Monday, August 17th, 2015

Austin Mahone – Dirty Work

But not too dirrty to clean his act up…


Will Adams: Whoever keeps insisting on peddling Austin Mahone as anything approaching interesting should restrategize; I’d pay much more attention if this were whole-heartedly marketed as a cheery capitalist anthem. Subtracted a point for all the times I fear he’s gonna say “dirty bit.”

Scott Mildenhall: The pitch seems to have been “Conor Maynard performs the hit of JC Chasez”, and the execution is solid. Impressively, Mahone has actually sanded down that thought to be even more PG-rated than it sounds. He’s pretty much recorded a Kidz Bop version of his own song, only ever approaching dirty in a Black Eyed Peas sense, and instead forming the nondescript but firm glue that holds the sonic rubber beneath him together.

Brad Shoup: The only thing getting fucked is the metaphor, but as an unholy big beat/Go! Team/JC Chasez pop production, I can’t find much to dislike. JC’s is a cautionary tale, but in an age where Nile Rodgers can’t return your phone call, this scrubbed-smooth piece of work has a real chance. Even if not, Mahone carries this sweet nonsense with a distance runner’s pace, and I’m glad he’s content to let the track speak sense.

Alfred Soto: “Cuz if you do it with love/You love what you do” ranks with Sammy Hagar’s “Time will tell/If we stand the test of time” among incoherences delivered with gusto, and with an electronic pulse this healthy, “Dirty Work” delivers on its title promise, if not its premise. As usual the problem is a vocal whose inflexibility against sinuous rhythms is like Margaret Dumont next to Groucho Marx.

Thomas Inskeep: While I might’ve wished for a cover of either Steely Dan or the Stones, I’ll take this Timberlake-lite while we wait for JT’s next move. Bumped up a notch for the synth-bass that’s so fake it’s even faker. 

Katherine St Asaph: Austin Mahone is a curious throwback to 1998, when teenpop wasn’t quite there yet. The pre-chorus — chord changes as marks to hit in succession — is pure Cheiron; the verses are Michael filtered through 30 years of sanitizing. The post-Timberlake, post-Pharrell 2.0 smoove groove is made of preset brass and anonymized guitar flickers that probably sound amazing at 12 but canned forever hence. Mahone doesn’t quite slam dunk the funk; his attempts to play blue-collar are as unconvincing as his attempts to play heartthrob. When he sings “I’m dirty down to the core,” one imagines at least two nuances to the phrase that he’s missing, and the one that’s left suggests dancing and popstarring are gruesome drudgery he’d rather not do. Much like “scrubbing with Mr. Clean.” It’s just so half-assed, so clownishly junior-varsity — and in a weird way, it gives me hope. In 2015, something like this can still come down the pop conveyor belt.

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4 Responses to “Austin Mahone – Dirty Work”

  1. this video was gaaaaaaarbage

  2. alas, I was too late to give this the perfunctory [6] treatment, but yeah @ Brad, the video takes “self-aggrandizing” to a whole nother level

  3. Let’s all remember the only four minutes in which JC Chasez sounds like the breakout star instead of JT.

  4. I ended up listening to this today. All I can conclude is that I never previously realised that ‘Working In A Coalmine‘ could have been a metaphor for a sexual act, albeit one that the protagonist was not enjoying very much.