Sharon Jones, queen of retro soul, will return next year with a new album Give The People What They Want, heralded by this strident, high-stepping single, Retreat! Jones and her Brooklyn-based backing band The Dap-Kings were set to put the the album out last August when Jones was diagnosed with cancer, delaying the album’s release while she underwent successful surgery and subsequent treatment.
Ostensibly a plain-speaking admonishment to a no-good lover (“What a fool you’d be to take me on,” she warns), given what Jones has been through lately it’s also tempting to hear the song as a declamation of strength from a diva who's been through the mill and emerged unbowed.
“Retreat! That’s what I say baby and I don’t care if it make sense to you / Taking you apart is my concern... Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned.” R.E.S.P.E.C.T to that.
From its ominous opening bass rumble and tolling bell to the hip-swinging bridge and harmonic backing, the song is pure Four Tops drama, with a fantastic, hi-camp animated video directed by Lizzi Akana, roughly in the vein of a Tim Burton remake of The Jackson 5ive TV show.
In the video, the hooded figure of Sharon Jones sees the oncoming threat of wolves while scrying in a mystic pool, then crushes her attackers with sheer weight of sequins, shrugging off her robe and beating the wolves into retreat in glittery high heels.
Watch the video here:
Sharon Jones & The Dapkings album, Give The People What They Want is out on Daptone Records in January 2014.