Wednesday, July 8, 2020

Top New Release: Jessie Ware - What’s Your Pleasure?

UK artist Jessie Ware just blew the top off this Summer with her anthemic disco-inspired album What’s Your Pleasure?   The minute I heard it, I loved it.  In fact, if you’re reading this, I’ve probably already sent you the link personally.  Along with the album have been a series of great videos highlighting just how danceable these songs are.

And since I don’t have much in the way of live music to share these days, I’ll take this chance to spend some time highlighting notable new releases.  Below you’ll find videos from the album, as well as links to some reviews and write-ups.  Dive in and dance out.



"On her new album, Jessie Ware sounds like the host of the kind of party you heard about in ‘70s Manhattan—velvet banquettes and powdery surfaces, mink coats and cigarette holders, and club names that were enigmatic numbers, or—post-gay liberation and pre-AIDS—sincerely promised sanctuary, paradise. You can imagine Ware taking a scene newcomer under her wing, detailing the venue’s clandestine corners, advising which watered-down liquor to avoid—and anyway, don’t you deserve champagne?


Disco has been a shared obsession of late for both chart juggernauts and Ware’s own peers, but her reverence for the era may be the most literal, down to her flash-lit portrait on the album cover, the spitting image of Warhol’s iconic polaroid of Bianca Jagger. Here, Ware is a lycanthropic party girl, coming alive under the mirrorball with breathy flirtations over disco-funk and vibrant Hi-NRG, recreated deftly by chief producer James Ford. Her wonderland is, to quote Fran Leibowitz’s one-time description of Studio 54, made for ‘sex and dancing.’” (Via Jessie Ware: What’s Your Pleasure? Album Review | Pitchfork.)

"Disco’s detractors - and during the genre’s original boom, there were many - fundamentally misunderstood what the music was for.

The rock and punk evangelicals who filled Comiskey Park for Disco Demolition Night in 1979 found it vapid and apolitical, and sometimes that was very much the case: but disco was a different kind of a response to political turmoil than those Black Flag fans deemed proper. Acts like Earth Wind & Fire and Chic turned spaces like Studio 54 into places of escape and liberation: dance music to move joints and break sweats, the reviled escapism deliberately built into euphoric music which provided respite from a racist nation, and growing inner-city poverty. ‘Good Times’ they weren’t, but disco music made the fantasy feel possible.

Jesse Ware’s fourth album sounds like it could have come from that era, and arrives after being delayed three times - for the Coronavirus outbreak, BLM protests and Juneteenth - and now escapism feels urgent again. Made in the wake of 2017’s Glasshouse, an album where she felt encumbered by commercial expectations, Ware answers with twelve fiery cuts which are brighter, salacious and disco to the core.

From the opening Giorgio Moroder synths of ‘Spotlight’, there’s little English about the sound of the record; remarkable considering the very British line-up of the production team. Clapham’s own Ware, UK DJ Benji B, Gorillaz-producer James Ford and Metronomy’s Joseph Mount conjure a rich and referential palette for the record; the title track boasting a New Wave synth line, ‘Ooh La La’ some Bowie downturned guitar vamps and ‘Soul Control’ a shamelessly corny keyboard riff straight out of Prince’s The Revolution. This is music aped by everyone from Bruno Mars to Arcade Fire, so the convincingness of songs like ‘Soul Control’ are a feat in themselves."

(Via Jessie Ware - What’s Your Pleasure? | Album Review.)

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