JESSIE WARE //

DEVOTION (Island)

16/20

Jessie Ware is the most refreshing star in pop music right now. Far less contrived and ‘urban’ than the faux BRIT school nonsense of Jessie J, and musically much cooler and pop driven than the vocally self-centered Emeli Sandé, the latest best thing about Ware is that her self-titled debut album is a cohesive stab at the art form. The opening title track in which Ware demands your ‘devotion’ is a lusting demand, and an ice cool slither of soulful refrain that is effortlessly sensual. An awesome contrast is delivered by the following two tracks, singles Wildest Moments and the wonderfully riff driven Running, both of which showcase a voice overflowing with poise and power. Ware’s subtlety is perfectly projected on the hook-powered No To Love, where consistent comparisons to Sade, most notably No Ordinary Love, are justified. Night Light is another vocal belter and potential single, and there will be no cuter slice of sexy bubblegum pop than Sweet Talk this year. It’s the variation in pace and approach which means Devotion stands up as an album rather than a collection of singles, though they are there aplenty, no least the truly majestic 110%, which takes on Andre and Kelis at their own game and nearly wins. Pop record of the year by a mile.

 

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Words: Thomas Frost

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