Jessie Reyez doesn’t like to be messed about. And rightfully so. Her exceptional debut full-length album ‘BEFORE LOVE CAME TO KILL US’ opens with the line, “I should have F’d your friends / yeah it would have been the best revenge”. A cutthroat introduction that is about as subtle as her stage presence. The opening track ‘DO YOU LOVE HER’ sets the tone and gives the listener an immediate insight into who the 28-year-old Colombian-Canadian artist is. She’s ferocious and unfiltered, dripping in equal amounts of emotion and indisputable talent.
The album highlights her unique mix of sounds, bouncing between genres of hip-hop, slick R&B, trap and lighter acoustic moments. It’s all tied together with a sharp double-edged knot, surrounding the concept of love and death co-existing with one another. It’s human nature to think love is the key to happiness. But Reyez gets real AF, singing about her fascination with the other end of the spectrum where it could all end in disaster. Her rage continues on ‘DEAF,’ with savage vocals laid overtop of a hip-hop beat. Deceptively acoustic-driven track ‘INTRUDERS’ is reminiscent of her earlier sound. Trap-pop tracks ‘ROOF’ and ‘ANKLES’ scream confidence, ‘DOPE’ is the only wingman you need on a night out, and the ethereal ‘LA MEMORIA’ sees Reyez sing entirely in Spanish. Reyez’s wild versatility has been evident in her wide range of previous collaborators (Sam Smith, Shawn Mendes, Lewis Capaldi), but this is the first time it’s been captured in a single body of work.
On ‘COFFIN’ she reunites with collaborative partner Emimem, following her double-feature on ‘Nice Guy’ and ‘Good Guy’ on his 2018 album ‘Kamikaze’. Their anger and unwavering devotion continues with the raspy chorus, “you make me wanna jump off the roof / cause I love you to death / just like a fool” contrasting effortlessly with Emimem’s bars, “woulda settled down wit’ you / now I’ll put you in the ground and bury myself wit’ you.”
Teaming up with 6LACK on the sultry ‘IMPORTED’ is another high point – dealing with the juxtaposition of expectations in a relationship doomed from the start. Hauntingly beautiful ballads ‘LOVE IN THE DARK’ and ‘I DO’ end the album on a softer note and 2016 breakup song and smash hit ‘FIGURES’ wraps it up nicely. A sincere nod to where it all began, and reminding everyone just how far she’s come.
She’s been named one of Apple’s Up Next rising stars, earned Platinum and Gold Certifications, scored a 2020 Grammy nomination, and was scheduled to open up for Billie Eilish on her (now postponed) world tour. ‘BEFORE LOVE CAME TO KILL US’ is an intense outpouring of heart wrenching emotion condensed into 14 tracks that prove she is a gamechanger. Her bio on Spotify says it all, “I like to sing about sh*t I don’t like to talk about.” Jessie Reyez didn’t write out the album title and its tracklist in caps lock on accident. She’s infuriated by her infatuation and wants you to know it before you even hit play.
Listen to ‘BEFORE LOVE CAME TO KILL US’ below.