The UK’s most likeable pop star, Jessie Ware is charming whereas other mainstream acts leave me cold. She has a gorgeous voice, but she’s closer to the sophisticated poise of Sade than the vocal histrionics of Celine Dion. Ware’s body of work, dance-pop and blue-eyed soul is tuneful and heartfelt.
I’m making celebratory music that’s meant to be enjoyed. And that’s not that complicated. I’m not that complicated.”Jessie Ware, The Independent
Ware’s just released her fifth album, That! Feels Good!, which follows 2020’s What’s Your Pleasure onto the dancefloor. She reaches back into the 1970s – the new wave of The B-52s and the psychedelic soul of Rotary Connection are among the influences she’s cited.
How does That! Feels Good! stack up to Ware’s previous records? Read on! For details!
Jessie Ware Albums Ranked
Ware’s third album had a complicated gestation – she hurried to complete it before the birth of her first child before deciding to rework it. Even the improved version is her least interesting record to date – its low sales caused Ware to consider walking away from the music business. It has its moments – it’s her most intimate, singer-songwriter record with moments like ‘Sam’. ‘Alone’ is a gorgeous single, while Paul Buchanan from The Blue Nile duets on ‘Last of the True Believers’.
#4 Tough Love
Ware’s sophomore album isn’t as energetic or catchy as her debut, but it’s still a classy record of sophisticated pop. It’s stacked with stars, like Ed Sheeran, Miguel, and Dev Hynes. The star power doesn’t always help – Ed Sheeran guests on ‘Say You Love Me’, which is bland compared to the soaring and uplifting chorus of ‘Champagne Kisses’.
Ware’s debut album is remarkably assured. It was preceded by hits that balanced sophistication and energy – the pulsating ‘Running’ and the wistful ‘Wildest Moments’ were great introductions to Ware. The record offers plenty more pleasures – the cello-driven ‘Night Light’ and the gorgeous ‘Taking in Water’ are both among her best songs.
#2 That! Feels Good!
Ware used the retro, disco sound of ‘Remember Where You Are’, the final track on What’s Your Pleasure, as a jumping-off point for her next record. It’s just as fun – it’s entertaining to hear Ware get brash on the bridge of ‘These Lips’ – “these lips are wanted in a hundred countries”. She’s blending tuneful poise with energy on impressive singles like ‘Begin Again’ and ‘Free Yourself’. That! Feels Good! is a fine follow-up to a classic.
#1 What’s Your Pleasure?
On her fourth album, Ware embraces dance music – always part of her musical DNA, it’s at the forefront here. With her dining podcast providing an outlet for her personal and political thoughts, her music became more playful. The joy is tangible on songs like ‘Ooh La La’ and ‘What’s Your Pleasure? The crowning moment is the sweeping majesty of ‘Remember Where You Are’, while the extended version highlighted more gems like ‘Please’.
Did I underrate your favourite Jessie Ware album?