Friday, March 6th, 2015

Hot Chip – Huarache Lights

Are they ready for a fall?


[Video][Website]
[6.11]

Tara Hillegeist: ELO + YMO = OMG!!!!!
[9]

Ian Mathers: A densely buzzing meditation on aging and, err, shoes. Chances are good once the album is released there will be at least a couple of songs that are more straightforwardly catchy than this one. By that point, the slow-moving, grinding groove of “Huarache Lights” might seem outright perverse. I mean that as a compliment.
[7]

Brad Shoup: Now that they’re fussing about losing their edge, I’m starting to catch a fondness for these dudes. Maybe it’s the yawing synths fucking with the tempo; it’s definitely the talkbox. The initial chord grouping ruts around an obsessive circle. After about a minute, a more dramatic progression presents itself, to be doubled and sanded down for a staggering (both senses) ending.
[9]

Anthony Easton: Like an anthology of formal experimentation in pop music for the last few decades, fails because the attempts at listing are not systematic enough. 
[3]

Maxwell Cavaseno: Kraftwerk tributes. Tributes to one of my favorite sneakers right up there with the Air Max 95, the Ewing Focuses and the Black Uptowns. Tributes to the rave. Tributes to the Hot Chip that once was. Tributaries upon tributaries, like those little electric fountains of water that look like endless pools spilling over into another.
[7]

Alfred Soto: Too long, and the pitch manipulations don’t hide how they’ve edged closer to one of the lamer “Fraggle Rock” songs, albeit with a sampler.
[5]

Cédric Le Merrer: Like all Hot Chip songs I’ve ever heard, it’s a great track and I could surely get on board of the whole melancholy dance music project if it wasn’t ruined by having a bunch of wet paper towels sing over it.
[5]

Moses Kim: I’ll always have a place in my heart for this strain of proggy, serious yet goofy synth pop. The last two minutes alone feature a Daft Punk-esque robot voice, a synth breakdown more rubbery than cafeteria pizza, and gently swung wedding band drums; if the first few minutes take a while to get to the fun, they’re still comforting, like riding a roller coaster meant for ages 12 and under. If anything I wish this were more audacious: it’s a fun mélange of ideas and reference points, but it lacks a strong central voice to ground it.
[6]

Patrick St. Michel: If only there was a better and far funnier Hot Chip song in existence that captured what listening to “Huarache Lights” feels like. Well, anyway, nice try with the breakdown, but this is mostly joyless repetition for me. 
[4]

Friday, March 6th, 2015

Róisín Murphy – Gone Fishing

The beloved “Overpowered” singer returns with this quiet, brooding track.


[Video][Website]
[7.14]

Abby Waysdorf: Disco so quiet and intimate that you don’t even notice how much it surrounds you and creeps under your skin. 
[8]

Katherine St Asaph: I never thought I’d say this after being destroyed daily — still — after the one-two “Overpowered”/”Let Me Know” wallop, but thank god she didn’t return with a banger. The track’s almost perversely receding, the vocals damn near ASMR yet wounded somewhere down there, as if they never quite got out of a head that’s been snowed in (is that “nobody close to myself” I hear?) If you told me the totality of human emotion and characterization, plus a large chunk of dance history, was contained in this record, I would believe you.
[9]

Ian Mathers: As always, gorgeous music more compelling in theory.
[7]

Alfred Soto: Intermittent singles with the likes of Hot Natured, feh — those things reminded me of how special Overpowered was in 2007. I’m glad no successor followed. Now she returns with a single whose discreet, discrete puddles of sound evoke Japan’s “Ghosts” and PJ Harvey’s “Waiting For My Man” but powered by a vocal that’s testing its histrionic abilities, section by section. I won’t dance like I did to “You Know Me Better” or even “Alternate State,” but its length fucks with my notions of what I expect from ambient and dance music, respectively.
[8]

Will Adams: As I sat still the other day in the library, I noticed a tiny string of dust floating inches from my eye. I traced its path, how it wafted arbitrarily with the air currents in the room. It swayed to the left, away from my field of vision, and I forgot about it.
[5]

Brad Shoup: Like a reduction of “Runaway”-era Janet Jackson, at least with those gentle steel-pan synths. But Murphy’s all about house (and Houses), and Janet had long since moved on. Murphy sings like an outsider looking in; she chooses to conjure the peace of finding your scene, rather than the joy or abandon that accompany it. If you squint, you can hear an angelic mid-’80s Steely Dan track, wherein Don Fagen stops reading his contemporaries and starts celebrating them.
[7]

Maxwell Cavaseno: You know how there’s gonna be an Atlantis-themed hotel? Play this in the lobby. It’ll work perfect.
[6]

Friday, March 6th, 2015

Sofi de la Torre – What People Do

We’re hard on the follow-up to TSJ’s best song of 2014.


[Video][Website]
[6.11]
Ian Mathers: The chorus is good, but the verses are too minimal to land. The lyrics/vocals exist in that sweet middle ground between genuinely not caring and protesting too much. Overall, slightly better than “Vermillion.”
[6]

Josh Love: This is de la Torre doing Lana Del Rey but with an infinitely lighter touch. “Use Patron to clean the wound” is the best lyric here, but where Del Rey would’ve really labored over it like she was trying to pick up a sponsorship, de la Torre gives it an insouciance that underscores the joke.
[8]

Luisa Lopez: Sofi de la Torre has a voice that sounds like flowers growing out of sandpaper. It’s beautiful and everything behind or around her works to keep it afloat, building scenes of empty cities or dirty beaches and beats recreating the lovely little noises that grow in the moments that pass on your way to sleep. The actual song almost feels secondary, and even though it’s executed with excruciating tenderness there’s always a triteness in love songs, or can be, somehow, even if it’s just a thought. The song seems to know this and fades into an ending just as passion might have taken over.
[7]

Katherine St Asaph: Sometimes you hear a song, and get the undeniable sense that the artist would sound the same, make the same record, whether they devoted themselves to a particular scene, went through years of label retooling, or stayed locked for decades in the suburbs or workforce or Mars. Other songs sound as if the year and its trends are dyed into every note. Usually when people talk about this it’s to say the former’s better/harder/more authentic, but I disagree — one does well to invent an aesthetic, but can do just as well to be swept along by one you know can do that. “Vermillion” was the latter sort of a song as lonely dance, and “What People Do” is the latter as lonely blog-R&B; but it seems less of a kind with Jhene Aiko and her legions of imitators than singer-songwriter stuff, as in with the ice-and-big-boys posturing and 808s-ified vocal processing I swear I hear both Kate and Tori references (lyrical and musical, and I’m them leaving unexplained hoping anyone else picks up on them; basically, this must be where all the influences people swore they heard in FKA Twigs went). The central hook’s familiar enough — I swear I’ve heard it on radio a decade or two again, in some hit — but not quite polished, nothing quite minimalist. The result’s a fragile beauty that’s close enough to the lyric I’m going to call it a deliberate effect, pulled off successfully.
[7]

Anthony Easton: Dull, precise, quiet, Sofi wants us to think that the song is deeper than it is, so she hushes it into a somnolent ego trip.
[2]

Alfred Soto: Sufficiently R&B in sonics and approach that I think de la Torre chickened out by using those vocal filters.
[5]

Maxwell Cavaseno: This is what pop sounds like through the filter of guilt smothering one’s joy.
[5]

Dorian Sinclair: It’s hard not to compare it to “Vermillion.” Both use chilly production and de la Torre’s sighing phrases to give a sense of an outsider looking in. But where the isolation of “Vermillion”‘s narrator was apparent and external–these streets weren’t meant for me to walk–“What People Do” is more ambiguous. It’s obvious the narrator has found a place in the most material sense (“it’s cold/whatever/I’ve got leather”), but something’s still missing. The recurring “that’s what people do” reads as a statement, but it’s sung as a question–implicit in de la Torre’s delivery is not only the unvoiced “isn’t it?” but also a more complicated query: if that’s what people do, why isn’t it enough?
[8]

Will Adams: If the anxiety of “Vermillion” turned into wallowing, perhaps. But “What People Do” is a cut above the bleak pop that Tove Lo has been flogging for several singles. The Lorde-esque aspiration/resentment for luxury (“I’ma play golf with the big boys”) and low-end heavy mix are there, but it’s Sofi de la Torre’s jagged vocal that cuts the deepest.
[7]

Friday, March 6th, 2015

Melendi – Tocado y hundido

…*shrug*


[Video][Website]
[5.00]

Ian Mathers: A song that gets better as it goes on, Melendi’s intensity swelling to operatic levels and the fairly bland music adding more and more layers. That progression is so satisfying, though, that the lack of a truly thunderous climax is a bit of a let down.
[6]

Katherine St Asaph: I may be overrating this based on how goddamn refreshing it is to hear something topping a European chart that isn’t “Waves”-wave. The parts that sound like electro Barenaked Ladies are better (really) than the parts that sound like meat-n-potatoes rock his voice is too prissy for.
[6]

Will Adams: The rapid-fire vocal lines cut through the inoffensive rock nicely, adding interest even at the risk of crowding the mix. Then the synths come in and actually crowd it.
[5]

Scott Mildenhall: Melendi barrels through this, spluttering lyrics like they’re stuck on his chest. He’s hell-bent on living up to his elaborate metaphors and does indeed approach compelling derangement, but it’s the arrangement that lets him down, practically taking shelter on the sidelines of the star’s surging spectacle.
[5]

Juana Giaimo: Do we need another soap opera drama in the form of a song? I can’t believe anything fron Melendi’s fakely emotional and trembling voice and — maybe because I’m Argentine — I can’t take seriously a song with the word “gilipollas”. 
[2]

Brad Shoup: Some sweet Sparrow-Records-circa-1997 adult-alternative backing going on here: politely muted guitar churn, panned ‘n’ canned vocal playback, a drummer who’s clearly too talented for this gig. Plus there are two separate synth parts that sound like I played them. I hope Jason Mraz is doing okay.
[6]

Thursday, March 5th, 2015

Braids – Miniskirt

It’s a *shrug* kind of day…


[Video][Website]
[4.12]

Alfred Soto: Raphaelle Standell-Preston tugs and resists the melody, reluctant to fit her lyrics into recognizable patterns — an appropriate choice for lyrics raging against the expectations we place on women. The chordal and rhythm shift at the two-minute mark that turns the track into Amnesiac-era Radiohead is another attempt. I’ve made “Miniskirt” sound more interesting than it is, however. Beyond its formal enchantments it doesn’t give me much pleasure.
[6]

Josh Love: The message here is no less relevant today than it was years ago, as Standell-Preston would say, but I wish this song showed more than it told. The commentary on women starving themselves and the subsequent likening of men to cake is delicious but unfortunately goes nowhere, and it’s the only portion of the first two minutes of the song worth preserving. Around the 2:15 mark “Miniskirt” actually starts moving and the lyrics leave behind didacticism for something more personal and compelling, but then everything grinds to a halt again scarcely a minute later. Standell-Preston deserves praise for refusing to sugarcoat her perspective, but songs and tracts are two different things and “Miniskirt” is far more the latter.
[4]

Brad Shoup: I don’t know if I’m supposed to listen to this song or retweet it.
[3]

Maxwell Cavaseno: Lyrically tense but musically over-saturated with gobs of production that echo every buzzing ‘plays with electronics’ band I can think of (Oh look, there’s some Purity Ring! Oh hey, there’s some Crystal Castles). This bee is not harvesting honey strong enough to drive its point home.
[3]

Katherine St Asaph: This is one weird demographic shift for Christina Perri.
[3]

David Sheffieck: The beginning is dull, but at least seems to be building to some sort of climax. Unfortunately that climax sounds like three different songs being played at once: frantic percussion, squelching synths, and breathy vocals gratingly just out of sync with one another. It’s a relief when the song runs out of batteries at the end.
[3]

Anthony Easton: The politics are so tight on this that you kind of feel like an asshole for hating the music, which I find self-indulgent and repetitive. 
[3]

Josh Winters: Nothing can overpower Raphaelle Standell-Preston, who gracefully slices through a swarm of synths that try to engulf her like overgrown vines on an old house. The short break between the two passages feels like a dunk in the river, a momentary beam of energy from the sun before she continues on with her harrowing fight, tireless and triumphant.
[8]

Thursday, March 5th, 2015

Florence + the Machine – What Kind of Man

Reunited after two and a half years and it feels so… ehhh…


[Video][Website]
[4.09]

Iain Mew: I’ve constantly found Florence’s songs hopelessly overstuffed and flimsy, so going for raw rock offers prospects for improvement. She sounds like she’s trying to fit even more different emphases into her vocals to compensate, though, and the effect is unpleasant. Then it turns out that the plan is still to stuff everything into the song by the end, and I sigh.
[2]

Ian Mathers: I had to go back to “Drumming Song” to check, but there it is; both her music and the vocal performances used to be a lot more interesting than this grating quasi-hard rock song.
[3]

Alfred Soto: An odd one: the vocal spooks recall Fever Ray, the power chords and horns Be Yourself Tonight-era Eurythmics, not exactly a hip referent. For sure she’s on a “heavy tip.” That Kid Harpoon of Jessie Ware fame contributed is enticing enough.
[7]

Tara Hillegeist: Is it too much for me to ask of an artist whose best tricks are to remind me of better artists every time I give effort over to listening to her that, if you’re going to try to mature yourself somewhat, maybe try a little harder to understand the rationale to the rage behind The Knife before biting from them in the intro and just ruining whatever chance your rehash of “Kiss with a Fist”‘s subject matter had of being given a fair shake in the comparison, and maybe not commit lyrical embarrassments like “dangle at a cruel angle”, besides? Then again, “with careful thought” is not an epithet I’d have attached to Florence + the Machine in the first place, so perhaps that is too much. I should settle for having a song that works like a song to listen to, instead of a sketch for one, and call it a day. 
[3]

Katherine St Asaph: Florence + the Machine have been plunging, Ophelia-like, into kitsch for some time now — except now the plunge seems to have been diverted hard toward Imagine Dragons. The sudden hard-edged guitar would be thrilling for them if literally anything else was done with it.
[2]

Maxwell Cavaseno: It’s a song that’s ever mutating and ever melodramatic, certainly relentless in never desiring to settle itself into one place. However I just can’t take Florence Welch’s attempts at soul inflections in good faith. She’s never had the voice capable of doing what she thinks, and in that place her ambitions cost her dearly. Doesn’t help that the song seems rather flimsy.
[4]

Brad Shoup: The man’s held up to the light like a bauble of indeterminate worth. Really, though, there’s only one real determination, and it’s fun hearing Welch smile through the appraisal. But those thumbed-out chords and plastic fanfare are interminable.
[5]

Edward Okulicz: Florence’s first album had this weird mix of ultra-glossy mystical semi-soulful claptrap with harps and shit (that irritatingly worked really well) and some less cluttered, earthier pop with chugging guitars and nice loud drumming (that also irritatingly worked really well). This song sounds like Florence and her band and producer gave one of the earthy songs the Big Important Feelings treatment by mistake but decided to put it out anyway even though it doesn’t work at all. I suspect that this half-song couldn’t really have worked with less or more paint anyway.
[2]

Dorian Sinclair: At their best, Florence and her machine manage to walk a strange razor’s edge, producing a sound that somehow contrives to be both ethereal and visceral at one and the same time. There are moments of that paradoxical accomplishment in “What Kind of Man”, but overall it doesn’t quite gel satisfyingly. I respect the risk taken with the production–it’s a significant departure from her previous work–but the guitars end up competing with Welch’s voice rather than supporting it.
[5]

Will Adams: When taken all together, Florence’s body of work pummels its listeners, song after song creating the same epic structure with a dreamy intro and then fireworks and choirs and giant drums and and and. But taken in small doses, the formula can really work. This is one of those times: after a moody intro, “What Kind of Man” explodes into 90s sepia-rock that suits Florence’s voice wonderfully. A whole album of it would be tough, but on its own, it shines.
[7]

Scott Mildenhall: It’s not Ed Sheeran’s ≥23-70 limit for love, but “twenty years” is still awkwardly arbitrary and specific. The whole song has a pretty vague vastness, canyons and imploring and all the other things that people who liked them the previous two times might like again, but without that benefit it just feels — resounding chorus aside — like grasping in the dark. Which could well be the title of the next single.
[5]

Wednesday, March 4th, 2015

Asaf Avidan – Over My Head

But where’s the Wankelmut remix?


[Video][Website]
[4.43]

Maxwell Cavaseno: Do you think Mark Ronson regrets how he helped usher in this annoying return to ’50s-’60s retro stuff? I mean, yes, he’s still doing it, but at least he’s not fixated on the Winehouse logistics. This arrangement would make a great ballad, and this is a fine song. But this is music for people who want girlfriends who look like Bettie Page and genuinely want to do sock-hops. People who apparently hate the current, and should refuse to get swept away like some rusty soda can from 1956 that is just labeled “POP” and has none of the fizz.
[3]

Katherine St Asaph: Well, as retro goes, it’s a cut above Meghan Trainor.
[5]

Ian Mathers: Vocally, does this sound like some weird collision between Dylan and Winehouse to anyone else? If only there were literally anything else interesting about it.
[4]

Anthony Easton: It’s slight and formal, almost musty, but not quite nostalgic. There is something interesting in how international it sounds, and something interesting in how it nudges towards a feminine torch song quality, and maybe something in how it is a tiny bit like a smoky early Dylan. I don’t mind listening to it, but it doesn’t stay with you.
[4]

Brad Shoup: Androgynous necromancy swooning to itself: every downstroke is just so, and each arpeggio is just kinda there.
[4]

Patrick St. Michel: Nice enough voice, and the song is pleasant enough, but that’s about it, pleasant background music while doing something else.
[5]

Scott Mildenhall: It’s that scene in the movie where the protagonist, finally composed, returns home. The gloom that once encumbered them has long dissolved, and as the rain falls selective memory casts the place as one only of worn beauty, a withering crystal that cannot be held, only longed for. The saudade is palpable, but critics complain that the segment was spoiled by “grating yawps”.
[6]

Wednesday, March 4th, 2015

Shaggy ft. Mohombi, Faydee, Costi – I Need Your Love

And nobody misses Rikrok, for shame…


[Video][Website]
[5.38]

Maxwell Cavaseno: Shaggy’s always been kind of a fraud when it comes to dancehall. His hits were so super commercial and Plasticine, you can’t really compare them to anything going on in Jamaica. With this late attempt to cast his lot in the global jetsetter pop world, the midway point between Akon and Michael Franti (a Bermuda triangle realm of pop), I fear he’s finally met the end of his con.
[2]

Alfred Soto: Shaggy! Where’ve you been? Add a stentorian electric guitar solo and you might have had a lost Santana track from Shaman, that’s where.
[4]

Ian Mathers: Jesus Christ, I’ve missed Shaggy. The other three? The chorus is sturdy enough, but the one non-Shaggy verse seems like an easily avoidable mistake.
[7]

Scott Mildenhall: On paper this is an international B-list match made in heaven, the sort of lineup that can only be watched from Britain with a wish that their likes weren’t non grata with The People In Charge. On record, however, it’s disappointingly flat. With such a cast list — Mohombi, the man who interpolated The Cranberries with his own name! — there should be sparks taking it beyond pleasant radio filler, but there aren’t.
[6]

Moses Kim: You know those songs where the guest roster is longer than a Wrestlemania lineup? They don’t work so well when everybody sounds like slight variations on the same bleating goat. It’s fortunate that the instrumental moves from sound to sound quickly enough to take some of the weight off the singers.
[5]

Katherine St Asaph: The fact that the hook apparently required two separate singers makes me think like a Dickensian beast-advocate of corporate downsizing, but it’s been too snowy and gross for too long for me not to overrate a lazy summer nod-along.
[5]

David Sheffieck: If you’d asked me what artist I least expected to see pop up in 2015 I wouldn’t have said Shaggy because I genuinely forgot he existed. Which makes this all the more fun: a romp that juxtaposes his thick delivery against much more sprightly vocalists in typical but still successful fashion, while combining genres and sounds in a way that sounds gloriously like global pop.
[7]

Brad Shoup: Shaggy without his senses of irony or panache is a hard thing to entertain. He’s nominally the lead, probably because it had to be someone. But his co-stars are better at pouting along with the (mercifully unprocessed) guitar. This slots well into the sneaky-important lineage of 21st-century pop-soca. I really want to get my radio fixed.
[7]

Wednesday, March 4th, 2015

Blur – Go Out

Tara takes a side in the great war. There’s also the Britpop war…


[Video][Website]
[3.20]
Alfred Soto: How I knew Graham Coxon was back: welcome back, effects pedals. How I knew Damon Albarn isn’t committed: the lazy vocal. Yet it could have fit on Think Tank, Blur’s The Hunter. So they are consistent after all.
[5]

Edward Okulicz: Whoever told Damon Albarn that taking the lethargy of their worst songs that aren’t “Crazy Beat” and wedding that to the tunelessness of “Crazy Beat” was a good idea needs to go out, away, to hell, whatever.
[1]

Maxwell Cavaseno: You can use any sort of vehicle — Damon Albarn’s songwriting has become a bit shit, hasn’t it? He phones it in with less interest than a cousin who suddenly finds a phone pressed into their hands. The band is EFX-riddled to try to provide some feeling of otherness to their plodding steps, but none of it truly enhances the song. Nobody really wants to be here, so why should we?
[2]

Ian Mathers: Is this sonic return to the self-titled album what it took to get Coxon on board again? Albarn sounding exhausted is normally a strong suit for Blur, but not so much when he sounds like he’s tired of the song, or band, instead of being tired in the song. I actually love Blur to this day, but after 13 and Think Tank this feels like a step back.
[5]

Iain Mew: Graham Coxon’s scrunching sounds great, but it sounded great on “Under the Westway” as an element of a great song rather than as sole focus. This time everyone else seems to be coasting. Plus on a song so short of lyrical details to hook onto, “too many Western men” is a particularly awful one to include for four Western men in Hong Kong.
[3]

Patrick St. Michel: Damon Albarn sounds as bored singing these faux-deep lyrics as I am listening to this joyless trudge. Nothing going on in the background is particularly interesting, just wonky guitar noise that thinks being abrasive equals being interesting.
[2]

Brad Shoup: Just a sudsy headache of an arrangement, with grumpy low-end and ray-gun whine up high. It’s like drinking in a bar undergoing renovation. The lyric staggers between the personal and the political, but it’s possible that, as usual, Albarn just needs words to hoot at me. Something this debauched and cranky would be too on the nose for my local. Still, railing against stuff is the origin of most bar talk.
[6]

Katherine St Asaph: The last time I was in the UK it was visiting my sister’s in-laws outside Manchester. We went down the street to their local, then back down the street after bad karaoke (maybe even to Blur) and an actual barfight. This song feels like if I’d stayed.
[1]

Josh Love: I know everyone’s excited about these guys putting out their first record since the early days of the Iraq war, but the praise this song is getting surprises me. I’m not sure even Harper Lee will get treated with such kid gloves when To Kill a Mockingbird II: Tokyo Drift drops later this year. Meanwhile, if “Go Out” was the lead single on the new Spoon album it’d be an embarrassment.
[4]

Tara Hillegeist: I don’t know why I keep expecting greatness from the bargain-bin knockoff version of Jarvis Cocker besides how deeply Parklife happens to have wedged itself into my spine above where all my sensibilities go to die, but I sure keep doing it, and I sure keep being baffled when my best intentions have the same result, which is uncertainty, disappointment and the vague belief that some fundamental underpinning of my reality has gone astray. And I can’t write the punchline that would close this out perfectly, because Katherine’s already done it. Truly, I do understand how Damon Albarn must feel about his own inadequacies at his original field of success in this moment — but that doesn’t make his efforts to try again since then any less of an unfortunate case of retrod ground. (I always saw it as blue and black, myself.)
[3]

Tuesday, March 3rd, 2015

Bobby Brackins ft. Zendaya & Jeremih – My Jam

And now our ninth, tenth, and eleventh performers of the day…


[Video][Website]
[4.67]

Iain Mew: Zendaya especially does a great job of the excitement of hearing a song you want to, but the weird stubby bass undermines any jam feel. It’s like seeing a favourite come up on the radio display and then discovering it’s an underwhelming remix.
[5]

Katherine St Asaph: Most pop-rnbass sounds impossibly crisp — not “My Jam,” which is muddy, muddy, muddy from bass to the dragged scrape of a snare. Jeremih sounds muted and bored, Bobby barely registers; only Zendaya sounds like she’s listening to a bright exciting jam, but in this context she just comes off Disneyfied.
[2]

Maxwell Cavaseno: Funny story: when I first interviewed cloud-rap pioneer Clams Casino years ago he forewarned me of Bobby Brackins’ future success. I saw a weird dread-locked goblin with a voice that sounded so muggy and alien that Wayne would’ve been bugged out by it, so I wrote him off. But that was before the post-hyphy diaspora would reconvene in the ratchet domain to the glories they deserved. “My Jam” is perfectly serviceable r&bass pop with a charmingly heavy-handed snare. It features Jeremih popping by for a winking cameo while Zendaya slowly transitions into her own weird realm, where safe r&bass with so little desire to embrace the risqué is possible. It reminds me of Disney alum Keke Palmer’s unsuccessful attempt at mining post-hyphy’s LA branch, the “Jerk” phenomenon. And it’s also a curious testimony to this generation of West Coast rap’s determination to stay in the radio waves.
[6]

Will Adams: This is your jam coming in? You deserve better from your jams, Zendaya. Better mixing, at the very least.
[4]

Crystal Leww: Zendaya was an early adopter of the rnbass sound, with “My Baby,” penned by Mr. Bobby “Made Another Hit for the Radio Station” Brackins, closing out her debut album that came out in September 2013. No one should be surprised; this is a sound that always sounded just at home with the youth. Here we are, a year and a half later, and honestly no global woman popstar has tried to take this sound to a larger scale. (I am still holding out hope for Rihanna though “FourFiveSeconds” was pretty great.) In the meantime, we’re still getting these one-offs from up and comers like Tinashe, Pia Mia, and Zendaya. Sure, this is a Brackins track, and Jeremih’s on it, but there’s no doubt that it belongs to Zendaya who sings this chorus with a dreamily closed eyes, a bit of a bounce in her voice, and a satisfied smile on her face.
[7]

Brad Shoup: For real though, don’t give up that day job.
[4]