Friday, February 26th, 2010

Melanie Fiona – It Kills Me

Has now spent more than half a year on the Billboard hip-hop/R&B charts, so obviously we reviewed These New Puritans first…


Al Shipley: This is the kind of slow burning R&B radio megahit that usually gets to me sooner or later, but after months of ubiquity its charms have still kind of eluded me. I feel the drama, I enjoy the “ooh-ooh-ooh” hook, but the overall effect is kind of a shrug.

Martin Skidmore: A big R&B ballad with lots of drama, which she carries off superbly, moving from breathy light notes to a powerful big chorus. She sometimes sounds too consciously mannered, but she is a very gifted singer, and mostly sounds terrific. I like this a lot, but I also suspect there could be genuinely great things from her in the future.

Chuck Eddy: Her singing comes impressively close to embodying the genuine cheated-on soul thing rather than just being “about” the cheated-on soul thing; production’s a bit Lisa Stansfield try-hard, though. Bonus: parts where she goes “yoo-hoo-hoo” sound like “Cool One” by ’70s rock band Starz!

Anthony Easton: Tragedies of ennui and the domestic always make me feel isolated; the isolation works as a kind of nasty feed back loop. This is one of the better songs about this ambiguity, of the inability but desire to maintain the sexual status quo.

Alfred Soto: Co-dependent forever more, and damn proud of it.

Mallory O’Donnell: We’re all helpless and a little possessed when we’re in love, but you seem to be taking it rather personally. I’m always ready to sympathize with the wounded party, but the overemphasis on your own lack of an active role in this relationship strikes me as being way too passive-aggressive. Besides, the mere fact that you call making love “ooh hoo hoo” tells me you’re not ready.

Hillary Brown: I don’t love this song, but I also can’t help but acknowledge that Fiona’s kind of doing a great job with the tale of woe and drama as enacted in vocal swoops over an extremely simple backing track. It’s like Keyshia Cole before she decided she was more interested in being sexy than in being righteously wrong.

Martin Kavka: I usually have little patience for indecisive women in pop. If he’s cheating, either stay (and stop complaining) or leave (after which you won’t need to complain anymore). It’s not rocket science, you know? But Fiona’s performance, which I find to be more affecting than the strongest of Jazmine Sullivan tracks, and little curlicues of production — is there a sampled noise of fingers sliding up a fretboard? — persuade me that it’s not blameworthy to be conflicted about the decision to leave someone.

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