Album Review: Jessie Ware – What’s Your Pleasure?28th December 2020
This year has been a real eye-opener for me. I’ve experienced music I thought I’d never be bothered by. A by-product of writing for so many entertainment websites, I suppose, and it’s nice to experience new things. Before listening to What’s Your Pleasure, I had absolutely no clue who Jessie Ware was. I’m not exactly tapped into the modern music scene, not as much as I should be anyway. I woke up feeling miserable, expecting another mediocre, jaunty pop album, but Ware throws a curveball with this house and disco amalgamation, a welcome change of pace from the overexposure to generic synthpop we’re experiencing currently.
Ware has a great voice, opening with Spotlight to showcase her strong mixture of prominent vocals and the entertaining groove that backs them. Melodic, almost whispered vocals bring us crashing into What’s Your Pleasure, the eponymous track not quite up to the level of quality our opener provides, but still quite strong. Those synthpop notes are present as ever, but nicely wrapped in quality vocals and a voice that feels far more powerful than the rather forgettable lyrics. This is a fairly consistent problem throughout the album. Ware’s voice comes through with such strength, and the topics she sings of vary from wildly agreeable to personally touching, but it never quite comes together.
Maybe it’s that rather cynical thought process of thinking it’ll fall to pieces at any moment. Soul Control feels like that somewhat, its high-pitched synth notes and standard verse, chorus, verse structure is an unfortunately generic choice on an album I had first thought would strive for greatness. Save a Kiss feels like the most obvious of the generic throwaway tracks, but at least it clocks in at under four minutes, we’re not wasting too much time with that one. The generic witticisms continue on Adore You, a repetition of the title crashing through some rather bland lyrics that don’t take us anywhere. Good songs can make you think or take you on a trip through the mind of the artist, this does neither. It feels like a song written solely to fit a pop song quota.
What’s Your Pleasure is a mixed bag of content, ultimately edging its way toward consistent. Ware has an exceptional voice, and her lyrical prose is on top form throughout What’s Your Pleasure, but there’s a questionable memorability to these songs. How long they can last in the mind of the listener is entirely up to them, but for me, it’ll be about another twenty minutes before it’s washed away with something that has a bit more heart to it. Ware had my attention, but didn’t capture my interest.