Devotion

Studio Album by released in 2012

Devotion review

A voice we could have lost

It is now so hard to believe that Jessie Ware was thinking of saying no to music and focusing on her journalistic occupations not so long ago. A football observer, Jessie considered her vocal efforts as nothing but a hobby, but among the people she knew there were those who prevented the demise of the talent. One of them was producer SBTRKT who talked the girl into singing for some of his tracks, One of them, Nervous, later became a local hit among London-based electronica fans. Then, Jessie was caught in the limelight after working with young dubstep performer Joker on her album The Vision, and her name began popping in English press more and more often. Most farseeing experts were quick to predict her a big music future, not afraid to even draw parallels between her vocals and those of mega popular Sade. However, it is one thing to appear sporadically on someone else’s albums, and it is a whole lot different thing to release your own songs and even albums under your own name. The first to go was single Running that announced the approaching of a record called Devotion.

Following the trail of the legends

The Devotion record begins in an intriguing fashion, with a title track narrating a story of a relationship on the verge of collapse to soft guitar plucking and pulsating beats. The song is rather an intro because the real hit comes after it, and that is Wildest Moments, a single promoted with a curious video. Viewers see nothing but Ware herself and have to pay the whole attention to her vocals because her face conveys no emotions whatsoever. This is the core of the album’s music, rather cold and distant instruments coming to contrast with the various, yet always lively and expressive vocals. And when the focus is solely on the voice, the music may easily change without distracting you from the show. That is why the same powerful effect is reach by modernistic danceable 110%, and ballad Taking In Water. Between these two extremities, you can discover tasty pop Sweet Talk, experimental No To Love leaning to RnB, and retro-dance Still Love Me. Naming genres is not that easy here, but who cares if the highlight is Ware’s voice that at its best reminds of Janet Jackson or Whitney Houston who used to work with different genres, but became what is called pop legends.

Introduction over

The majority of Devotion tracks are pretty slowed down, which may make some listeners want to sleep. This seems to be the only serious problem with the record, which, with acoustic versions of Wildest Moments, and Running lasts almost an hour. The first listen may become the most difficult and enduring, but over the next rounds Jessie Ware’s personality will draw you more and more. The general sounding of the album is arranged so as to make each of the instruments to sound as delicate and subtle as possible to underline the elegance of Jessie’s voice. Whether it is electronica, RnB, or modern soul, the music is here just to prepare you for Ware’s performance. The singer, in her turn, prefers to do with brief phrases and simple wordings as she speaks strictly to the point. The lyrics of thee songs does not belabor your attention with twisting plots or complex metaphors. Jessie speaks to us in a language everyone understands and this is why it seems her character is lonely and longs for company. This is a wise move because on Devotion, Jessie only introduces herself to the audience.