‘BEFORE LOVE CAME TO KILL US’ is Reyez’s big move into the music industry

by Rachel Crowell

‘BEFORE LOVE CAME TO KILL US’ is Reyez’s big move into the music industry

Jessie Reyez


FMLY / Island Records · March 27, 2020

‘BEFORE LOVE CAME TO KILL US’ is Reyez’s big move into the music industry

The album “BEFORE LOVE CAME TO KILL US” by Canadian singer Jessie Reyez is a brutally honest depiction of love that develops into a sentimental tribute to her past relationship. Reyez shows her strength as a songwriter and storyteller throughout the album. Already having name recognition from her successful collaboration with 6lack in “IMPORTED,” she shows that she is a strong songwriter and vocalist who can stand on her own. She fills the songs with her Colombian roots and she uses a multi-dimensional timeline to describe her relationship. Jessie Reyez’s new storytelling has earned well-deserved praise from artists like Billie Eilish, serving up poisonous heartbreak on a platter for the public to eagerly consume.

The intro of the album is very direct, starting off abruptly with the lyrics, “I should’ve fucked your friends.” At first, Reyez sings of fighting fire with fire and hurting her ex like he hurt her, giving the album an emo tone, but eventually she learns that the right way to deal with heartbreak isn’t with destruction. As the album continues, her lyrics become enlightening. This emotional blossoming gives the album its dynamic and encapsulating essence.

In an interview with Trevor Noah, Reyez states that people can’t love without dying. In the album, she relates death with the end of a relationship, saying that she’ll love her man to death, and if their relationship dies, it will be their funeral. There is beauty in Reyez’s depiction of love even though it ends in death. She finds that even after being in a toxic relationship, she’d give anything to have another fight with her ex. She experiences extreme emotions and powerfully executes them in her lyrics.

The diversity of her music extends into the use of dynamic combinations of instruments depicting her emotions. Pairing blaring synthesizers from “DOPE” back-to-back with songs filled with swelling symphonies exemplify Reyez’s skillful use of soundscaping. “DOPE,” for instance, is a loud and distracting song that paints the scene of a crazy club that Reyez is in. She is getting drunk at the club but by the end of the song, the intense track quiets and she says, “Put that drink down.” After this, the music is mainly soft and mournful as Reyez laments her ex.

Reyez’s depiction of love is mature and heartbreaking. It is not music meant to feel sad; instead, it leads to a revelation. Each song is a progression from the other, and by the end of the album, the entire relationship is painted in a complete three dimensional portrait. Lots of other artists sing about heartbreak, yet none of them have successfully depicted one like Reyez, who shows all sides of the story. In songs like “INTRUDERS,” “IMPORTED,” “SAME SIDE,” and “FIGURES,” Reyez depicts her relationship pre, post, and present break-up from both her perspective as well as her ex’s. “BEFORE LOVE CAME TO KILL US” is Reyez’s big move into the music industry, indicating that her potential to tell more powerful stories is endless.