In 2014 “Rather Be,” an effervescent track by the British outfit Clean Bandit, was one of pop radio’s purest pleasures: Precisely positioned disco strings and honey-covered keyboards helped it stand apart from its more cluttered chart-topping brethren. Its not-so-secret weapon was Jess Glynne, whose husky alto turned its simply put chorus — “when I am with you, there’s no place I’d rather be” — into a miniature essay detailing past slights and future hopes. Glynne’s first solo album (which has already hit No. 1 in the UK) is a bit all over the place stylistically, but flaunts her formidable pipes and undeniable talent for injecting a lyric with vulnerability. Comparisons with Adele and Amy Winehouse will likely rain down, but that reading is superficial; Glynne’s less dour than the stormy “Rolling in the Deep” singer, and swaps out the caustic wit that coursed through Winehouse’s hits for an optimism just wounded enough to not come off as naïve.
ESSENTIAL “You Can Find Me”Maura Johnston can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.