The cynical person in me wants to play dance music whack-a-mole. For every artist with a nice soft voice, an R&B slant, and a perfectly remixable sound, I want to smack back down into the hole they crawled out of. Most of them are talentless and cookie-cutter, and we certainly don’t need another Ellie Goulding or Calvin Harris.
Jess Glynne has a lot going for her. She has that sassy broad appeal. The kind that brought Jessie J to fame in 2011 with her rambunctious breakthrough single, “Price Tag,” or the kind that made Charli XCX a mainstream household name with “Doing It,” featuring another sort of cookie-cutter pop & b artist Rita Ora. Some singers just lack the charisma.
Regardless, Glynne can easily be dismissed as another forgettable dance-pop artist, and the argument is not totally unfair. Her rhythm is spot-on in melancholy R&B songs such as “Saddest Vanilla,” but she flounders into “ohhhhs” and “yeahhhhsss” in “No Rights No Wrongs.”
The songs do run together even after multiple listens, which leans further credence to the fact that these artists do not need to release full-lengths, despite the fact that it’s probably welcomed and an easier business sell.
Not to mention, at least she put out a full album. Her debut I Cry When I Laugh hits all the right notes. An acoustic tune to change the pace. A saucy little closer. And enough beepboops and lyrics about bad ex-boyfriends and boys that she learned a whole hell of a lot about self-confidence from.
It is all standard fare, but she makes it fun, and that is more than can be said about many pop artists that recycle everything to the point where it becomes self-parody- and it’s painfully boring.
But, her voice has this enlightening float about it that is more reminiscent of Adele. Fortunately, she has a nice breakneck pace more similar to Rihanna, which makes her perfect filter for a good remix. Unlike, of course, that terrible dance remix of Adele’s “Hello” that is unsurprisingly a thing. It is simply that Jess Glynne has the vocal chops without being melodramatic or slow.
In the end, Glynne has a charismatic flourish, and enough substance to make a surprisingly engaging dance-pop collection in “I Cry When I Laugh.” It should come as no surprise that mega-remix mastermind and non-album maker Tiesto put his stamp on her tune, “Take Me Home.” It should also come as no surprise that there was already enough of a dance skip and pulse to make the remix redundant. Jess Glynne doesn’t need a DJ to give her tracks some kick. She has enough sense and rhythm in her own material to keep the floor moving.
Ryan Merkel is a cool writer guy and contributor all over the internet, from blogs on music to magazines about music to sites about playing music. He is currently founder of SunState Investing and is head editor of the music entertainment magazine, CultureTease. He has written two novels, and is currently working on a third full-length novel, surprisingly, not about music. His novel “Splatter the Noise” earned accolades for independent publishing. Be sure to check out: www.sunstateinvesting.com
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