Album review | Pop

Jessie J, ‘Sweet Talker’

Jessie J has enlisted an array of songwriters, producers, and artists du jour for this amalgam of club tracks, hip-hop inflected pop, and overwrought ballads, all aimed at maximum crossover appeal. More calculation than inspiration, the disc hardly showcases what makes the Brit vocalist special. J is an undeniably powerful vocalist with a disconcerting tendency to over-emote (“Fire,” “Masterpiece”). She fares better underselling a lyric (“Personal,” co-written by Elle Varner). The title track and a De La Soul-assisted throwback, “Seal Me With a Kiss,” are liquid, as they feature J’s most playful turns. The pandering sex groove “Burnin’ Up” and collaborative hit “Bang Bang” are symptomatic of the problem with the dance tracks: They’re nothing more than big riffs in search of songs. “Loud,” from writer-producer The-Dream, sounds like a Beyoncé discard reconstituted into straight-up pop, with guest violinist Lindsey Stirling adding resonance and another target demographic. This might finally break Jessie J stateside, but by trying to be all things to all people, the soul is drained out of it. (Out Tuesday)

Ken Capobianco

ESSENTIAL “Personal”

Ken Capobianco can be reached at
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