Friday, May 6th, 2016

Temi Dollface – School Your Face

This is pop music, we say.


Jibril Yassin: Temi’s great at standing out amid the fantastic production; her vocals twist and turn in a way that doesn’t feel laboured. “School Your Face” is a lazy, funky strut until that fantastic slow burn of a bridge and rap breakdown comes around the corner to melt you down. Consider me schooled. 

Jonathan Bogart: I try really hard not to have platonic ideals of what pop music should be because pop music is a moving target, and I don’t want to be another Unfrozen Caveman Pop Critic forever claiming things were at their best when they meant the most to me personally. But Temi Dollface so deeply satisfies my ideals, with her catchy, hooky, witty, multiphonic, fleet, and rhythmically sophisticated songs, that I have to listen extra hard to make sure she isn’t just making me nostalgic. But I don’t think she is. She raids Africa’s pop past — South African jive, Nigerian jùjú, Ghanaian highlife — for sounds that in their bright unfamiliarity (to Western ears) are transformed into sleek cut-n-paste futurism in sync with the best past-raiders around the globe today. “School Your Face” turns a grandmotherly reproof of the impolite stares or giggles of childhood into a warning about keeping up appearances within the war zones of grownup relationships; as someone who worries that his poker face belies a poker heart, it’s only just starting to mean a lot to me personally.

Jessica Doyle: “School Your Face” takes a more eclectic approach to structure than did “Pata Pata” without skimping on the beat or the wit. There’s the argument for listening on if you need one, if you somehow have managed to get past her self-deprecating deadpan delivery of “UV protection” without being won over.

Cassy Gress: There’s a choir of Temi Dollfaces a-gun-gun-gun-a-chika-chun-chun-ing a guitar line, and in the pre-chorus (“there’s something that you should know, but I’m afraid to tell you so”) the upper harmonies drop down to a surprise E natural instead of an E-flat. The organ, the clicks, the groove — I could listen to this, like, a thousand times. 

Alfred Soto: The tapdance and yell breakdown recalls early ’00s Missy Elliott, but the nervous rhythm and Temi Dollface’s stentorian command are her own.

Crystal Leww: Temi Dollface has a lot of personality, and it’s on full display in “School Your Face” as she warps and drawls and elongates words and phrases. The comparisons to Janelle Monae have tons of merit — both are artists who are not interested in adhering to any kind of genre or standard of music without abandoning the basic rule of making things catchy. This is extremely catchy.

Brad Shoup: I’m hearing Prince in all the voices she’s assembled, but the track patters instead of pops. And the coda could’ve withstood way more vamping.

Anthony Easton: The speed of the production and the slowness of Dollface’s voice work as a kind of doubling effect, which complicates a song that could be a little simple. The work isn’t needlessly complex but has a green, lush, freshness. 

Reader average: [7.4] (5 votes)

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One Response to “Temi Dollface – School Your Face”

  1. wow, exact same score as pata pata. both are amazing songs, so this is a neat coincidence