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Jessie Reyez’s Debut Album “Before Love Came to Kill Us” is a Raw, Unadulterated Masterpiece

Jessie Reyez released her debut album on March 27!  The Colombian-Canadian singer song-writer did not disappoint with her extensive collection of sounds ranging from R&B to Bounce. The artist’s highly-anticipated album showcases an incredible ability to connect with the audience.

DO YOU LOVE HER

The opening track of the album begins venomously, yet pained. She opens her album angrily at the person she’s speaking to. She switches, however, to a softer undertone as she speaks about her slow but steady healing process. Reyez very clearly expresses her hurt through a string of curse words and violent references. The song represents the mix of emotions when wronged, or in this case, cheated on. This immediate hurt turns into wrath as the airy piano turns into an overlay of grainy synth noises. The part of the chorus that sticks out the most to me is, “Kiss me, I’m the monster that you made, yeah, you made me/Now I’m just like you, so don’t complain, yeah, you, made me . . .”

The track is bold and almost represents the album in a nutshell. The song is a strong start to a strong album.

DEAF (who are you)

The second track of the album is an unfiltered rant for your exes. The song features a grunge, Spanish and rock-and-roll sound that fits the viciousness of her words. Reyez parades around her upper hand in the fight alongside her Colombian heritage. Track two’s vitriol masks track one’s pain.

INTRUDERS

In the album’s third track, Reyez shifts to her feelings during the relationship. The instrumental shifts from a grunge sound to one that is acoustic and more of a band sound. “You’re beautiful, beautiful/I see them stare/But you belong to me. . .” Reyez wants others to know that her man is her’s, though they don’t respect the relationship. This track likely signifies her fears and fights to keep her relationship strong.

The track represents a calm from the storm of the other songs. Reyez sits down and lets her talents shine through. Her vocals are moving and genuine.

COFFIN

Eminem joins Reyez on the fourth track of the album. The song utilizes traditional jazz and guitar sounds. The song represents a torn relationship. The track is a tale between two lovers who are toxic for one another, yet remain together until tragedy strikes (hence the name coffin). “You make me wanna jump off the roof/’Cause I love you to death, just like a fool/I’d rather a coffin, handmade for two/’Cause I love you to death, just like a fool. . .” This back and forth occurs until someone makes a move. “And hit the ground before I can. . .” These two loves, almost parallel to Romeo and Juliet, both decide to jump off the roof for one another.

This theme follows in Eminem’s verse, which is almost reminiscent of the theme of “Love the Way You Lie” (which he does mention). The track stands out and is a metaphorical representation of her thoughts during the relationship. The track is relatable on many levels and I thoroughly enjoyed it.

ANKLES

Ankles is a feel-good anthem for anyone who’s compromised their worth for someone. Reyez speaks about the infidelity in the relationship and feeling as though she was the reason it happened. “Pretending that I was the guilty one/I wasn’t feeling up no one but you, yeah. . .” Reyez doesn’t shy away from her feelings. I think this is one of the more fun tracks of the album. “These bitches can’t measure up/To my ankles. . .”

IMPORTED

6LACK and Reyez joined together for her single and sixth track on the album. The song features to people who can’t get the people they truly want or are in Love with. To mend this pain, they decide to use each other to help with the healing process. “You, you’re in love with somebody else/Maybe I could offer some help. . .” The song is a bit sad when you think about it. It’s two people who are only trying to cope. The methods, though, are dangerous, per her warning. “But you might O.D. if you get too much of me/Might O.D. if you get too much of me. . .”

The beat is cloudy and melancholy as it mixes an almost gospel and R&B sound together.

LA MEMORIA

The seventh track on the album embraces her Latin roots as it’s performed almost entirely in Spanish. However, consistent with the sound, the song is desolate as she ponders the weight the break-up has left on her. The bridge translates to “Your memory didn’t escape/You appear in my songs. . .” The dejected feeling links back to the previous track and keeps us in a state of sorrow.

I think this song, thus far, has been my favorite. I enjoy the instrumental’s distant and chilling sound. The Spanish fit what I can say is a haunting track.

SAME SIDE

Reyez returns to a sound similar to Coffin on this next track. She slows the guitars down this time and revisits the jazz sound she explored earlier in the album. It’s as though this time she wants to reflect on Coffin in a more direct manner and at a different angle. She can’t seem to piece together why she craves a relationship where she’s treated poorly. “You’re such an asshole, but I see a prince/And I’m a good girl, but you see a bitch/I wanna make love, you wanna burn a bridge. . .”

The song nearly portrays an abusive relationship (which may be her angle). It’s with this song, where she captures the magic of her songwriting. I’ve been impressed with every other song, but this track captures the essence of something that’s painfully beautiful.

ROOF

The ninth track is a fun addition to the project. It takes a step back from the heaviness of the previous few songs and talks more about her life and opinions. She pays homage to Kendrick Lamar’s verse in ScHoolboy Q’s rap track Collard Greens in a fun rendition. I think this track was needed and helped the listener experience some lightheartedness when listening to the project as a whole. This shows Reyez’s versatility when writing about just about anything.

DOPE

The ninth track of the album was finally released after being teased for over a year. It follows the footsteps of the previous track and follows a bounce mixed with a Doja Cat-esque sound. The tracks follow a club sound and is a great ‘filler’ track for the overarching story in the album.

KILL US

The eleventh track of the album is made after the title of the album. The song follows a ballad type of sound. The track is a slow build that shows her vocal talents. She ponders back to the relationship before Love was apart of the equation. “I miss when you were my best friend/Before love came to kill us. . .” The relationship seems to have started as platonic before accelerating into something she wishes it wasn’t

The track is emotional and captures her feelings throughout the album. Reyez is still pained despite her angry outbursts or funny moments.

LOVE IN THE DARK

The twelfth track of the album is the third single from Reyez’s debut album. The song captures her gratefulness for all that the relationship was and, ultimately, what it wasn’t. She still has unconditional Love for them, but she accepts the fact that it’s a failed situation. “I’ll be there to pull you back up/I’ll be around you, I’m nothing without you/I won’t leave you alone. . .”

Reyez is smart with her storytelling, practically every song fitting enough for a movie. Her songs easily resonate with the listener, which is a quality I admire.

I DO

Nearing the end of the album, Reyez revisits the acoustic sound. She takes a step back and reflects. Instead of questioning herself, she questions the relationship. She wonders back to her ex and wants to know if he still thinks of her. “Do I still live in your head?/Do you still live with regrets?/’Cause I do. . .” She wants to know if she meant as much to him as he did to her. 

The track leads from an acoustic to an almost astounding gospel sound. Reyez uses this time to let her mind ponder this situation and make a decision towards the end of the track. This song sticks out to me. She is incredibly versatile and seamlessly blends various sounds in her music. Reyez deserves more praise for her abilities.

FIGURES

The final track of the album visits one of her earlier songs. She realizes the warnings her friends and family gave her were right all along. “I wish I could hurt you back/Love, what would you do if you couldn’t get me back?/ You’re the one who’s gonna lose. . .” The ending of the album is reserved for realizations and understanding of the fact that things happen.

Overall rating: 4.5/5

It’s hard to think that this is Reyez’s first full-length piece of work. She’s masterful with her storytelling and perfect in her way of telling imperfect scenarios. She goes through the highs and the lows of a break-up incredibly, almost as though she was talking us through it. The album is incredible and meaningful. It’s her open diary for the rest of us to hear and I’m glad she’s shared it.

Featured Image via @Jessiereyez on Twitter

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