Monday, January 18th, 2016

Shawn Mendes & Camila Cabello – I Know What You Did Last Summer

Fittingly, it scores lower than “Scream“…


Lauren Gilbert: Well, it certainly sounds like it was written in 30 minutes.

Mo Kim: Lyrical repetition isn’t always laziness; here, it expresses the emotional claustrophobia of a relationship going nowhere. The titular phrase gets stuck on “I-know-I-know-I-know-I-know,” while the bridge layers thought over thought over thought — “Tell me where you’ve been lately,” “Just hold me close,” “Can’t seem to keep it close, can’t seem to let it go,” “Know I didn’t mean it, though” — homophonic phrases jostling for primacy, bouncing off each other instead. If the composition is all friction, Mendes and Cabello are all heat, harmonizing on the small details, spinning somebody’s “know” into another’s “no,” contradicting, affirming, stretching their range over the bridge before snapping back into place on the last chorus. Acoustic pap from young singer-songwriters gets a (not undeserved) rap as cloying, sentimental fluff, but “I Know What You Did Last Summer” is smart enough to go for old-fashioned horror instead.

Josh Langhoff: Snappy acousti-pop with melisma pays expensive homage to Bill Withers, who apparently gets a songwriting credit whenever you sing “I know” a bunch of times in cadence, and cheap homage to a guilt-ridden Jennifer Love Hewitt movie. It’s the shiny, less gruesome horror-pop counterpart to that gritty freak “The Hills.” The law of trendpieces and the rule of threes both tell me we’re due for either Chairlift’s ’80s throwback “It Follows” or Lady Gaga’s torture-porny Golden Globe victory lap “Hostel.”

Katherine St Asaph: For her accomplishments in being the Fifth Harmony member with the most Twitter followers, Camila Cabello gets to vocally self-flagellate over the sin of having seen someone else once while Shawn Mendes reads her the riot act over Kris Allenized doodling and a “Hills”-ripping reference to a slasher film that came out when these kids were infants and embryos. Makes industry nonsense like “dating” Austin Mahone seem positively delightful.

Brad Shoup: Extratextual considerations aside, this sure does sound like a sexy game between consenting adults. The acoustic guitar is deployed splendidly: the fidgety acoustic chording, the Neptunian chopping on the refrain. Mendes and Cabello have a great give-and-take, but their wordless bits mesh even better.

Will Adams: The most disturbing thing about this is that Camila Cabello’s words don’t even sound like her own. She doesn’t defend herself, nor does she offer any counterpoint; she’s just there to echo Shawn Mendes’s fears (even changing the pronouns: “I’m slipping away”) and reinforce a situation that shouldn’t be a big deal in the slightest.

Patrick St. Michel: Paranoia probably shouldn’t sound this car-radio friendly, but at least Shawn Mendes and Camila Cabello’s criss-crossing vocals add a nice dash of disorientation to a song that happily ditches unease in favor of a big dumb hook. 

Anthony Easton: The counter-harmony on this is much better than it should be. Also, it’s delightfully paranoid. 

Alfred Soto: Mendes’s anguished timbre in the refrain works, and Camila Cabello brings desperation without curdling into hysteria. They deserve a better setting than this stomper that turns into Rihanna over a “Hey Ya” rhythm.

Leonel Manzanares de la Rosa: I like Camila’s voice a lot, but I think Shawn’s vocal is stronger here. His soft, affected tone in the pre-chorus shows maturity I wasn’t expecting from him, and the acoustic guitar makes for a feeling of intimacy. It’s a shame that, with such an anthemic vocal riff (and Bill Withers’ “I know I know” lines), the musical arrangements go nowhere interesting, and god, that bridge is way too long. 

Micha Cavaseno: Every so often I say “more Auto-Tune, because these singers can’t sing.” Nobody here can sing, and Cabello’s nasal passage whining and Mendes’s bleating insistence are made all the worse by their hysterical adlibbing over this shitshow of melodramatic fanfare. The one point that I’ve managed to pry out of here isn’t for anything in the arrangement or in either of their performances, or even these absurd lyrics. It’s the fact that somehow Mendes doesn’t sound half as infuriatingly obnoxious as a vocalist as he did on “Stitches,” possibly because now he’s not the only one stomping new holes in the ship he came in on.

Josh Winters: They think they know more than Jessie J, don’t they.

Reader average: [4.57] (7 votes)

Vote: 0   1   2   3   4   5   6   7   8   9   10

10 Responses to “Shawn Mendes & Camila Cabello – I Know What You Did Last Summer”

  1. rip reading the criot act

  2. I thought maybe it was something to do with crying, but maybe that would be the cryot act

  3. shawn mendes is a big crying baby


  5. “Stitches” get pitches

  6. shawn mendes more like yawn mendes

  7. My first [0]! And I still feel like this totally deserves it.

  8. This isn’t that bad at all! The production more than makes up for that awkward-as-hell Bill Withers interpolation.
    I still don’t like Shawn Mendes himself though, because like any other person in his genre he’s still the worst thing about his own songs.

  9. Chorus sounds like something Infinity on High-era FOB would’ve rejected for being “too commercial.” It’s the only good thing about this

  10. if this song is good for nothing else at least we got this vine out of it