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Review: Jessie Reyez’s Swaggering, Shape-Shifting ‘Being Human In Public’

The singer shows off her wide vocal range and an exciting musical unpredictability.

Jessie Reyez photographed in, New York, Oct. 11, 2017

Jessie Reyez photographed in, New York, Oct. 11, 2017

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Canadian-Colombian singer Jessie Reyez broke through in 2016 with the spare breakup ballad “Figures,” a song that showed off her wide vocal range and deeply emotional delivery; its verses showcased her caustic yowl, shape-shifting into a wounded, yet airborne “you-ou-ou-ouuu” on the chorus. Her second EP, which collects singles she’s released over the course of this year, further stakes out her musical range, with her singular voice and smoldering passion tying together delicate balladry, boastful trap-pop and sorrowful synth malaise.

Reyez’ swagger is matter-of-fact, as the opening of “Fuck Being Friends,” a broadside against careless hooking up framed by ghostly synths and whirring snares, shows: “I got your heart in my hand and your dick in the other/ You ain’t scared to fuck, but you scared of being lovers,” she snarls, with a gang of pals rushing in to back her up on the titular exclamation. She gets assistance from R&B firecracker Kehlani and Fifth Harmony alum Normani on a remix of “Body Count,” a giddy diatribe against slut-shaming that revels in its emancipation; the started-from-the-bottom chronicle “Dear Yessie,” meanwhile, manages to fit a concept album’s worth of heavy lyrics and musical ideas into three minutes and change, with its triumphant closing movement hinting at Reyez’s alt-rock-messiah potential. Reyez is hard to pin down musically, but that unpredictability, which both fuels and bolsters her against-all-odds swagger, makes her one of pop’s most exciting new talents.

In This Article: Jessie Reyez

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