Possibly it is a sign of the times but I often find myself getting sentimental about things I don’t actually remember. Like good old fashioned rock albums that cranked up the volume and went large in a time when you could be bigger than your choice of mobile phone and, to a notable extent, “Ruthless” by JJ Wilde is such an album.
In fact, you almost accuse JJ Wilde of being a liberator of a genre that has been stuck in its own mud for too long. She has the kind of songs that are firmly rooted in the oppression of everyday yet they would still survive a life on the road when night and day get glued permanently together with the adhesive power of alcohol. She speaks of darkness and light without ever making it all about being misunderstood and, by standing tall in a universe of self-obsession, her album becomes downright refreshing with the plethora of riffs and blue collar taking to the bridge attitude giving you plenty of reasons to hit the repeat button again and again (and to play it plenty loud as well).
“Ruthless” isn’t a one note album though. The stories that JJ Wilde tells in her songs swim against the current yet her world is a river that ultimately leads to an ocean of hope. You can sense the anger and frustration in her words but those things are merely her fuel and not her purpose and, while she is often raucous and even downright bombastic, that hard edged directness makes these songs resonate with truth.
There was a time when an album like this would have been a routine occurrence. In these troubled times, however, JJ Wilde is a voice that has escaped from the wilderness and she is a loud and proud voice that deserves to be heard.
Best song? “Wired” for woo hooing my mind.
The verdict? On the direct route to the top.