A Jessie Ware Glasshouse Album Review
Following two studio albums of underrated soul-pop, with an emphasis on emotion, Jessie Ware’s Glasshouse showcases the artists struggle and also success in balancing between artist, mother and wife with candid lyrics and contemporary production.
The South London born singer started out as a backing vocalist in the post-dubstep era collaborating with producers such as SBTRKT as well as critically renowned singer Sampha.
After two years she released her debut album; the rich and sonically cohesive R&B effort, “Devotion” which alongside albums such as Solange’s True and Frank Oceans critically acclaimed, Channel Orange served as part of a rebirth and sudden resurgence of alternative R&B in the mainstream audience in 2012.
After releasing her sophomore studio album “Tough Love” in which its lead single, “Tell Me You Love Me” managed to be her highest charting single to date, Jessie Ware embarked on a worldwide tour. The album featured collaborations with Dev Hynes, Emile Hayne and recent breakout producer, Benny Blanco. Tough Love charted at number 9 in the UK and was certified Silver. The sophomore album was applauded by critics and fans with many complimenting the musical progression of Jessie herself. In April 2016 Jessie announced she was pregnant and welcomed her first child in September. After the birth of her daughter, she took a hiatus from music.
In 2017 Jessie released her third studio album, Glasshouse.
Described as her most personal record to date, Jessie Ware recruited a broad range of collaborators, from recent pop breakout artist Julia Michaels, to dance infused producer Cashmere Cat. Opening the album, lead single “Midnight” a dramatic opening track, captivates the listener on first listen. A piano-driven chorus and layered arrangement with a deeply atmospheric vibe sees Jessie longs for her love to, “Meet me in the Midnight.”
The following track “Thinking of you” showcases her struggle and anxiety coming to terms with leaving her daughter. While “Stay Awake, Wait For Me” is a blues inspired track reminiscent of D’angelo’s earlier work. ‘Selfish Love’ discusses and picks apart the details of a troubled relationship with Latin infused rhythm accompanied by a flamenco guitar and Jessie’s soft falsetto begging for forgiveness and love to then take delight in her wrongdoing. Fan favourite “Your Domino” encapsulates her strengths as upbeat artist as jaunty and bubbly electronic synths take place while smoothly gliding over an enthralling beat and danceable percussion all while using the playful metaphor of “I’m you’re domino”. ‘Finish What We Started’ uses 80’s style production with a slick and groove infused bassline inspired by Prince.
Jessie’s refreshing openness to collaborate can be said to make Glasshouse such a success allowing and guiding a variety of producers to merge their sound and world with Jessie’s renowned style and aesthetic.
Ed Sheeran – who has previously worked with Jessie before – penned the last track on the album. “Sam” a dedication to her husband. A four-chord story detailing her journey of finding the one to then have a child is a beautiful guitar led song with flute and a dramatic and sensual outro. With Jessie’s lyrics landing like soft kisses on a forehead she talks candidly about her apprehension for parenthood and the unconditional love she has for her husband of 15 years.
Though Glasshouse fails to be as sonically cohesive as her previous albums it is strengthened through her silky tones reminiscent of artists such as Sade and Lauryn Hill as opposed to the conventionally polished vocals associated with mainstream music. Nonetheless the album definitely reinforces Jessie’s reputation as Britain’s most underrated pop star and best kept secret.
Are you loving Jessie Ware’s latest album? Let us know in the comments below!
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Hi! I'm Joey! A third year multimedia journalism student at Manchester Metropolitan University! I love all things lifestyle, music, fashion and food!