Jessie Reyez is easily one of the most talented singer and songwriter’s in all of music. Her ability to deliver such great melodies with her signature powerful and soulfully passionate vocals. To go with Jessie’s mostly heart-wrenchingly great honest storytelling that is very relatable to so many. Is what attracted me and so many others to her music and continues to do so. For her very tight core fan base. So after delivering such an honest, heart-wrenching, yet powerful debut album. In, BEFORE LOVE CAME TO KILL US, in 2020. That is easily among the most definitive debut album’s of all-time. You knew it was going to be hard to top or even come close to that for her followup sophomore album. With the highly-anticipated, YESSIE. She is able to do just that though. As Jessie delivers an album that’s a more refined, laidback and intimate album with her sophomore album.
Starting off with the very Hip-Hop centric intro track, MOOD. That finds Jessie over the soulful laidback Rykeyz, Spencer “Moose” Muscio and Anthony Daniel Szczachor co-production. So easily transitioning from the more Hip-Hop flow to the soulful harmonious chorus that has a sample of Los Diablitos of Colombia’s, Los Caminos De La Vida. As she completely snaps in the way she sings about the many complexities everyone goes through in life. Her verse of, “Camera, action, I’m ready for the masses. Only thing fake about a b***ch is my lashes. I even gotta thank Mother Mary for the pain. ‘Cause the kid about to make another hit from the sadness. Caskets, caskets for all the has-beens. Who wouldn’t help me out. Now it’s zoom, zoom past you. Oh, you wanna build now? Look who’s askin’. Oh, you wanna link now? Look who’s laughin’. Sike, I still move with grace. I don’t hold it against the non-believers for not believin’, that’s not my mistake. And I needed that hate, ‘cause those ingredients make the underdog great. You ain’t gotta love me now. Because you’ll love me late, I learned to love the rain. It’s all the same, still got a smile on my face.” Before going into the very soulfully harmonious chorus. That really sets the the tone of album so well. To let you know what an honest and intimate experience you are in for in the next 10 tracks of this short, concise and intimate album. The intro perfectly seguing into the very bouncy and catchy, Tim Suby and Jessie Reyez co-produced, HITTIN. Where she sings about as part of the chorus suggests about a friend possibly being, “more than just a friend.” Cause of just how the, “mood is hitting.”
The very soulful, yet laidback and live instrumentation production throughout the album. Like on her debut. Once again a very strong point in how great it makes the album. Whether it be the soft and beautiful guitar licks and bass from David Mckinnon and keyboards. As well as drums from Pomo on the Pomo and Reyez co-produced standout, FOREVER. To the beautifully distorted drum programming from Phinisey on the very kiss-off track, QUEEN ST. W. Which he co-produced with “Pop” Wansel, Daoud and Jessie. The beautifully strong buildup from Rykeyz on most of the instruments except for Paul Nelson and Sari Reist on the cello on the very standout previously released single, MUTUAL FRIEND. Yet another great example of that.
Jessie’s ability to so easily go from R&B/Soul to Hip-Hop and Pop. So seamlessly with ease. Whether it be the very soulfully heart melting collaboration with 6LACK. Where they both so effortlessly sing with such soulful confidence to their significant others about what they are missing by not being with them and leaving them. The record like their previous collaboration, IMPORTED. From Jessie’s debut album, showing the undeniably great chemistry both artists still have with one another. To the very dark Pop-infused, MUTUAL FRIEND. That sees Jessie lamenting a former lover she doesn’t care about at all and despises to the point of hate. Singing so beautifully and passionately about it. As she delivers the rawly real and beautifully honest gut-wrenching honest lyrics we have become accustomed to on a majority of her records.
As we reach the midway point of the album. Jessie delivers easily her most mainstream record. With the very fun and dance-pop heavy Calvin Harris-produced groove, Tito’s. That sees Jessie so confidently singing about fun drunk heavy nights. On the bilingual track. Which then perfectly segues into easily one of the most standout tracks on the album. That’s not only arguably the best track on the album, but one of the best so far of Jessie’s career in the very live instrumented Rykeyz-produced, Only One. That really lets her show off her amazing vocals. As she sings about a very intimate love she wants to make sure prioritizes her as their, “Only One.” That then transitions so seamlessly and perfectly into the very guitar-infused Tim Suby produced, STILL C U. About a former love that you still c in your dreams, but can’t truly let go of. Jessie giving a very beautiful and emotional vocals display you can feel all the personal raw, real and powerful emotions and pain of through the lyrics. That are so heartbreaking, yet still so chillingly beautiful and relatable to for so many.
Getting to the latter part of the album. Jessie shows her versatility once again with the very drum heavy and Rock-infused, BREAK ME DOWN. A very emotionally potent record that has a lot of the styling of an early to mid 2000s emo rock track. Where Jessie pours her heart all out letting her former significant other know she realizes their relationship is officially over and done with. Even though she secretly still wishes it could work out and they get back together. So Jessie is testing his love for her and seeing if he can break her down and really put an end to their relationship for good. That then so seamlessly segues into the very acoustic standout, EMOTIONAL DETACHMENT DEMO. That is broken down into two parts and starts off by Jessie so beautifully singing about wishing she didn’t hurt so bad from drinking and how she wishes she was with a man that was at a party with someone else. While the second part is her so beautifully singing about realizing the things she needs to do for her own self love to make her a better person for not only herself. But for others around her and anywhere within her vicinity. The album then so beautifully closes out with the very beautiful mostly Spanish track, ADIOS AMOR. That sees Jessie delivering a very powerful and transcendentaly pure poetic performance. That is the perfect way to close out such a nearly perfect and flawless album.
Overall, YESSIE, is a very beautifully honest and intimate album. That once again shows the remarkable depth, great songwriting, honestly raw and real. As well as very relatable storytelling that we have come to expect from Jessie Reyez. While also delivering an even more personal and transcendent side of her. That has elevated Jessie even more not only musically, but personally as a great human. That has learned to start to turn her darkness into a more joyful and healing self. That is focused on making herself better both musically and personally with each new day. Which is why it should be no surprise that it results in not only, YESSIE, being one of the best R&B/Soul albums released this year. But one of the best album’s released across all of music in 2022. That is one of my personal favorites and I wouldn’t be surprised to see on many top album’s of 2022 year-end lists come December. Not to mention the album also really solidifies Jessie as one of the best singers and songwriters of her generation too.