Jessie Reyez debuts with ‘BEFORE LOVE CAME TO KILL US’

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Allan Rayman live at the Danforth Music Hall with surprise guest Jessie Reyez in 2017.  Photo by    Mac Downey    in the public domain

Allan Rayman live at the Danforth Music Hall with surprise guest Jessie Reyez in 2017. Photo by Mac Downey in the public domain

Canadian singer Jessie Reyez is no stranger to the music world. With the success of her 2017 single, “Figures,” and collaborations with artists such as Sam Smith and Calvin Harris, the singer finally released her debut album, “BEFORE LOVE CAME TO KILL US.”

Reyez explores the feelings of love, heartbreak and chaos in relationships. The first single off this 14-track album was “IMPORTED,” featuring R&B singer, 6LACK (pronounced “black”). “IMPORTED” was originally released back in 2018 on Reyez’s “Being Human In Public” EP with vocals from Reyez and JRM, a Jamacian songwriter. Shortly afterward, the singer teamed up with 6LACK to remix the single, which gained over 60 million streams on Spotify and peaked at #6 on the Billboard R&B Digital Song Sales charts in early April of 2019.  

At first listen, I fell in love with this ballad. Reyez’s unique vocals paired with the repetitive acoustic pluck playing throughout and the lyrics itself, made me want to zone out and just completely immerse myself in the music.

“Hi, my name is 6LACK / And sometimes people call me SIX-LACK / I don’t mind because they stubborn / And my bank account is looking mighty fine,” 6LACK sings to set the record straight about his name. Later, Reyez sings, “Hi, my name is not important / I’m not from here, I’m imported.” Reyez expresses that her name is unimportant because no matter who calls her name, she will be there. “IMPORTED” is definitely a track to add to your R&B playlist.

Reyez also teamed up with Eminem following their previous collaboration on the rapper’s 2018 “Kamikaze” album. “COFFIN” is a breakup song where Reyez tells a story of jumping off a building for her lover, hoping to see him in the afterlife.

“My experience hasn’t been f—— roses. It hasn’t been Disney. It hasn’t been non-violent. My experience has been what I sing about, and it’s a balance I’m still learning,” Reyez said to Vice. This track is balanced with beautiful acoustic guitar instrumentals and dark lyrics.

“LOVE IN THE DARK” is my personal favorite from the album. This single was released earlier this year with a mesmerizing music video of Reyez swimming in a river looking up at the purple cosmic sky. This track showcases Reyez’s vulnerability, as she pours her emotions into her music. 

“I wrote this during a really sad time of my life. I remember crying. I hope people understand how vulnerable it is,” she told Rolling Stone. Reyez’s music is so captivating because of her ability to connect with people’s feelings. Her lyrics are relatable and raw.

I find myself replaying the first eight songs on the album. The album focuses on the positives and negatives of love. I enjoyed Reyez’s “Being Human In Public” EP much more than her debut album because of the contrast from song to song. This album adheres strictly to the themes of love and heartbreak, whereas she expresses self growth and empowerment in her EP.  However, there are definitely great tracks on this debut and Reyez is just starting to make her mark in mainstream music. The singer is set to open Billie Eilish’s “Where Do We Go?” tour later this year. 

Other favorites from the album:

  • “INTRUDERS”

  • “SAME SIDE”

  • “FIGURES”

  • “KILL US”

Rating: 4/5

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Cindy Lam is a campus correspondent for The Daily Campus. She can be reached at cindy.lam@uconn.edu.

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