x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 25 July 2017

Jessie J's Who You Are proves the artist is a force of nature

The first album from the British popstrel Jessie J is a thrill.

British pop singer Jessie J.
British pop singer Jessie J.

Jessie J
Who You Are
(Island)

"Oh Jessie / We knew you could make it / I've got a track and I'd love you to take it", sings Jessica Ellen Cornish on Who's Laughing Now. It's essentially a quirky revenge song, the 22-year-old pop / R&B phenomenon taking fair-weather friends and her erstwhile detractors to task. Yet another star graduate of London's BRIT School, Cornish is smart, irreverent and fiendishly talented. Justin Timberlake has been reported as calling her "The best singer in the world right now", but her vivid, wholly assured debut also underlines why she won the Critics' Choice gong at this year's Brit Awards. Much of the praise thus far has been generated by Do It Like a Dude and Price Tag, the latter an insanely catchy R&B confection that reached number one in the UK. These are also singles presenting very different sides of Cornish, one miffed and in-your-face, and the other a benign, almost wholesome-sounding entity who is able to turn a song critiquing pop music's moneymaking fixation into a feel-good anthem. It's partly this ability to wrong-foot that keeps Who You Are sounding fresh, but ultimately it's Cornish's flair for well-turned, youngster-friendly lyrics - she also penned Miley Cyrus's Party in the USA - and gutsy, many octave-spanning vocals that dress her for success. A true force of nature.