Victoria Parkey is here to take you through her favourite pop hits and why they’re just so irresistible with her new column Dancing On My Own.
I remember the first time I heard ‘Midnight’ by Jessie Ware very clearly, because I was in my favourite place – my bed – and it was the last time I was truly blown away by a song’s chorus. Like, repeatedly saying, “play it again, I think this is actually the best thing I’ve ever heard in my life” kind of blown away.
Truth be told, I didn’t think much of the verses the first few times I heard the song. Rife with overly loved up lyrics that I couldn’t really relate to – because I reserve any declarations of feelings for the times I’m too drunk to remember them the next morning. The casual assertions of “you’re special… you’re the only one who inspires” were a bit mushy for me.
Anyway, none of that matters because ‘Midnight’s laidback, loved up verse leads way to one of the biggest, best choruses of all time, bringing out its power through the juxtaposition.
One YouTube commenter said, “I was ready to sell my first born child the moment the chorus dropped.” That’s the only correct reaction to this song. Lower my coffin into the ground as this chorus absolutely bangs. I dare you to find a better and more impactful melodic climb than Jessie coming through with a painfully powerful pleading of, “don’t let me fall through”.
If the verses are lustful and dreamy – “you’re precious/I’m scheming/keep dreaming/about a world where we are an item” – the chorus focuses on the scary and vulnerable part of love. The fear that you’re going to be let down, and the acknowledgement that you might actually need this other person to just feel alright.
This theme of vulnerability pairs up well with my other favourite track from the album (and another most played song of the latter half of 2017) – ‘Alone’ – which similarly plays on the theme of longing with lyrics that hit me harder and deeper than any other song that came out last year.
The uncomplicatedness of “I don’t want somebody else to call my name/I don’t want somebody else when you could just say/Say that you’re the one who’s taking me home/’cause I want you on my skin and my bones” is really difficult to listen to on a hangover by yourself (yes, I am speaking from experience). In the final chorus, the instrumental fades out and leaves Jessie singing in her perfect angelic voice over the scarcity of just piano and hand claps, until a soaring crescendo of violin and harmonics culminates in an overwhelming crush of honesty and lovelorn that makes my heart physically ache when I hear it. Sure, maybe it’s made me cry like, three times, but whatever.
If my future husband is reading this, I’ve found our first dance song, babe.