The Singles Bar: Jessie J, “Domino”
Posted by Reviewson 08/17/2011 at 11:54 AM
Jessie J has a problem. After being lovingly boosted to U.K. fame thanks to the tireless efforts of everything the British music industry had at its disposal, then rocketed across the pond thanks to the “Dynamite” burst of “Price Tag,” she needed another U.S. single. But how to follow it up? Anti-commercialism can only get you one song or so, especially when your goal is to make millions off U.S. buyers. And although her album was called Who You Are, its idea of Jessie J’s identity was a bit like “everything at once, see what sticks.” Who is Jessie J, really? What makes her stand out from the States’ other umpteen female pop stars?
Of course, there’s another way to go: forget standing out entirely and get Dr. Luke to produce a new song. You can probably already imagine how “Domino” sounds, but in case not, listen below:
Dr. Luke obviously produced “Domino,” but it could have just as easily been DJ Earworm. Floating in the mix are the guitar pulses from Katy Perry’s “Last Friday Night” to the rhythm of “California Gurls,” Ke$ha’s shaken-off glitter, ooh-oohs from just about anything. There’s a mention of Hollywood to remind everyone that Jessie’s temporarily done with all her Britishisms, a mention of the club to persuade DJs to play “Domino” there, references to bass drums and dirty dancing because, one imagines, the songwriters noticed big hits mentioned them and wanted a CTRL-V replica of their success.
All this means you could reproduce “Domino” fairly easily by cutting and pasting bits from the past five years’ charts. The flourishes in Jessie’s voice that endeared and repelled people are gone, as are her most objectionable traits: patois she had no business appropriating and gender tiptoes masquerading as contortions in “Do It Like a Dude,” anti-hip hop dog whistles in “Price Tag.” It’s almost impossible to imagine “Domino” offending someone and just as hard to imagine people disliking it specifically unless they hate Dr. Luke’s sound in general. This makes “Domino” the best single Jessie J’s ever released. It also makes it completely useless.
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