Three songs in, and it’s our first serious top 10 contender of the year…
Anthony Miccio: Curious to hear the original. I mean, this is a Fatboy Slim remix, right? Right? Ririririighhhhhtttttttt?
Matt Cibula: Well, I’ll step up and call this the single of the year. Everything is SO MASSIVE and bold and colo(u)rful that I can’t help but love it. Also, this should partially make up for my completely ignoring the entire genre before now.
W.B. Swygart: So many things to say here, but the one that keeps sticking is “I was in a Bedford nightclub, man saw a member of the group – TAKE THAT!” Because I have no idea what’s going on with it. Is Wiley bragging about the level of nightclub he can get into? Is Wiley bragging about going to Bedford? Is Wiley bragging that a member of Take That (probably Jason Orange) is willing to travel to Bedford to be in the same nightclub as him? Is Wiley bragging about being sufficiently knowledgeable to know that someone is in Take That but not know which one of Take That they are? I just have no idea, none whatsoever, but it’s stuck with me, stuck very hard indeed, as has the rest of this brilliant controlled eruption of a song, which doesn’t seem to give a shit who it fucks with or how much it hurts itself while fucking with them – those first 45 seconds alone, where it stops, starts, stops again, pulls itself inside out, stops again (yes, without starting), then starts, then brags about its involvement on a record that it wasn’t involved with, and just keeps pounding and snapping, standing in the same spot yet in constant motion. Brilliant, brilliant, brilliant.
Martin Skidmore: I am a big fan of Wiley’s energetic rapping, but what makes this exceptional is Chew Fu’s crunching and propulsive electro backing, which is genuinely powerful. I’m a bit mystified as to why it wasn’t a much bigger hit, since it’s as good a club banger as grime has produced, for me.
Michaelangelo Matos: This has got to be the dumbest-great breakdown I’ve ever heard. (Or greatest dumb breakdown; either way.) Jersey Shore is negotiating rights for season two, I hope.
Doug Robertson: Bang! There is no messing, no flab and definitely not even the merest hint of boy band-esque wussiness on display here, just an aggressively friendly statement of intent that burns with a righteous energy and passion. Less dubby than previous, this is the sound of a man who enjoyed the taste of Dizzee style success that Rolex got him and is determined to grab a slice of that pie for himself.
Tom Ewing: Mainstream-baiting grime star heads to America to recruit a dance producer for a hilariously lairy electro thumper. If “Bonkers” hadn’t got to number one, would this record even exist? Glad it does, though: “Take That” packs the cartoon punch its title suggests, Chew Fu turning the dayglo aggression way up while Wiley mixes defiance and defensiveness in his classic style. His brief rhymes skip between thrilling belligerence, funny non-sequiturs about the other Take That, and letters-to-the-editor style point-scoring about Roll Deep charting with “Shake A Leg”. Only Wiley would so patiently remind us of a No.24 hit: he is fast becoming a national treasure.
Alex Ostroff: Is it just me, or does “Take That” retroactively render most of Dizzee’s Tongue n’ Cheek project redundant? Brooklynite Chew Fu marries house and grime without losing the bounce of one or the menace of the other — a balance Armand Van Helden, Calvin Harris and Tiesto couldn’t quite manage. Between the epic bassline and Wiley’s ferocious delivery, it honestly doesn’t matter that he spends the song defensively flashing his street and industry cred.
Alfred Soto: At heart this dervish wishes he could channel aural excitement into a thrown gauntlet to which Dizzee Rascal can respond. But what do you do when someone hands you a Xerox copy of an important document? Stick it in the paper shredder.
Edward Okulicz: Everything about this song is a gigantic exclamation mark. The slapdash self-references fit perfectly with the massively stoopid beats — and Wiley is larger-than-life, brash and likeable on top of it all. Dizzee Rascal breaking through last year wasn’t for nothing — if there’s going to be a stampede of songs like this busting the charts, 2010 is going to be highly entertaining.
Martin Kavka: “Firestarter,” funnier, fartier.