Tuesday, April 8th, 2014

Ms. D – Shoot Me With the Truth

Sure, if I can just work out how to load the damn thing.


Katherine St Asaph: This is, fascinatingly, exactly what you wouldn’t expect from someone who guested on a Chipmunk record and wrote an Iggy Azalea song. (For that, consult Ms. D’s other track this year, “My Pen,” but really, don’t.) Dawn Richard is the obvious reference point, but there are others: Sasha Lazard (now there’s someone I never expected to mention), a few of the livelier Loreena McKennitt songs, that flamenco/Western/Lord of the Rings intersection of the popular imagination that writers will periodically visit for vague dressup-inspiration. Shame it’s more commitment-to-aesthetic than song.

David Sheffieck: There’s so much coming together to make this fantastic: theatrical shifts in tone, like the song should be bringing the second act to a close, haunting background samples fading in and out of the mix, production that combines martial drums and castanets (castanets!). Ms. D holds it all together with a bravura performance, one that manages to seem by turns confident and uncertain, while always sounding like she’s in complete control.

Brad Shoup: We’re supposed to call this a setpiece, I think. It signifies lush (those scales, that almost psychedelic intro), but those dusty snare raps and processed strums plant this in the desert. I’m transported, but I’m not carried away; the three-part vocal section at the end is an eddy, not a thunderstorm.

Megan Harrington: The Wild West opening — decorated with acoustic guitar and castanets — gives way to an urgent and idiosyncratic vocal performance. This doesn’t have the familiar mylar casing of a pop hit, but Ms. D has strength enough to carry the song’s loose structure. 

Scott Mildenhall: Slightly removed from “on my body, on my body; put your hands upon my body”; not so much a Slush Puppie with both flavours as a massive bag of ice. It’s dark, and as often happens with darkness, a lot is unclear. A good effort for an intro to a concept album or film, or a demo for an ambitious Eurovision entry, but then neither would be a complete product.

Will Adams: “Shoot Me With the Truth” opens promisingly, with a foreboding chord progression and Ms. D’s soprano wails. From there, the storm clouds gather and Ms D. crescendos right along. But, just as the lightning is about to strike, the second chorus plummets down to an extended outro of vocal layering that, while pretty, is not quite what is expected.

Anthony Easton: This throws everything in but the kitchen sink — those sinuous instrumental lines, the rattlesnake percussion, something that sounds almost like an adhān, the Shirley Bassey circa Goldfinger vocal gymnastics, and the strung-out Whitney last-vocal acrobatics — its eclecticism seems very of the moment, but slightly discomforting.

John Seroff: Rococo Tori Amos portent streaked through with Dawn Richards’ moody style, “Shoot Me” is an odd mish mosh of folk signifiers, regal pomp, hyperbolic angst and gently seductive gravitas. Solid production salvages the moments when this dips too deeply into ye olde ren faire well of preening regal pomp, while Ms. D’s voice holds well enough (apparently, even when she’s live) to keep the strings and military snares from over-inflating a pleasantly moody declaration beyond its modest reach. Noteworthy stuff for a solo single debut; I’ll be on the lookout for the LP.

Mallory O’Donnell: Stylish and slightly embarrassing, like an ethnic dance number from a dodgy 80’s action-adventure movie, where all of a sudden Local Women start contorting themselves for the amusement of sneering secret agents and the all-too-aware audience. The sound is smooth, exotic, pleasingly close (almost claustrophobic), but what exactly is one expected to make of “shoot me with the truth?” 

Iain Mew: Calling this her UK Dawn Richard move would be to miscategorise her successful singles with Wiley in several ways, but “Shoot Me With the Truth” has the same vaulting ambition and in a similar direction. The other comparison that comes to mind is Imogen Heap, especially in the remarkable sections where the song drops out to rounds of her voice. Still, I have to apply a test for this kind of song by asking “would I rather listen to just a witchy circle of Ms. D’s chanting ‘lala lala lalala’ at each other for three minutes than the actual song?,” and it’s one this definitely fails.

Reader average: [7] (4 votes)

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2 Responses to “Ms. D – Shoot Me With the Truth”

  1. Katherine, I ignored your direction and consulted “My Pen,” and I ended up liking it a lot!

  2. This is SO CLOSE to a great song, but I think it’s just missing something. 7 or so sounds about right.