Always In Between
In a recent interview with Star2, Jess Glynne described her sophomore album as “a bit more grown up”, and that it “steps on from the last record, so it’s not too different, but it has its own story”.
You can see where she is coming from. Musically, Always In Between doesn’t stray far from the radio-friendly formula of 2015 debut album I Cry When I Laugh, but Glynne’s vocal performance is much more controlled and mature here.
After a quick warm-up Intro track, actual album opener No One gets the album off to a strong start with a piano-driven riff that calls to mind Nina Simone’s Sinnerman, with Glynne flexing that powerhouse of a voice to great effect.
Smash hit I’ll Be There (which got Glynne the honour of being the first British female solo artiste to have seven No. 1 singles on the UK Top 40 Chart) is a strong follow-up, but it is the next track, Thursday, that really caught my attention.
Co-written by Glynne with Ed Sheeran and Steve Mac, Thursday is a soaring, inspiring number about self-acceptance and empowerment (“And there are many things that I could change so slightly, but why would I succumb to something so unlike me,” she sings) that is arguably the album’s best track.
After Thursday, however, the album descends into a continuous stream of unremarkable, generic pop numbers, from singles All I Am and 123 to Won’t Say No, with only power ballad Broken breaking the monotony of it all.
I was a little disappointed that Glynne didn’t try to push the envelope a little more on this album, instead sticking to a tried and true radio-friendly path that doesn’t quite showcase her most remarkable asset, her voice, as much as it should.
As it is, Always In Between is a decent pop record striving to be a great one, but ends up falling somewhere in between.