ALBUM REVIEW: JJ Wilde’s debut full-length, “Ruthless”
JJ Wilde’s debut full-length record, Ruthless, was a long time in the making but is very much worth the wait. Wilde takes us on an incredibly raw, personal, and wild ride on this record and it’s exactly what we needed in these times. I sat down last year for an interview with Wilde right before the first performance of her first tour opening for fellow Canadians The Glorious Sons in Cambridge and wouldn’t expect anything less than a flawless, personal awakening. Which is one hundred percent what she delivered on this record, and I’m fully here for it.
Wilde had me moving from the first few seconds of leadoff track “Knees”, which wakes you up real quick and is a beautiful introduction into the range that Wilde has. She reaches some incredible notes, her natural twang slides in beautifully and the grittiness is sprinkled all over the track as we dive headfirst into an incredibly dynamic first album. Gorgeous huge rock moments and instruments coat Wilde’s raw lyrics in some seriously groove-driven moments. As we slide past one of Wilde’s earliest singles, “Wired”, we start jumping into some rock enthused power ballads kicking it off with “Breakfast in Bed” and then moving smoothly into some incredibly raw, painfully gorgeous moments with “Gave it All” and “State of Mind”.
These two tracks came in at the perfect time, the climax of the record, and scream a journey of self-reflection and as cheesy as it may sound, true therapy through her art for Wilde. It was where I truly started falling for this record and the lyrics that are the backbone for these moments. ‘I’m a puzzle piece and it all falls down on me,’ from “State of Mind” to ‘I gave my life just to please you’, in “Gave it All”. The lyrics are just all so well written. The album is a beautiful introduction to the massive success I’m sure is to come for Wilde and now in these uncertain times, it is sure to be a huge album for us to marinate with before she can go back on tour. It’s a beautiful introspection, a true awakening.
It’s an album that has it’s sadder moments for sure in particular with the painfully gorgeous, “Funeral for A Lover”. With lyrics like, ‘If I could make you see yourself through my eyes,’ and ‘can’t make you want to keep breathing’, it reads like a true love letter to someone that you once loved so much that it almost destroys you. But you can’t let it destroy you in the process. It was one of my standouts and feels like a different side of Wilde that was first introduced with tracks like “Gave it All” on this record. The album ends off with a sure to be perfect live set closer with “Feelings”, one that slows you down thinking you’re set for a fade-out with what seems to type on a keyboard but then builds back up into, in a good way, an electronic raucous that will be perfect live. It reminds you that this is a true gritty rock record that paints a picture of introspection for Wilde.
I couldn’t have wanted much more for the debut record for an artist that I knew was going to crush it from that first interview as she took on the daunting task of opening a show in Boston, which we all know is not the easiest task. And she did it with flying colors.