Jessie Ware – What’s Your Pleasure
Jessie Ware has been making her brand of lush pop since debut album Devotion. When the record came out in 2012, it had clear dance floor leanings and Ware herself has a reputation for liking to cut a rug. On this, her fourth album, she’s gone full disco – and why not? 70s and 80s disco and funk are a rich seam of joyous music that deserves to be revived. What’s Your Pleasure takes place in a world where Studio 54’s heyday is still going. The cover itself is a beautiful recreation of Andy Warhol’s Polaroid of Bianca Jagger, plus a giant gold necklace and red lips. Another promo photo sees Ware with crimped hair and gold makeup, accompanied by a wind machine. It looks awesome; retro and yet modern and beautiful.
The album’s main production is by James Ford and he creates a slinky soundscape of sultry disco and funk. Lead single Ooh La La is a delightful syncopated slice of dense guitar and percussion, while Ware gasps and flirts with the listener: “Chivalry was dead but you revived it”. It sounds like a lost Prince track that he wrote on a summer night sojourn in Rome. What’s Your Pleasure deploys a throbbing disco beat under its suggestive lyrics.
The sound owes a lot to disco greats like Donna Summer and Diana Ross. The Kill has a menacing driving beat and builds like an original disco track. Mirage (Don’t Stop) nods lyrically to Last Night A DJ Saved My Life by Indeep: “Last night we danced and I thought you were saving my life”.
There are other influences nodded to throughout. The closing track has the feel of Roy Ayer’s 1976 track Everybody Loves the Sunshine in its use of choral vocals as a backing track. But while Ayer’s song has a joyous chorus, Remember Where You Are is the darker flipside – “The heart of the city is on fire” – recalling Minnie Riperton’s Les Fleur. It’s a great closing track and a highlight.
In short, this record encapsulates the feel of disco: glamorous, fun, stylish and just a little bit sleazy. Ware is a class act; her voice is exquisite and her tunes seductive. This is the sound of sultry summer nights spent dancing cares away.
Photo: Carlijn Jacobs
is released on 26th June 2020. For further information or to order the album visit Jessie Ware – What’s Your Pleasure’s website here.
Watch the video for the Ooh La La here: