Thursday, December 7, 2023
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Jessie Ware – Begin Again Review

Starting from scratch is such an alluring idea. Jessie Ware provides ample reason to do so on Begin Again. Caught in the cycle of promising the next day to be that desired change of pace, this one last single before That! Feels! Good! provides an immediate and powerful build. Do your thing. Free yourself. Ware has continued her trend of upbeat pop defiance, and in the wake of such brilliance comes a truthful, disco-revolving pop track. Ballroom brilliance, tinges of electronic sharpness mixed with a defiant, layered beat. Nothing short of sensational work, a call to arms for those stuck working all day, all night with charm spilling over. As expected.  

Isolated piano interjections feel powerful and independent of any of the Latin-styled, vocally-driven Begin Again. Ware does, indeed, begin again. Whatever this new style is, the fine contrast of her previous works but the similar intentions and upbeat momentum is an incredible one. Immediate in its dance-worthy feel, reassured by some amazing brass that lies under the track. Lyrics that beg and plead for a fresh start, not because of a conflict or a desire to throw something new in there, but because new movement is immediate, important and inevitable. Beginning again and accepting it, rather than defiantly pushing against it, is the point of Begin Again, a track that embraces change over a lush, necessary extended edition. That 12” explosion gives way to the charm of the instrumentals, which hold such power to them as they convey change as a net gain.  

Eventually, though, Begin Again works its way back through the Latin-inspired big band feel and toward what always holds Ware’s tracks together. Her voice. This is the peak of what Ware can do. Begin Again is another startling example of what Ware can do. Give Begin Again time. Triumph prevails as the build comes through from Kokoroko on horns and the tempo that underlines the choruses. It all comes together with such a powerful, dance-ready feel to it. Begin Again blurs, once again, that anthemic triumph with a genuine core that Ware has crafted delicately and delightfully time and time again. It feels as earnest as it does honest. New sun in the sky, and time for a change as Ware continually maintains. Begin Again will be a crucial moment for those seeking out a sign to make a big decision.  

Incredible it may be that Ware has hit on that mood so well, it should not be surprising. Begin Again joins up with Free Yourself and Pearls as examples of how the liberation of the soul and self, the decision to begin again, can lead to the luxuries and rewards that are just out of reach or feel so far away. Ware is a pioneer for that image, for how far she has come as an artist and where it brings her sound. Firm work here makes for another successful single, and there is a pop of irony that Ware’s Begin Again track, that desire to have a do-over, comes at a time when the singer is on such a hot streak of quality work.  

Ewan Gleadow
Ewan Gleadow
Editor in Chief at Cult Following | News and culture journalist at Clapper, Daily Star, NewcastleWorld, Daily Mirror | Podcast host of (Don't) Listen to This | Disaster magnet

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