SINGLE REVIEW: Jessie Ware – “110%”

Written for DIY

Whenever a musical genre that has caused an underground ruckus is taken in by the pop mainstream, it always gets tidied up a little; to put it another way, the interesting bits are shorn off, the hard edges filed down. It happened with punk, it happened with hip-hop. Right now it’s happening to dubstep, with sonic experimentation and the importance of silence and missed beats being ignored in favour of bass drops and, well, Skrillex.

Jessie Ware is dubstep’s real popstar. The South Londoner, perhaps best known for her extended cameo on neighbouring SBTRKT’s “Nervous”, is quite the up-and-comer; on the evidence of “110%”, you wonder how much further she really has to go.

An extremely accomplished piece of pop music which draws in elements of all the disparate movements currently occurring in British electronic music — the music is like Aphex Twin’s “Flim” gone two-step, with the intermittent pitched-down vocal sample (Big Pun, rather disconcertingly, rapping about “carving [his] initials on your forehead”) a nod to the dubbier end of things — and a stunning vocal performance by Ware which starts off almost like a softly-spoken twee missive about “dancing on [her] own” before belting out a properly soulful bridge. Lovely.

8/10

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