Janesa Jadia “Nessa” Barrett is a Tiktok star turned musician, having released her debut EP in 2021 and having reached the Billboard Top 100, peaking at 88. Now, she brings us her debut album, which adds to her rapidly growing discography.
Nessa Barrett’s career as a musician also adds to the debate of whether Tiktok stars who try to make it big as musicians have the talent to do so or are just riding off existing clout as prominent Tiktokers. Regardless, Nessa Barrett promises to provide music lovers with an insightful and emotional ride. But whether or not she can follow up on that promise is tricky.
It’s clear that Barrett and the other writers that worked on the album have a large vocabulary but more often than not it feels like they are just stringing together random words that sound impressive without actually checking to make sure the definitions of those words actually make sense within the context of the song. It almost feels like they’re just trying to find words that rhyme without making sure that the story of the song isn’t lost.
The album also tackles a lot of mental health issues that Barrett faces, but more often than not it falls short. Mental health is a super important topic but it is super easy to fall into the category of “edgy” rather than actually making insightful commentary. A perfect example of this is the fourth song on the album “fuckmarrykill” which feels plastic despite its heavy subject matter.
Of course, there are a few standout songs on the album. The first and third tracks are clearly Barrett’s favorites and the time and energy that she and her team put into them shows. In fact, the production of the entire album is extremely good and Barrett’s team should be pretty proud of themselves. Sonically the album is beautiful. Lyrically it just doesn’t meet the mark.
Overall, the album is mediocre. None of the songs are absolute garbage but none of them are very good either. The Tiktoker-to-musician pipeline continues to provide listeners with the same generic pop and none of the Tiktokers seem to be inclined to carve out their own niche in the pop genre, perfectly content to ride off of existing trends and their clout.
It is clear that Barrett and other Tiktokers-turned-musicians have a lot of money they can throw at their respective projects. You can hear it in the production and in the instrumentals. All of them are crafted and built with care and expertise. But the wordplay on the part of the writers and the musicians themselves falls short every time. Furthermore, they continue to saturate the already cluttered pop genre with even more mediocre songs, either unable or unwilling to do anything unique or new that would add anything interesting to the genre.