jessieware

Like Katy B, Jessie Ware is a former Rinse FM hype girl who finds herself in 2014 following up an unassuming but surprisingly successful debut album, with a bold bid for pop stardom. But where B’s effort earlier this year set all phasers for Radio 2 listeners growing impatient for the next Adele album, ‘Tough Love’ takes an altogether more fashionable approach and, in doing so, creates an easy sense of continuity from its predecessor.

Accordingly, album one’s central touchstone of Sade has now been replaced with Beyoncé in full Mrs Carter honking balladeer mode (‘Say You Love Me’ and ‘Pieces’), and the shadow of Dev Hynes looms large (‘Want Your Feeling’) alongside breezy Fleetwood Mac-isms and nods to ’80s AOR (‘You and I Forever’). Indeed, much of ‘Tough Love’ feels as if Ware’s already distinctive and appealing aesthetic has simply been streamlined and updated here for the current season.

For all the on-trend styling, though, what really shines throughout ‘Tough Love’ is its substance, in the form of a series of utterly irresistible melodies. Save for the aimless final track, which results in the album petering out somewhat, every song here could be a big radio single – one gets the impression that was rather the point – and while that does occasionally rob the record of an ebb and flow, it’s difficult to fault something constructed from such gorgeous constituent parts.

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