Jessie Ware

Tough Love

In a post-Ashlee Simpson world, there seems to be an almost unquenchable thirst for real-deal powerhouse female singers. In the years since that fated Saturday Night Live snafu, the Billboard charts have embraced Beyoncé, Katy Perry, Adele, Florence + the Machine, Ellie Goulding, and Lorde with open arms and knowing smiles — and the ranks only seem to be growing. Take Jessie Ware, for example. The young English songstress calls to mind a sumptuous hybrid of Sade, Robyn, and Mariah Carey (before she went nuts), and her latest album is not to be missed. Tough Love, Ware’s second studio offering, careens between the worlds of disco, pop, and R&B with a casual smoothness and carefree sense of empowerment that can be traced right back to the singer’s early career. Even before her stunning 2012 debut, Ware was lending a vocal assist to British soul crooner Jack Peñate, electronic mastermind SBTRKT, and the aforementioned Florence, among others. As a result, Ware’s vocal dexterity has become her strongest weapon, and anthems like the floor-pounding, neo-soul “You & I (Forever)” and the sultry, percussive “Say You Love Me” only benefit from it. Speaking for the ladies, redemption never sounded so good.

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