Is the world ready for a Jessica Simpson comeback? Although Jessica, 41, released a handful of songs in conjunction with her 2020 memoir, the fashion designer and early ’00s pop star really got fans buzzing over a possible return on Thursday (Nov. 11). Jessica released her version of “Particles” by Nothing but Thieves, reminding listeners that she has a voice. Originally a surging, guitar-driven slice of modern alt-rock, Jessica transformed the song into a haunting piano ballad. In the accompanying video, Jessica sits in a room filled with lit candles. She unloads her emotions into a microphone in front of her, delivering a powerful performance that had fans reeling.
Jessica celebrated the release of the song on her social media accounts. “The whole idea of music heals is an honest truth to me,” she captioned a still from the video that was posted to her Instagram account. “This song saved a broken piece of me.” The new song was greeted with joy from her fans. “I can’t believe people said that Jessica lost her talent… Here she is proving them all wrong!!! Welcome back Jess,” wrote one in the YouTube comments section. “This is extremely powerful! I’m so glad she’s singing again,” added another. “Never stop singing,” wrote one on Instagram.
Commercially, Jessica’s last major release was 2010’s Happy Christmas. Before that, she put out Do You Know on Epic/Columbia Nashville, marking her first major crossover into country music. Jessica did release six songs as part of her 2020 memoir, Open Book. “The music is actually everything that inspired me to get sober and write the book,” she told Entertainment Tonight. “Because I realized when I was going down into my studio, even though I was in the comfort of my house, I had to drink to numb the pain that I was about to experience to write.” The songs included “Heartbeat,” “Free Will,” “Party of One,” “Practice What You Preach,” “Sweet Temptation,” and “Your Fool.”
This might explain why Jessica chose to cover “Particles.” The song is about Nothing But Thieves’ singer Conor Mason’s addiction to sleep medications after experiencing insomnia and sleep deprivation on tour. “I wasn’t sleeping that well in the tour bus, and I was worried ’cause I had to sing,” he told FaceCulture (h/t Genius).
“So I went to a pharmacy and just got, you know, run-of-the-mill sleeping aid tablets,” he added. “I got through this tour for a week, and I was like ‘Oh cool, this is fine,’ not thinking too much about it. And then I came home, and I found myself not sleeping, and my mind made me go, ‘This must be because you’ve just used this tablets and you’re not used to,’ and it just spiraled, and for a year it just got worse and worse. And I was so addicted to taking these things. […] And we wrote a song called ‘Particles’ that was right in the center of everything going downhill.”