Published Mar 27, 2020Jessie Reyez's debut full-length, Before Love Came to Kill Us, has been built to last. Reyez told Exclaim! in our recent cover story that she had more than a bit of trepidation and pressure in dropping a full-length project — a fear of failing, a fear of not living up to the hype that her bestselling "Figures" started just a few years ago.
"I should have fucked your friends," is literally the first line for the opening track, "Do You Love Her," setting the stage, the tone, the implicit acknowledge that this is a major label effort, but the Toronto singer-songwriter is keeping it real AF.
"Dope" is full-on hip-hop-pop drip, a bit slick, but drip nonetheless. Even the quieter outings, relatively speaking — which include "Deaf" (which bumps, but feels stuck on its "early club warmer" setting) and the superfluous addition of Eminem to "Coffin — are soaring in the clouds in terms of playability.
A trap track like "Ankles" vibrates, the playful cadence of "Imported," the reverence of "La Memoria," the local shoutouts in "Roof" and the power pop of "Love in the Dark" are all steeped in self-aware storytelling and timely real-world themes. The word "gamechanger" is a loaded, virtually meaningless one, but there's a perceptible shift in the pop world with Reyez's long-anticipated release.
The fearless formula, the genre-blending, the artistic craft on display marks Reyez's latest as one of the better albums in an already interesting 2020. Before Love Came to Kill Us shines a light on homegrown talent done great. (FMLY/Island)