Amid so much high-tension news, socio-political change, and continuing unease over COVID-19, just about everyone needs some way to cope with the eventual overflow of emotional turmoil that is liable to build up. Some manage through physical activity, while others turn to a good old-fashioned loud blast of rock music to get through those especially intense moments.
Luckily for folks who cope with the latter by their side, Kitchener, ON rock rebel JJ Wilde has a brand new set of songs in the form of a debut LP titled Ruthless, that is ripe and ready for the stereo cranking.
First introduced by lead single “The Rush” – a melodically rugged blues rock song about temptation, propelled by a thick-toned, chugging bass line – the track simultaneously broke three Canadian rock radio play records. (The song is holding at number one on Canadian “Alternative,” “Rock Big Picture,” and “Active,” formats.) The track also earns praise as the triple-marked milestone is a first-time achievement for a debut song and the first time this has been achieved by a female artist.
“This album has been a long time coming and I am so excited to finally be able to share it. It started out as a writing trip to [Los Angeles] and over the course of my first year being signed, through many personal ups and downs, gains, losses, new experiences touring and traveling, I feel like this album perfectly represent the years of my life leading up this moment and all the changes that I have gone through – good and bad. Between struggling to pay bills, working multiple dead end jobs, toxic relationships beginning and ending, it’s all in there. Ruthless will give listeners a first and very personal look into my mind, heart, and everything in between.”
The rest of the music on Ruthless isn’t all about living on the edge and some of the tracks do pull back on the instrumental intensity (e.g. “Gave It All,” “Funeral For a Lover,” “Feelings”). However, stylistic choices like dynamically dominant bass; distorted and crackling guitar; and relentlessly belted, nearly shouting vocals; are clearly Wilde’s preferred sonic space and throughout the album she sound most comfortable when allowed to let loose in her performance, such as in the gradual build up heard on “Trouble.” The clarity in the album’s overall production values, combined with the sonic shaping of melodically quirky hooks (“Wired,”) and spacious sound stages (“State of Mind,” “Cold Shoulder”) project a modern touch of bands like Cage the Elephant and Queens of the Stone Age, while Wilde’s own powerful voice projects an emotional energy and tonal character that seems like it would be right at home with the music of iconic rockers like Joan Jett and Heart.