Don’t Call It A Pop Album
British singer Jessie Ware isn’t necessarily a pop artist, but she mixes enough genres that she has the chance to be a popular singer. Pinpointing her specific genre isn’t easy, nor should it be done. Her second album, Tough Love, doesn’t fit into a mold, but it does deliver a sort of pop music. It’s mature, calm, and sensual.
Ware’s delivery is deliberate and sure— “Champagne Kisses” features a chorus with an odd rhythm, but it works. The song is light and airy with a little soul in it. “When there’s nothing left except you and this / champagne kisses / champagne kisses.” The phrase made famous by Robin Leach about champagne kisses and caviar dreams is nowhere to be found in Ware’s track.
The title track, “Tough Love,” is another sparse track. The musical production of it is bare, but it doesn’t need any more. If the first track makes you want to turn away, don’t. She can do a bigger song as “Pieces” exemplifies. The album is also full of R&B / Soul influences— “Sweetest Song” and “Kind Of… Sometimes… Maybe” offer the more sensual side of Ware.
One of the more notable tracks is penned with singer/songwriter Ed Sheeran. It’s also an easy song to spot if you’re familiar with his works. Along the lines of his current single “Thinking Out Loud,” the album’s “Say You Love Me” features Ware’s breathy lower range with a hint of a guitar. (Listen closely and you can definitely hear Sheeran supplying some background vocals.) The track is a great standout and proves that Ware knows how to use her voice.
The album is not technically pop, but it is along those lines. It’s pop plus soul with a hint of electronic samples. She showcases laid-back and controlled vocals over haunting music, some slight toe-tappers, and builds her voice as the music does. She doesn’t need a huge range to make this album, but the mixing of the genres make this multi-genre release way more than a pop album.