I was a little trepidatious about sitting through a Jessie J album – mainly because the lady makes me do a great big eye role whenever she mentions her ‘haters’.
I want to be clear – I was never a ‘hater’; maybe just a get-over-it-er. But luckily Alive focuses less on this overused motif, and instead looks towards showing the talents of Jessie J in multiple pop genres.
Roll up, roll up, we’ve got it all folks. You want dance? You got it. You want ballads? You got it. You want RnB? You got it. Jessie J famously mixes her genres, even within each track, which in the case of Alive makes for an eclectic listening experience.
It’s strange to think it’s only been three years since Jessie J burst onto the pop scene. She was received with open arms and topped the charts in 19 countries with her single Price Tag. Her debut album Who You Are charted at number two in the UK and had six top 10 singles.
Alive is only her second studio album and comes in the midst of her punk rock recreation (birthed from when she shaved her head for Comic Relief). She’s joined by up and coming rap chick Becky G, Dizzee Rascal, Big Sean and Brandy for three singles – but the album is mainly about Jessie J’s own powerhouse vocals.
The standout song is of course Wild – the preceding single featuring Big Sean and Dizzee Rascal. It’s in your face, RnB inspired pop, with a catchy hook. It’s My Party, another single and the first song of the album, takes a different angle as a happy-go-lucky pop track – and although she does slip in a ‘hater’ reference, its fairly mild.
Another worthy mention is the ‘80s inspired Daydreamin’, which actually sounds a little bit like The Emotions Best of my Love. It’s slow, romantic and catchy. Her intense ballad I Miss Her showcases her ability to capture drama and reins in her large vocals for a softer, emotive feel (although she still does give it the Houston treatment in some parts).
Her collaboration with Becky G Excuse my Rude not only rhymes with her previous hit Do it Like a Dude, but has the same edgy hip hop feel. Her other collaboration Conquer the World with Brandy, is a take it or leave it track, much like a couple of the later tracks Unite and Hero. The album also features her single for the Mortal Instruments: City of Bones soundtrack, but out of context on this album, it is not as enigmatic.
The pop star is successful for a reason – there aren’t many ladies on the charts that could out sing her. Alive showcases this talent, and goes into many different places. But overall it doesn’t feel as holistic as say, JT’s new album, or an Ellie Goulding album. It does have some excellent pop songs – but with Jessie J’s star status these will get serious radio play, in case you don’t feel like investing in the album.
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