Thursday, May 8th, 2014

Mr Probz – Waves (Robin Schulz Remix)

Wanna relax? All you need is three hours to spare


Scott Mildenhall: This is emblematic of two big trends in the UK chart this year. For one, not many of the people enjoying it will care who Probz or Schulz are, just as with Kiesza, Sigma and Route 94. “Faceless dance acts” are nothing new, but in this brave world of Shazam and the Majestic Casual aesthetic, it’s all about the song, something that nullifies the benefit of being a traditional popstar – and how big can you be when you’re easier to avoid than ever? The songs that do become big though – this is the second trend – like Kiesza’s, and like Route 94’s, are often pretty calm, something Calvin Harris might well have noted. They don’t really get calmer than “Waves”, like the inverse of York’s “On The Beach”. The words are dark and the voice broken, but with the music they sound like the acceptance of gloom, wave after wave. Maybe best to play Kiesza again afterwards.

Alfred Soto: Sorta pretty, sorta trance-y, sorta gravelly remix of Dutch hit: a tune fit for a Gap.

Thomas Inskeep: A sparingly picked acoustic guitar and gravelly male voice sound as if they were focus-grouped for European (and probably American) housewives, while Robin Schulz adds a shuffly barely-house beat in the background to make it quote-unquote danceable. Seriously, what is wrong with Europe, where this has become a continental smash of massive proportions? I’m gonna chalk this up to the unfortunate phrase “Dutch hip-hop artist” (according to Wikipedia).

Abby Waysdorf: The original “Waves” has been a fixture in the Dutch charts for nearly a year now, and to be honest, I never gave it that much thought. It was kind of a mopey ballad, with Probz’s gravelly voice giving it a sort of post-grunge thing that I wasn’t sure how I felt about, but a nice string section. And now a year after, it’s been given a remix that’s tearing up charts outside of Holland. As for it’s new version… well, it’s fine. This kind of midtempo chill-out house-ish thing is everywhere right now, and I can’t say that this stands out more than any other iteration of it. It’s a perfectly serviceable summer chill-out song. I can see what people like about it, and I’ll nod my head when I hear it.

Katherine St Asaph: Cruise ship disco house; I wish it were either crunchier or an instrumental.

Iain Mew: Remember gentle Euro dance hits that gained a tacked-on vocal in making it across the Channel? “Sonnentanz”, for instance? The remix of “Waves” that has reached the UK is the result of the opposite process, but it has a remarkably similar result. The dance elements added make the underlying song both less smooth and somehow more bland. Given its success in topping the singles chart, though, there’s probably a (milky) chance of others reaching beyond their continental appeal in the same way.

Will Adams: I didn’t even know “sub-Aloe Blacc” as a genre was possible.

Brad Shoup: It’s ideal heading-to-work music, with that skippy propulsion but also with a really grizzled dude — like, too grizzled, you know? — confirming that yeah, the sun is gonna take us all down soon enough. There’s also that smooth guitar line ticking off the chords, because you gotta focus on something. This is basically chillout Everlast music, which I used to call “Everlast music”.

Patrick St. Michel: Chill as chill can chill.

Reader average: [5.33] (3 votes)

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7 Responses to “Mr Probz – Waves (Robin Schulz Remix)”

  1. So, what, housewives can’t like good music? And Dutch people can’t make hip-hop?

  2. Clearly I’m talking a load of old nonsense here – one/two/three hit wonders are nothing new, Shazam is nothing new*, the Majestic Casual aesthetic is a thing I’ve made up, and it’s not like this isn’t a hit elsewhere – but I think I’ve at least successfully failed to properly address some things that are happening.

    *Big(gish) acts getting their fans to hype their single up the Shazam charts is definitely a thing now though. To make it look bigger to radio stations and stuff or something else? I don’t know.

    Also Iain reminded me of how Mattafix and then The Man From Mattafix seem to have been quite big in central Europe, and they were on similarish lines to this and Milky Chance. I’m sure there are other examples too – maybe that’s a regional thing, because I don’t think it’s previously had much of a foothold in the UK. But now it seems like there’s a venn diagram of jazz, blues, Mumford stomp, and deep house with a big convergence, and it’s working. Only a short hop from Counting Stars to this to Sonnentanz really.

  3. nothing about this is nonsense

  4. i didn’t really like this one either, but i got the impression that it was appealing strongly to a group younger than the archetypal housewife (this based on its current standing as Spotify’s overall #3 most played song, though maybe I’m just as off base for thinking Spotify is a young person’s service). Also, that bonkers “De Tooneelacademie” song should be required listening for anyone who questions the validity of Dutch hip hop.

  5. Well I suppose you could call it conjecture. I’m always caught between thinking I’m talking rubbish and stating the obvious. I stand by the “On The Beach” comparison though.

  6. He had a good verse on Sukkel voor de Liefde by the Opposites as well, which I didn’t like as much as “Slapeloze Nachten” but still generally better than “Waves.” The problem isn’t that Waves is “Dutch hip-hop” but that’s not.

  7. Scott, I really appreciate you bringing that picture (map?) together! Your mention of “Counting Stars” makes me think that “One Day / Reckoning Song” is very near the middle of the whole lot. Now that was a song at least a little improved by its remix.