Jessie J seemed to have contracted a rather severe case of difficult second album syndrome with last year’s Alive.
Severely lacking in personality, it contained precious few of the fresh faced pop delights which had initially endeared her to the great British public.
Sweet Talker doesn’t contain anything as outstanding as Price Tag but it’s a huge improvement on Alive and that’s a start.
As a whole, it seems targeted at the American market which has so far remained impervious to Ms J’s charms. That her UK number one from earlier this summer, Bang Bang, was a collaborative effort with US stars Nicki Minaj and Ariana Grande certainly points in that direction. Elsewhere, Masterpiece is Beyonce-style R&B and very good it is too, while the big Christina Aguilera-like urban ballad, Personal is effective even if it’s hard to tell sometimes whether she’s happy being a teen pop singer making it all up or if she wants to be taken seriously? If so she needs to sound a bit more convincing and not so clichéd.
Her in-your-face shtick is still in place, notably on the pop hip hop of Ain’t Been Done and the excellent Bang Bang, but when she tries something new, such as the rubbery funk of Seal Me With A Kiss, the results are surprisingly good.
Whether it will win her the entirely new audience she may crave is debatable but it’s a good, listenable pop record.
Like this? Try these: Beyonce, Beyonce; Sky Ferreira, Night Time, My Time
By Andrew Greenhalgh