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Wednesday, May 29, 2024

CD review: Jessie J

Artist: Jessie J

Album: Who You Are

Label: Universal Republic Records

Rating: 3

Already a huge hit in her native U.K. and well-received after her first “Saturday Night Live” performance, it seemed as if Jessie J was destined for a huge hit with her debut album Who You Are. For all the hype, the resulting product has been disappointing.

Filled with songs hailing girl power and backed by overproduced beats, Jessie J could have been a huge hit in the ’90s bubblegum pop era. But in today’s Top 40 her sound is unoriginal and forced, with overly familiar beats that can’t compare to the onslaught of new sounds contemporary artists are fighting to bring to the airwaves. Her lyrics claiming that “nobody’s perfect” have been heard before, and with both a cheerful song called “Rainbow” and the explicit club banger “Do It Like A Dude,” it’s possible that Jessie J has yet to figure out who she really is as an artist.

This isn’t to say Who You Are is not without some standout tracks. The gospel-infused “Mamma Knows Best” is a showstopper display of Jessie J’s vocal talents, and she especially shines on the acoustic live tracks “Big White Room” and “Who You Are.” Jessie J has major vocal ability and songwriting talent when she allows herself to get emotional and personal, and could have a bright future as a singer/songwriter if she (or her record label) gives up the overproduced pop tracks.

Give these tracks a listen: “Big White Room,” “Who You Are” (Live Acoustic Version), “Mamma Knows Best”

For fans of: Keri Hilson, Nicole Scherzinger, Jason Derulo

– Anneta Konstantinides


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