This year’s edition of the Breakthrough Female Pop Star With A Way Oversized Personality (former contenders: Katy Perry, Lady Gaga, Ke$ha) might be Jessie J, a 22-year-old British singer who already has a credit on a US chart-topper (“Party In The USA”) and a BRIT Award under her belt. She doesn’t drink, but she loves putting gems and spikes on her lips! Also, she’s pretty generous with haircare tips.
Her first single in the UK was the gender-bendy “Do It Like A Dude,” which sounded like the end product of someone challenging a friend to write a song involving Ke$ha and a strap-on for an Amy Winehouse impersonator. But it looks like her American push is going to come behind “Price Tag,” an anti-bling rant that sounds like it could double as an apologia for the music business’ post-album-sales era.
“When the sale comes first and the truth comes second, just stop for a minute and smile,” Jessie sings, to the horror of advertising executives around the world. The bleached-teeth grin that hung over so much of “Party In The USA” is still here, although the musical bed takes more cues from Lily Allen and Natasha Bedingfield than the track Jessie penned for America’s salvia-hoovering sweetheart. But the combination of the message—”it’s not about the money! we just want to make the world dance, like the old days! sorry that I had to act kind of bimbo-ish during the ‘Do It Like A Dude’ video!”—and the overhyped package it’s being delivered in results in a wearying combination. The cracked-vinyl sound of Jessie’s voice doesn’t really do this trying-to-be-light track too many favors, either; instead, it makes her sound like she’s in on a joke, one that’s going to have its punchline revealed every time somebody drops $1.29 on its allegedly post-capitalist message.
2 1/2 BOLTS