Jessie Ware is possibly one of the most underrated artists in the UK right now. With her debut album ‘Devotion’ hailed by critics worldwide and collaborations with the likes of SBTRKT, Miguel, A$AP Rocky and Ed Sheeran to name but a few, Ware has certainly established a solid foundation to launch her second album from.
Enter ‘Tough Love.’ It’s an unapologetic, vulnerable effort that’s just as full of heart as ‘Devotion’ was. The magic of Jessie lies within her voice. You can’t compare it to anyone else and you wouldn’t want to – it’s just mesmerizing. Her sweet, dulcet tones hold a power that just bubbles underneath the surface ready to emerge at any second and it’s that feeling of anticipation that makes listening to Ware so exciting. With ‘Tough Love’ it feels like Jessie is ready to move into the mainstream. That’s certainly the case with the Ed Sheeran written ‘Say You Love Me.’ From the outset you know it’s a Sheeran song with that poetic, story telling quality and unique use of words that’s so effortlessly simple. Somehow hearing Ware sing something so overtly pop and mainstream completely works and is sure to be just as successful for the singer as if Sheeran released it himself.
While Jessie just oozes elegance in basically everything she does, ‘Tough Love’ is a little brasher and bolder but in a discreet way. Things are taken up a notch from her debut album with tracks like ‘You & I (Forever),’ ‘Sweetest Song’ and ‘Want Your Feeling’ omitting that same sound we fell in love with Ware for but with an added something extra. As for crossover tracks, skip to ‘Champagne Kisses’ and ‘Cruel’ to feed your appetite.
Although it’s easy to just stick a Jessie Ware album on in the background while you read or have a dinner party (or study, as I often do) that doesn’t do her justice. Putting an album together for the 30-year old is like putting on an art exhibition – all the pieces need to be selected carefully and by someone with a great knowledge of the subject. Jessie is exactly that person. She’s a student and a master of her craft which definitely comes across on ‘Tough Love.’ You can tell she’s still learning and finding her feet but every song sounds as if it was laboured over and put together meticulously. Title track ‘Tough Love’ is another high point of the LP but my absolute favourite track comes in the form of ‘Pieces.’ Built purely on vulnerability and delivered with such conviction that it’s actually heartbreaking, ‘Pieces’ is by far one of the most beautifully written tracks with some serious production from Emile Haynie.
For a second album Jessie Ware has most definitely delivered with ‘Tough Love.’ Check out the album’s title track below and let us know what you think of Jessie’s latest work.