What's Your Pleasure? (The Platinum Pleasure Edition)

What's Your Pleasure? (The Platinum Pleasure Edition)

There are some albums that proved transportive in 2020. What’s Your Pleasure, Jessie Ware’s gloriously decadent, disco-inspired fourth record, was one of them. Released at the height of the UK’s first lockdown, Ware’s fourth LP became an unexpected soundtrack to nights in, its melodramatic melodies and deep basslines offering a portal onto out-of-reach dance floors. Though she could never have seen that coming when she began writing it back in 2018, the London singer-songwriter (and successful podcaster and author) was already well aware of What’s Your Pleasure?’s escapist power. This was an album that had pulled Ware out of a funk that left her considering quitting music. But she also knew it would be a one-off. “The next record won’t be What’s Your Pleasure? part two,” Ware tells Apple Music. “But I had all these songs that I was proud of but which were never going to be heard, because they didn’t fit into the next chapter. I just thought, ‘Everyone seems to be loving this, so let’s keep the party going.’” What’s Your Pleasure? (The Platinum Pleasure Edition) gives those tracks a home—and dials up the intensity as Ware invites us into a looser, darker after-party. The timing of this edition—released in June 2021 as the prospect of dancing in actual clubs drew closer—is not lost on Ware. “This was a reactive record in the sense that I thought, ‘We’re getting closer to a version of reality, so let’s just go there. Let’s keep this going.’ This has been one of the most affirming years in my career. This album has granted me the space to feel confident and like my options after this are limitless.” Read on as she takes us on a journey across What’s Your Pleasure? (The Platinum Pleasure Edition), track by track. “Spotlight” “I wrote this in the first writing session. [Producer] James [Ford] was playing the piano and we were absolutely crooning. That’s what the first bit of this song is—which really nods to musical theater and jazz. We thought about taking it out, but then I realized that the theatrical aspect is kind of essential. It felt like a perfect entry point. It’s like, ‘Come into my world.’ It’s also got a bit of the old Jessie in there, with that melancholy. This song felt like a good indicator of where the rest of the album was going to go, which is why it felt right to start the record with it.” “What’s Your Pleasure?” “We had been writing all day, and nothing was working. We'd gone for a lunch, and we were like, ‘You know, sometimes this happens.’ Later, we were just messing about, and I was like, ‘I really want to imagine that I'm in the Berghain and I want to imagine that I'm dancing with someone and they are suggestive, and anything goes.’ It's sex, it's desire, it's temptation. We were like, ‘Let’s do this as outrageously as possible.’ So we imagined we were this incredibly confident person who could just say anything. James came up with that amazing beat, which almost reminds me of a DJ Shadow song. We were giggling the whole time.” “Ooh La La” “Another very cheeky one. It’s very much innuendo. In my head, there are these prim and proper lovers, but actually there’s no politeness about. The song has got an absolute funk to it, but it’s catchy and still quite quirky. It’s not me letting rip on the vocal. It’s actually quite clipped.” “Soul Control” “I had Janet Jackson in my head in this one. It’s a really energetic number. There is a sense of indulgence in these songs, because I wasn’t trying to play to a radio edit and I was really relishing that. But it’s not self-indulgent, because it’s fun. These are the highest tempos I’ve ever done, and I think I surprised myself by doing that. I wanted to keep the energy up. I wanted people to think, ‘When is she going to calm this album down?’” “Save a Kiss” “It’s funny because I was a bit scared of this song. I remember Ed Sheeran telling me, ‘When you get a bit scared by a song, it usually means that there’s something really good in it.’ My fans like emotion from me, so I wanted to do a really emotive dance song. We had loads of other production in it, and it was very much like a case of James and I stripping everything back. It was the hardest one to get right. But I’m very excited about playing it. It has the yearning and the wanting that I feel my fans want, and I just wanted it to feel a bit over the top.” “Adore You” “I wrote this when I got pregnant. It was my first session with [producer] Joseph Mount and we were both a bit awkward. When I'm nervous I sing really quietly because I don't want people to hear anything. But that actually kind of worked. It was me thinking about my unborn child and thinking, ‘I’m falling for you and this bump and this is going to be a reality soon’. I think Joe did such an amazing job on just making it feel hypnotic and still romantic and tender, but with this kind of mad sound. I think it’s a really beautiful song.” “In Your Eyes” “This was the first song that me and James wrote for this whole album. I think you can feel the darkness in it. And that maybe I was feeling the resentment and torturing myself. I think that the whirring arpeggio and the beats in this song suggest that it’s a stream of consciousness. There’s a desperation about it. I think that was the time and place that I was in. I’m very proud of this song, and it’s actually one of my favorites. But it was very much coming off the back of having quite a low point in music.” “Step Into My Life” “I made this song with [London artist] Kindness [aka Adam Bainbridge]. I’ve known them for a long time. In my head I wanted that almost R&B delivery with the verse and for it to feel really intimate and kind of predatory, but with this very disco moment in the chorus. I love that Adam’s voice is in the breakdown. It feels like a conversation—the song is pure groove and attitude. It feels like one that you can play at the beginning of a party and get people on the dance floor.” “Read My Lips” “James and I did this one on our own, and it’s supposed to be quite bubblegummy. We were giving a nod to [Lisa Lisa & Cult Jam with Full Force song] ‘I Wonder If I Take You Home.’ The bassline in this song is so good. We also recorded my vocal slower and lower, so that when you turn it back to normal speed, the vocals sound more cutesy because it sounds brighter and higher. I wanted it to sound slightly squeaky.” “Mirage (Don’t Stop)” “The bassline here is ridiculous! That’s down to Matt Tavares [of BADBADNOTGOOD]. He’s a multi-instrumentalist and is just so talented and enthusiastic, and I also wrote this with [British DJ and producer] Benji B and [US producer] Clarence Coffee Jr. I think it really signified that I had got my confidence and my mojo back when I went into that session. Usually I'd be like, ‘Oh, my god, I can't do this with new people.’ But it just clicked. I was unsure about whether the lyric ‘Don't stop moving’ felt too obvious. But Benji B was very much like, ‘No, man. You want people to dance. It’s the perfect message.’ And I think of Benji B as the cool-ometer. So I was like, ‘If Benji B thinks it cool, then I'm okay with it.’” “The Kill” “There’s an almost hypnotic element to this song. It’s very dark, almost like the end of the night. It’s about someone feeling like they know you well—maybe too well. There are anxieties in there, and it's meant to be cinematic. I wanted that relentlessly driving feeling like you're in a car, almost running away from something. Jules Buckley did an amazing job with the strings here—I wanted it to sound almost like it was verging on Primal Scream or Massive Attack. There is, though, a lightness at the end of it, and an optimism—like you’re clawing your way out of this darkness.” “Remember Where You Are” “I’m incredibly proud of this song. I wrote it when Boris Johnson had just got into Downing Street and things were miserable. Everything that could be going wrong was going wrong, which is behind the lyric ‘The heart of the city is on fire.’ It sounds relatively upbeat, but actually, it's about me thinking, ‘Remember where you are. Remember that just a cuddle can be okay. Remember who’s around you.’ Also, it was very much a semi-sign-off and about saying, ‘This is where I’m going and this is the most confident I’ve ever been.’ It was a bold statement. I think it stands up as one of the best songs I've ever written.” “Please” “We wrote this track pretty much at the beginning of What’s Your Pleasure?, around when we wrote ‘Spotlight’ and the title track. It was a brilliant week of creativity. In my head I was like, ‘It feels like Kylie [Minogue] in the '90s, and I'm into that.’ It felt really fun, but I wondered if I could get away with it at that point. But that’s probably why it’s done so well now—because I’ve created this world.” “Impossible” “This was written with [US songwriter and producer] Clarence Coffee Jr., who I did ‘The Kill’ with. There’s an intensity to this track. It’s kind of a comment on a woman in the music industry. There’s this idea of hysteria and archaic representations of women and being able to take control of that. I was thinking of Róisín [Murphy] on this one, and Bat for Lashes.” “Eyes Closed” “This was written for the new record, but I think we were still in the head space of What’s Your Pleasure?. The album had just come out and I wanted an even grimier version to accompany it. This song was definitely in the world of Berghain and clubbing and no consequences and freedom, but with this dominatrix vocal. It’s dirty and it feels like it needs to be played very, very late into the night or early into the morning.” “Overtime” “This was the first record I put out of the new music, before What’s Your Pleasure? even happened. We put it out just to see whether it would stick and people really liked it. It was slightly too hard for What’s Your Pleasure?, but among these tracks it just felt right. There was also this hashtag—#justiceforovertime—because it hadn’t made the record, which made me laugh so much. I was like, ‘I’m listening to my fans. I’ve got to give it to them!’” “Hot N Heavy” “This was done with SG Lewis. We’d been wanting to work together forever. He had this fun backing track. In my head, I really wanted the percussive stuff of Gloria Estefan’s Miami Sound Machine and for it to feel quite sassy, like people could really perform it to their friends. That was my intention: I just wanted people to sing it at each other while dancing together. It makes you feel slightly over the top.” “Pale Blue Light” “An epic love ballad that's definitely harking to Prince. It’s nearer to some of my old stuff. We’ve gone from doing all these heavy tunes that are slightly more clubby, and now have this release to enter into the next songs. This was done when I was feeling the most confident and comfortable with James and the people I was working with. The way it moves was very much me just ad-libbing and riffing and feeling free. The studio used to be this very odd place for me, where I'd have total fear. And now, I think I've found my people and I feel like I can really thrive amongst them. I was owning my space.” “0208” (feat. Kindness) “This was written in 2018. Adam [Bainbridge, aka Kindness] and I already knew each other through doing gigs and mutual friends, and this was before we did ‘Step Into My Life’ together. We had this very tender, intimate chat and we were just being honest with other. Then we made this R&B track. I wanted to put it on the album, but it stuck out like a sore thumb. It’s a song about being on the phone to your first love, your childhood sweetheart, who is my husband now. It was a touching reminder of how far my husband and I have come. It’s his phone number, apart from we had to change a digit. I didn’t want people ringing up the place he used to live!” “Adore You (Endless Remix)” “I got approached by an A&R in China saying someone wanted to do a remix of ‘Adore You.’ I was like, ‘That sounds cool—go for it!’ It was [producer and DJ] Sihan and the singer Bibi Zhou, who sings on the track. The production was beautiful and it was totally reimagined. I thought it was so tasteful and brilliant and I loved the fact that we have this conversation in the song. I’m thrilled by what they did. I was blown away.”

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