Wednesday, February 26th, 2020

Jehnny Beth – Flower

Savages singer goes solo…


[Video]
[5.12]

Thomas Inskeep: Goth + synth + To Bring You My Love-era PJ Harvey = yes, more, please!
[8]

Leah Isobel: I love how, uh, moist the synth and vocal textures are here — they aptly portray the iridescent, underwater quality of desire — but I prefer my gay sex records to have a sense of humor.
[6]

Alfred Soto: “How come I can’t get closer?” she asks. Sing into the mike when the verses come ’round.
[5]

Kylo Nocom: “Innocence Is Kinky”-adjacent moist-mouthed ASMR located between sections of plodding faux-soul. Beth’s sexual frustration is purposefully painful to hear, yet the irritation never resolves into a song. “Flower” forces listeners to play along with its spookiness, plunging into its own depths to find nothing worth saving.
[3]

Juana Giaimo: The breathy voice, the sudden change in the chorus and the general mysterious atmosphere are meant to be sensual, but it all sounds too artificial for me to take it seriously.
[4]

Ian Mathers: Transgression is like comedy — few things are as tedious to sit through as failed attempts at either. But hey, at least this confirms that the boring thing about Savages was always the singer.
[3]

Katherine St Asaph: I mean, it’s good and all, but also a little bit of a dirge, and a lot superfluous when 2:54’s “You’re Early” exists.
[6]

Brad Shoup: At the end, this gothic campfire tale of dirtbag romance loops back on itself and calls the result art pop.
[6]

Tuesday, February 25th, 2020

Neon Trees – Used to Like

Seems like we still do…


[Video]
[6.62]

Alfred Soto: Apparently The Singles Jukebox has a history reviewing Neon Trees, and, interestingly, so have I. The guitar crunch and enthusiastic chorus promise pre-hip-hop pleasures — by a CMJ-beloved quartet in 1986, say. In a timeline devoid of verities, young bands must make their own. Or find them.
[4]

Kylo Nocom: When rock radio acts are either annoyingly ubiquitous or complete one-hit-wonders, Neon Trees being a two-hit wonder always seems to make their legacy a bit awkward given that it seems like it barely exists. Of course, “Everybody Talks” and “Animal” remain among the best pop rock hits of the century so far with their incessant twee energy. Even if the title phrase could read as a self-aware Hail Mary attempt à la “Never Really Over,” “Used to Like” has a confidence that suggests a reality in which their style of nervy power pop has always remained en vogue. The highlights include the pseudo-“Fireflies” synth melody and the bridge’s glitched breakdown — certainly features that date the song, yet feel indescribably joyful right now.
[8]

Tobi Tella: Less schticky and more honest than I expected from the band, but also trends less interesting. I appreciate the attempt at propulsion and fun in the chorus and bridge, but I think going a little further would’ve given it more impact.
[6]

Edward Okulicz: The groove is rubbery, the hook is dinky, the song as a whole is… cuddly? That can’t have been the goal, but like the accidental invention of Teflon, the result sticks, it just works.
[7]

Brad Shoup: The line “get back to what you used to like about me” might be… a little emblematic, but hearing Tyler Glenn murder some vowels in the bridge really did send me back. After all this time, Neon Trees’ pneumatic new wave remains more uncanny than one thousand hypnagogic pop acts.
[7]

Ian Mathers: There is, of course, a tinge of self-loathing to the idea of going back to what used to be likeable, or loveable, or even just tolerable, about yourself. Not only have circumstances shifted away from what you want (now, although god knows we often don’t know what we’ve got until it’s gone), but we’re placing the blame and the solution strictly on ourselves. Of course, demanding that someone else “gets back to what you used to like about me” puts it in the realm of the person who changed on you showing up at your door and expecting you to act like nothing happened. Which doesn’t make them nice, but nice isn’t always the same as appealing.
[7]

Andy Hutchins: The parallel paths of Neon Trees and The Killers — bands of Mormons and ex-Mos from desert lands that toured together because the latter essentially discovered the former — fascinate me. The Killers struck with classically rock songs and have kept both making those songs and getting weirder for 20 years, becoming one of the biggest bands in the world at a time despite their singles having no purchase at pop radio: They haven’t had a top-40 hit since Brandon Flowers immortally wondered “Are we human or are we dancer?” and yet released a platinum album in 2012 and an album that debuted at No. 1 in 2017; a third is due this spring, and it’s probably going to be even more of Flowers making his band the millennial equivalent to U2. It’s probably going to be pretty good and sell even if it barely registers in the pop mainstream. Tyler Glenn, on the other hand, is the kind of former Mormon who’ll spit on Joseph Smith and revel in a lack of sobriety while working toward 15 years of trying to write the perfect pop song. “Used to Like” is not that, but its energy jangles, and its romanticizing of the liquored-up fuck-up Glenn is happy to play is at least trying to make an anti-hero compelling. Especially while The Weeknd is in the midst of working the same gimmick on the other end of the dial as a Vegas tourist, it’s nice to have a local providing the view from the ground, raging against his own dying of the light.
[6]

Jackie Powell: Tyler Glenn told Billboard in November that “Used to Like” is about the pain that comes and goes when a co-dependent relationship shatters. That much is clear in the visual treatment. The loneliness is given a very modern image that is overused in our 2020 vernacular: the ghost. A white sheet/ghost figure follows Glenn through the void of his own loss. He meets someone at a bar and the mood changes. The ghost steps aside and stops its pursuit, but by the end of the clip, we see that Glenn didn’t slay the ghost. It greets him in the morning leaving him feeling melancholy. The track itself is a well-mixed solute of the entire Neon Trees discography, giving fans nostalgia while also inviting in newcomers who want to rock out and simultaneously feel a bit droopy. Producer Mike Green mixes the melodic and rhythm guitar of Habits, the dark ’80s synths of Picture Show and a touch of the high energy but depressing undertones of Pop Psychology. Glenn’s storytelling is like a three-minute brisk workout all about modern love that runs circles around the New York Times column and its corresponding Amazon Prime series. It simply does the job with more energy and speed. Elaine Bradley’s drumming keeps the tempo and the track moving because when her beat keeping cuts out with seven seconds remaining, Glenn brings his “yeah yeah yeahs” down the octave and down a dynamic, symbolizing that the marathon has been run. The lesson has been learned. This track aids with the transitional emotional journey that we don’t really talk about. But do we really talk about why people used to like each other anyway? Maybe Glenn is saying we should.
[8]

Tuesday, February 25th, 2020

Sam Smith – To Die For

Not dying for this, but not exactly living either…


[Video]
[4.33]

Wayne Weizhen Zhang: After the delightfulness of having released a Donna Summer cover single, Sam Smith disappointingly slides back into formulaic balladry. “To Die For” is soupy, self-indulgent, dead-on-arrival. 
[3]

Andy Hutchins: I have been complaining about Sam Smith’s too-turgid solo work since long before their entire goddamn unassisted oeuvre appeared to be that, but following up the twinkling instrumental that at least marked “How Do You Sleep” as an ambitious ballad and a competent Disclosure-buoyed rework of a Donna Summer-sung, Giorgio Moroder-produced disco classic with a Donnie Darko sample, Stargate’s impression of 40’s Take Care-era drums, and Auto-Tune? That’s regression, and would be a reason to throw one’s hands up and give up if Sam weren’t at least mostly exceeding the BPM. “Pink lemonade-sippin’ on a Sunday” demands a far better song than this around it, too.
[4]

Michael Hong: Think about what could have been had Sam Smith asked Disclosure to produce their album rather than dropping mild electronic flourishes to their otherwise flat balladry. “To Die For” is lyrically melodramatic (how could it not with that title?), but any sense of flair ends there as the gentle but unnecessary coat of Auto-Tune and the spoken word sample make the track more reminiscent of a home movie than a cinematic production.
[5]

Tobi Tella: I really do support Sam Smith’s foray into poppier music, and the lyric is a fairly grim reconciliation on loneliness; but even though the song is connected to death, it doesn’t have to feel like such a dirge.
[5]

Will Adams: There’s a point at which loneliness makes you yearn for even the most trite images of romance that you know are idealized fluff but you don’t care, like ’50s milkshake dates or, in this song’s case, pink lemonade on a Sunday. It’s the most stirring part of “To Die For”; the rest is an exercise in vocoder abuse and discounted Noah Shebib drum pings.
[5]

Katherine St Asaph: Either the vocoding on Sam Smith’s voice is nice and smoothing and soothing, or I’m in a place in my life where I relate to Sam Smith songs. Should that scare me?
[6]

Alfred Soto: Sam Smith’s commitment to the fictions of coupledom doesn’t distinguish them from heterosexuals — Smith doesn’t want to be queer, finds queerness a banishment from a center they hope has room for them in the decade when gay men and women have attained a cultural ubiquity. Their thick soul aspirational voice does its damnest to underscore their androgynous qualities, though, and not quite enough to redeem yet another fiction when the world, including a world with newly empowered gay men and women, needs fresh ones. 
[4]

Brad Shoup: Everything from the title to the text (“solo shadow on a sidewalk” is a choice piece of alliteration) to the frigging Donnie Darko sample screams emo-pop, so it’s particularly funny to see Smith present it all as the same ol’ American Idol adult-alternative ballad.
[4]

Scott Mildenhall: Credit to Sam Smith: they’ve moved so far beyond things like “Money On My Mind” (and indeed “Bad Day All Week”) that such an awkward misstep as this is more surprising than not. It’s not quite melodically barren, but it is drenched in wanton distortion, makes an all too literal grab for cinematic gravitas and hinges itself on perplexing sentiment. Die for someone you love, sure, but until you find them (and for a good while after), why not try living?
[3]

Tuesday, February 25th, 2020

Justin Bieber ft. Quavo – Intentions

Intentions count for something, but after “Yummy”?


[Video]
[4.62]

Oliver Maier: “Yummy” has been growing on me like a rash to the extent that the sentiment about “Intentions” being better than its predecessor does not move me, and perhaps makes me a little indignant, because it isn’t. Biebs’s sentiments are just as stupid as last time but not as memorable. Quavo exists.
[3]

Kylo Nocom: A ringtone transmitted from outer space handed over to two people who aren’t quite sure what to do with it. I’m waiting for men in pop music to get past nerdy come-ons as passable lyricism.
[4]

Alfred Soto: The Bieb Saga gets interesting now that he encourages writers to come up with lines like “Stay in the kitchen, cooking up, cut your own bread/Heart full of equity, you’re an asset,” then having the audacity to use it as a refrain. A passive woman and a schemer at heart — Bieber’s beau idéal. Like many chart pop aspirants, “Intentions” settles into a fatuous complacency in its refusal to offer nothing but a shimmering hook. 
[5]

Brad Shoup: “The business-brain imagery is kind of great — the sort of audacious move Ne-Yo could’ve made if he’d been just a little bit richer. The synth ostinato burbles placidly, like your call is very important to us. Bieber as honeymooning thought leader is fertile ground, though I’m not surprised Quavo treads lightly over it. “I don’t need a witness” is his capper, the best, uh, intentional joke here. 
[8]

Wayne Weizhen Zhang: On it’s surface, this is just a slower “Nice for What” with a “God’s Plan” music video. “Intentions” and its video — where Justin Bieber and Quavo help establish a fund for homeless women and children through Alexandria House — fit so perfectly into another Justin Bieber redemption arc that I can’t help but be at least a little suspicious of him wanting to rehabilitate his image by surrounding himself with poor communities of color. But whether its a veneer or not, it at least sounds like he’s undergone genuine personal growth. Who could have imagined that following a decade of obnoxious personal drama, he would have landed here? On “Intentions,” Justin sounds humble, intimate, even shy — for once foregrounding the stories of those he’s cherishing instead of making himself the center of attention. It’s a good look. 
[6]

Tobi Tella: Pros: no one’s vagina is referred to as “yummy” in this one. And I can’t knock him from donating to underprivileged people in the music video, no matter how potentially cynical his intentions are. What I can knock him for is making a simultaneously messy and boring song where he alternates between saying that he’ll take care of this girl and that she’s strong and independent? I honestly wish this was a little more convoluted because it would at least show the presence of ideas; I have no doubts that lyrical inconsistencies and bland production is solely because he truly doesn’t care.
[4]

Katherine St Asaph: Heart full of equity, you’re an asset. You’re expensive, you know what I mean? It’s like your heart is like the sounds that are used, which are not cheap. They’re very expensive-sounding sounds. (They also make me want to listen to “With Ur Love” instead.)
[4]

Andy Hutchins: On an album that seems at times to have been constructed from just one beat pack that samples the various seasons of Animal Crossing, “Intentions” at least sounds like a warm winter day, a brighter soundscape than the irredeemable “Yummy” with an unnecessary literal soda pop to reinforce its fizziness. And good thing, that: The Beebs and Sir Quavious are thoroughly unconvincing as lovermen, dropping mostly wretched technobabble lyrics (“Heart full of equity, you’re an asset” should kill V&C dead in its crib, but then Bieber sings “You’re the brand now” and it feels like an abortion was botched), inexplicably throwing “act like you know” into a song about intentions, and trying “It’s funny we both listen” as a compliment. The instrumental would be a [6].
[3]

Monday, February 24th, 2020

Cazzu – Mentiste

Trap goes goth…


[Video]
[5.33]

Juana Giaimo: When I saw Cazzu live, this was one of the songs that the crowd sang the loudest. “Mentiste” may not have the catchiness of “Viste a las 00:00” or the power of “Chapiadora“, but its melancholy grows in you. Maybe it is because of the video, but it reminds me of a music-box melody. Cazzu’s slow and pensive tone makes it bittersweet without falling into drama — even when she sings “a headstone for my heart.” Just because she is the leader of the trap scene it doesn’t mean she can’t have a broken heart too. 
[8]

Brad Shoup: If I were on an oversight body for this, I would absolutely vote to outlaw music box motifs as references to dissipated innocence. Especially with Cazzu’s shrug that she’d relive everything, even the breakup. Structure the song around that.
[5]

William John: Leaning heavily on a Melanie Martinez aesthetic is one crime; perhaps even more heinous is the failure to get out of first gear, which can be hard to do if you’re down and out, but probably worth doing if you’re going to try and immortalise your romantic tragedy.
[2]

Alfred Soto: Boasting the crackle and sadness of good Kehlani, “Mentiste” would be a better track without the blank production. 
[5]

Kylo Nocom: Cazzu slurs every word together into one pleasant lullaby, but the all-encompassing moodiness leaves the song more dull than dark.
[6]

Leah Isobel: “Mentiste” evaporates on contact, but that’s part of its charm. Cazzu’s sticky vocal tone provides a suitably earthbound center for the wistful chimes and subterranean bass; she’s there until she’s gone, and the track dissipates with her.
[6]

Monday, February 24th, 2020

Love Regenerator – Hypnagogic (I Can’t Wait)

Acceptable in the ’90s…


[Video]
[5.89]

Thomas Inskeep: It’s as if Calvin Harris found an “acid house” preset on a keyboard; this isn’t just soulless, it sounds bloodless. Stay in your lane, mate.
[3]

Alfred Soto: Resisting that Poppy Bush Interzone-era house drum break and keyboard pattern taxed my abilities. The absence of a vocal helped.
[7]

Will Adams: A sudden pivot into ’90s techno/breaks/rave is the most interesting thing Calvin Harris has done in nearly a decade. The pseudonym suggests this is just a lark, but after the burst of the EDM bubble which resulted in a smattering of electronic genres vying for Top 40 status, I’d welcome a full rogues’ gallery of dance music genres. Judging from this, Harris seems more than suited to the task.
[8]

Ryo Miyauchi: “Hypnagogic (I Can’t Wait)” remains faithful to its inspiration, checking off all the boxes of acid house from squiggly bass lines, anonymous diva vocals to the piano breakdown. Had this been a Calvin Harris release from five years ago, it would’ve seemed too intentional of a corrective to grab critic cred after the waning days of festival EDM. But his post-Funk Wav Bounces stuff, and especially his recent takes on UKG, have done very well to convince me to re-consider his relationship with pop and dance, and in turn let Love Renegerator come across as a rather sincere homage to classic acid. It also helps that he’s on trend with other techno folk from all tiers, borrowing jungle, trance, gabber and such almost wholesale during the past few years.
[6]

Scott Mildenhall: It’s as clear from his recent interview with Annie Mac as so many of his public pronouncements since 2007 that Calvin Harris/Adam Wiles has always been fixed on the dual issues of making the music that he wants to make and perceptions of him as an artist and person. With that said, it’s surprising he hasn’t launched a side project sooner. He talks with restless passion about Love Regenerator, and it does sound like that’s transferred into the music. “Hypnagogic” may be straight-up homage, but it’s by no means rote; rather a fidgeting catharsis or renewal, whichever it may be. He’s unbound and unbidden, and now it’s surely only a matter of time before Stouffer re-emerges.
[7]

Oliver Maier: Harris’s turn towards breakbeat-laden techno hilariously scans like the EDM producer equivalent of a pop star offering an acoustic ballad (or this) for rEaL mUsIc cred. Not that I doubt its sincerity, but “Hypnagogic” is the sort of track that gets so caught up in geeky enthusiasm for its forebears that it forgets to convey anything original. Meticulous and competent enough that its hard not to enjoy. Harder to imagine going back to it.
[5]

Brad Shoup: The vocals are impatient, maybe even angry. The has are impressively mirthless. Maybe it’s because there’s nothing hypnagogic about this break-ridden acid tech house monster, just a ton of nostalgic textures rolling and tumbling about.
[5]

Kylo Nocom: Can I just post the Scarlett Johansson Marriage Story GIF and be done with it? The full cut ironically requires a bit of patience, but those keys are all this song’s got.
[5]

Tim de Reuse: I am beyond excited for millionaire EDM partyboys to branch out of big-room nonsense and start taking all their cues from the Hackers soundtrack.
[7]

Monday, February 24th, 2020

Jasmine Sandlas, Garry Sandhu & Tanishk B – Illegal Weapon 2.0

From the soundtrack to Street Dancer 3D which I keep reading as Street Fighter 3D


[Video]
[5.17]

Alfred Soto: Rather slight for a tune with this sequencer and that woodwind, but the vocalists shout at each other as if something were at stake.
[4]

Brad Shoup: I take no pleasure in reporting this, but “2.0” just hits different. The drums punch, the bass hits earnestly dramatic pitches. Even the woodwindy hook gets waxed.
[6]

Kylo Nocom: From Fifth Harmony’s “Top Down” to Elvana Gjata and Capital T’s “Fustani” just from last year, fat Mustard synth stabs in pop music are always amazing. Like the aforementioned tracks, “Illegal Weapon 2.0” could have just been its bassline and it would’ve earned my goodwill, but the production’s inability to settle down ends up creating one of the most twisted songs of the year so far: not a single one of the synthesized woodwind loops are the same; every performer has a distinctive take on the same melody; the claps are ear-splittingly high in the mix, as if they could break through the ambient noise of a crowd muttering during a street performance. Yet the song’s best moment remains the trap breakdown at 1:39 — an immediately satisfying bit of release from the song’s constant pulse. A small issue is that the second verse’s recording quality is somewhat iffy, yet how can I complain when the track continues diving into its own filthiness as if it were never an issue in the first place?
[8]

Michael Hong: The backing beat should serve the same purpose as it does in reggaeton of anchoring the track, allowing everything around it to jump around, to dance, and to go off on whatever tangent the track desires. Instead, the gunshot noises and unnecessary autotune weigh down the beat. It no longer feels like it’s propelling the track forward but being dragged along.
[3]

Joshua Lu: Compared to the original “Illegal Weapon,” the production, here feels more bombastic and thus deadlier — an effective vehicle for a soundtrack song that doesn’t skimp on the dramatics. The slogging, tinny verses underwhelm, however, and their flaws are all the more prominent with the polished backdrop.
[4]

Jacob Sujin Kuppermann: Makes the most of its love gun schtick– every second sounds vaguely explosive, and the core loop moves like a sworddancer’s blade. It all feels a little overwrought, but the melodrama and tension work surprisingly well.
[6]

Sunday, February 23rd, 2020

Bonus Tracks for Week Ending February 23, 2020

We have more work from our writers for you to read!

Friday, February 21st, 2020

Billie Eilish – No Time to Die

It’s no “Sontum of Qualace”


[Video][Website]
[5.50]

Katherine St Asaph: The boomerest shit ever: hearing Billie Eilish’s debut and thinking immediately, or ever, “Hey, this sounds sad and mentions dying. You know where this would be great? To introduce that classic series of spy intrigue, clearly still beloved by the 18-to-34s — you know, the one with the gyrating silhouettes of naked ladies!” Dark is not noir, and youth is not this; the industry machinations responsible can sap creativity in an 800-mile radius, like some Q-issued electromagnetic pulse. But I like both Bond themes and Billie Eilish a lot, as well as their ill-fitting combination. Billie takes to it surprisingly well, singing in the quavery part of her voice where she sounds startlingly like Róisín Murphy, though what she’s singing is an unsurprising miscasting. (You could really cite it all, but in particular “you’re no longer my concern” is a Grizabella-ed version of some more normal teenage no-fucks-given line, quite possibly containing “duh.”) Like most Bond themes, the heartbreak and melodrama are more authentic in song than film.
[7]

Alfred Soto: There’s a sliver of a subversive idea: ask a putative introvert whose wit tends to the puckish to co-write a tune for the world’s biggest, most superannuated film series. And the track as expected builds to the chorus release. But the fact remains: Billie Eilish and 007 represent a tragic clash of sensibilities. 
[5]

Brad Shoup: If doing a “Bond song” was so cool, why wait for Bond’s sclerotic contentkeepers to tab you? Just put one out! Every couple years someone issues a press release about how cool it is to be selected to release a “Bond song” and it’s usually cold compost with an EmM9 chord. This “Bond song” makes the orchestra do the hard work, makes Eilish feign concern about the mechanics of the Bond cinematic universe, makes no sense out of its ridiculous context.
[2]

Thomas Inskeep: This ticks all the “Bond theme” boxes: swelling orchestration (hi, Hans Zimmer), a slow build and burn, a quietly confident vocal (often female — women have generally done the best Bond themes). Speaking of the last, this is undoubtedly the best vocal performance I’ve heard by Eilish. And this has the added bonus of some subtle guitar work by Johnny Marr!
[8]

Edward Okulicz: Okay as a Bond theme, although the cinematic strings feel a little heavy when they barge in, because some concessions to convention have to be made. A better argument for Eilish’s versatility in the face of a stolid template than it is for the value of the template itself, though. I really do like the piano, even if what it makes me think of isn’t “massive movie franchise,” but “Billie and Finneas are scoring a live-action adaptation of Celeste.” 
[6]

Tobi Tella: Billie’s macabre and dramatic enough for a Bond theme, but in the same vein as Sam Smith, this doesn’t seem to aim for anything deeper than moody.
[5]

Will Adams: Billie Eilish doing a Bond Theme was the closest we were going to get to a “Die Another Day” successor in a long while; instead we get the same dour sweeps as “Skyfall” and “Writing’s On the Wall.” Between this and the song choice at her Grammys performance, I’m increasingly concerned that Billie is being funneled into Serious Artistry that takes the form of joyless, authentic ballads. To be clear, she is capable of those stirring, devastating songs that take it slow; but “No Time to Die” feels more like an assignment completed satisfactorily.
[4]

Scott Mildenhall: It’s a wonder when the next Bond theme will come that isn’t so classicist and straight-faced. This one carries so many echoes of the revisionist history built by the most recent themes that for a decent while into it, it could almost be mistaken for “Writing’s on the Wall”. Still, that’s not to let a yearning for archness or bombast detract from what “No Time to Die” does have: a clear-minded commitment to its cause. This will fit perfectly with whatever monochrome inkblot opening titles it accompanies, drifting, swirling and presaging a barely camp self-seriousness that will doubtless follow in the film itself. It seems to have been made with heart, too; it’s just a shame that it feels bound to let its blood run cold.
[7]

Friday, February 21st, 2020

Panjabi MC feat. Sahib – Standard

Back on the horse…


[Video][Website]
[5.83]

Katherine St Asaph: If a complete banger of a comeback gets virtually no notice, not even from the #rememberthe90s-ing that Panjabi MC would seem to qualify for, does it still bang?
[7]

Kylo Nocom: “Jump Around” squeals with tablas and more stuff crammed in between. I am in love.
[7]

Jacob Sujin Kuppermann: Clearly a song by an artist that debuted in the 90s — that record scratchy screech! It’s charming, though, with enough switches in the beat that it feels hungry to impress. The vocal is fine, but the song is best when Panjabi MC just gets to fiddle around with fun sounds.
[5]

Camille Nibungco: I thoroughly respect Panjabi MC for holding space and reverence for 90s hip-hop sampling and arrangements in his many years as a Bhangra artist. Perhaps it’s Sahib’s flow or just me not being as well-versed enough in Bhangra music, but the song flounders too much to be memorable for me.
[4]

Thomas Inskeep: Kinda sounds like Panjabi MC put “Beware of the Boys” down, flipped it, reversed it, and then added on a loud snare and that sound effect from House of Pain’s “Jump Around,” before getting Sahib to rap on top. It’s okay, but not entirely successful. I mean, it’s no “Beware of the Boys.”
[5]

Brad Shoup: The “Shotgun” sample threw me – I thought the track was going to retread some boom bap. I should’ve paid attention to the acoustic guitar instead. When Sahib really lets it float, everything becomes a spaghetti western.
[7]