Wednesday, August 26th, 2009

Daniel Merriweather – Impossible

How we like him now? A bit more than last time, actually…


Anthony Miccio: Funny, I thought his last name was Gokey.

Alfred Soto: Mark Ronson coaxing an Aussie into his best Lovin’ Spoonful imitation, over spidery guitar.

Michaelangelo Matos: It’ll probably be a good while before I start disliking Mark Ronson’s more-Mod-than-thou production style, but getting the bass sound and horn parts just so doesn’t equal compelling songwriting or, especially, singing. If Merriweather’s a soul man I’m the Easter Bunny, and I don’t even like dyeing eggs.

Chuck Eddy: I do like that surf’n’spy guitar sample. And there’s something funereal in the melody of his ooh-ooh-oohs that suggests some Motown classic sifted through “Wild World” or “It’s A Sin”. But I’m not buying his blue-eyed Levi Stubbs, and I’m buying the lyrics even less. Wonder if I’d trust this more if Mark Ronson wasn’t involved.

Martin Kavka: I find it really difficult to assess musical homage. Take this, for example. It sounds a lot like The Animals’ version of “Don’t Let Me Be Misunderstood.” A lot. However, there’s no single element that is a clear example of theft. On the other hand, there’s more being borrowed here than just a sensibility. But what? How? In any case, the seamless recombination of the past makes this Merriweather’s strongest solo single yet.

Anthony Easton: Being self-reflexive of your cliches does not excuse them; being meta about your love songs does not mean that you are allowed this level of slop.

John Seroff: Merriweather’s versatile voice recalls the soulful screams and velvet tone of a young Terence Trent D’Arby. The rock-solid (if derivative) structure is rent rococo by innovative flourishes; a different instrument or variation on the theme is introduced virtually every four measures. When every other track on the jukebox considers itself out the door with 1.5 ideas (looking at you, Pitbull), it’s refreshing to find a song with considerable complexity and higher aspirations. This sounds suspiciously like it could break out as a ‘Rehab’ sized hit; I’m gonna feel real dumb if my obsessive repeat play (“Just one more time through the “I-would-do-any-thing-and-ev-ry-thing” part…”) leaves this jewel unlistenable by the time it becomes ubiquitous, but my iTunes count (thirty-five and rising) suggests that’s a risk I’m willing to take.

Martin Skidmore: This is a bit brighter than the last rather Blunt/Morrison one. Here we have a Ronson production heading more into Jamiroquai territory. He has some vocal talent, and even sounds lovely on the odd word or two, but his melisma feels painfully stiff and clumsy, and the song is dreary.

Matt Cibula: And just when I was about to give up, here comes a blast combining many sounds I love with a great singer who kind of sounds like if Roland Gift had ever really had any guts to go with his glory. Wish dude didn’t roll up his sleeves like that in the video, though, that’s pretty gross.

14 Responses to “Daniel Merriweather – Impossible”

  1. haha Matos as the Easter Bunny is an image I will treasure throughout the rest of my days

  2. I have to credit this – coming off the back of “Red” could hardly be a worse possible way to get my attention, but this has merit. Wish he didn’t look such a chump in the video though. [6]. Maybe a [7], ask me in a month if I remember it.

  3. Also? Overlong.

  4. For those of us in the US who barely know him, this is fresh and tasty. If Merriweather’s people are smart, they’ll use this to push him in America; I think it’s a fall hit.

  5. I thought countries like the US — where they have actual soul music — didn’t need Winehouses or Duffys as substitutes. Can’t you just get Nate Dogg to put a new record out? Or if you need something a bit whiter, Robin Thicke?

  6. haha, i wasn’t aware “actual soul music” had to be American or sound like Nate Dogg. FWIW, I like Merriweather’s voice better than Thicke’s.

  7. Robin Thicke’s last record was really good.

  8. Yeah, I’d definitely take Thicke’s “Sidestep” (which gets played a lot on the grown-folks r&b station here) way over this song. Probably one of my 25 or so favorite singles of 2009 so far (even if it technically came off a 2008 album.)

  9. Yeah, that’s one of my favorite songs on it.

  10. […] discover Expose, Chris Brown discovers his no-surprise douchebaggery, Mark Ronson discovers a protege, DJ Quik and Kurupt keep making fresh discoveries,  The Pastels and Tenniscoats discover late […]

  11. still really love this btw; how did it do on the UK charts?

  12. also is it my imagination or does the 4min 8sec version of this have a bit more nuance from what I’m finding on Youtube?

  13. #67.

  14. Smash Number Sixty-Seven! It’s a special position.