Jess describes the day that she signed her record contract as "the happiest and saddest day of my life." Professionally, she had come of age, earning the respect of an industry she'd fought long and hard to win a place in. Here was the proof that her talent for singing, song-writing and performance were ready for their close-up. Personally, she was in pieces, broken-hearted from a two-year relationship that made her question everyone and everything. However, there is more than one musical way to skin the heartbreak cat and with her debut album, Jess Glynne is exploring the options. In the decade passed since Amy Winehouse released Back to Black, the British pop narrative has cultivated a side-line speciality in albums documenting the wrench of broken love. The break-up album is now its defining motif. When she began documenting her exact feelings in song for I Cry When I Laugh – a deliberate duality that speaks directly to her demeanor in person as in song – Jess Glynne decided to take an alternative, circuitous route to the searing piano ballads that are now our national pop default position. "I wanted this record to be about hope," she says.
The four songs at the heart of I Cry When I Laugh are divined from one rewarding, traumatic, consuming affair. "Hold My Hand", you will already know, a genuine sales and radio goliath with such a reach that it has turned her from being the noticeable feature at the frontline of Britain's urgent appetite for pop-house bangers into a proper homespun superstar. As a song, it feels as it speaks, an anthem to positivity and personal communion, written with her most consistent collaborator and musical soul sister, Janeé "Jin Jin" Bennett. It is also the key to unlocking the other key tracks. "Don't Be So Hard" is about painting a smile on while "Gave Me Something" is about always thinking you'll be a certain kind of girl and then turning into something else. And then ‘Take Me Home’, the most downbeat track on the album, is about being able to revisit that sad moment. She allowed herself one ballad, after all. One of the albums closing tracks, "Saddest Vanilla" sees Jess singing alongside multi-million selling British popstar Emeli Sandé, the only artist to feature on the album.
My Debut Album is now up for Pre-Order!!! It's called I CRY WHEN I LAUGH... I've never been so excited in all my life! This is my story! 💗— Jess Glynne (@JessGlynne) May 11, 2015
Are we prepared for a twist on the maudlin, soulful sadness that has defined a decade? Are we ready for euphoric heartbreak? It's a gamble Jess has delivered with crystalline precision for her debut, bounding through the tears, always keeping one eye on the plain fact that out of sorrow happiness can happen. "I needed to believe in it," she says. "I needed the record to tell a story. I needed it to feel like me." By looking inwards she hopes to reach out. "This album is about a girl who was a happy-go-lucky person, a bit of trouble, got her heart-broken and found her way through that not by being sad but by seeing hope and not letting it overtake her." Watch an acoustic performance of "My Love" below - which is included on the deluxe version of the album.
I Cry When I Laugh will be released on both Standard and Deluxe versions.
1. Strawberry Fields
2. Gave Me Something
3. Hold My Hand
4. Real Love
5. Ain't Got Far To Go
6. Take Me Home
7. Don't Be So Hard On Yourself
8. You Can Find Me
9. Why Me
10. Love Me
11. It Ain't Right
12. No Rights No Wrongs
13. Saddest Vanilla (feat. Emeli Sandé)
14. Right Here
16. Bad Blood
17. My Love (Acoustic)
18. Not Letting Go (w/ Tinie Tempah)
19. Rather Be (w/ Clean Bandit)
20. My Love (w/ Route 94)
Pre-order I Cry When I Laugh here.
Follow Jess Glynne on both Facebook and Twitter.