By Dara Hickey ... via UnrealityShout.com
When Jessie J first strutted onto the scene with her studded lips and androgynous crotch-grabbing, no-one would’ve dared predict that someone with such an opinion-splitting agenda to would be the savour of pop in 2011. So, somewhat thankfully, nobody did (if you disregard the BRIT Award for “Critic’s Choice”, which was just about the only formidable entity to ever suggest such lofty accolades awaited her). She was the glorified epitome and brutal assailant of an insatiable desire to make everyone feel fantastic about themselves; a contradiction of effect as she crusaded with horrifically misplaced certainty that everyone had incurable flaws that urgently needed rectifying with her music, or at least soothing. But it’s all for nothing because, even if you invest the smallest amount of thought, you’ll see that verbal encouragement is not something easy achieved when said encouragement is willing to literally shout your darkest insecurities away with the might of her lungs.
Often times, Jessie J’s efforts to feel everyone’s pain were a little rose-tinted, as were her successes. She resorted to shrieking in an anguished, strained voice that reluctantly scraped to the same heights her ambitions reside, leaving a slightly hollow feeling of empathy to her songs, as if none such emotion ever existed at all. It’s all pleasant enough if we can write lyrics - however trite - that connect with people, but Jessie J’s delivery of them frequently echoed with an unmistakable self-indulgence.
And such was her personality and stamp on the British market. It was futile to protest much about it, as many had already found sanctuary upon her iron pillows and tissue-paper blankets. However, with the release of ‘Domino’, the second US release and God-knows-what-for release over here in the UK, she appears to have clambered out of the niche she inconsequentially fought so hard to find her way into and enlisting the help (or hindrance) of Dr. Luke along the way. ‘Domino’ is an effervescent pop stomper with all the ingredients a good pop song should have. However, cheery as it sounds, it sounds like Dr. Luke literally pelts her with ideas - randomised, repetitive ideas that recall his work with Katy Perry and Ke$ha a little too closely for comfort - but Jessie J, whilst wearing her most convincingly confident façade to date, either fails to do these tools justice, or more likely, Dr. Luke fails to deliver much that we hadn’t already seen before.
The result is that Jessie J, who convinced us incessantly that she’s naturally very hesitant with giving her trust to others on ‘Nobody’s Perfect’, has placed her trust in the wrong hands. And in doing so she compromises her individuality in exchange for generic, conveyor-belt pop that’ll certainly see her rub shoulders with all the ‘right’ people in the future but, as well as setting her expiry date on a scale of possibly one more album, it has effectively drained what little soul she had and any residual claim to it with a big fat wage-slip rewarding her newfound commercialism. But to say that’s an entirely bad thing would be a lie. Quite the contrary: perhaps whilst she’s wandering out and about in the MOR wilderness admiring the view of money she’ll learn that the real joy and empathy in pop music is only truly realised when, on the increasingly infrequent occasion these days, it looks like nobody’s trying all that hard.
THEN ... MusExpo 2009 Showcase