Devotion created a buzz, that any artist would dream of, for the rising star. With a Mercury Award nomination behind her and several awards, Tough Love was always going to be a challenge even without the pressure of having to make another good album.
Luckily for Ware, it exceeds expectations once again. The follow-up album offers a more mature sound with outbursts of an extraordinary talent at times.
Offering a beautifully crafted R&B record with a backing of soul, Tough Love demonstrates an ability to fill every lyric with maximum emotion and honesty. What it does lack is the female sensation reaching her full potential with her vocal range. It becomes clear with this record that she is perhaps capable of hitting notes that could rival those of Whitney Houston’s or other household names. The softness within her voice reshapes into a safety blanket of trust. She trusts us with her love stories and we learn to trust her to make music that moves the soul singer to the top of her game.
“Never knew how love could be so cruel”, she sings. It’s with no doubt that she is referring to her relationship with, now husband, Sam. A story that evolves over months, captured in to an album is what makes for a good record and Ware locks that in place. She logs the bad moments, the good moments and everything in between without fail. The products of these times that result in songs like Say You Love Me and Pieces are why Tough Love becomes just as dramatic and sensual as her previous work – this may just be more stripped back, but with more production.
With the likes of Miguel working with the star behind the scenes, there is a noticeable amount of heavy production on most tracks. These, however, do not make a poor sounding song. They do compliment Jessie Ware’s voice and support the ripples of soul that bounce out of each line to Kind of…Sometimes…Maybe, which was released prior to the record’s distribution date.
Yes, she could have been stretched more, vocally. No, this album does not disappoint. We’re subjected to a wave of emotion and feelings but it’s put upon us in such a stylish way, it becomes more than enjoyable. Ware doesn’t need to worry about anything right now because this record makes her one of the best at what she is doing. (Rating:8)