So surely the most derivative and boring example of an album this year must be in this category? Jessie Ware seems eager to prove otherwise, thanks to her debut Devotion. With the already featured Dave Okumu on production duties, this record takes a dramatically different approach to pop than Ware’s mainstream contemporaries. Devotion defies the oddity and outlandishness Gaga has made so financially desirable. It’s instead replaced by a sophisticated mystique, perfectly accentuated by Okumu’s distinctive production style. Potential single of the year Wildest Moments embodies this cool, and mellow attitude to the entire genre. In fact the majority of the album remains relatively sedate and almost seductive because of how understated it can be. Only on the rare occassion does Ware have a real outburst of emotion, such as the the powerful single Running.
Whilst the tone of the record is almost perfectly set it seems clear Ware is a newcomer to the game only in one field – her lyrics. The initial single in particular 110% is, whilst maintaining the cool atmosphere and watery textures consistent to the sound of the record the lyrics remain no more than sexual hints (and not entirely subtle ones at that). It’s brief moments like this which almost ruin the sophisticated air created throughout every other facet of the record.
Regardless Ware has this year produced not only a fantastic debut but also a collection of some of the finest pop songs 2012 could have offered. The real challenge will be whether she can hold her ground on her distinct image and style, or whether she’ll be sucked into the David Guetta ruled black hole known as popular R&B.