Jessie Reyez is an artist who radiates confidence and determination but is also not afraid to fully expose her vulnerable side. After two stunning EPs and nearly thirty singles, we are finally gifted with a full-length release by the precious artist.

Before Love Came To Kill Us is another great addition to the musical blessings of 2020. A graceful display of versatility and proficiency in different music styles the album heavily focuses on the love-related complications torturing the artist’s soul while also sliding in empowering takeaways. It also features an earth-shattering display of confidence and badass energy making the album an absolute must-hear worthy of a proper deep dive.

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Listen to Before Love Came To Kill Us (Deluxe)

It’s impossible to miss the passion of Jessie Reyez if you take the time to investigate her early releases. The Canadian artist with Colombian origin is heavily inspired by her life and experiences and manages to inject her music with impactful emotions and striking references.

Jessie often picks up the themes of being underestimated or neglected. Those types of songs usually feature an empowering build-up expressing the artist’s refusal to keep being underappreciated and eventually demanding the respect she deserves concluding with empowering self-love proclamations.

Considering Jessie’s rough journey in the music world those topics are not only natural but necessary for her repertoire. They might be heavy at times but, in the end, they display the unconditional determination and undeniable potential of the artist.

 

The main focus in Before Love Came To Kill Us is in another direction but the badass and confident Jessie also makes several appearances. And when this happens it is with a bang.

Deaf – a song that debuted in 2017’s Kiddo is an incredibly energizing track that pays homage to the artist’s roots and journey in the music world. Served on an aggressive beat building-up an atmosphere of toughness and respectability it goes through the blood, sweat, and tears that Reyez had to sacrifice to get where she is now.

They say that she ain’t signed yet, but she stuck up
Nah, I’m busy, I guess I’m stuck up
Man, what the fuck’s a day off?

 

Roof has a similar atmosphere created by a different approach. Here, mellow and relaxing singing and RnB elements switch with rapid-fire hip-hop in the second verse to express confidence, determination, and will to prove oneself. What the song manages to achieve in such a short time (1.46 minutes) is seriously impressive.

Dope follows the set example well. The explosive and highly energetic delivery is strongly contrasting the majority of the other slow-paced, dramatic, and controlled songs.

 

The music of Jessie Reyez is very much inspired by her personal love life. This becomes crystal clear with Before Came To Kill Us as the majority of the record deals with this topic and lets us get close to some of the most heartbreaking moments of the artist’s life and the relationships that have left deep scars on her mentality.

 

The opener Do You Love Her starts things quite well skipping unnecessary introductions and getting directly to the point. The song takes listeners places with the slow, dramatic, and even tragic (at times) tone going through emotions like anger, regret, and self-appreciation. The vocals Reyez manages to produce match the instrumentals effectively to tell the story of a relationship gone bad and leading to a lot of pain and self-realization for both people.

Narratives about toxic and hurtful relationships persist during the record. Coffin, Ankles, Same Side, and Figures all delve deeper into the subject.

 

All four of the songs display a toxic relationship that is hard to get away from, draining both of the people involved (and in the case of Coffin ending tragically). Coffin hints that love does exist somewhere amidst this toxicity but is not enough to compensate for the lack of understanding, passion, and respect.

Ankles follows up smoothly transitioning well and building up to Jessie standing her ground against her ex-lover and once again sending a reminder towards listeners to know their worth and respect themselves regardless of how they have been treated.

Lights out, strike out, I doubt
You’ll ever find anyone
These bitches can’t measure up
To my ankles

The remix version in the deluxe eddition of the album includes sharp hip-hop additions by Rico Nasty and Melii elevating the original piece on a whole new level

Other songs in this spectre dissect the reality about relationships – Kill Us shows acceptance and appreciation with the clear conclusion that romance is doomed to cause pain in one way or another. Regardless of the dark undertone the song leaves a pleasant feeling and pays tribute to the phenomenon of love in a satisfying way.

‘Cause nobody gets outta love alive
We either breakup when we’re young
Or we say goodbye when we die

The closing act of the deluxe version of the album makes it come full circle by bringing back the atmosphere of the opener Do You Love Her. However, the final track has more of a confessional tone and describes the efforts of trying to save a failing relationship and prove your worth despite the negligence of the other person. Another strong reminder relationships are a two-way effort presented in a limbo of confidence and desperation.

Everybody cheats, nobody listens
Everybody hits, nobody misses
Everybody’s scared, nobody risks it

Love-related narratives also take a mellow and soothing form during Before Love Came To Kill Us. Intruders represents a confident and reassured side of Jessie Reyez where she proves her love in a delightful way. Love In The Dark – one of the lead singles, serves as an ode to unconditional love and despite the dramatic twist at the end is a beautiful piece showing the vulnerable side of the artist.

 

Jessie continuously displays flaws and weaknesses during the album embracing vulnerability. She also remembers to show confidence and learned lessons – a great representation of real-life and a powerful takeaway at the same time.

I Do and Far Away II explore other aspects of love – a failed relationship desperately trying to stay intact and a romantic story of two people obstructed by distance. Both songs are extremely beautiful and unveil different areas of music Jessie excels in – Jazz/soul RnB and hip-hop. The wordplay and real-life references give the tracks distinctive elements and enhance the experience in a great way.

 

Imported and La Memoria show the young woman coping with a break-up in different ways. Imported allows us to taste another well-working collab with the hip-hop artist 6LACK (let me hear you pronounce it correctly) – a more provocative and lustful concept while La Memoria gifts us the singing of Jessie Reyez in Spanish. Both tracks have a lot of substance and hit close to heart contributing to the diversity of Before Love Came To Kill Us and completing the love-related narrative.

 

On the surface Before Love Came To Kill Us might seem basic or repetitive due to the heavy focus on the subject of love and relationships. However, this impression is strongly deceptive as the debut full-length presents many different styles, diverse instrumentals, beats, moods, and ways of expression.

To top it all Jessie Reyez has reached out to a wide collective of collaborators bringing fresh energy and interesting twists into the record. The many hip-hop elements also clearly show the Reyez truly thrives in the style and has untapped potential that will (hopefully) keep unveiling.


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