Much anticipated and yet long drawn out, Alive was finally released September 23rd to receive greatly mixed reviews. With two hits already released; ‘Wild‘ and ‘It’s My Party‘, Jessie’s fans were psyched for an album undoubtedly bursting with chart hits… perhaps J should have saved the best till last?
First to be released was the oh so catchy dance track ‘Wild’, up-beat with an infectious rhythm complimented by Big Sean and Dizzee Rascal, this was the perfect track for a summer release reaching number five in the charts. ‘It’s My Party’ was next to follow and wrought in equally popular reviews. Both songs are up-beat in tempo with lyrics evoking the irresistibly buoyant attitude toward life which has made Jessie J such a personable artist to her younger audiences.
The most highly notable aspect of Alive has to be Jessie’s attempts to explore new genres; a particularly successful example being the ballad ‘I Miss Her’. The mellow piano introduction gives an immediately jazzy feel and is certainly enough to capture the listeners’ attention as the diversity of Jessie’s vocal talent is revealed. The song seems completely stripped back in comparison to the rest of the album, allowing for the Jessie’s incredible vocals to really shine through and communicate with her audience in a far more genuine way when without synthetic interruption. Another unusual note about this particular track is its maturity in term of lyrics; Jessie has really pushed the boat out to create a track worthy of competing with contemporaries such as Adele whom targets an older audience. Perhaps this signals Jessie’s first tentative steps away from her teenage audience, and urban style, into more adult territory.
That said, not much later in the album comes ‘Excuse my rude’, now this is a track with a very controversial gangster-rap style intro soon to turn into an almost pre-teen pop come Hip-Hop track – something which is hardly helped by Becky G’s contribution. The immature lyrics together with the repetitive drum and bass backing cause this track to be a definite black mark on the album.
Alive features some truly memorable five star songs, ‘Wild’ and ‘It’s My Party’ for example have both hit the clubs with great reception, even the atypical ballad ‘I Miss Her’ is sure to make a well-deserved break into the charts after the freshers club madness ends. So why was this Album such a flump? Well, in my opinion Jessie’s downfall has been sheer number of songs she’s tried to churn out, of which just too many sound unfortunately similar not only to each other but also to those from her debut album.
Now, we have all heard ‘Domino’, Jessie’s second number one UK chart single, second only to ‘Price-Tag’ this dance-pop track is still playing in clubs so it’s understandable in a way that Jessie should want to replicate this achievement… but replicas are just not what the public want from a new album and ‘Sexy Lady’ has already been slated in countless reviews for this very reason!
As far as the remainder of the album is concerned, the likes of ‘Thunder’, ‘Unite’ and ‘Magnetic’ have such similar rhythmic patterns, instruments and even lyrical structure that if you were to listen to them as a medley you may not even notice that they are different songs! It does seem a shame that such a talented song writer should put all her songs to the same mediocre melody.
However, despite some unfortunate song choices for public release Jessie J’s vocal talent cannot be faulted. From a technical point of view there is no doubt that the vocals (at least from Jessie herself) in every song are flawless her famous vibrato style a consistently impressive theme resonating through the album.
So what is the verdict? This album has some gems, the overall feel being that Jessie is keen branch out and experiment with new genres and target audiences and yet at the same time does not want to alienate her current fan-base. Let’s hope that Jessie breaks out of her comfort zone and gives us some original material in albums to come!
Alive was released 23rd September on Lava