Jessie Ware Ups Her Ballad Game On 'Say You Love Me'

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Jessie Ware is crossing into dangerous territory. Dangerous but artful territory. After the release of her 2012 debut, Devotion, Ware was primed to cross over into the red, white, and blueness of the States, but (and not surprisingly) she hasn't quite done that. Yet listening to her latest single, "Say You Love Me", it feels like this may be the one to get the spotlight turned on her. Mainly it's because "Say You Love Me" and its soul shivering delivery does teeter into Adele's neck of the woods which is what will be the initial draw, but the track (which was co-written by Ed Sheeren) is not at all angst riddled, it's exposing, delicate, and yearns for the simple gesture to proclaim love, proudly, even though there is a heartbreaking chance the romance has lost its shine. It's effective right down to a gospel breakdown where a backing choir is used, and yes, Americana adult contemporaries will eat that part up.

Ware's upcoming sophomore set, Tough Love is already proving its a much more intimate affair than Devotion. I got the memo for that with the current releases of the gorgeously brutal title track and "Share It All", but "Say You Love Me" truly masters the modern soul-pop ballad as it allows Ware's vocals to seep sincerely into its quiet thunder. Though I wish she'd do more things like "Sweet Talk" and "Running", because they were intricately and freshly derived, but I'm fine with the raw control she's waxing here.

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