Tuesday, March 31st, 2009

Ms Dynamite – Bad Gyal

Possibly the weakest web presence of anyone we’ve reviewed thus far – her official site still has a “MAKE POVERTY HISTORY” banner on it…

[Fanmade video][Fanmade site]

Ian Mathers: I don’t remember Ms. Dynamite being quite this patois-heavy, but it suits her. “Bad Gyal” doesn’t seem as socially concerned (or as heavy-handed) as parts of A Little Deeper were, but with that slow-burning chorus it’s hard to care too much. “Bad Gyal” also features a surprisingly apt use of strings, and the rough/smooth feel of those strings with her voice elevates this above just another fiyah-spitting single.

Edward Okulicz: The first time I listened to it, it was pretty much just a disorientating, overwhelming collection of sounds – “Toxic” string sweeps, folky Eastern strings, sirens, fierce beats. But these are all sounds I love – a succession of fantastic what the fuck? moments. The second time, I could see them all coming but it didn’t diminish the thrill one bit.

Hillary Brown: Clever samples, and she certainly has a near-auctioneer’s patter, but the song doesn’t push any of my buttons, perhaps because it’s got a distinct lack of melody. That said, it’d make quite the theme song for a Hot Cheetos commercial.

Alex Macpherson: Would that all comebacks from the pop grave sounded as vital as this! Eschewing the standard UK pop act tactic of playing their return as safely and conservatively as possible – Alesha Dixon, I’m looking at you – Ms Dynamite seizes the opportunity to re-hook up with Sticky, the producer on whose 2002 single “Booo!” she first came to prominence, to make the kind of track she should have been making all along. It’s a welcome return to MCing, for one thing, and as ever Ms D utterly slays the beat – witness how she repeatedly speeds up to a near-impossible pace before pulling back, switching the tempo, reminding us that no matter how bewilderingly frenetic she gets, she’s always in control. And then there’s the beat itself: a galloping rhythm which would fit neatly into any UK funky set without ever doing anything as vulgar as bandwagonning, constant switch-ups which pull the rug from under your feet again and again, sirens and smashing glass and completely insane, distorted violin motifs which go off in all directions like fireworks. It’s breathtaking stuff, both due to its audacity and the way it never lets you stop dancing, and it deserves to catapult Ms Dynamite firmly back into the limelight.

Hazel Robinson: The problem is, Ms. Dynamite’s so much better when she’s doing underground tracks like this (& whether it should be huge or not, there’s a certain snarl to Sticky’s stuff that would make it sound like an underdog if it was going triple-platinum) but at the same time, she’s so good at them you want her to get gigantic again. The sweep of the strings here, combined with that muffled bassline and her addictive, machine-gun rapping has “MASSIVE SUMMER ANTHEM” written all over it.

Additional Scores

Martin Kavka: [5]
Martin Skidmore: [8]

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