Jess was the runner-up on “Australian Idol” in 2006. Shortly after, her career blew up with her 2008 debut album, “Been Waiting,” and its lead single, “Running Back,” which went double-platinum. She has enjoyed commercial success in Australia throughout her career and opened for Beyoncé on her Down Under leg of the “I Am…” tour. Jess is a hybrid version of Katy Perry and Beyonce; her sultry, edgy voice lends itself well to R&B, and her larger-than-life personality exudes sunny pop. “Beautiful,” is her third album, following 2010’s “Get ‘Em Girls.”
1. Beautiful: 6/10
Catchy, but the chorus is lacking when it hits its stride repeating “beautiful.” Generic. Man, the start was so promising.
2. Kiss Me Hello: 7/10
Ooh. Fun intro–like Britney’s “Touch of My Hand” opener. Better than “Beautiful,” but still not jumping at me. Cool production though.
3. Pop A Bottle: 9/10
Obvious catchy pop masterpiece. Feel good. Wish this would have been out during our summer. The second half of the song is magical starting with the : “Give me, give me more, let it pour, till it overflows…” bit to the break down of the chorus. Yay to senseless pop music that puts a smile on my face!
4. I Believe: 9/10
Wasn’t expecting this to be clubby. But ok. Mhmm. Liking it. I hate when clowns rain on me too. Such a pain. “You live and learn.” Amen sister. Self-empowering club music. Always a good combo. Wait…is anyone else hearing “Good Time” in the verses? The phrasing is very similar. I’m definitely going to be stupid dancing to this in my room or in the shower. Yup. Gonna happen. This needs a remix though. Good starting point.
5. Never Be the Same: 6/10
Here comes the inner-Beyoncé. The phrasing is very “Halo”-esque in the verses. Production reminds me of “Scariest Part” from “Get ‘Em Girls.” It’s all about growing up and moving away from home to do big things and forever being changed. It’s actually kind of depressing…and “Beautiful” takes a turn for the melancholic.
6. In Love Again: 7/10
And now back to the R&B Jess from “Been Waiting.” Her voice just sounds awesome on this. She almost has a Mariah-like tonality in her lower register…that rugged whisper. Beauteous.
7. Honest: 6/10
Like the ominous sound. This album is hella master produced. Who can’t relate to a liar? The arrangement reminds me of Riri’s “Cold Case Lover.” Decent track.
8. I’ll Be There: 10/10
Oh damn. Loving it. Yup. This is my fav track on the album. Sounds very Mike Will Made It. Chill cruising song. You know I love those. My jam. Lyrics are a tad corny but I don’t care. Vibing right now.
9. Go (I Don’t Need You): 6/10
Eerie and haunting. My head was moving. Not earth-shattering.
10. Heartbreak Party: 10/10
My second fav on the album. That bass. That chorus. “I got one thing on my mind and you need to know it isn’t you.” #burn. It’s a breakup anthem that is irresistibly addicting. I’m not going through a breakup but I feel like a badass bitch. Take that you non-existent betrayer!
11. Barriers: 8/10
I really like this one! At first I passed it up, but it’s growing. The melody is so good. Makes you wanna sing along and harmonize. It sounds very Jordin Sparks-y and I can’t really explain why.
12. To the End of the Earth: 8/10
OK I was so pumped when this came out: it signaled new J-Mally material! It starts so well. Love the ethereal, space-y vibe. I remember being disappointed with the chorus at first for being to restrained because you have that huge build up with the clapping–clapping is always good–and then it falls a little flat with some chanting and minimalist lyrics. Well, I still kind of that way but I’ve gotten over it. It’s interesting she chose this as the first release because it sounds nothing like the rest of the album, then again, Jess doesn’t really ever create “thematic” albums. I mean, what does “Beautiful,” mean?
13. Kick Up Your Heels: 4/10
No. No. No……No. It was kind of fun and peppy until the bridge and then I just couldn’t handle it anymore. Oh, and then the chorus hit! Stop the madness! It’s like Mr. Saxobeat had a baby with Pitbull’s “Back In Time.” Obvz that’s no cute child. I’m going to have nightmares of vigorous jazz hands.
Album Average: 7/10. I feel “Beautiful” is similar to “Get ‘Em Girls” in a lot of ways. There tends to be the same mix-matched selection of juicy pop creations and dramatic R&B tunes. It would be nice to see Jess maybe release a more personal album next. I’m thinking something more along the lines of Beyonce’s “4,” which stylistically would suit Jess’s voice very well! But this is overall a good set of fun-loving songs to keep you infected until the next release.
[Image via Josepvinaixa.com]