comes with stressors, too, college is a uniquely stressful time for many people. There’s job insecurity, fluid social scenes, frequent assessments, and hazy futures, not to mention other coming-of-age anxieties. Jones explains, “You start getting in your head. Have I done enough? Am I smart enough? Will I be successful? Does anyone even like me? Do I even like me?” 

Doubting and interrogating yourself like this is a vicious cycle. Music isn’t always the best, or even an adequate, solution, but when you’ve “surrendered to the chill-out,” managing anxiety becomes a little easier. Though energetic and peppy, “Neapolitan” possesses a carefree attitude and harbors moments of tranquility; wavy synths waft like smoke, then disperse, taking your worries with them. Jones is releasing two more songs this summer, forming a trilogy, and they’re bound to keep the heat, and stress, at bay. 

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