Album Review: Jessie Ware – What’s Your Pleasure?

By Ben King

In a year where hitting a jam packed dance floor can be considered a crime, there has been a recent influx of albums created for that sole purpose. Dua Lipa with Future Nostalgia, Lady Gaga with Chromatica, and Kylie Minogue with the aptly titled Disco, are just a few examples of albums created specifically for the dance floor that have debuted this year alone. While these projects are excellent endeavors, they don’t quite reach the bar Jessie Ware set with her fourth studio album, titled What’s Your Pleasure. 

Ware’s first full length release in 3 years, What’s Your Pleasure combines disco, R&B, motown, pop and even jazz to create an ethereal body of work. When interviewed by HotPress about how it felt to release a disco-pop album in the middle of a pandemic, Ware remarked, “It’s not ideal, but I’m very proud of it. The songs take on a different meaning in lockdown. I made this record as a form of escapism, and I think a lot of people need that right now. So if a track on the album can provide that for three minutes or the whole hour, that’s amazing. It’s going to be interesting. If you take my current single, ‘Save A Kiss’, it’s weirdly apt for right now. That absolutely wasn’t in our mind when we wrote it a year-and-a-half ago.” And escapism the record is – filled with groovy drums, pulsing synths and layered with Ware’s enchanting vocals, you can’t help but be drawn into the cultivated dreamlike space Ware has created. Ware has never sounded better – her voice carries incredible amounts of emotion that elevate each track to a new level. On “Ooh La La,” car horns and cow bells are mixed with delightful spikes of guitar riffs, creating a wholly unique listening experience. “In Your Eyes,” provides tinges of melancholy with near-hypnotic production, while “Soul Control,” serves up 80’s inspired, hyperactive synths with an addictive sound. Although, the true standout on the LP is undoubtedly “Remember Where You Are,” a perfect closer that encapsulates the one central message of the album – dancing your way through your worries. The five and a half minute track is as close to perfect as one can get, and will be remembered as a standout across Ware’s entire catalogue. 

What’s Your Pleasure is subtle as it is charming. Songs like “Save A Kiss,” and “Step Into Your Life,” will immediately hook listeners, while tracks such as “The Kill,” and “Spotlight,” encase extreme potential to become growers. With this remarkable album, Ware has showcased disco can be just as sophisticated as other genres, while still maintaining its core value of having fun. Even though we can’t enjoy this album where it belongs, at least we can carve out our very own dance floors right in our own homes. Just close your eyes, put What’s Your Pleasure on shuffle, and picture a glittering disco ball casting its iridescent rays all over your room for maximum enjoyment. Disco has been brought back in full force – and what a pleasure it is to witness.