Jessie J – Who You Are

May 1, 2011 at 8:23 am | Posted in Jessie J | 2 Comments
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  1. Price Tag (feat. B.o.B)
  2. Nobody’s Perfect
  3. Abracadabra
  4. Big White Room
  5. Casualty Of Love
  6. Rainbow
  7. Who’s Laughing Now
  8. Do It Like A Dude
  9. Mamma Knows Best
  10. L.O.V.E.
  11. Stand Up
  12. I Need This
  13. Who You Are
  14. Domino
  15. My Shadow
  16. Laserlight (feat. David Guetta)

Jessie J may be a new comer but she’s no stranger to the music scene. She’s worked with Miley Cyrus, Chris Brown and many other huge musicians. She was the winner of the BBC Sound of 2011 and her debut album has been highly anticipated by many. With Who You Are, Jessie J finally gets to be in the spotlight on her own.

I didn’t care much for Price Tag (feat. B.o.B) the first time I heard it and I was actually annoyed by it. After being exposed to it more through the radio and the television it started to grow on me. The guitar and drums are light which gives the song a fresh summery vibe. Jessie’s vocals are great and her carefree tone matches the bright atmosphere. The chorus is highly infectious especially the repetition and references to money “ain’t about the (uh) cha-ching cha-ching/ain’t about the (yeah) ba-bling ba-bling.” While I enjoyed B.o.B’s section, he doesn’t really add or take away from the song. The final chorus is fantastic with the louder instrumentals, backing vocals and ad-libs. It comes together nicely and closes the song on a strong note. Aggressive strings open up Nobody’s Perfect before the percussion kicks in. Jessie sings aggressively and she pours her emotions into her voice. There’s not much of a transition to the chorus and it sounds similar to the verses except Jessie sings in a stronger tone and the strings are added to the arrangement. Her vocals in the bridge are messy because they are too whiny and shaky but other than that I like this song a lot. Her powerful in-your-face vocals won me over and I love the subject matter. Abracadabra is another summery tune with verses that are dominated by drums and a few piano notes. The high register she uses in the pre-chorus is nice and I like how breezy it sounds. The chorus is fresh and it has a sweet feel to it but it sounds a bit too similar to the previous tracks. There’s also not much going on in the song to make it stand out. She sounds great though and her ad-libs at the end are strong.

Big White Room is a live recording and I wasn’t expecting her to have a song like this. It’s a stripped-down ballad featuring just a guitar and it showcases her fantastic vocals. I had no idea she could sing like this and I’m surprised by how good she sounds. The verses start a bit slow with calm vocals but in the chorus she kills it with her powerful vocals, “I’m going crazy, I’m losing my mind/I’m going crazy, in this big white room of mine.” During the second half of the song she performs in an even stronger voice and she belts out some great notes. The album finally goes into a different sound with Casualty Of Love and it incorporates a lovely piano melody. Jessie delivers a heartfelt performance with soft vocals and together with the melody creates a sweet atmosphere. Her vocals flow well in the verses and I love how she sounds in the chorus. It’s soothing and her vocals harmonize with the backing vocals wonderfully, “I will go down to the last round/I’ll be your strength to find you when you get lost in the crowd.” It’s a simple song but it comes together nicely.Rainbow is an up-tempo and it has an interesting start with some strange sounds. Jessie sings the verses in a rap-like manner and in the second verse there’s some hiccup effects which sound weird but it’s kind of cool. The chorus is weaker than the verses but I do like the repetitive parts, “there’s enough for you, you, you/there’s enough for me, me, me,” and Jessie belts out some nice notes in the final chorus. Overall, the song is decent but it doesn’t have much going for it.

Who’s Laughing Now begins with some wacky vocals and the arrangement consists of synths and a piano. I really enjoy Jessie’s vocals in the verses because they’re very playful. This is pretty much a song to all her haters, “but thank you for the pain/it made me raise my game.” The pre-chorus is much more dramatic as she sings in a more emotive voice. The chorus is fast-paced and it’s very infectious. It’s the catchiest chorus so far and I love every second of it. For the bridge, Jessie sings in an interesting manner and it’s really fun, “‘oh my god babe your voice is like wow!’/my reply: who’s laughing now.” This is one of the best tracks on the album. Do It Like A Dude is the most aggressive track and it consists of blaring guitars and synths. I actually hated this song at first but it’s grown on me a lot and it’s the album’s standout track. I love the attitude and confidence she exhibits especially in the verses, “my B I T C H is on my dick like this/dirty dirty dirty dirty dirty dirty sucker/you think I can’t get her like you, you motherfucker.” While the verses are amazing, I’m not feeling the chorus very much, “I can do it like a brother/do it like a dude/grab my crotch, wear my hat low like you.” Despite the chorus, this was a great choice for her first promotional track because it showcases her unique style and attitude. Jessie takes on jazz with Mamma Knows Best and she delivers another great vocal performance. However, the arrangement is static and it would be nice if it changed up a bit. The chorus is the best part because of her strong vocals, “see mamma knows best when I feel down/to bring me up and always keep my feet on solid ground,” but other than then that this track is pretty dull.

L.O.V.E. is a mid-tempo with a breezy feel to it but like the previous song it’s lacking. The arrangement leaves a lot to be desired and it’s a little boring. I do like some of the lyrics though, “see love doesn’t choose a boy or a girl, nope/when I met you, you hugged my heart and filled my world,” and her vocals are good but that’s about it. The album is losing its steam and even though Stand Up is slightly better it’s still dull. The arrangements are becoming too simple, too static and this track consists of a guitar and some clapping beats. The vocals are great and she rides the beat in the verses nicely but the chorus is repetitive and a bit cheesy, “so stand up!/for the love, love, love.” Finally, things get back on track with I Need This which is the album’s rock ballad. The guitar melody in the verses starts off dark and then it switches to a light acoustic guitar which is a nice little twist. The chorus is beautiful with its elegant piano melody and she sings very passionately. I adore the hushing backing vocals when she sings “wait, did you hear that, hear my heartbeat/I need this feeling, I really need this.” Surprisingly, the second chorus is even better because the arrangement is much brighter and uplifting. Her backing vocals and belting at the end make for a great finale. Who You Are is an acoustic mid-tempo. It’s got a great uplifting message; however, it only manages to be a decent track. I love the “no, no, no, nos” before the chorus because of her vocals and the chorus is much more memorable due to the guitar and the backing vocals. It does get slightly more interesting in the bridge with the added strings and edgy guitar that continues until the end of the track.

I heard Domino frequently on the radio but it didn’t do much for me. I only started enjoying it when I saw its colourful video. “I’m feeling sexy and free/like glitter’s raining on me,” she proclaims to a glittery guitar and drum beat. Her strong vocals breathe life into this track and it’s such a vibrant, feel-good anthem. The pre-chorus is sensational, mostly because of her energetic ad-libs. Synths get intertwined with the guitars during the chorus for the most entertaining hook on the album, “rock my world into the sunlight/make this dream the best I’ve ever known/dirty dancing in the moonlight/take me down like I’m a domino.” It’s full of life and it’s so much fun. The synth breakdown in the bridge is amazing and I love how it starts off light,  slowly building up back into the chorus. This is her best song and I‘m surprised that I didn’t like it right away. My Shadow comes in with a beautiful piano and her gorgeous, deep vocals echoing “you’ll never leave me.” Her voice strengthens when the drums join and it’s a bit surprising because I wasn’t expecting it to sound so heavy. It’s not light or fluid like the introduction leads you to believe. I like the chorus because it’s very emotional and strong. Her ad-libs in the final chorus are great and her powerful voice makes it stand out. It’s not amazing but it’s a really nice song. The final track, Laserlight (feat. David Guetta), has her joining forces with one of the most popular producers at the moment. A reverberating synth beat leads the verses, later joined by heavy percussion. The chorus moves away from this pounding melody and goes into an overload of synths. She completely overpowers the instrumental with her vocals, “you’re like a laserlight, burning up/burning down, on me,” and the synths continue to evolve as it goes on. I would have liked the song more if the chorus wasn’t toned down. The instrumental doesn’t go into full blast until after the chorus. The instrumental breaks are the most exciting moments and they hardly feature any vocals. Furthermore, this isn’t as catchy as David’s other productions and it’s a shame because he usually makes really catchy tunes.

Conclusion: Who You Are is a decent debut album and it shows off her vocals nicely. I didn’t have many issues with her vocals and for the most part she sung each track beautifully. She has a very interesting and aggressive voice which I like a lot but the downfall of the album is the production and there’s not enough up-tempo tracks. There are about five songs that stand out while the rest just don’t do anything for me. I thought the album would have more songs like Do It Like A Dude but sadly it’s the only one of its kind on Who You Are. All she needs is better material because she nailed everything vocally.

Recommended Tracks: Domino, I Need This, Nobody’s Perfect, Who’s Laughing Now, Do It Like A Dude, My Shadow and Price Tag (feat. B.o.B)

Rating


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  1. This album for me was okay. Her voice is great but I dunno nothing about her makes me excited to actually be a fan and her lyrics are kinda generic.But I really liked Nobodies Perfect and Rainbow.

    sidenote: The cover is really hideous and the aesthetic she is going for is really ugly. Kinda wrote her off in the beginning after seeing her mv for Do it like a Dude. I really hope she ditches it but hey that’s the name of the game nowadays being out their fashion wise.

    • Thanks for commenting. I’m in the same boat as you. She has a great voice but there’s nothing else that is making me want to keep listening to her. I don’t mind her image though. It’s not too crazy and not too plain. I think fashion has always played a role in music. I guess the whole crazy and outrageous look is what’s mainstream right now.


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