Single Review: Jessie Ware – Tough Love

Jessie Ware Tough Love Single Cover Art

New Jessie Ware single is sexy summer breeze

Jessie Ware was one of the most exciting new talents in pop when she released her debut album Devotion late 2012. She managed to distinguish herself from everyone else out there with her smooth mix of soulful vocals, electronic productions and some big pop choruses. The record proved to be a grower in terms of success and eventually gave Jessie the opportunity to tour internationally. After a re-release the singer took a break to work on her much anticipated new album, expected to be released later this year. Ware just started promoting the upcoming release of her sophomore effort with the premiere of outstanding new single ‘Tough Love’.

The great thing about this single is that it manages to do, exactly what it should be doing: it still has got Jessie’s signature sound all over it, but at the same time she spices things up by trying new things. Vocally for example, the singer takes a whole different approach on this track. Like she explained in an interview with Pitchfork, she has gained the confidence to show more of herself vocally. Although her debut Devotion is a classy quality record with beautiful vocals, in live shows she showed that she is even capable of much more when it comes to her incredibly strong and versatile voice. On ‘Tough Love’ she proves this by singing the whole track in a quite high register of her voice, which sounds refreshing and surprisingly sexy. This whole sexy vibe is not only in her vocals, but also in the smooth and understated production of the song.

The lyrics of ‘Tough Love’ are actually quite personal and emotional, dealing with missing one another in a long distance relationship. Ware’s choice for a stripped back production with all kinds of subtle sound effects, only adds to the beautiful message of the song. Her repitition of the words ‘That’s called tough love’ and ‘You’ll have me crying out, crying out for more’ is almost magical and provides a great hook to this melodically stunning piece of electronic soul. Let’s just agree that this is the smooth, sensual, sexy and warm summer breeze we were all longing for.

Album Review: Katy B – Little Red

Katy B Little Red album cover

Katy B surpasses herself with stunning second record

Many people often talk about how the second album in a musician’s career is always a crucial moment. With this record, they need to prove they are no one hit wonder and actually here to stay. Especially when the first record is such a hit, it is hard to meet the expectations with a follow-up. For Katy B however, this did not really seem like such a big problem at all. She surprised everyone with the success of her debut On A Mission, but her new album Little Red is in a different league and might as well become a huge hit in the coming months.

Katy B managed to get some huge hit singles in 2010 with ‘Katy On A Mission’, ‘Broken Record’ and ‘Lights On’ and was officially back two weeks ago when arguably her best song to date, ‘Crying For No Reason’, entered the charts at number 5. The beautiful ballad that turns into a pumping midtempo belter, sets the tone for a more personal and emotional second album. Where her first record leant towards dubstep and UK garage, Little Red is more dance-orientated and borrows influences from deep house.

Katy starts the album greatly with the pumping beats and infectious melody of ‘Next Thing’. The most impressive aspect of this record is that basically every track is a tune. Every single song has a memorable and interesting chorus, which makes all of them stand out after just a few listens of the album. From the huge and swinging melody of ‘5AM’ to the more laidback but still insanely catchy ‘All My Lovin’’, every song has some great qualities.

On ‘Still’, a beautiful ballad, Katy shows off the wide range of her vocals. Even this slower, emotional song has a powerhouse chorus that settles in your mind immediately. She shows she still knows how to create great party tracks, which her debut was full of, on the beat heavy ‘I Like You’ and ‘Everything’. The bonus tracks ‘Hot Like Fire’ and ‘Wicked Love’, both with a drum and bass inspired rhythm are a nice contribution to an already impressive collection of songs. One of the absolute highlights of the record is the the collaboration with Jessie Ware, ‘Aaliyah’. This track was already released on Katy’s free EP ‘Danger’ in 2012. The song could be interpreted as a modern version of the story of Dolly Parton’s ‘Jolene’, with the singers pleading to Aaliyah to leave their men alone. The production on ‘Aaliyah’ is delicious and the voices of the two ladies blend perfectly together.

It is hard to name any favourite tracks on this album as there are definitely no fillers and every song has a great chorus and a catchy melody. Katy B delivered an interesting debut album, but Little Red overclasses this record easily. Although the singer focuses more on pop, dance and house this time around, she never loses identity or personality, thanks to the more personal lyrics, and brings a collection of great tracks. Little Red is already a contender for album of the year!

Must listen: Crying For No Reason, Aaliyah, All My Lovin’, Next Thing, 5AM, Hot Like Fire, Still.