- In the world of disco-pop, Jessie Ware may not be the biggest name lighting up the dance-floor however she is easily the strongest. Whereas most disco-revival artists dip their toes into the waters of the genre, Ware always dives straight into the deep end. Following the release of 2020’s fantastic album What’s Your Pleasure, as well as collaborations with several big names such as Kylie Minogue and Melanie C, Ware continues to dominate the night-life with her latest project That! Feels Good!
The title track wastes no time in bringing forth the '70’s influenced funk with heavy Sly and the Family Stone-esque bass sections and clapping percussion. Jessie’s performance is indeed sexy but in an understated ,classy way as she breathily emphasises the hook of the track. The instrumental continues to drive the party with horn sections and a guitar solo slowly creeping in towards the building climax. While That! Feels Good!is a simple dance-floor cut, it is easy to get lost in the orgasmic nature of Jessie’s performance as well as the electric disco sound.
While Free Yourself is disco, the first single feels closer to the feel-good dance music of recent years, with a twinge of a historic party sound. Free Yourself is four minutes of blinding self-expression through dance, as Jessie encourages the listener to break free from their chains and lose themselves in the moment. The keys on the track weave through Jessie's incredible voice as they play in time with the pounding drum machine. While another simple cut, the simplicity once again works in Jessie’s favour as Free Yourself delivers on exactly what it promises: a body-shaker of an anthem that it is impossible not to move to.
Jessie has made so many disco cuts in the last few years and yet she continues to outdo herself even with the same formula. On paper, Pearls may seem like the averagre disco song with its gorgeous backing female vocals, impressive star display from the leads and building claps that explode upon the chorus. However, there is a reason the formula works and Pearls is talent at its finest as Jessie promises to dance the night away. The chemistry between the lead and instrumentals results in an emphatic groove that is impossible to deny and easily the best cut on the project.
Freak Me Now is, in its own way, the most experimental cut as it blends stereotypical disco with house to lay forth a faster, more heart-pounding groove. Jessie’s vocals are choppy and quick-paced as she begs her partner to continue generating the heat with their moving bodies. Freak Me Now almost feels like it should be the B-side remix contributed by an English DJ but that in itself is a compliment, as it delivers the much needed punch to continue the record onto the second half.
Shake the Bottle takes clear inspiration from the writing style of Prince’s Sign ‘o’ the Times years with its witty take downs of several male partners. While Jessie has experienced the rich and extravagant life-style through men before, she has come to the conclusion that that means nothing if the sex isn’t top notch. Backed by an enthusiastic horn section, Shake the Bottle feels ready to pop both musically and sexually with top-notch grinding vocals from Jessie that really sell the bedroom desires.
Like Shake the Bottle, These Lips is clear in its sexual intentions however with a softer, more romantic atmosphere to close the record. It is fascinating to see how two tracks can take similar subject matter and horn section and deliver almost polar opposite moods. Jessie is clear about what her mouth can do with several hilarious lines such as her lips being “banned in one-hundred countries.” These Lips is endearing and spicy and helps the record grind to a more than satisfactory climax.
That! Feels Good! is certainly true to its title and it’s hard not to love Jessie Ware’s latest record. If I had to find something negative to say about it to justify my journalistic credentials, maybe I’m not completely sold on a like Beautiful People, the writing is a bit on the nose? However, the end result is an extremely solid dance-pop record that could fit anywhere into the party playlist and will fill the entire dancefloor without fail.
- James Chadwick.