Thursday, August 20th, 2015

Fantine ft. Wyclef Jean & El Cata – What a Day

After that last score you can say that again.


Rebecca A. Gowns: A wonderful tune to serve as an introduction to the mainstream for Fantine, a “Russian-born Australian multilingual singer/songwriter of Russian and Dominican descent” (yowza!). It all sounds vaguely Outkast/Janelle Monae; it’s a production that’s stuffed but not over-stuffed, just the right frame for Fantine’s simple and pretty voice. Just when the sound threatens to swallow her up, she emerges from the bridge with “what a day!” and owns the song. Wyclef and El Cata are serviceable, acting as the respective prongs of a clothespin that will attempt to secure this single into multiple charts.

Iain Mew: It’s Fantine that makes her hard-worn successes gripping, but pushing up the saxophone from “Rumpshaker” in the mix certainly helps; its bleary grit is the perfect foil.

Thomas Inskeep: I wouldn’t have guessed that Wyclef’s plan for the future would be to ape, in assistance of a song about strippers that sounds like a J.Lo cast-off (and, of course, features a sample from “Rumpshaker”). El Cata fills the Pitbull slot. 

Alfred Soto: For a few years Wyclef was the Drake of his day, promiscuous about guest appearances on which he lavished bad guitar and narcoleptic raps. He doesn’t sound bad at all in 2015: crisp and assured, a match for Fantine. What Fantine and Wyclef have to say isn’t compelling though.

Nina Lea Oishi: Wyclef Jean and El Cata are just piggybacking on this track, because it’s Fantine’s song through and through. I had no idea who Fantine was until now, and after her first few lines I nearly rolled my eyes at yet another female artist chanting about how “her body is an asset.” But Fantine never missteps, and with her voice, she slowly wins us over. By the time she launches into her full-throated “oh what a day” mourning, we’re fully on her side.

David Sheffieck: Fantine carries the song, slinking through the hook and skipping over the verses. It’s a little weird to hear a sax break I remember best from “Show ‘Em Whatcha Got” in this context, but the “Rumpshaker” connection makes more sense of it. She’s less overt in her aim than Wreckx-n-Effect were, and probably less successful as a result, but there’s something winning — and promising — about her versatile delivery.

Katherine St Asaph: Getting it out of the way: “what a day” was the often-yelled motto of my summer camp, and I have to tamp that association down each listen. Now then: Fantine’s claim to fame is working with Emilio Estefan — hence the “sounds like Miami Sound Machine” — and she slinks through and past the “Rumpshaker” horns as if this was happening 25 years ago, near a peak.

Reader average: [6] (1 vote)

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One Response to “Fantine ft. Wyclef Jean & El Cata – What a Day”

  1. i couldn’t think of a decent Fury Road joke so i said to hell with it