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Debut studio album by the British singer-songwriter, featuring the singles 'Running', '110%', 'Wildest Moments' and 'Night Light'. The album has been very well received by critics and debuted at #5 in the UK Albums Chart.
Whilst she passed by several tipsters at the turn of the year, missing the BBC’s Sound of 2012 and the Brit Awards’ Critics Choice category, Clapham-raised Jessie Ware has been steadily growing into south London’s own Sade-in-waiting ever since her 2010 emergence.
That breakthrough was as a guest on SBTRKT’s track Nervous, and Ware would collaborate with the masked producer again on his eponymous album of 2011, as well as with Joker on The Vision.
Her gorgeous duet with Sampha, Valentine, was a standout single of 2011, and Ware’s own solo material prior to this set’s release, including non-album cut Strangest Feeling, laid impressive foundations.
Which have been built upon brilliantly: Devotion is the sort of sophisticated, soulful pop record that comes along all too rarely, a collection that never hides the heart on its sleeve. Down-tempo it may be, but no listener will come away downcast. Overlook the relatively low chart positions for Running and 110%, as they’re hardly indicative of the quality on display.
Devotion begins with delicately plucked guitar lines and trebly percussion, the title track navigating a narrative thread of a love affair coming apart at its seams. The touch of The Invisible’s Dave Okumu can be felt repeatedly – as the main producer, he lends some of his group’s brand of exquisite vulnerability to tracks like the sweat-and-tears-swollen Taking In Water, the restrained funk purr of Sweet Talk, and the Olympic-montage-soundtracking single Wildest Moments.
Wildest Moments offers listeners the opportunity to witness the frills-free appeal of this singer via two senses, as its video focuses exclusively on Ware throughout. It’s an effective visual metaphor for the album as a whole: the singer with nowhere to go, nowhere to hide. She turns with the world and can’t step off, so release comes in the form of these songs.
Ware never stretches for an out-of-reach note; she never gives her songs over to hyperbole or bombast. Throughout, there is a well-measured, well-mannered elegance that engages with more efficiency than many an artist dressing their material up as The Next Big Thing. There's nothing "next" about Ware: she’s here, now, and superb.
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Top Customer Reviews
i watched her perform their track nervous at the boiler room on 'that video sharing website', and that made my mind up!
i've got really varying tastes in music, and in fact when i bought this album i also bought frank oceans channel orange, drakes take care, kate bushes the whole story, alex clares the lateness of the hour and a rock album by american head charge (if you know this band then you know they are miles apart in taste from the other albums named!).
baring that in mind, and how good the other albums are, i can safely say for me, that ms wares work is stronger and more connective than any other i have listened to for quite some time!! i love frank ocean, and kate bush, (in fact i'd class myself mainly a QOTSA fan first and foremost) but blimey - POW!! haven't stopped listening to Devotion since buying it! the sequence of events went - listened to frank, then drake,then kate, then jessie.... sorry alex clare, your album might be great but i haven't changed cd in my cd player since putting jessie's cd in!!
personally i connect with this album.
i heard someone (maybe it was an interviewer recently) liken her work to that of Sade.. i'd have to agree, and the uk thanks you.. forget about that tv karaoke contest, in Jessie Ware we trust!
substantial dent in the fabric of the listening world. With
so many talented British female singer/songwriters jumping
out of the woodwork the competition is ever-tougher but with
her no-nonsense vocals (an instrument of restrained passion),
instinctive grasp of light and shade and sure grasp of how to
turn a simple tune into a living, breathing whole, she clearly
has the ability and strength to make her own mark in the ether.
The album is a largely down-beat affair and although comparisons
with Sade are not unwarranted she seems to me to be blessed with
something a tad more gritty and "edgy" than many a sweet-soul-diva.
Having producer Dave Okumu at the helm helps her mission no-end.
He brings an admirable depth and texture to the proceedings which
delivers a distinctive framework within which she can really shine.
Take a number like 'No To Love' : the crisp backbeat, chattering
guitar and bouncing bass put me in mind of some of Grace Jones'
best 80's recordings. The moody cello introduction to 'Night Light',
too, paves the way for a particularly expressive vocal performance
and the cracking melody of 'Wildest Moments' may well give Leona Lewis
good reason to look over her shoulder and feel not a little anxious.
It's hard to pick a clear winner with so many good tracks on offer but
(subject to my ever-changing whims) single 'Running' is a real contender.
A truly impressive first showing.
Love, relationships and the trials and tribulations that are often associated with these subjects, appears to be Jessie's raison d'etre on a lot of this album and it may sound MOR or unoriginal on paper, but she breathes life into these well worn topics by delivering some inspired lyricism thats appropriately ambiguous and her touchingly expressive vocal style is likely to thaw even the iciest of hearts. Devotion is an album in the truest sense of the word so it should be listened to in it's entirity, however for those who are unfamiliar with Jessie Ware but are tempted to pick this up i'd recommend "Sweet Talk" and the title track as a perfect introduction to this talented artists excellent debut.
The opener and title track "Devotion" is a sensual and appeasing song with soft layered vocals from Jessie. The single "Wildest Dreams" is the perfect Pop song - great melody, infectious arrangements and sweet powerful vocals making it the instant highlight on here. "Running" is a hypnotic song with those soft vocal harmonies once again, reminding me of something Lisa Stansfield or Sade could have released back in the late 80's. The second highlight "Still Love Me" is a retro sounding 80's Dance track with bizarre vocal arrangements and beats, this time reminiscent of the Eurythmics. "No To Love" is another suave mixture of R&B, Soul and Pop with a great bassline and melody making it the third highlight of the album. The fourth highlight "Night Light" starts off with a chilling string section and builds into a somptuous Pop song with a majestic sounding chorus. "Swan Song" is another atmospheric track with gentle vocal harmonies whilst "Sweet Talk" and "110%" are sweet mellow R&B joints. "Taking In Water" is a very beautiful and passionate ballad with powerful vocals and an instantly infectious chorus making it the fifth and final highlight. The albums ends with "Something Inside", a tranquil song that sounds like water flowing through a stream and a gentle gust of wind rustling through the tree branches.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
saw her at glastonbury 2013 and 2015. no to love was useless on it`s own, but with robert palmer added, works great. guess what, no to love without palmer on this album. Read morePublished 13 months ago by blackbelt5dan