Monday, July 6th, 2015

Gunplay ft. YG – Wuzhanindoe

Don’t worry, we were exaggerating, it’s just two today.


[Video][Website]
[4.86]

Maxwell Cavaseno: I’m not going to waste time; Gunplay, like fellow Def Jam affiliates Rick Ross and 2Chainz is indicative of a terrible plight amongst aging former ghostwriters who become huge based on becoming a novelty meets rappity rap twist on pre-existing trends (for Gunplay, the lane he strives for screams FLOOOOOCKAAAAAAAAAA in the nightmares of the hollow). Now, that isn’t to say Gunplay hasn’t written good to great songs, au contraire. The issue is that he’s a parasite. He needs a host’s world to thrive, and while he did great with Flockanese, it’s 2015 and his routines have become tired, he’s phoning in all his verses, and it’s become a drag to see him badly remake YG’s SUPERIOR “BPT” with Mustard & YG’s help where both the innovators outshine him so effortlessly. But YG has been a star since he was 19. Gunplay is like, my dad’s age, and still can’t convince the rap game to take him seriously. Why should you?
[2]

Iain Mew: If DJ Mustard has to go back to go forward, so be it; I am all for the alien Amiga whine of the sample here. The hook is both an appropriate response to it and a nice way to exaggerate the stop-start bits of the beat, and together they’re enough to sustain through three uninspiring verses.
[6]

Alfred Soto: The abrupt stops and drill press bass conspire to make to this Mustard’s best banger in months, and Gunplay has the grim authority of a summer camp counselor. I can’t tell if he minds that “When I come home she smell like dick.”
[5]

Thomas Inskeep: Hard like early ’90s Mack 10, and a surprise to me that Mustard helmed it, because this is not his usual trap style. Gunplay rules this beat and makes “Wuzhanindoe” sound like semi-classic gangsta rap.
[6]

Brad Shoup: The nice thing about G-funk was that it went hard so you didn’t have to. Gunplay hits his stride in the second verse, but it’s the whine and chime that do the real work.
[6]

Edward Okulicz: Mustard’s spreading himself a bit thin with ideas, having used this track’s best one already, with YG no less. Unfortunately, speeding it up makes it lose most of its klaxon-esque charm. The track does at least have a second idea — the beat flatters the more emphatic parts of Gunplay’s verses by popping in and out forcefully. And the whooping is definitely a decent hook. YG’s verse is dead air, though.
[4]

Ramzi Awn: New school synths with “old school” swag. Don’t worry dog, I ain’t gonna fuck wit you. 
[5]

Monday, July 6th, 2015

Kid Ink ft. Dej Loaf – Be Real

So you waited a few weeks for a DJ Mustard song.. now prepare for 10 of them…


[Video][Website]
[6.12]

Crystal Leww: Who would have thought a year ago that this point in 2015 I could take it or leave it with Mustardwave? “Post to Be” and “Somebody” are still deliriously fun when they come on the radio, but the one trick pony is oversatured, and quite frankly, too many of these performers are bad at carrying their songs. Kid Ink deserves credit for being ahead of the curve and potentially ending strong. Dej Loaf is icily cool, her take-it-or-leave-it attitude never lets you believe that she’s really invested in the fuckboy that she’s laughing at. Kid Ink, as always, turns in a couple of verses that say nothing but don’t ruin anything either. The instrumental bits here feel good; it’s DJ Mustard’s last grasp for relevance, and you know what, I don’t hate it.
[7]

Maxwell Cavaseno: “Lotta people try to tell me I’m the next guy”. *responds* But seriously, uhm… Ink here is just kind of trying to pretend he’s got substance and its not working for him. Dej Loaf is still pretending she’s going to have a career or possesses the ability to either rap or sing… Mustard is giving great beats to a guy who can usually knock this shit out of the park, and instead, he gave us this. Well, it was a good run, Kid Ink. Back to being the guy nobody wants to pay attention to.
[3]

Katherine St Asaph: DJ Mustard realizes he needs a distinct advantage over the multiple varieties of Fake Mustard: here, switch-ups and percussion spritzes. One wonders what he’d do with more space. Dej Loaf is winning, but Kid Ink may as well be Fake Drake.
[7]

Brad Shoup: It’s not a huge hook, but it’s great: Dej Loaf puts a big yawning “y” in front of “honest”; you can practically hear her cracking her knuckles. It’s so good, Mustard can’t resist threading it through spaces it maybe doesn’t belong. Kid Ink snaps off his verses: Dej’s chill gives him license to go bigger.
[7]

Will Adams: Those synth pads are really sad! More affecting than the rest of this non-starter of a song, anyway. Kid Ink and Dej Loaf are both sorta aimless, an approach that’s really at odds with Col. Mustard’s lockstep beat, and the result is forgettable.
[5]

Edward Okulicz: The bell-like noises over the chorus are Sad Mustard, the bass is prowling and sinuous, and then you’ve got some spooky noises under Ink’s verses. This song basically needed to pick a mood and stay in it.
[5]

David Sheffieck: I’m finding it easy to forget that Kid Ink is even on this track, and hard to mind too much. A lot of it’s down to the mixing, which allows Dej Loaf to float over the production when delivering the hook, then subsumes Kid Ink’s delivery in the nether realms of Mustard’s chant-and-bass spiderweb. But the rest is in how Dej makes a banal hook sound more quotable and meaningful than anything Ink comes up with, and in the way that Mustard’s interpolation of DJ Snake-style synth-yelps breathes just a bit more life into his well-worn template.
[7]

Ramzi Awn: I’ll just be honest. The first time I heard this song, I was standing on a street corner in Brooklyn. It was late, I’d been drinking, and I was still thirsty. “Be Real” stopped me dead in my tracks the same way “Don’t Stop The Music” did about eight years ago at my best friend’s wedding, like it was waiting to happen. And that’s about as real as it gets.
[8]

Monday, July 6th, 2015

Flo Rida ft. Robin Thicke & Verdine White – I Don’t Like It, I Love It

Well we don’t exactly hate it..


[Video][Website]
[4.78]

Moses Kim: So weightless it might as well come with a free Happy Meal toy. There is nothing worth writing about here, whether it’s Robin Thicke’s retreat back into COWBELL PARTY TERRITORY after his foray into thinly-veiled autobiographical self-castration returned neither the love of his ex or his audience or Flo Rida attempting to corner Pitbull fans, McDonald’s advertising execs, and party whistle manufacturers in one song. When I can’t find the words, I just go:
[6]

Edward Okulicz: This is a completely shameless pile-on of every fleeting trend in chart dance pop over the last few years. You get some “funky” (but not funky) bass lines that evoke old disco but not too much, some Robin Thicke (yes, I said fleeting, remember?) some Sinclar-esque whistling and a general air of personable, jaunty fun. It’d fall to pieces if you dissected it, but it’s a passable earworm.
[6]

Alfred Soto: I don’t love it, but I like it!
[6]

Thomas Inskeep: The most song-based single I’ve heard from Flo Rida, maybe ever, and Robin Thicke as a hook singer is a great idea. Light and summery, with Nile Rodgers-esque chicken-scratch guitar, this is made for backyard BBQs and McDonald’s commercials.
[6]

Scott Mildenhall: Neither a 10cc reclamation nor a Simon Cowell impersonation, but instead the prompt for the mythical DJ Cassidy to shake an imaginary fist from his imaginary mansion. Flo Rida has stolen his guys! Verdine White’s credit is if anything surprising, whether for cachet or cash, but Poor Robin Thicke’s WhatsApped-in contribution offers the feasibly inadvertent lightness that completes the song. Nonetheless, the best bit is when Flo gleefully announces that “I wanna get inside it!”. If Robin had been in the studio at the time (mind and body), the flashbacks might have caused him to run in and stop it from ever being recorded; he might also have noticed that he is the one singing “I don’t want it; I gotta, gotta have it” in this exceedingly inoffensive song.
[6]

Brad Shoup: We’re probably not going to see a charting song with as good a bassline for a while, so treasure this for that, at least. The track chugs along like a tourist train, and if Flo Rida suffers for having to go real-time, that whistle hook trounces his previous offering.
[7]

Will Adams: Flo Rida and Pitbull have stopped competing to see who can be the most successful feature rapper with nothing to say and are well underway in the race to see who will become the best wedding band frontman. Pitbull’s been ahead for some time now, thanks to “Fireball” and “Time of Our Lives.” This latest entry from Flo, doing little more than riding on the coattails of legend Verdine White and future has-been Thicke, puts Pit even further in the lead. It’s not even worth a snarky joke on the title.
[3]

Maxwell Cavaseno: Yeah, what’s there to like here? You know it’s a grim and unfeeling world when Verdine White has got to do THIS instead of, you know, actually making Earth Wind & Fire songs. And Thicke might be the most brutally punished white R&B singer of the 21st century (an unfair result when really anyone who endorsed Mike Posner should receive extra banishment from the rewards of life), but even he doesn’t deserve this. But somehow, inexplicably, this might be one of Flo Rida’s 5000 hits. I just know I don’t have to be here for it.
[0]

Katherine St Asaph: BUSCH: “You may not like my questions –” THICKE: “I love your questions.” — From the Robin Thicke deposition, which remains more interesting than anything in this song or this era of hiring session legends to class up crap.
[3]

Friday, July 3rd, 2015

Vince Staples ft. Future – Senorita

Let’s close this holiday weekend with a slow nightmare of a track.


[Video][Website]
[6.67]

Iain Mew: Vince Staples rattles through the bleak verses like someone who can’t afford the time to do anything else, stuck in the moment as he suggests. The hook gets piled in even quicker and squeezes the gaps still further, yet after all that speed a third of the track is given over to the slow nightmare of the breakdown. It’s suggestive of consequences with equal weight to actions, and it’s haunting.
[8]

Nina Lea Oishi: “Senorita” is an unsettling track, and Vince Staples knows it. It opens with a sample from Future’s “Covered N Money,” a track celebrating the rapper’s wealth. But “Senorita” is far less celebratory. it’s eerie, those tinkling piano keys straight out of a horror movie. Staples has the wealth, bragging on his pricey features, but he’s not basking in his cash. “Either go hunt or be hunted,” he warns. the world depicted in the track and the video is dystopian, shredded by violence. Staples claims he can’t be fucked with, like the man in the video holding up the Bible emblazoned with his initials, but you get the sense he’s actually terrified, as much prey as predator, reaching the end of the road only to find himself trapped behind glass. And we are the family watching the screen at the end of the video, compelled to watch, complicit.
[8]

Alfred Soto: Ignore the fading Future and concentrate on Staples. It takes a while: a nasal timbre with hints of a snarl. Then it becomes clear that each verse ends with a death, and Staples himself is swallowed by a wave of distortion and mix board frippery.
[8]

Brad Shoup: Vince is good, and studied, and comes off like secondhand shine. Future still comes off the best, which is good for the balance.
[5]

Maxwell Cavaseno: These days Vince Staples records are like a One-Armed Bandit: you hope one day, the bars, the beat, and the hook are going to match. The Future hook here is a cherry, the Vince Bars are in fact that BAR symbol thingy, but this beat is a goose egg.
[6]

Ramzi Awn: Staples sells “Senorita” well, and the last minute on the track slays.
[5]

Friday, July 3rd, 2015

Tyrese ft. Snoop Dogg – Dumb Shit

Taking aim at the poster who called it “Diana Krall in a track suit.”


[Video][Website]
[5.57]

Will Adams: By the time Snoop’s verse — a play-by-play of the lavish night out that caused this mess — rolls around, it’s more than a bit unclear how sincere the apology is. Like, is the dumb shit what you did, or that you got caught? The ambiguity is a risky move that pays off, saving the song from being the self-pitying sorry-sorry so common for this archetype.
[6]

Anthony Easton: The smoothness of Tyrese’s voice is the strength, one of those maple syrup traps, where every implausible, slightly offensive thing seems righteous. Snoop Dogg, however, makes the negotiations move to rougher territory, collapsing the enterprise into the usual seductions. 
[5]

Maxwell Cavaseno: You know life is weird when Tyrese sounding like Joell Ortiz is a more rewarding rap experience than Snoop. Yeah, Bobby Shmurda might be making mistakes, but he isn’t over emphasizing his name into “SHMURDER” or ever tried to hoodwink the world into thinking he’d become Bob Marley reincarnate CALVIN. The rest of the song is a pretty basic testament to Tyrese’s perfectly adequate performances in R&B, oddly sounding rather much like an Adrian Marcel castaway. I don’t know who that speaks lower of, but all the same, there’s very little to object or to be excited by this.
[5]

Brad Shoup: Tyrese is basically George Takei with a pool, so why be surprised by some re-hash from a propped-up tenor? A CTRL-V Calvin verse gets this to maybe-pay-attention level, but holy hell, here comes Roman’s revenge. I hope Maya Rudolph doesn’t have to sign physical checks, because what a waste of her time and gifts.
[2]

Thomas Inskeep: Well, one way to tell your boo that you’re sorry is to tell ‘em “I been doin’ dumb, dumb, dumb, dumb, dumb shit,” and follow it up with “you’re the only I love,” over a note-perfect sample from A Tribe Called Quest’s “Bonita Applebaum,” with an assist from Snoop Dogg, rapping more in a few bars than he does on most of Bush. And then Tyrese shows up as his rapping alter ego, Black Ty, who sounds an awfully lot like a B-list Jay-Z (which, frankly, isn’t that far from Jay-Z himself these days). But this isn’t predominantly about Black Ty; it’s about Tyrese, who still has one of the silkiest male voices in R&B, and here he’s singing a sensational apology. And if he’s apologizing, I’m forgiving, period. 
[10]

Alfred Soto: Long but worthwhile despite the obvious sample, with Tyrese signifying acceptance of mistakes with nasal understatement.
[6]

Ramzi Awn: Great hook — I can relate. The rest is Diana Krall in a tracksuit. 
[5]

Friday, July 3rd, 2015

Alesha Dixon – The Way We Are

What IS the way we were?


[Video][Website]
[4.57]

Natasha Genet Avery: There are too few string parts on top 40 these days for this attempt to emulate “Rather Be” to go unnoticed. Clocking in at under three minutes, “The Way We Are” feels rushed and overproduced, and the faux-spirational, nonsensical lyrics (“we are the miracle, lightning bolt” or “show them your light/don’t turn them down,” among many others) only add insult to injury.
[3]

Iain Mew: Ah, there’s nothing like blatantly lifting a recent popular sound and shining it up for your own ends. So: Sparkling Bandit.
[5]

Alfred Soto: It’s got the faint acceleration and canned horns of K-pop — even hints of the house revival in the electronic swirl of an opening — but little personality.
[5]

Maxwell Cavaseno: It’s regarded as a return to Dixon’s work in Mis-teeq’s flirtations in garage when in reality it’s her trying to get some of that Clean Glynne money. And more power to her because while her phrasing is co-clipped and full of EMPHASISIS they’re dorks who spent more time at university studying opera than trying to get in the Palace Pavillion.
[5]

Thomas Inskeep: Wants to sound like ’92 CeCe Peniston, actually sounds like ’96 Gina G.
[3]

Scott Mildenhall: A song to be filed alongside Tinie Tempah’s current number one. It’s brasher, but just as breezy: these sketchy lyrics would not fly in any more serious an environment. Given that this and the scheduled album are being self-funded it should be exactly what Alesha wants, and on this occasion that’s something far less distinctive than the best she produced while beholden to major labels, rap mix notwithstanding. Maybe that stuff is in the pipeline; either way, concertedly unchallenging is hardly a bad trait.
[7]

Brad Shoup: Absolutely no foul, no harm from this corporatized parade nonsense.
[4]

Thursday, July 2nd, 2015

Eminem – Phenomenal

Must… resist…. obvious joke…


[Video][Website]
[3.12]

Thomas Inskeep: Slim Shady’s bid to re-write “Gonna Fly Now”-cum-“Lose Yourself” can’t make it out of the ring.
[2]

Maxwell Cavaseno: You know, it’s funny. A lot of Eminem’s listeners (and maybe some of my fellow reviewers) are going to talk about Eminem’s dependency on technique, in positive or negative lights. But what’s crazy is that he is not ever in the pocket or on the beat at all. This is Common-level bad, your high-school science project you “rapped”-level bad, your baby cousin subjecting the family reunion to a song they wrote on their ukelele that isn’t a song so much as stream-of-consciousness singing and thrashing atonally-level bad (although the cousin isn’t making bank off of that, so god bless ‘em). He’s doing a lot of tongue twisters and rapping fast, but he’s not flowing at all, so what the fuck is the point here? Also, this man is out here imagining people still call each other “sissy” when they fight. This is like the time he showed some rap writer his wall to wall collection of porn DVDs only to learn the rest of humanity now uses the Internet. In other words, he can’t even be a fucking obnoxious asshole right anymore. The shit’s just sad, really.
[0]

Scott Mildenhall: Calm down Marshall! A mulchy drag of a track like this is nothing to get het up over. Once upon a time he did this well, but a career partly spent trying doggedly to redefine “overwrought” has reached a point where he’s just scribbling on the dictionary. Pages and pages of it, scrawled on manically in the name of empowerment, while everyone outside continues to listen to “Lose Yourself”.
[4]

Alfred Soto: Yeah, he’s throwing anything against the wall, and by recreating the torrent of vitriolic self-help crap that sounded novel in 2002 he’s hoping it’ll stick. He’s lost much of his instinct for stressing the unexpected syllable, though, so a torrent is what he creates. And, really, Em — Martha Stewart? Why not Paula Deen jokes while you’re at it?
[4]

David Sheffieck: I like the avant move of recording the track from two rooms away, but I’m not sure I quite understand the meaning in having the verses laid down after Eminem ran up a flight of stairs. “The only thing I’m capable of is amazing” just doesn’t work when your delivery has all the precision of buckshot.
[2]

Will Adams: Each successive “I AM PHENOMENAOOWWW” (and the ridiculous delays on it) makes me snicker even more. Like always, Eminem aims for “Lose Yourself”-esque determination and lands on “twelve-year-old pissed off that his older brother called shotgun.” And seriously, no one’s told him to stop singing yet?
[3]

Brad Shoup: Drawing out those hollow vowels, Liz Rodrigues sounds positively Scandinavian. Marshall’s vowels are pretty much his only focus nowadays. You can practically hear him discarding punchlines and left-field imagery in favor of Martha Stewart at a grill. His hooks were always pretty shaky, and this one in particular smacks of afterthought. (No way would he fuck up his enunciation on his beloved bars — I swear the chorus says something’s going to make him “a monster dong”.) Half-speed 96 kbps cymbal and piano fragments fill out yet another sludgy, gothic track of the kind that’ll probably knock an Eminem career survey into the right range for the wrong reason.
[5]

Ramzi Awn: When “Phenomenal” hits its stride, it sounds like it could have been a track off The Slim Shady.  The discordant backup vocals and “One Night in Bangkok” synth stabs bring to mind the one and only “My Fault” — the best outcome Eminem could ask for in 2015.
[5]

Thursday, July 2nd, 2015

Keith Urban – John Cougar, John Deere, John 3:16

Johntroversy.


[Video][Website]
[3.57]

Alfred Soto: He’s a joker, a smoker, and an all day power broker of trends, past and present. For too long Urban has epitomized a sunbleached blandness, offering a country experience that’s the equivalent of a weekend at Universal Studios. This time, although he’s traveling down a boulevard of broken dreams he’s riding a John Deere and remembering the Johnny Cougar he grew up with. But his soul needs saving? It’ll take more soul than he’s selling.
[7]

Maxwell Cavaseno: Keith Urban goes Mraz/Thomas in his approach, name-drops a lot of cultural signifiers. Doesn’t sound all that awful while doing it. Also doesn’t really leave much else left to say.
[4]

Anthony Easton: Writing shit about Keith Urban is the only thing I have done professionally that has gotten me genuine threats, and so I am always a bit worried about unleashing. I love this song, because it is terrible. I love its blankness, and its cynicism, and how stupid it is. I love that the writing is so absurd that it is almost a joke, but not a joke on purpose. I love that his voice is getting blander and blander. I like the flop sweat here, and am even more amused at the potential that this is not really a flop. As a cultural artifact that functions as a kind of barometer for the desperation of some Nashville execs, it’s a 10. As a song, it is worth a 0.
[0]

Thomas Inskeep: Keith Urban: great guitarist, more supple vocalist than fellow ‘slinger Brad Paisley, knows his damn way around a love song. And sometimes he gets the uptempo ones right too, like this one. It’s an odd one, too, because it’s much more country in tenor and lyrics than it is in instrumentation. The drum machine absolutely works, the weirdly funky bassline works, the lyrical conceit (especially the title line) works, and I’m not just saying the last one ’cause I’m an Indiana boy on an Indiana night. 
[8]

Josh Love: Essentially, this is the aural, Australian equivalent of this. Urban’s been a country star for so long now that initially it doesn’t seem so incongruous to hear him rhapsodizing the America of yesteryear like so many other practitioners of his genre before him. Then you learn Urban didn’t even move to the U.S. until 1992, so all this seeming nostalgia is both a generation and a hemisphere removed. Somehow this feels worse; an ode to a simpler America when might and white were right delivered by a homegrown country artist at least holds the internal logic of suggesting the singer reaped the benefits, but by the time Urban washed up on these shores for good, Mellencamp had already dropped the Cougar, Marilyn was 30 years dead, and Kris Kristofferson had earned second billing in a Pee-wee Herman movie.
[2]

Katherine St Asaph: Lookie: the Platonic ideal of country song titles. I’m in fucking awe. I want to hang this title in my house as a shrine, which I’m sure I can actually do because John 3:16. The song’s jaunty enough; it also quotes “Boulevard of Broken Dreams,” which makes me come up with alternate titles of this ilk. Green Day, Green Gartside and Greensleeves? I’d listen to that. Over this, anyway.
[4]

Brad Shoup: I guess he’s right… how can you grow old when you’re already rotting? Literally every reference on this smash-and-gabber is way past its expiration date, either as a cultural force or as fodder for songwriters. (Surely the Gibson namecheck is native advertising, not an endorsement.) The redemptive power of rock, the idea of careful consumption as rebellion, the thought of putting Keith Urban on a track whose most notable instrumental moment belongs to the bass… who’s buying this shit? Certainly not Keith. In what I can only describe as half-hearted desperation to put this mess over, he swipes from Everclear’s playbook and grafts in some tepid cheering. Hey y’all, here’s a moldy reference for you: motherfuck this and John Wayne.
[0]

Thursday, July 2nd, 2015

Marina Kaye – Homeless

Not a Paul Simon cover…


[Video][Website]
[4.88]

Cédric Le Merrer: One thing I’ve noticed on French singing shows is that the younger candidates are getting better and better at singing English lyrics. Marina Kaye may overdo it, but she’s a far cry from ze French accent of “Françoise Hardy Sings in English” or Elli And Jacno. It may lose some exotic charm for my English brethren, but I find the forced enunciation to fit the rest of the song, a low budget belter, with a too young singer trying to fit in cheap oversize counterfeit clothes. I may be condescending, but I’m charmed by these adolescent feelings that seem, from my adult point of view, much too big for their not really dramatic context.
[7]

Alfred Soto: “In this bed where I rest/I am homeless” — uh, what? The bed’s outside? The question wouldn’t matter if she inhabited the lyrics instead of blasting through them. This French veteran of variety shows belts this doggerel with the passion of a born first place finisher.
[3]

Maxwell Cavaseno: Saccharine nonsense delivered by someone mimicking the Rihanna goat-bray tone on the hook. Simple tricks that aren’t even being done right (the bellowing does not make this any more significant, girl), and still being paraded around like it’s a big deal.
[2]

Iain Mew: Like a Born to Die ballad being invaded by a Born This Way one, two types of big which don’t cancel each other out but don’t quite go together either. The best bit is when Marina abandons words in favour of bellowing “oh woooooah”, both because it’s the most over the top and because it isn’t the lyrics, which even Lana or Gaga would think twice about.
[4]

David Sheffieck: It’s almost too much: urgent piano, super-saturated vocal, synth strings, some kind of castanet effect (I can’t even place it, honestly.) Kaye’s gone for overwhelming sound in place of the hooks that could anchor an actual song, and it’s a testament to how expertly all this muchness is managed that her gambit almost works.
[6]

Thomas Inskeep: Lame acoustic guitar, generic Euro-beats, and a lazy metaphor. Walter Afanasieff would’ve slathered this in synths and strings for Mariah; Kaye’s producer isn’t as, shall we say, clever. 
[2]

Scott Mildenhall: These are some cutting lyrics, and ones that create a clear place and time with it. Lines like “heavy steps on hardwood floors” make the gentlest of leaps from mundanity to poetry, mixing immediacy with portrait into an atypically elegant kitchen sink drama. By extension, the big emotions (and big emoting) are hardly a stretch. A teenage girl feeling that her house is not a home for unspecified reasons is slightly heartbreaking.
[7]

Brad Shoup: The tempo, tacked down by crotchet piano, is notably sluggish; Kaye deliberately walks you from room to moonlit room, like a domestic version of “Here”. It’s the melodramatic middle, with no clue how she got here or how bad it’ll get.
[8]

Wednesday, July 1st, 2015

Tazer x Tink – Wet Dollars

Poised to break out of the sixes…


[Video][Website]
[6.56]

Crystal Leww: During the last year Tink lost a ton of momentum, which is odd because that was when she signed with Timbaland and was poised for massive success. It’s become apparent that Timbo has no idea what to do with an artist like her, a rapping/singing dual threat who sounds like no one else. He tried to box her in with his sound, having her flip everyone from Biggie to Aaliyah, and it worked out terribly because what made Tink great was that she sounded just like Tink. Even when everyone was shouting about drill in Chicago, Tink still sounded like the girl who represented her city without sinking into it. “Wet Dollars” has her working with London dance producer Tazer, and it finally sounds like forward movement. It’s still flat for Tink, but it bounces and pops and sounds different, which counts for more than it should.
[6]

Thomas Inskeep: Chopping Biggie up into a house track is a good idea. Having Tink spit on it is, too. Which means DJ Tazer had two fine ideas, and another is this booty-shaker of a club record, in which all of its elements mesh perfectly. 
[7]

Iain Mew: The light dance beat works great as backing for Tink, at ease and exuding fun and confidence. I don’t know if I’m supposed to be hearing “every day’s good when you’re making income” doubling up as “…making ‘em come”, but it works in the context. The back half when Tazer strikes out alone doesn’t stand out at all, though.
[6]

David Sheffieck: The serviceable beat isn’t the best showcase for Tink’s nimble flow and clever lyrics, but she’s able to make the most of it. Tazer climaxes on the least interesting thing about the song — the beat — but with the levels pushed a bit further toward red and the right DJ to edit, this could kill in a club.
[7]

Scott Mildenhall: If “212” were only “106”, and “On the Regular” were just “Every So Often”, they could not only be instructions about which bus to catch and when it arrives, but also bywords for “Wet Dollars”. It lacks the dynamism of those songs, the “HELLO I’M HERE” feeling sealed by Shamir’s cartoonishness and Azealia’s steely conviction, but works nonetheless. Such showiness isn’t obligatory; a song doesn’t have to capture imagination to capture attention.
[7]

Maxwell Cavaseno: Apparently Azealia Banks should have worried about competition from THIS one rather than the Australian or the puff of smoke. Tink has come a long way from rapping the words “middle fingers in the air, like a bad Christian.” Let’s hope she keeps that up, huh?
[6]

Ramzi Awn: I’ve always wanted a bottle of Chanel all my own. “Wet Dollars” is a terrible name for anything, but luckily, the track delivers the sort of EDM that was probably big in Boystown in 1995. Definitely more Versace than Chanel, though.
[6]

Brad Shoup: Black Butter, huh? “Wet Dollars” clunks rather than bangs — wood instead of metal — and even if the effect is “212”, Tink’s cool, not dazzling. This isn’t her introduction. I guess it’s more of a reintroduction, though, which makes the club-ready, bars-free final third a little disappointing.
[7]

Nina Lea Oishi: The Tazer track itself isn’t particularly remarkable, but the chunky beats and multitude of synth claps are serviceable enough. More importantly, Tazer is a welcome break from the recent string of Timbaland-Tink collabs. The real star here is Tink, and it’s freeing to hear her flow over a new sound. And damn, that flow is tight — stuttering, floaty, melodic in the right places. Her presence on the track lends some street cred to the use of those much maligned Biggie vocals as well. Sure, the Tazer-only bits are nothing special. But Tink is electrifying.
[7]