Thursday, March 3, 2011

Jessie J
Who You Are [2011]

Jessie has been building her profile for a good year now with YouTube videos and writing credits [she wrote Party In The U.S.A for Miley]. It was a smart move because she got to really showcase her vocal ability and create a good reputation for herself before launching herself into the music scene. Her debut album offers a mixed bag, some of it great, some of it not so great, but there's a lot of potential and versatility that shows she can pull out something incredible if she does it right.

The main problem with Who We Are is that it suffers from way too much dull filler. There's no denying that the vocal ability from Jessie is impressive, in fact, she's got the best voice i've heard in years, but it can get lost in hook-less ballad production. There are a couple of nice slower tracks on the album, like Big White Room, which may be a little over long, but it's got a nice quiet flow to it, and the addition of the live audience give it a bit of extra life. The albums only true high point when it comes to ballads however is the title track. It's a gorgeous song that builds and builds into a beautiful melody and really showcases Jessie's vocals. These are the only two ballads that do anything for me, the rest just aren't catchy enough, and are bogged down with messages about being yourself and staying strong [Stand Up] , which is great and all, but it only adds more to the already pedestrian production. There's no LIFE in them.

When the album does get good though, it gets VERY good. Her debut single 'Do It Like A Dude' is the best track on the album, Jessie can bring a lot of attitude to her music and it fits in perfectly with this song. Her second single, 'Price Tag', is a lot more upbeat, but has a great hook and is a nice intro to the rest of the album. 'Nobody's Perfect' reminds me a lot of American r&b, something that Mary J. Blige or Keiysha Cole would sing. So do other upbeat tracks like, 'Rainbow', 'Who's Laughing Now' and 'Abracadabra'. Those are the types of songs she shines the most on.
She even goes a little old skool Motown on 'Momma Knows Best', which has a very similar vibe to her track that was featured on the Easy A soundtrack, 'Sexy Silk'. A bit more of this sort of type of style would have elevated the album a lot more in my opinion.

As a debut effort, there's a lot to like on Who We Are. There are some boring ballads, a bit of outdated production and a lack of attitude that brings it down a few points, but the good out weights the bad, and there's more than enough on the album to enjoy. I don't think it's a blistering debut, but it's a nice introduction.


EvChemical said...

I don't know why she didn't include Sexy Silk from Easy A on here, such a solid track that shows off her vocal abilities. I like the album, but I agree that it's good, but not great.

I have a feeling she'll have a stronger 2nd or 3rd album

Anomaly said...

Sexy Silk is great and could easily have replaced one of the weaker tracks on the album.