Review: Jasmine Ellis - Trash Baby

May 2, 2020

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Trash Baby is Jasmine Ellis's debut album, but I'm putting it out there that more albums are in her future. If I meet someone with a vision board, I have the utmost of confidence in asserting that this won't be her only album. And let me tell you, Jasmine's vision board is top-notch. I got to know Ellis when she did her first Comedy Wham Presents interview in 2017. She returned in 2019 because she'd accomplished great things over the span of 2 years and she was primed to announce the release of her debut album.

Trash Baby is masterful in its approach and highlights skills that new fans of Ellis may not realize she possesses. It's necessary to listen to an album several times when writing a review and the bonus to doing that is laughing again at things that grabbed your attention on the first listen, while also discovering things you missed.

For example, with Ellis' rapid-fire delivery, you may miss the onslaught of subtle roasts that are pervasive through the album. As a hardcore fan, I know that Ellis is a master at the roast - she competes handily in roast shows including the Comedy Central Roast touring show that swung through the 2019 Moontower Comedy Festival. And if you listen carefully to her album, once, twice or as many times as necessary, you catch roasts throughout. My all-time favorite on this album is of her then-fiance, now husband, who learned the power of adding pepper to soup. Of his revelation at his seasoning prowess, Ellis delivers this line on the album "did you just figure out how seasoning works? How do y'all run the world?"

Ellis can be brutal, but also absurdly good, at bringing 2 random elements together, whether it's seasoning a soup and male geopolitics or Chicago deep dish pizza and homelessness. And none of it sounds forced, as Ellis works hard to nail timing and to make her stories sound casual. She is one of the hardest working comics in the Austin comedy scene. She has a vision board. She is on a mission. She will not fail you despite her sister's proclamation that she's a "trash baby".

There are so many comedic moments peppered throughout the album, but there are 2 things I want to point to that should nudge you to buy this album and support Ellis. The first is it was a treat to hear Ellis play with character voices. It's not something I've seen a lot in her live performances - whether it was singing hymnals or an impression rolled out on the last track of the album, she was playful and silly, but also poised to tell you "I'm funny in so many more ways than what you're used to". The second is that Ellis understands presentation and packaging - who else can pull off that gorgeous pink dress than someone that understands that presentation and style are important. On my first listen, as I headed into the last track, I was happily surprised by a callback. I hadn't expected it, but the fact that it was there, I literally wrote in my notes "she just tied a beautiful ribbon to wrap up this album". And there it was. The revelation that she had carefully prepared and packaged this gift containing comedy, roasts, character voices, and an over-too-soon 54 minute album inside for you to listen on repeat. And there's nothing trashy about that, baby.

The album was released December 2019; grab your copy now and support Jasmine!

Get it at Sure Thing Records or on iTunes/Apple Music (search for Jasmine Ellis).