Wednesday, July 21st, 2021

Jessie J – I Want Love

“Though it is currently untitled, the project was produced by Ryan Tedder and has been teased as being a risk-taking project unlike anything the singer has previously released.”


Wayne Weizhen Zhang: A disco-pop, key-changing, “Edge of Seventeen”-nodding chimera that doesn’t manage to be spoiled by Jessie J’s incapacity to be at less than 200%. In a parallel universe, this is a What’s Your Pleasure? Jessie Ware track, and it’s a [9]. 

Leah Isobel: A textured, disco-inspired stomper is a good fit for any British Jessie, whether J or Ware, and it helps that the former is tempering her performance here to the point that she sounds a little like the latter. Still, this lacks something in the way of subtlety – the hammy outro lets all the song’s tension go slack – and the title is sung way too many times. Don’t just tell me over and over that you want love, show me.

Nortey Dowuona: Wanting love is a very easy thing. We all want love in any form it might take, especially if it’s easy and quickly offered. But the love you need is never wanted. It slides in like a blade between your ribs. And for Jessie to say it so earnestly, leapfrogging the chords and disco drums, with the key change — that hits like a sledgehammer to your neck. Subtlety is not the watchword here. The love you need is already drawing blood from your chest, and it’s time to thump it to the breakdown.

Oliver Maier: You almost have to admire that Jessie J and co. have made zero concessions to the mellow state of pop, opting instead for something characteristically big and shouty. Problem is it’s, horrible to listen to. “I Want Love” apes about 20 other songs yet is so featureless as to exist in relation to itself only. Rarely has a key change felt less earned.

Iris Xie: It’s like a remake of CHIC featuring Niles Rodgers – “I Want Your Love”, but with a galloping ABBA instrumental and way more tortured. But it’s missing some fun — it’s a bit too fast and urgent for the listener to really take in its emotions. “I Want Love” sounds more like a perfunctory song in a forgotten musical, right before the too-quick resolution in the last ten minutes.

Katherine St Asaph: The lyric “Breaking all our New Years’ resolutions” is Lyttle Lytton levels of wrong: metrically clunky, not even slightly debauched yet convinced it is, just an absolutely inexplicable thing to put in a serious or even campy song. (Also: It’s summer! That’s pretty good as resolution-keeping goes!) I actually belly-laughed when I heard it — which, it turns out, happens quite a lot here. But give Jessie J Inc. this: I didn’t expect that to be what spoils “I Want Love” and not Ryan Tedder’s production — a huge level up for him, and a near-perfect pastiche of disco strings, the “Running Up That Hill” gallop, a key change that’s gourmet cheese, and the general dancepop desperation (a compliment) of Sandra’s “I Need Love.” Nor do Jessie’s vocals, while extremely… herself, ruin this; the belting suits the material. She attacks “I Want Love” with all the fevered virtuosity of a top-three American Idol contestant who knows she’s against two guys with acoustic guitars. (Which is sometimes what the UK charts feel like.)

Vikram Joseph: “Breaking all our New Year’s resolutions” is a weird one — does the night that Jessie’s craving with a sexy stranger involve eating loads of crisps, cancelling their gym memberships and reactivating her social media accounts? At least it stands out as a rare moment of personality in this slick, streamlined, highly competent and strangely joyless disco pastiche.

Alfred Soto: To quote Tony Curtis’ Sydney Falco from Sweet Smell of Success: if this is crazy, I’m a pretzel.

Edward Okulicz: This song is the very essence of the 💯 emoji in a lot of ways, though I wouldn’t stretch to 🔥. It’s so enormous, both in sound and performance, and so earnest that keeping that chorus going without it sounding silly by the end is the sort of intensely difficult high-wire act few can pull off. Really, Jessie J doesn’t, but I’m inflating the score just because of the difficulty.

Mark Sinker: The set of her chin always reminds me of the mom in Gremlins grimly mounting the stairs to do battle, carving knife in hand — and so does this song. Jessie wants love, she’ll win it (no quarter), and the romance will end in a blender.

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2 Responses to “Jessie J – I Want Love”

  1. quotes from press releases picked to be subtly disparaging are the best subheads


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