Expectations admittedly are high and although this debut Disc is a mixed bag of Songs, the raw talent Jessie J possesses is v. present. If not this Album, she is on the verge of something spectacular. Her vocal tone, range and styling are clear proof of the legacy which the likes of Beyoncé, Fergie and Alicia Keys have left on this generation of young Divas, but furthermore she really pulls out every single trick and bit of inspiration she has within her on Who You Are. There is nothing understated about Jessie J – she goes all-out because she can.
I have not been shy about expressing my love for Dr. Luke-produced hit Price Tag (ft. B.o.B.) which despite repeating a vibe heard on Hits like No One (Alicia Keys) and Where is the Love (The Black Eyed Peas), I cannot deny its standalone appeal. It is a proper introduction to the uplifting vibe she truly wants to deliver. Sunny tracks like L.O.V.E. and Stand Up promote positivity and teach us Pop Listeners a lesson or two on Reggae - her way.
Some of the brighter moments on Who You Are are heavy on the ‘90s-sounding Synths. The delicious Abracadabra, another Dr. Luke contribution where Jessie J gives us full-on Lisa Stansfield, is a recommended listen and also Parker & James/The Invisible Men-produced Who’s Laughing Now has the Singer calling-out all the disbelievers in her life who “dragged her spirit down” have suddenly became supporters. The hurt and rejection in her life can be felt deeply in her delivery. But really, look who’s laughing now.
Although I foresee criticisms in some of the more middle-of-the-road moments here like Nobody’s Perfect and the Disc’s title track, her showiness is almost necessary to separate her from Pop Darlings like Rihanna and Ke$ha, whom although talented are no match vocally to Jessie J. And if there ever was any doubt the Girl could sing, I invite you to peruse her Studio version of the brassy Mamma Knows Best, which floored North Americans after her debuting it on Saturday Night Live recently.
Jessie J appears still to be figuring out what her Audience will respond to, but she’ll have some clear answers to those questions v. soon. I predict greatness. Universal Music Canada releases Who You Are on April 12, 2011. Grade: A-