That! Feels Good! – Jessie Ware

With so much genre revivalism going on right now, it’s not hard to write off disco’s 2020 return as little more than a fad. Compounded by the isolation of the pandemic leaving everyone yearning for clubs, concerts, and parties, it seems natural that the disco-influenced hits of Dua Lipa, Lady Gaga, and Doja Cat were little more than a detour for their sound. But for Jessie Ware, whose 2020 album What’s Your Pleasure? smashed into the crossroads of pop and disco revival, it seems she’s more than ready to double down on her faith in the neon-colored dancefloor. That! Feels Good! is the natural sequel: a precise, resolute sound that gets honed to reflect the shift back toward the real world. The touch of physicality is essential here as the energy of the pulsing synths and drumlines are intrinsic when compared to the anomaly of crafting songs through Zoom. Taking on funk, Italo, and Diva House, That! Feels Good! revels in excess: the ecstasy of pleasure lingering on breathy moans and cheeky euphemisms. With a dazzling horn section blaring alongside the four-on-the-floor rhythms, the album is hornier than its predecessor in more ways than one.

In a tight 40-minute runtime, That! Feels Good! is a powerhouse of perpetual motion. Jessie Ware’s velvet vocals swing from croons to belts to falsettos as she moves with the infectious instrumentation. With a bit more confidence and sturdiness this time around, it truly feels like she’s carved out a lane for herself. While it hinges on nostalgia for the golden age of disco, Jessie Ware’s charisma and smoky register are enough to give her sound a distinct flair. On “Pearls”, she flexes her ability to climb the upper range with ease moving from airy whispers to elated cries. “Freak Me Now” synthesizes the distinct digitality of French House with a pounding bassline. She flourishes on songs that give her room to experiment with vocal tricks and grooves. Nevertheless, there are moments when you can tell that That! Feels Good! is a victory lap rather than a substantial iteration of What’s Your Pleasure? “Lightning” has difficulty finding the right footing which ultimately leads to an awkward fade out at the end. Though it immediately picks up with the beautiful harmonies on “These Lips”, the album sequencing could’ve been tightened up a bit more.

That! Feels Good! is a continuation of the best aspects of What’s Your Pleasure? with a mysterious ability to embody physical movement. There is newfound confidence from Jessie Ware on this album which culminates in bigger displays of extravagance and vocal feats. If nothing else, these songs are destined to drag you toward the midnight dancefloor. Sure, there’s little deviation from the formula she already established three years ago but there’s still plenty of creativity left in the tank to run it back. Beyond just paying homage, she remains fully committed to the source material while breathing fresh air into its foundation. Jessie Ware has quickly become the driving force behind the disco revivalism of this decade and on That! Feels Good!, she seems to fully ease into that role.

Must Listens: Free Yourself, Freak Me Now, Shake the Bottle


About the Author


I turned my incoherent ramblings on music, anime, and video games into an entire blog.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may also like these