Thursday, July 23rd, 2009

Chipmunk ft. Emeli Sandé – Diamond Rings

Teen rapper cracks UK top 10, Jukebox’s patrician facade…


Matt Cibula: Sounds like somebody slipped in a whole bunch of genres and landed in a large puddle of genius. It’s not a very deep puddle, but it’s pretty wide.

Doug Robertson: A bouncy slice of hip hop, with sunshine glinting off the grime, this’ll be heard over and over again as part of the sound of the summer, and for once that prospect doesn’t fill me with the dread that would normally be associated with the tracks who end up with such a dubious honour.

Martin Skidmore: A lovely old ska beat, and some urgent and kind of mighty R&B singing from one Emeli Sandé. Chipmunk’s kiddy-grime still doesn’t excite me, despite some nimble rhymes, but I really like everything else on show here.

Anthony Easton: Her voice amuses.

Chuck Eddy: She overemotes, he underemotes, neither of them sounds particularly chipmunkish, and like everything remotely Brit and hip-hoppy, I assume this is “grime” even though it probably isn’t. I’ve heard better probably-not-grime tunes here lately, but I do like how this one is also ska.

Alex Macpherson: At first it sounds slightly awkward: the beat too intrusive, the various pieces not fitting together quite as they should, a certain twitchiness rupturing the putative breeziness of the ska bounce. Its imperfections resolve nicely with Chipmunk’s irresistibly good-humoured performance, though. He’s sufficiently confident in his looks and skills (and justified in this, too) to carry off his cock-of-the-walk strut, but it’s leavened by an infectious teenage enthusiasm – he’s a kid coming into all of this for the first time, not just the jewels and the girls but the realisation of his own innate qualities. “With a face like mine, how the hell could I be camera shy?”: the drive to self-actualise starts here (he needs to ditch the girl, though: if anything holds “Diamond Rings” back it’s Emeli Sandé, somehow both rigid and aimless where she should be trying to match Chipmunk’s looseness and focus).

Ian Mathers: Chipmunk himself is still mostly sliding by on charm (or what passes for it), but hookstress Emeli Sandé is what really makes “Diamond Rings” enjoyable. She’s a bit like Beyoncé, if Beyoncé wasn’t cold and dead inside. She also manages to make a chorus about bling exciting, groovy and even a bit sexy.

Alex Ostroff: Starts off chipper and engaging, but by the third straight verse of identical inflection and stress patterns, Chipmunk wears on the nerves. The oom-pah horn sample is a blast (tho) and the singer on the hook isn’t half-bad. Wearying or not, at least Chipmunk has vocal character, which is more than anybody can say for the recent crop of American rap rookies.

Hillary Brown: So maybe this is like the UK rap equiv of Lily Allen, but it’s busy, cheerful, fast, quirky, and cute. What’s not to like? It’s a little long, and it never really transcends its novelty value, but it’s vastly more listenable than his first single.

9 Responses to “Chipmunk ft. Emeli Sandé – Diamond Rings”

  1. Not bad for Ronsonized bullshit.

  2. Hmm, seems to be more the power of not being disagreeable to anyone rather than actually being really really good.

    And in reality I guess it is about a seven, maybe a six depending on how generous I feel that day.

  3. Had I bothered to rate it, it would have fell to 6 point whatever. Don’t like sub-Wino bullshit mixed with my British rap.

  4. ???? I think of Wino as Weinrich and therefore “sub-Wino bullshit” as, like, mediocre doom metal (i.e.: not as good as Obsessed/Saint Vitus/Spirit Caravan/Hidden Hand); mixing that with British rap might be interesting, I dunno.

  5. Chuck, he means Amy Winehouse. Don’t play dumb.

    “Hmm, seems to be more the power of not being disagreeable to anyone rather than actually being really really good.”


  6. I wasn’t playing dumb. (Maybe because I tend to avoid knowing stupid nicknames.)

  7. Yeah, but there’s this thing called context, you know.

  8. Right, and I was trying to think “who in the ska world might be nicknamed Wino?,” and couldn’t come up with anybody. Nobody called Ranking Roger that, that last time I checked. So you can stop playing hall monitor now.

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