Jessie J has one of the most interesting careers out of her 2010s pop contemporaries. She helped pen one of the biggest songs of the century (Miley Cyrus’ “Party In The U.S.A.”) and also had her own run at pop superstardom which included massive hit singles like “Price Tag,” “Domino,” and “Bang Bang.” After three pop albums that garnered varying degrees of success on both sides of the pond, Jessie rolled out the excellent R.O.S.E. — a conceptual R&B project comprised of four separate EPs. Now, Jessie J has returned with her first new non-holiday song in three years: “I Want Love.”
Written and produced by Ryan Tedder (“Halo,” “Counting Stars”), Marty Maro (“Selfish Love”), and Jessie J herself, “I Want Love,” is a boisterous anthem about, you guessed it, love. Jessie and her collaborators pull from rock, disco, gospel, and dance-pop to create a winning quilt of pop music at its most dramatic and most fervent. Lyrically, “I Want Love” is nothing to write home about. It’s your standard pop song about yearning and craving for love, a concept Jessie has explored before. What elevates “I Want Love,” however, are Jessie’s vocal performance and the overall arrangement. Jessie doesn’t really care for building on this song, but she can afford to start at a 10 and get even grander because she has the equipment to do so. “I Want Love” opens with a lively choir backing Jessie as she sings the chorus before launching into verses that are mainly backed by chunky bass guitar, pounding drums, and finger snaps. In the verses, “I Want Love” sounds like it could fit on the poppier side of Miley Cyrus’ Plastic Hearts album, but the song soon morphs into something that leans more into uptempo R&B with flourishes of disco and dance-pop. In fact, you can hear Donna Summer in this track as much as you can hear the influence of Queen in how dramatic and layered this arrangement is. Jessie’s vocal performance is crisp and clean; there aren’t any moments where it feels like she’s oversinging and all of her choices are intentional. With such a strong vocal and a beautiful strings arrangement courtesy of David Campbell, “I Want Love” has a very classic feel. It’s a song that can fit in nearly an era and still guarantee movement to the dancefloor. The only issue with “I Want Love” is the mix; Jessie’s vocals are sitting a bit too low in relation to the rest of the song.
Jessie didn’t necessarily update this 70s sound for 2021, but she did put her own spin on it and excelled at doing so. “I Want Love” definitely bodes well for Jessie’s highly anticipated upcoming project.