Jessie J Fires Up and Fizzles Out on Sweet Talker

If any artist is putting herself on the map, it’s Jessie J with her retro-fabulous powerhouse of a voice. She’s been consistently cranking out A+ hits with “Price Tag,” “Domino,” and this summer’s “Bang Bang.” Her recent release Sweet Talker takes up the mantle and keeps the pop coming alongside hefty doses of R&B.

The highlights come early on on the album with opener “Ain’t Been Done,” taking off with a supersonic speed intro verse that rolls into the joyous, sunny pop we’ve grown to love Jessie J for. But, as with any Jessie J track, there’s a tough girl edge that keeps her music from getting too cliché. Follow up “Burnin’ Up” keeps things sassy, turning any listener’s sidewalk into a catwalk with a high velocity chorus.

The major problem with this album is it doesn’t quite know what it wants to be. While it starts out with excellent pop tracks, it slips into misguided 90’s R&B with songs like “Personal,” awkward pop ballads like “Masterpiece” and “Fire,” and power pop like “Said Too Much.” The highs of Sweet Talker are soaring, but the lows are pretty far down there, unfortunately. Her stab at different, more melodramatic music feels a lot like the over-processed, artificial ballads on Adele‘s 21; it’s not so much the lyric quality or even the songwriting, it’s the production. The violin vamps on “Fire” are overkill and the halfhearted chorus of “Personal”  is a little desperate.

That being said, the best tracks on Sweet Talker are excellent. Jessie J is a disgustingly talented artist and her sound is exciting on ears that have grown tired of standard pop. Jessie brings a smile and a set of brass knuckles to the table, letting you know that she’s here to have fun but also take over the world. “Ain’t Been Done,” “Burnin’ Up,” and “Bang Bang” unfortunately don’t have enough levity to keep this album afloat, but at least it’s something to hold on to.

1 Comment

  1. Devon O' Connor

    November 13, 2014 at 7:28 pm

    I love the description, “disgustingly talented.” Haha it’s true – Jessie J’s vocals are killer!

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