Skip to main content
The Globe and Mail
Support Quality Journalism
The Globe and Mail
First Access to Latest
Investment News
Collection of curated
e-books and guides
Inform your decisions via
Globe Investor Tools
Just$1.99
per week
for first 24 weeks

Enjoy unlimited digital access
Enjoy Unlimited Digital Access
Get full access to globeandmail.com
Just $1.99 per week for the first 24 weeks
Just $1.99 per week for the first 24 weeks
var select={root:".js-sub-pencil",control:".js-sub-pencil-control",open:"o-sub-pencil--open",closed:"o-sub-pencil--closed"},dom={},allowExpand=!0;function pencilInit(o){var e=arguments.length>1&&void 0!==arguments[1]&&arguments[1];select.root=o,dom.root=document.querySelector(select.root),dom.root&&(dom.control=document.querySelector(select.control),dom.control.addEventListener("click",onToggleClicked),setPanelState(e),window.addEventListener("scroll",onWindowScroll),dom.root.removeAttribute("hidden"))}function isPanelOpen(){return dom.root.classList.contains(select.open)}function setPanelState(o){dom.root.classList[o?"add":"remove"](select.open),dom.root.classList[o?"remove":"add"](select.closed),dom.control.setAttribute("aria-expanded",o)}function onToggleClicked(){var l=!isPanelOpen();setPanelState(l)}function onWindowScroll(){window.requestAnimationFrame(function() {var l=isPanelOpen(),n=0===(document.body.scrollTop||document.documentElement.scrollTop);n||l||!allowExpand?n&&l&&(allowExpand=!0,setPanelState(!1)):(allowExpand=!1,setPanelState(!0))});}pencilInit(".js-sub-pencil",!1); // via darwin-bg var slideIndex = 0; carousel(); function carousel() { var i; var x = document.getElementsByClassName("subs_valueprop"); for (i = 0; i < x.length; i++) { x[i].style.display = "none"; } slideIndex++; if (slideIndex> x.length) { slideIndex = 1; } x[slideIndex - 1].style.display = "block"; setTimeout(carousel, 2500); }

Before Love Came To Kill Us finally arrives Friday, cementing Reyez, seen here, in the modern R&B pantheon of Beyoncé, Kali Uchis, Rihanna, SZA and The Weeknd.

The Canadian Press

Coming off a strong run of EPs, singles and collaborations, Jessie Reyez’s long-awaited debut record Before Love Came To Kill Us finally arrives Friday, cementing her name in the modern R&B pantheon of Beyoncé, Kali Uchis, Rihanna, SZA and The Weeknd. “The whole premise of building this album was to make something that made people think about their mortality,” Reyez states ahead of the release. Mortality isn’t a typical subject for the R&B genre. Still, Reyez does it justice weaving together a bricolage of pensive, melancholic balladry, upbeat trap-pop hits, and lovelorn, diaristic vignettes.

In Before Love Came To Kill Us, Reyez confronts the focal themes of heartbreak and romantic strife unambiguously and with no filter – crooning with a refreshing tone of honesty. Love is a purifying elixir just as much as a burdening vice. On Ankles, she asserts her ex-lover will never find someone who will “measure up” to her standards, atop ratcheting hi-hats and a soulful, vocal-laced instrumental bed.

Ankles aptly segues into the rich, beguiling Imported, assisted by Atlanta-based rapper 6lack. “You, you’re in love with somebody else,” the two artists cathartically sing in unison. But in Reyez’s perception, heartbreak might be inevitable – or even desired. “But you might OD if you get too much of me,” she wittily flutters.

Story continues below advertisement

Throughout the course of 14 tracks, Reyez sublimely traverses across genres, emotional tones and sonic textures, demonstrating tremendous range. Reyez’s vocals are both honeyed and sorrowful. She performs La Memoria entirely in Spanish with zestful grace, paying homage to her Colombian roots. In stark contrast, Deaf finds Ms. Reyez furiously rapping in an embittered, raspy cadence, scorning her ex-lover with cold-blooded sarcasm: “I ain’t a killa, I’ll let you breathe.” In the back-end of the record, Dope transports us to a midnight Colombian dance-club scene, in which Reyez vocalizes hedonistic chants of carpe diem: “Life is short so I hope you’re long.”

Reyez’s melodramatic delivery and poetic sardonicism bleed through these compositions, at times, feeling like she’s paraphrasing lines from a Shakespearean sonnet. Hard-hitting lines such as “World War III justified in bed,” “Maybe Buddha’s got it right, we reincarnate every time,” and “Kiss me, I’m the monster that you made,” sit with the audience hours after listening. Moments like these build searing dramatism in the album, climaxing by the fourth track Coffin, wherein Eminem swings by as the archetypal bad guy accelerating through a window-shattering (literally), acrimonious verse: “I don’t get you, it’s as if you’re drowning / I stick my hand out, but you fool me.”

Before Love Came To Kill Us coheres so well because Reyez displays impressive, unwavering command over her voice and her aesthetic; the album is soul-baring, bittersweet and honestly expressive – and one that catapults Reyez to the summit of Canada’s thriving R&B scene.

Editor’s note: (March 27, 2020) An earlier version of this article misidentified the author’s name.

Follow related topics

Report an error Editorial code of conduct
Due to technical reasons, we have temporarily removed commenting from our articles. We hope to have this fixed soon. Thank you for your patience. If you are looking to give feedback on our new site, please send it along to feedback@globeandmail.com. If you want to write a letter to the editor, please forward to letters@globeandmail.com.

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff.

We aim to create a safe and valuable space for discussion and debate. That means:

  • Treat others as you wish to be treated
  • Criticize ideas, not people
  • Stay on topic
  • Avoid the use of toxic and offensive language
  • Flag bad behaviour

Comments that violate our community guidelines will be removed.

Read our community guidelines here

Discussion loading ...

To view this site properly, enable cookies in your browser. Read our privacy policy to learn more.
How to enable cookies