In the fall of 2015, British singer Jess Glynne released her blockbuster debut album, “I Cry When I Laugh”.
That album debuted at No. 1 on the U.K. charts and stayed in the Top 10 for 39 weeks.
Glynne became the first and, to date, only female artist in the U.K. to score seven No. 1 singles from a single album, and those singles enabled her to rack up a mind boggling 2.5 billion Spotify streams.
Multiple award nominations followed for Glynne who earned a Grammy for her contribution to Clean Bandit’s dancefloor hit “Rather Be”.
When your debut album does that well, the pressure to come back with something as good or better is tremendous.
Some artists are up to it.
Many are not.
“Always In Between”, Glynne’s sophomore release, places her firmly in the first category.
Whether “Always In Between” will generate the same kind of numbers for Glynne as her debut album only time will tell but one thing is certain, this is a very strong record. Virtually every other song here could be big for her .
The album’s first single, “I’ll Be There”, has hit No. 1, the second single, “All I Am," was a smash hit and now she’s scoring big with single No. 3, “Thursday," which she co-wrote with fellow Brit Ed Sheeran.
I have no problem seeing “Hate/Love," “Never Let Me Go," “Won’t Say No” or “Nevermind” getting big play, too.
Glynne is truly a powerhouse. She’s got a big voice, tremendous range, the ability to infuse everything she sings with great emotion and an innate sense of what works for her and what doesn’t.
The mix on “Always In Between”, which skirts between soul, hip-hop and pop, is perfect for her voice, and she pours everything she’s got into it.
While her voice gets me where I live, I have to say that one of the things I admire most about Glynne is that she’s as good a songwriter as she is a singer.
She co-wrote every song on the album, and each song contains a big piece of her heart. This record has been described as a breath-taking journey of self-acceptance for her, one in which she comes to terms with her new-found fame, heartbreak and the well-known pressure of writing a second album.
All of that is true.
And she has been able to communicate that in a way that leaves no doubt about what she’s been through. Her honesty is refreshing and explains in large part why her music has struck such a responsive chord with so many.
I would love to see her do this material live, but I guess I’ll just have to watch for the documentary’s full release.
(Rating: 3 1/2 out of 5 stars)
- A documentary has been shot to coincide with the release of Jess Glynne's “Always In Between”.
- Directed by Scott Carthy of Just So Films, the film is a stylized and intimate documentary presenting Glynne as she’s never been seen before, baring her soul through her first arena tour and the making of her second album.
- The trailer for the documentary can be seen now on YouTube.
Doug Gallant is a freelance writer and well-known connoisseur of a wide variety of music. His On Track column will appear in The Guardian every second Saturday. To comment on what he has to say or to offer suggestions for future reviews, email him at email@example.com.