Monday, July 20th, 2009

Jeremih – Imma Star (Everywhere We Are)

Is America ready for songs with no possibility of greeting card tie-ins?…


Michaelangelo Matos: This recent interview with Jeremih makes me like him even more than “Birthday Sex” did — I’d give that one an 8 now on hook power alone, and while “see that ace?” here is a lot subtler (a relative concept with this guy, clearly), I imagine it will grow on me too. But it hasn’t yet.

Chuck Eddy: I think of “Birthday Sex” the way some people here probably think of “Pokerface” — it just comes off as so retarded to me that I can’t help suspecting people who claim to love it are pulling my leg. Of course I know they’re not, and I guess what people hear in Jeremih has something to do with his falsetto that hits me as constrained at best and a degree of sleepy ethereality that mostly hits me as lazy and tuneless. Deep in the background, “Imma Star” sounds innocuous enough. But just like with its predecessor, the closer you listen, the dumber, more repulsive, more mumble-mouthed it seems.

Jordan Sargent: If you’re gonna shamelessly bite someone like The-Dream, you better write a song that he would want to bite back, and that’s what Jeremih was able to do with “Birthday Sex”. What you don’t want to do is write a song with production so bland that it puts your uninteresting and reedy voice alone in the spotlight. You also want to write at minimum one good hook (“Birthday Sex” has about five).

Al Shipley: Either I’m going to get used to the weak-ass vocal at some point, or I’m going to patiently wait for the fantastic instrumental to inevitably circulate on mixtapes, where hopefully some rappers will put it to better use. In the meantime, though, this is one of the most beautifully textured things I’ve heard on the radio all year, and the hi-hat triplets alone would make this a keeper before that big epic outro tops it off.

Martin Kavka: Synthesized pizzicato strings travel through time from ’90s handbag house to the land of dick-in-a-box R&B, where they meet up with a synthesized flutter-tongued trumpet note. After three minutes they go off to get a room; slightly menacing celli appear with some random drumming. Jeremih himself is completely useless. He’ll never be a star, but his producer Mick Schultz will be.

Frank Kogan: This is gently majestic, as if Jeremih were filming the Alps in their grandeur and somehow in his lens they become as inviting as rolling hills. Without the music the lyrics wouldn’t even be passable, as they’re just rote claims to livin’ large (though the ice he’s flaunting is what inspired my Alpine reverie). But there’s a potentially interesting turnaround at the end that I can’t interpret: “Either the cameras flickin’ or the police clockin’/Especially at the end of the month when it’s just not an option,” perhaps meaning that the spotlights that exalt him give way to police lights that dog him, as hustling cops make him their target. Maybe the Jukebox crew can help me with this one.

Tom Ewing: A real star could invest this spindly backing with some authority: Jeremih still sounds like his main audience is his bedroom mirror.

Jonathan Bradley: The beat is slightly off-kilter and more than slightly discomfiting, dragging along too slowly as if it were being roughly pulled forward by the swimming synth pulses. It’s a tune that seems to have little to do with wealth and popular acclaim, and it could have made for an other-worldly smash in the hands of an artist willing to follow it into the dark corners at which it hints.

Anthony Miccio: Imitation R. Kelly metaphor-killer drops imitation R. Kelly self-promotion snap. Cute quirk in the lyrics (“Roger Ebert,” “buku”) and the bed of synths, grunts and “woah-oh”s endearingly recalls the Miami Sound Machine. If his vocals didn’t make Gloria Estefan sound commanding, this might be more than the soon forgotten follow-up to a novelty hit.

Ian Mathers: The little upwards lilt in his voice during the chorus — on “you see the ice”, on “flashing lights”, on “livin’ life” — is the most indelible part of his much better follow-up to “Birthday Sex”. But a vocal flourish isn’t a great song, and if he’s going to stick to the tried-and-true grounds of materialism and self-aggrandizement, he needs to get more clever than “you can catch me in the air, I be ballin’ / when I’m tryin’ to buy some gear, I be mallin’”.

Andrew Unterberger: It can’t match “Birthday Sex” — honestly, what could? — but Jeremih’s second offering is much less forgettable than I would have expected. It’s actually one of the cooler R&B beats I’ve heard in recent years — the bleating synths, the martial drum beat and the callously plucked strings adding up to a surprisingly spooky hook, harking back to nocturnal mid/late-90s wonders like Luniz’s “I Got 5 on It” or Mobb Deep’s “Quiet Storm.” Jeremih doesn’t add much to the proceedings, but it’s a decent enough chorus, and he’s wise enough to sit back and let producer Mick Schultz be the real star. All that said, I’d be shocked if a song this weird was what saved Jer from one-hit wonder status.

Additional Scores

Chris Boeckmann: [3]
Matt Cibula: [5]
Martin Skidmore: [3]

6 Responses to “Jeremih – Imma Star (Everywhere We Are)”

  1. people think this beat is interesting = zoolander-mugatu-crazy-pills.jpg

    listening again, these slow mo “aaayyyys” are shameless as hell

  2. Are you trying to tell us that a guy best known for a song called “Birthday Sex” is utterly shameless?

  3. Is “buku” just a mispelled version of “beaucoup”? I assumed he was singing the latter in this one.

  4. I would assume so.

  5. yeah, but I didn’t invent it though

  6. I wasn’t thinking you had, Anthony – I saw it when I looked up the lyrics.