Taylor Jules has experienced an interesting rise through the hierarchy of the American underground. Her debut, this year’s early powerhouse “Helicopter”, caught the attention of numerous critics across the indie circuit, and what followed in “19” arguably captured just as many hearts. Rather than trying to build on the fundamentals of those two records in her new content, she’s kicking off 2023 with an aggressive and fresh look in “Adickted,” set on getting back to her aesthetical roots as many artists of her experience level do at this stage of their careers. The primary twist here is that she’s sounding a lot more on-point than the competition is. 

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This rhythm is rambunctious and pushes Jules to keep up with the intensity of the beat, but the tempo of her lyrical delivery doesn’t feel hurried in the race to reach the chorus. This is a track where a little friendly back-and-forth between the background band and our lead singer should be encouraged, and it rightly is; they’re forcing each other to play just a bit harder than they would have to begin with, ultimately producing the most powerful and emotionally charged performance any of them could have assembled in the studio. 

Jules is always in control of the energy in this song, starting of course with the tonality of the harmonies as they begin with her verses. Her melodic presence is enormous here – so much so that I think it would have overpowered an acoustic setup of the identical composition, but I still wouldn’t mind hearing a stripped-down remix of “Adickted” just to find out for certain. When given the space to conquer everything within her reach, this vocalist doesn’t need a lift from artificial componentry of any sort; she only needs an audience full of intrigued listeners to please. 

“Adickted” sports the most thrilling use of contrast I’ve ever heard in a Taylor Jules song, and if she can use this same technique in slower ballads, I think she might have the right formula for crossing over from simple pop/rock into more defined territories in folk, classical pop, and maybe even alternative soul. She has a voice that I want to see her workout as much as possible when an adrenaline-laced mood serves the material right, and this single has only made me more certain of her abilities as they’ve only just begun to be exploited in tracks like “19 (Acoustic),” and “My Best Mistake.”

Pop fans can’t help but notice the talent that makes Taylor Jules’ sound such an irresistible document in 2023 here, and those who have already been keeping close tabs on her career will probably consider this one of her best songs thus far. Her approach and her artistry are becoming the same, and they’re steeped entirely in the experimentations of true blue-collar pop songwriters we all grew up listening to. I’m surprised her name isn’t already gracing the covers of mainstream publications, but with “Adickted” out this summer, that milestone could be sooner than later. This feels like a potential breakthrough, and certainly some of her smartest content so far.

Garth Thomas