Jessie Ware Album review- Devotion

 Formerly known for her guest appearances on tracks released by SBTRKT and Joker, Jessie Ware is finally stepping out of the shadows to receive her much deserved recognition as a debut solo artist with the release of debut album Devotion.

Opening and title track ‘Devotion’ is very different to what we expected, given her previous work. The lyrics are delivered with passion and soul, yet she still maintains a smooth tone. With a minimalist production and smooth percussion, the track is an easy-going start to the album. The calm before the storm of heavier tracks, ‘Running’ and ‘Wildest Moments’

‘110%’ is a great summertime track. With such a care free beat and enchanting production credit to Julio Bashmore, you’ll find yourself unknowingly nodding your head to risqué lyrics – ‘Feel free to touch me and we can play hard with bodies jerking, but still I’m working’.

There is an obvious 80’s influence throughout the album which is ever so prominent on soulful track ‘Sweet Talk’. Comparisons with the late Teena Marie and Sade popped up in many tracks but the album still sounds fresh and modern with up to date production just begging for a dubstep remix.


Throughout Devotion, the lyrics tell a much more chaotic tale. While love is a subject tackled by many through music, Ware will jubilantly sing of her past lovers and her struggle for power in the relationships: ‘But you give me the sweet talk, And it works for me’. Even on title track Devotion, she calmly sings, ‘You say you want to love but do you want it enough, the end of us it never hurt so much’. Jessie has skillfully learnt to inject powerful emotion into her vocals without completely dragging each song into a whiney anthem sang through pouted lips.

Devotion is sophisticated, smooth and drenched in style. Each song is finely honed, although one criticism is that it comes across as a touch too constricting. Jessie never really lets go of the handle bars. Inspired by the decade that spawned hits such as Prince’s When Doves Cry” and Jody Watley’s ‘Everything’, Jessie never steps into the party and announces  that she has arrived but, rather, quietly floats in and have you listen if you so choose.

If that was Jessie’s intention: full credit to her and to her character. If not, it seems a shame for an artist who has sung from the shadows for so long to not reach out forcefully enough to grab the limelight. It would be a great pity if that is the sole reason that this record does not reach enough music lovers to receive the recognition it deserves.

Words: Miles Holder