Review: Jessie Reyez delivers an emotional powerhouse of a debut album

‘Before Love Came to Kill Us’ is an encapsulation of the artist’s last three years

Jessie Reyez Facebook | Photo Courtesy
The album explores life, death, and everything in between.

The modern music industry is filled to the brim with artists trying to make a name for themselves, with many of them often sounding the same as the artist who came before them and failed to make it big. It isn’t often that an artist can rise to the position they’re at in their career in such a nonchalant manner.

Spectacularly, Jessie Reyez does just that, using her debut album “Before Love Came to Kill Us” as an emotional victory lap of sorts.

Over the years, she’s collaborated with Eminem, Sam Smith, 6LACK and Lewis Capaldi. While it’s a wide range of artists, the sounds she’s experimented with range even further. Songs like “Shutter Island,” “Blue Ribbon” and “F**k Being Friends” showcase influences of EDM, R&B, pop and acoustic indie.

Each sound shines brightly on her first studio album, with slight influences from her past work placed sporadically throughout the project, putting everything she has on the table. A positive aspect of this is that not one song sounds the same, which is a refreshing change in tune to hear nowadays.

While the album’s sounds and instruments have a wide variation, it’s hardly a distraction from the powerful lyrics that Reyez delivers.

Highlights include “You make me wanna jump off the roof, ‘cause I love you to death” (“Coffin”) and “Strippers and liquor and cigarettes / Apologized but your Twitter said no regrets / I’d kill for a mute button in my head (“Ankles”).

One of the most impressive aspects is that, while the album explores a wide range of sonically unique sounds, it’s still molded into a unified and linear vision. The sudden changes in tone from one song to the next would shock the listener if it were created and produced by any other artist.

Under Reyez’s vision, the songs flow into one another elegantly through small transitions and specific key changes at the bookends of each song.

The album delivers a handful of impressive new tracks right up to the soulful closer “I Do.” Finishing with a full gospel choir joining her for the grand finale and a short spoken-word outro, most would think it’s the grand finale to a successful first full project. However, this isn’t the case.

Suddenly, the listener is projected back to 2016 with Reyez’s now-hit “Figures.” It’s a statement on how far she’s come since then and the landmark goals she’s achieved both personally and professionally.

While it’s been a long and strenuous road for the singer, the traction she’s gained in the era of empowering female artists (Billie Eilish, Lizzo, etc.) has been impressive.

She’s an artist far from reaching her full potential, demanding her audience to pay attention as she rises to critical and commercial fame, leaving fans both satisfied and clamoring for more.

Review: 4/5

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