Tuesday, April 7th, 2015

Skrillex & Diplo ft. Justin Bieber – Where Are Ü Now

It’s Bieber and the people he hangs around with to keep his douche levels in proportion… or something.


Josh Winters: *deep sigh* Goddammit.

Maxwell Cavaseno: That chorus section beat deserves so much better than this lazy performance from Bugatti Bieb and the generic ballad structure of the verses.

Alfred Soto: Did he need the umlaut? Of course not. He did need the percussive loops and sexy-obnoxious whine as hooks. He doesn’t need Bieber affecting Christian humility.

Crystal Leww: Justin Bieber’s team has him on some sort of redemption tour, and I think “Where Are U  Now” is supposed to make him seem likeable or romantic, but it fails  spectacularly. Desperate, pathetic, childish, misguided, and manipulative, “Where Are U Now” has Justin Bieber throwing it back in her face that he once rode for her, once stood by her, once loved her when no one else would. It is also heartbreaking, quiet, and subdued. It is not romantic, but it is embarrassingly relatable, the sound of a not-so-innocent text fired off at your ex on Valentine’s Day, a late night, ill-advised phone call with the phrase “Are you drunk right now?” uttered immediately, cruising by your ex’s house waaaaay too late and wondering who the new car the driveway belongs to. And while it fails at making Justin seem likeable, it does make him sound like the worst part of ourselves, petty and angry, sad and hurt, like an actual human being.

Scott Mildenhall: Immediate points for the use of the word “moping.” There’s untapped poetry in that word, because it doesn’t express a crushing weight of emotion, and usually isn’t first-person — it’s generally a soft pejorative. No-one who is moping ever described themselves as such unless they wanted to assert the maintenance of their self-awareness, denying any potential support and perhaps the extent of their gloom in a way that could if anything be more destructive. That probably wasn’t anyone’s intention here, but the lugubrious trudge fits.

Patrick St. Michel: I don’t particularly care about what Justin Bieber is singing about, but he sounds really good doing it here, while Skrillex and Diplo strike just the right balance between busy button pushing and minimalism. What constitutes the drop here vaguely sounds like a crying dinosaur, and somehow it works within this song. 

Iain Mew: This is compellingly alien enough that as it drips treacle I can picture them all thinking of “U Smile (800% slower)” and coming up with the best way to improve on it at standard song speed.

Katherine St Asaph: Um, louts? Where is ür loutishness now? Bieber is a sliver, plaintive and innocuous; that hook, like drunk-driving a car across violin strings, is more obnoxious than he is, and even then not much. Skrillex, the memetic worst brostepper, and Diplo, the actual worst, are so restrained that without credits you’d never guess either was involved.

Brad Shoup: For someone who once said “swag” a lot, he’s demonstrated very little of it as he’s rocketed out of abrolescence. This is a canny pairing; fans of Justin or Jack Ü can imagine the other as the main credit without much trouble. They’ve each arrived to try on some Electronic Dance Modesty: delicate and repetitive, like an Ellie Goulding single. Justin coos like a veteran UK chart feature: patient, collaborative. Skriplo focus more on the rise than any dancehall touches (though they are there, because they can’t leave the fuck alone). But my goodness, you’d think these three would have something to prove. Give them some credit for zagging.

Thomas Inskeep: Skrillex and Diplo’s production on this cut is interesting, not their usual bash-bash brostep (which can tend towards clunky); they show a light touch, perhaps due to Bieber’s lighter-than-air vocals. It’s kind of, genuinely, pretty. And commercially speaking, it’s smart for Bieber to come back to radio via a guest spot on someone else’s record. 

Luisa Lopez: I think a lot about the many different ways to write a love song: what it means to fill it with joy, or hope, or fear; to keep it soft, to let it grow loud, to leave its corners empty or dust them with the fever of wanting; to let another voice touch it, or sing it alone. Sometimes it feels like there are as many ways to write a song as there are to love. To recognize another body whose presence is as sudden and shocking as your own makes a sound as stupid as those whistles, turns Bieber’s voice into a noise I’ve been using to mark the pages of the impossible sleep that comes every night for my beating heart, becomes a love song so conscious of its failure that it’s half-whine, half-lullaby. Wanting takes so much out of us, replaces it with useless noise. Loving takes things too, but I need it the most. 

Reader average: [7.88] (18 votes)

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4 Responses to “Skrillex & Diplo ft. Justin Bieber – Where Are Ü Now”

  1. “Skriplo” forever

  2. Loving how much it pains some of you to give this song a high score

  3. hey this jam is critic-shockingly excellent

  4. Mmmhmm bleargh I heard this song for the first time this weekend and I’m very ashamed to say I loved it despite featuring 3 of the most indefensible artists of the past decade.

    The summer song we hate to love.