Rating: 0.7 // 10
Jessie Ware returns with her most well rounded and mature project yet, recreating 80s disco within a modern viewpoint, filled with bops and grooves.
After four LPs across almost a decade of music, Jessie Ware arguably hasn’t got a bad full length album to her name. Whilst her second and third albums didn’t quite capture critics in the same way her debut, Devotion did, they certainly didn’t get torn to pieces in the columns and paragraphs of reviews.
Whilst I’ve yet to be truly blown away by a Ware project, I did enjoy her previous work. However, What’s Your Pleasure truly is an improvement, and maybe even her best work yet.
I can’t get past the term mature to describe this project – everything is well measured, meticulously placed into their proper slot, well-crafted by an experienced ear and hand. Even though it has obvious inspirations from 80s disco, it never feels like a copy, or forced into the music.
The opener, Spotlight, is a prime example of this. The strings that lead us into the song create a soft yet serious approach to the genre, and whilst things certainly loosen up, it has this up-tight (in a good way) feel to it.
On the titular track What’s Your Pleasure, we are greeted with an almost brooding, moody singing style, with very retro synths cascading in the background. Much more of a pop song, the chorus is sung sensually and close, creating a lovely feel to the track.
We get a little bit funky on Ooh La La, with a luscious bassline opening the track. With futuristic laser sound effects mixed with the sounds of traffic, the sonic landscape of this track is vast and quirky, matching the semi-robotic delivery from Ware.
Things get even more electronic and house-like with Soul Control, with the energy slowly creeping higher and higher the deeper we get into the track-list.
Save A Kiss remains in that gap between house and disco, incorporating the largely forgotten sound of Italo disco.
Around here at the midpoint of the album, things begin to stagnate slightly. The energy drops off before fluctuating wildly between songs, especially tracks such as Step Into My Life and Read My Lips.
It creates an incohesive feeling, but it doesn’t entirely derail the album. However, comparing to the bop-heavy opening section, the last leg of the album is quite forgettable.
One of the few highlights is the last track, Remember Where You Are, which does put the listener in a more ethereal soundscape compared to the rest of the album.
All things considered this is a fun project that is finely linked. The lyricism isn’t as strong as contemporaries in the pop world, however they are never noticeably bad, nor stand-out.
A pleasant listen, and a project that I can see holding up very well in the future.
- Spotlight (B)
- What’s Your Pleasure (B+)
- Ooh La La (A)
- Soul Control (B)
- Save A Kiss (B)
- Adore You (C+)
- In Your Eyes (B)
- Step Into My Life (B+)
- Mirage (Don’t Stop) (C)
- The Kill (C+)
- Remember Where You Are (C)
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