The Invincible Jessie Ware

One of the cool things about teaching is that you're always around young people, who actually have the time to dig through new music and tell you what's good and what's crap. I don't have the time to dig through music like I used to. Moreover, it's gratifying to know that, though I'm 38, I'm not actually aging out of music. At least not yet.

My son keeps playing the new Drake around the crib. I think I might actually like it. One of my kids in my "Voice and Meaning" class put me on to How To Dress Well. They are in heavy rotation right not. A friend of mine who is not my son, and who is not in my class, put me on to Jessie Ware. She still qualifies as a kid, though. Basically anyone not having to cope with the moods of a 13-year old boy is, in my eyes, a kid. Just putting that out there.

Anyway, this Devotion joint is my new hotness. Yes, music nerd-boy, I know that I'm a year late and no one says "new hotness" anymore. Sit down and listen to your elders. And listen to Jessie Ware. This a woman who knows something about missing people, about being marooned in other cities, far from family, and far from home.

As an aside, I was talking about this Jessie Ware song in class the other day. Ware basically repeats the line "Who says 'No' to love?" making subtle changes each time. I was trying to explain how musicians pick out phrases and repeat them, adding new twists each time, and how that evokes emotion and movement. My point is that great writers often do the same thing. Is there a name for this? Is there a more concise way I can explain this? Writing is the only art I've actually studied, I'm approaching my limits.

Ta-Nehisi Coates is a national correspondent at The Atlantic, where he writes about culture, politics, and social issues. He is the author of the memoir The Beautiful Struggle.


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