Saturday, July 4th, 2020

Jessie Ware – Save a Kiss

Something special and something rare…


Alfred Soto: From the hint of the “Jive Talkin'” melody in the strings and the Moroder-ized sequencer pulses to Jessie Ware’s long simmer, “Save a Kiss” doubles as a history of electronic dance music and a sensational track. At last she abandons the sumptuous but somnolent performances for kinetic care, and I’ll take the latter in the time it takes to yank me onto the dance floor.

Wayne Weizhen Zhang: Propulsive, coruscant like crystal, and powered by the butterflies in your stomach when you’re around your crush, “Save a Kiss” continues Jessie Ware’s streak of modern pop euphoria.

Michael Hong: There’s probably an alternate world where this was left as a pop song, the kind that blends pop music and soul music into one and sounds a little bit like “Alone.” In that world, I probably like it a lot. I like how vulnerable it all feels, the way she sings “save a kiss for me tonight” as both an apology and a bit of late-night seduction. But “Save a Kiss” was written for What’s Your Pleasure?, not Glasshouse, and as the record’s poppiest dance tune, a lot is gained without losing much, if anything. The track’s dance structure allows Ware to reuse the post-chorus and flip it into a repeated mantra that feels like devoted worship rather than resorting to writing some overly sappy bridge. And while her voice could afford to go bigger, it allows you to luxuriate in what’s happening underneath: arpeggiating synths, swooping strings, and that demanding pulse, all bringing a sense of urgency, like there’s no way that one kiss could ever wait. I like this version a little bit more.

Jacob Sujin Kuppermann: In the context of What’s Your Pleasure, “Save a Kiss” represents a sort of compromise — not as inventive or playful in its arrangements as many of the album tracks, but not as straight-ahead in its dance as “Adore You” or “Spotlight.” But even shorn from its place in Ware’s broader work, “Save a Kiss” feels caught between worlds in the way all good disco revival does, the tension of the strings building through the verses until they cascade down in lines that are at once formalist throwbacks and alive with energy. It’s a four-minute exercise in potential energy, coils and springs winding and unwinding in a perpetual motion machine of a dance track.

Nina Lea: At a time when so many other artists are trying their hands at synthy, eighties-inspired dance pop, Jessie Ware continually stands out for how effortlessly she inhabits the sonic landscape of her songs. Listening to a Jessie Ware song is like relaxing into the passenger seat as you stream down the highway, safe in the knowledge that her reliably capable, confident hands are on the wheel.

Katie Gill: Look, I know artists need to release music videos to promote their song but it feels like we reached the peak of “multicam quarantine synchronized dance videos” like… a month ago? But let’s talk about the song. It’s a very lovely dance song! It’s a charming dance song that I expect will end up getting some comparisons to Robyn or Dua Lipa because there can be only one dance-pop artist that makes solid use of 1970s disco strings! Charming doesn’t necessarily mean “exciting,” though.

Scott Mildenhall: Some might be sniffy about the surfeit of productions like Jules Buckley’s Ibiza Classics over the past few years, but there is a definite through line from Chic being refused entry to Studio 54 and £45-a-pop orchestral performances of “Pjanoo” in the grounds of Shropshire stately homes. By bringing Buckley on board here, Jessie Ware proves the creative potential of that thread, confirming what Nile Rodgers could have told you almost half a century ago. Tension, anticipation and exasperation symphonise with the trappings of prestige, just for the night.

Reader average: [9.42] (14 votes)

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3 Responses to “Jessie Ware – Save a Kiss”

  1. @Katie I’d argue that the Robyn spectre hovers over this song because of the Honey-esque production, not for the disco strings. (also the music video has been out for over a month). but good work everyone

  2. Great track. Album of the year.

  3. This might be the first time I’ve seen a 10 from Alfred! I am in wholehearted agreement with that rating, though. This was my favorite off of What’s Your Pleasure?, easily.