Thursday, July 17th, 2014

Indiana – Heart on Fire

Our current champion fires again but flickers out (see what we did there?!?!?!)…

Mallory O’Donnell: “Don’t push me, cuz/I’m close to the edge,” Indiana intones, evoking “The Message,” to be sure, but speaking for all of us eternal, infernal romantics even more. “Heart On Fire” describes a person on a precipice, ready to fall in love but uncertain of the necessity of a particular object. “When my heart is open/my heart is open.” The particulars are irrelevant (as is the absurd video, mostly), the process is all.

Katherine St Asaph: “I really want to make this happen”: oh no, it’s a nonstarter already. There are other issues — mostly, you don’t set “with every heartbeat” to marble percussion without sending the would-be receptive listener shrugging straight back to Robyn. But the intro betrays too much defeat. I’ve got little use anymore for music that simply mirrors my life. What I need is music that heightens, that plunges me into happening as if into strong dye. “Solo Dancing” was that: dancing turned intensity. This is dancing turned resignation.

Iain Mew: The sense of inward focus is just as strong as in “Solo Dancing,” but the narrative’s inverted. That song was about pushing the world out to claim a space of your own; this time Indiana’s in retreat from the world, pulling up her duvet and settling into soft isolation. That change means a great showcase for her voice and ability to bring subtle emotion out of the slightest of lines, and sets up the bridge that’s the song’s big pay-off. “With my heart on fire,” vast strength suddenly flowing, feels like not so much like a dream as an out of body experience, even before “I begin to fly”.

Anthony Easton: Less of a meta-workout than her previous single, less cryptic, and I think less emotionally open, but how she talks about falling to pieces has a kind of frozen and broken Pet Shop Boys ennui, and it suggests potential.

Hazel Robinson: I keep thinking I’ll be into Indiana because I’m listening to so much tremulous, melodic folktronica-step or whatever we’re calling this, but it’s just all a bit “eh.” I’m not sure what the missing ingredient in this really very pleasant combination of strobelike synths and gently swaying beats is, but it stops short of hitting me in the breathy dancefloor feels it’s aiming for, making the whole thing sound weaker than it probably is; maybe in any year when I hadn’t been spoilt by the Kyla La Grange album I’d be breaking down the door for this, but it just never quite connects.

David Sheffieck: A collection of lyrical references in search of a song. They’re good references, but still.

Thomas Inskeep: Serviceable, perfectly fine dance-pop a la Kylie circa 2002. Not sure why everyone’s so over the moon about her, though.

Alfred Soto: She’s got a voice as clenched as a fist, supple enough for Euroglide beats but not resourceful enough to convey suppressed hysteria. Despite the Middle Eastern melodies that flit through the mix and the weird, excellent nasality with which she experiments in the last third, “Solo Dancing” made this gesture superfluous.

Scott Mildenhall: It would be impossible to repeat the bolt from the blue of “Solo Dancing. Now she’s got your attention, it makes sense for Indiana to move closer to conventional. The verse melody is ripped straight from the heart of “Beat Again”, a nice bit of thematically apt theft were it not obviously a coincidence, but where Aston Merrygold hammed it up thrillingly, Indiana’s permanent plainness leaves the song wanting somewhat; not weird enough and not quite catchy enough either.

Brad Shoup: Honestly, going off the ledge may not be the worst thing for Indiana. The neatest thing she does here — turning her voice into a curling New Age flutey loop — gets buried after the intro. She steps out for the bridge, which scans like a worship chorus sung in high dudgeon, but otherwise it’s like listening to four Ellie Goulding songs at once.

Josh Love: She’s regressed from providing Cliff’s Notes to a Robyn song title (“Dancing On My Own” helpfully halved to “Solo Dancing”) to simply hijacking “With Every Heartbeat” and plopping it into the chorus. The distracting Grandmaster Flash nick doesn’t help considering Robyn’s also proven conversant with hip-hop. All that said, this is a sweetly kinetic pop song, with enough pulse to put over the guilelessness of the vocals. And at least she’s not Swedish.

Megan Harrington: I’ll cop to ownership of easily plied emotions, but even with a low bar set, Indiana’s “I begin to fly” false ending is soaring. It sails over that bar, it arches at the clouds, and it boomerangs Earthward with a shimmery, floating climax that sounds like the sea meeting the sky at the horizon line of a pink sunset.

Reader average: [6.8] (5 votes)

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