Tuesday, September 8th, 2015

Daya – Hide Away

Boys and girls in America have such a sad time together…


Thomas Inskeep: Post-Lorde teenpop: percolating, percussive, and not afraid to question social norms.

Patrick St. Michel: Why doesn’t she sing “fly as a motherfucker”? I assume that’s what she’s going for. “Fly as a mother” sounds dumb as hell. I thought you could just swear away in American pop now.

Micha Cavaseno: The odd display of Lorde-lite songs where hip young teens declare themselves to be adrift from the norms of all the teens who listen to songs like the ones they make is truly peculiar. Just like rapper isolation, EDM songs about needing release or comfort, or rock frustration, this batch of pop is invariably about a lot of people who are going to feel similar sentiments to varying degrees, while potentially placing the “other girls/boys” mantle on people who might be listening to the same songs and feeling the same way. At the end of the day “Hide Away” is a clunky ditty with strange lyrical turns (“suit and tie … undercover” is almost too abstract to make sense before it goes into the frightening Superman analogy) and production that isn’t exciting in any which way. But I think there’s something downright sad in how bright and shiny records tend to capitalize on the angst kids genuinely feel. Not because its ill-fitting, but rather because there’s harmful stuff hidden in this “feel better” treat.

Katherine St Asaph: Theory 1: pop music has finally caught up to the YA mandate of every protagonist being a bookish, tea-drinking, uncool-but-secretly-cool wallflower. Theory 2: pop music is cyclical, and this crowd is just the inevitable counterpart to the teenpop-backlash crowd of the early ’00s. Lorde is her own artist even under this theory, but Alessia Cara is Jem, Carly Rae is Michelle Branch with synths, Avril’s mall-punk has become Net-goth, and so on. Theory 2 is admittedly a stretch, and I have no idea where Daya falls in it, whether she’ll end up a Vanessa Carlton or a Lucy Woodward, but it explains a lot. The Joel Little to Daya’s Lorde is Gino Barletta (JoJo’s “Disaster,” Jessica Mauboy’s “Pop a Bottle (Fill Me Up)“), whom I hope becomes the next megastar writer because that way he’ll be given separate vocal producers. (I hate to pick on rising writers, some of the most shat-on people in the industry, but between the off-key digital artifacts that sound like something Poliça would do on purpose to the volume jumps in comping to the high notes swallowing syllables, this is the worst pop vocal production job I’ve heard in years and I’ll never unhear it.) The lyric is somehow pandering and sincere at once; “fly as a mother” is pure brand-saying-baeitude and “I’m a good, good girl who needs a little company” is like a man from the ’70s’ idea of a personal ad, but the rest is painfully accurate. To wit: Daya has 16 years, three minutes and a lot of opinions about boys, girls and the courtship rituals thereof, and like most 16-year-old opinions they’re a mix of astute observations (no, men don’t appreciate women spending money and time, in fact they often stigmatize it), naivety that’ll unlearn itself (the boys who wear suits and ties to high school are generally not the good boys) and received misogyny (the girls who get undressed before the second date or talk about their sex lives are just fine). But I kept enough of my 17-year-old emails that I can’t criticize. The desiccated synth pop, on the other hand

Iain Mew: The sound of the kind of rigid certainty that might lead one to, just as a hypothetical, turn your MSN display name to Super Furry Animals lyrics about how cruel the world is on right-thinking people, and have conversations about the injustice of it all. The brittle chunks of synth are perfectly (over)done, but I don’t know if it’s her or me that makes me cringe in recognition of the straightforwardness as much as enjoy it.

Ramzi Awn: “Hide Away” combines the genuine sounds of songs gone by palatably, and Daya’s lyrics are good — almost great. But the back-to-basics approach on the beat would do better with a soft vocal, and that “Hey” sample kit has passed its prime. “Hide Away” might do well, but not for the right reasons.   

Daniel Montesinos-Donaghy: I’ve heard this before through Rihanna’s “Stay,” overrated Swedish synth groups, and Dove commercials, and we don’t need an amalgamation of the three with a Very Inspiring Song filter draped on top.

Jonathan Bradley: It’s song-as-thesis, flimsier in sound than “Royals” and without the energy of the famed “girls don’t like boys, girls like cars and money” dissertation (Charlotte, G. 2002) regarding adolescent feelings-having. An unintended wrinkle: if public space is normatively male, “where do good boys go to hide away” is a hook casting the desirable ones in feminine terms. Daya does yearn for a Superman and links attractiveness explicitly with labour, but there’s little that’s passive about her trespass into the great unknown in hunt of a nice young man, even if she does purse her lips at kissing and undressing. She doesn’t so much repeat dominant social ideas or even subvert or resist them so much as she pulls them into an incongruous mish-mash. Even songs-as-theses — perhaps especially ones by those whose thoughts on the subject are still developing — bear the human confusions of their authors. 

Brad Shoup: Calling for the good boys is always a shitshow, but I’m glad to see Florence + The Machine are having a parallel effect on pop.

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