In the past eighteen months Jess Glynne has proclaimed herself the queen of the guest vocal, so it only makes sense that she try to hold her own as a solo artist. In her debut album, I Cry When I Laugh, puts this transition to the test.
Whilst there’s no doubt that Jess Glynne has a killer voice, the brains behind the record seem to have failed her by being unable to really pin down a niche for Jess to own. Emilie Sandé might have conquered soul, Cher Lloyd the rap-song. The whole record capitalizes on the songs that have pushed Jess into the spotlight. ‘Don’t Be So Hard on Yourself’ features more keyboard accompaniment, ‘Ain’t Got Far to Go’ includes faux instrumentals that sounds like it comes from a Clean Bandit tribute band, and ‘Right Here’ replicates the same Route 94 vibes of ‘My Love’.
It says something of Glynne’s potential that at her best the songs on the album are catchy, infectious and upbeat if forgettable. The force and rich timbre of her voice gives depth to her vocals, which stops arguably frivolous songs from coming off as juvenile. For Jess Glynne fans, the album would be everything they could wish for, with replications of the hits she’s featured on.
If you take the album apart track by track, each song has single potential. Songs such as ‘No Rights No Wrongs’ or ‘Saddest Vanilla (feat. Emilie Sandé)’ scream single potential all over them. In some respects, that’s a good thing, it’s a sign that Glynne doesn’t plan to anywhere anything soon. However, a multitude of singles an album does not make, and the best albums are still coherent as a strong whole. For now, all that can be gathered is that whatever genre Glynne wants to sing to, she wants it to be hopeful and uplifting.
That’s no bad thing, but at the end of the day I Cry When I Laugh is pop fare that will be forgotten by the time next year comes around. However, the hype surrounding around Jess Glynne at the moment means that she will almost undoubtedly score a number one debut album.