It’s been nearly 3 years since Jessica Cornish burst onto the music scene. Commonly known by her stage name Jessie J, the 25 year old released her first big single back in November 2010, Do It Like A Dude, which charted at number 2 and started off an incredible career for the singer.
Although it seemed like the Londoner had just appeared out of no where, her debut album, Who You Are, was written over a seven year period. The debut was filled with massive hits, from the likes of B.o.B collaboration Price Tag, to the heartfelt title track ballad Who You Are, the album was certified 4x platinum in the UK.
But for any successful debut, the artist then has the somewhat dreaded follow up, and with Jessie admitting this album was completed in just 5 weeks, would it be as good as Who You Are?
Alive (standard edition) is a 13 track album, opening with latest single It’s My Party. Being completely honest, i’m not a fan of this single, meaning it wasn’t the best opener to the new material. However, second song Thunder is enough to make you want to listen on. A mature progression yet still recognising her style, it seemed Jessie J had ditched the controversial upbeat club tracks for a more chilled vibe throughout the record.
After It’s My Party, the first handful of songs lean more towards the mid tempo love song end of the spectrum, which is something most pop artists leave towards the end of the album. Things are upbeat again by track 4, even if not for long, when we hear the familiar sound of Sexy Lady, which has been made famous on the recent Boots No. 7 advert. By track 6, we’re back in the big ballad zone with the song Breathe, but it’s track 7, I Miss Her, that reminds us exactly why Jessie J is as successful as she is.
Without a doubt the strongest song on Alive, I Miss Her is gut-wrenching and the perfect song to impress the audience with Jessie’s vocal range. But before we have time to wipe away any stray tears, Jessie has upped the tempo again with Daydreamin’, the perfect pop song with a clear 90’s Mariah Carey vibe.
Track 9 is the beginning of the features, this one being with Californian rapper Becky G. Excuse My Rude is the closest we get to Do It Like A Dude (without attempting to rhyme!) and it’s okay, but the album didn’t need it at all. Lyrics like “Excuse my rude but I really hate you” are a little, well, immature. It definitely feels like a space filler to an album that started off so strong. But, no sweat, as we’re now into track 10. The first single we heard from Jessie J 2.0, Wild (below).
The last collaboration on the album comes on track 12. Most famous for songs like Afrodisiac and The Boy Is Mine, Brandy’s smooth soul vocals work incredibly well against Jessie’s big tones to create the simple yet stunning R’n’B melody, Conquer The World.
Can you tell the difference in the time period of writing and recording between Who You Are and Alive? Most definitely, but Alive comes with more experience in the music industry, unlike the debut, making it work just as well. As Jessie admitted recently on an interview with Alan Carr (Chattyman, September 20), her life is extremely different to what it was when she wrote Who You Are, and a songwriter has to capture their life and be honest to create a good record. So, for that, I think we have a job well done.
Alive is out now, and Jessie J plays London’s O2 Arena on October 29th & 30th.