Jessie Reyez's Debut Album Is Lyricism at Its Finest, and We Can't Stop Listening
Jessie Reyez plays no games on her debut album, Before Love Came to Kill Us, which dropped on March 27. I mean, the opening lines are, "I should've f*cked your friends / It would've been the best revenge / For the fire that you started." I almost spit out my tea when I heard it the first time (seriously, that happened), and I knew immediately that this LP would be my new go-to for unapologetic bops. The second track, "Deaf", further ups the ante with a badass beat and an unrepentant message.
Still, Reyez does show a softer side on other tracks — including "Coffin" featuring Eminem — while maintaining her grit-and-grind attitude. What also remains constant is her sharp lyricism and charismatic expression. The album is so quotable, I had to compile a list of the best verses. Keep reading to see some of the standout lines on Before Love Came to Kill Us!
"Do You Love Her"
Reyez starts the LP with a statement. There's so much power and pain on this track. You can feel that push and pull of wanting to not care about a failed relationship but also caring way too much.
- "I should've f*cked your friends / It would've been the best revenge / For the fire that you started / I'm tryna heal, but it's a process / They told me I should cut my losses / But there's a stranger where my heart is"
- "You mercy me only when I'm melting / Down to my tears only when I'm helpless / That's when you get off and you can't help it / And all your bullets, they feel like velvet / And I let you do it, I let you do it / I loved you too much, I let you shoot it off"
"Deaf (Who You Are)"
This beat . . . come on. It's not even fair how hard this slaps. This is the perfect song to blast when you're in a gutsy mood and can't be bothered.
- "They say that she ain't signed yet, but she stuck up / Nah, I'm busy, I guess I'm stuck up / Man, what the f*ck's a day off? / I'ma buy my dad a mansion / Colombia in my blood, yeah / Loca, getting it done, yeah / Over all my exes, tell my exes, 'I don't love ya'"
- "Oh, now you don't recognize my face? / But I heard that you got a lot to say / I never listen, no, I never listen / So I wouldn't hear your ass anyway"
It's amazing how this track sounds so soft and sweet, but the lyrics are actually pretty intense. Reyez is clearly very protective over her significant other and isn't about to let anyone get in the way of their love — unless they're ready to suffer the consequences.
- "Love in my veins / You are my kingdom / I wrote your name
everywhere / For all eyes to see / You're beautiful, beautiful / I see them stare / But you belong to me"
"Coffin" (feat. Eminem)
Well, this is an unexpected collaboration, but it works so well. Reyez and Eminem's back-and-forth as scorned yet hopeful lovers is something anyone who's ever been in a complicated relationship can relate to.
- "Maybe Buddha's got it right / We reincarnate every time / And I'll find you in another life"
- "Pledge your loyalty, treat me like a king / Just to f*ck me over royally / Boy, are we water mixed with oil / See another shouting match, 'bout to have it out / But no matter how mad I get, I'm so mad about you / Forgot what I was even mad about / I know we've had our challenges still / I keep trying to salvage it"
This is the energy every woman should have. I'd elaborate on that, but, honestly, you just have to listen to the song.
- "Lights out, strike out, I doubt / You'll ever find anyone / These b*tches can't measure up, no / Lights out, strike out, I doubt / You'll ever find anyone / These b*tches can't measure up / To my ankles"
"Imported" (feat. 6lack)
First and foremost, "6lack" is pronounced "black," in case you didn't know. Secondly, this track is the ultimate "holler at me" jam. If you've been trying to flirt with someone who isn't catching on quite yet, just send them this song.
- "You, you're in love with somebody else / Maybe I could offer some help / Get over them by getting under me / But you might OD if you get too much of me"
You don't have to understand Spanish to appreciate this beautiful ballad. A pensive musing about romantic frustrations, "La Memoria" features a fed up Reyez who wants a very specific ex to know that they messed up big time.
- "Te hace falta enamorarte de una p*rra / Te hace falta perder una guerra / Te hace falta encontrar una gemela / Que te quiebre el corazón / Que te deje en tu pena / Así de pronto aprendes"
- Translation: "You have to fall in love with a b*tch / You have to lose a war / You have to meet a twin / That will break your heart / That will leave you in your grief / So suddenly you learn"
You know what's more irritating than knowing someone isn't good for you? Knowing they're not good for you but wanting them anyway. Such is the case in Reyez's eighth track. She recognizes that she's not compatible with a significant other, but she badly wants things to work out. The heart wants what the heart wants.
- "How come I can't leave ya? / Talk to myself at night, wondering why / I feel like I am tied down to someone / Who's making me cry more than making me smile / Leave ya, just make it through the night / Lying to myself, saying I'll be fine / I don't want you, I hate you, I think / But I don't wanna be alone either"
- "You're such an assh*le, but I see a prince / And I'm a good girl, but you see a b*tch / I wanna make love, you wanna burn a bridge / So I wish I was a bad guy / So we could just be fighting on the same side"
With a slick reference to Kendrick Lamar's verse in "Collard Greens," Reyez shows off some serious bars on this song. It's a fun, feel-good bop with lyrics you'll want to learn immediately just for the sake of sounding cool while singing along.
- "I could drive a Benz, but I'm still in my old-ass Honda / Cocky's in a coma, but I got my commas / It be skinny dudes packing those anacondas / I might be petite, but I'm a f*cking monster"
If you're hips aren't shaking 10 seconds into this trakc, something's wrong. That's all I have to say.
- "Come here, hot boy / Tell me, do you need a teacher? / I know I got what you need, yeah / And I know I need mine / I make big noise / I'm a different kinda creature / I'm a different kinda breed, yeah / And I know what you like, yeah"
Reyez's vocal capabilities should never be questioned, especially after listening to this tune. It's such a sad gist, but I'll gladly listen to it all day just to hear her powerful voice.
- "For a moment at least / I know you were mine, and it was beautiful / But winter comes and roses don't survive / It's getting late, and I should go"
- "We're not supposed to / But I can't learn my lesson / I miss when you were my best friend / Before love came to kill us / So under the mask of the moon / Could we dance in the past?"
"Love in the Dark"
The instrumentals in "Love in the Dark" are absolutely beautiful, and Reyez's emotional delivery makes it even more alluring. Don't feel bad if you find yourself crying uncontrollably while blasting this.
- "But when our lives are running out / And your heartbeat has taken the draw / Could you try to look around? / I'll be there to pull you back up"
What's there to love about this song? The production, the harmonies, the illustrative lyrics — I could go on. Matters of the heart are rarely easy, but they make for incredible music.
- "You called me "Your Majesty" / And we let this whole castle fall down / Oh, what a tragedy"
- "Come bring me all your sins / I'll forgive all of them / If you put a Band-Aid on the scars / I'm no good at hiding them / Would you give me your heart again? / Or at least let me borrow it / If I could just see you, we don't even have to talk / I'll take an argument"
In "Figures," Reyez throws her hands in the air, signaling the unfortunate acceptance of love gone wrong. She almost expected the romance to end unpleasantly and knows that it's the other person's loss, but that doesn't make it hurt any less.
- "Figures / I gave you ride or die and you gave me games"
- "I wish I could hurt you back / Love, what would you do if you couldn't get me back? / You're the one who's gonna lose / Something so special, something so real / Tell me, boy, how in the f*ck would you feel? / If you couldn't get me back / That's what I wish that I could do / To you"