Music review: Jessie Ware defines pleasure principal in new release
What is your pleasure? If it's nostalgia and bopping tunes, then Jessie Ware's fourth studio album, "What's Your Pleasure?" (PMR/Friends Keep Secrets/Interscope), delivers on every level.
Modern pop is turned on its head, looking back and learning from its opulent predecessors: funk, disco, cheesy synths from the '80s and electro beats from the '90s, creating a chilled out, good time soundtrack. At times a gentle breeze, at times a sensual beck, Ware's songs and velvety vocals plug into the current need for comfort.
"Ooh La La" goes in for the sexy kill with a dirty bass hailing from the funk era, while "Save a Kiss" drags you on the sweaty, voracious, thumping dance floor. "Spotlight" enters the room quietly with a ballad-like violin in first stanza, but then bursts through the club door with swagger, a short skirt and a glow stick in hand.
The 12 tracks coalesce into a soundtrack of emotion in dance — "The Kill" has a noir synth core, while "Adore You" finds delicate cymbals in tune with the lyrics. "Mirage (Don't Stop)" reworks parts of the famous Bananarama song "Cruel Summer" into bass-lined dreamy funk, and the title track is a bold disco bop with breathy vocals.
The sultry register is amped by the lyrics, which taken at face value are innocent enough, but taken in context, it's a cascade of innuendos. Ware is bold, sexy and not afraid to show her moves. School's in session, and she's the pleasure principal.
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