Tuesday, August 16th, 2016

Hailee Steinfeld & Grey ft. Zedd – Starving

“…She’s eating him. And then she’s going to eat me! OH MY GOOOOOOOOOD!!!”


Katie Gill: Hailee Steinfeld is one of those pop artists that really deserves to be big but somehow hasn’t cracked the Top 20 yet. That being said, I can kind of see why this won’t crack the Top 100. Steinfeld lilts over the verses, equal parts sexy and yearning. The way she purrs “by the way, you do things to my body” might just be the highlight of the song. In contrast, Zedd phones in a beat and a downright awful drop. If you’re going to make a pop song, don’t shoehorn in a beat & drop that’s obviously from a different pop song.

Patrick St. Michel: You mean I can have the goofy poetry normally lurking in a Zedd song, without the parts that actually make it good? Keep your folk-core EDM away, thanks.

Alfred Soto: “I didn’t know I was starving until I tasted you” requires the wink of the coquette or the glancing offhanded lust — why give the game away? — of a Shirley Manson, Hayley Williams, or Chrissie Hynde. Although Hailee Steinfeld’s up for the mindfuck, the “Love Yourself” arrangement is like water dripping into a metal bucket.

Cassy Gress: Hailee says she was younger yesterday; she’s had crushes before but nothing so deep and fulfilling as this. Why should she settle for butterflies, she wonders, when you have given her the whole damn zoo? Because, I retort, zoo metaphors don’t really have much of a place in good relationships (sounds too much like either mayhem or bestiality), and also because if this had been a song about butterflies in either the literal or metaphorical sense, it’d probably have more for Grey and Zedd to work with. It feels nobody involved with this actually knows what serious, lived-in love is like, so they aimed for “unexciting” and “talent show” instead.

A.J. Cohn: It’s almost impressive how dull this song makes a sexual awakening sound.

Thomas Inskeep: Hailee Steinfeld: as uninteresting musically as Halsey, but with an Oscar nomination!

Crystal Leww: Last week, Pitchfork ran their DJ Snake album review where the writer spent a lot of space dissecting “Turn Down for What” and complaining that the ballads on Encore were boring because they weren’t loud enough to play to EDM’s strengths. EDM’s strengths, by the way, are the enormous lack of subtlety in music. That’s a fine assertion, but what critics who don’t listen to dance music fail to understand is how obviousness can be applied beyond just loud party anthems. The bigness that EDM throws into songs works particularly with emotion, too. Zedd has always been making EDM music that is concerned with the bigness of feeling, particularly around the bigness of feminine feeling (and always crediting his women who do his vocals). He’s only a featuring artist here, but there’s so much of Zedd’s general philosophy here of bigness of emotion combined with bigness of production. Hailee Steinfeld makes another song that is filled with double entendres, and Grey does a good job with the swoops in the bass. This is a fine festival set filler for making eyes at sensitive bros.

Brad Shoup: The three DJs stuff the “Call Me Maybe” string hook into a woodchipper; the damage is visceral. Steinfeld’s pitchshifting — first low, then high — actually mesh with the infernal machinery. There are a couple parts where the guitar is foregrounded, and she can do her early-Bailey-Rae sunshine-R&B thing. But the string part has too much gravity.

Will Adams: I can’t think of a more 2016-sounding song. “Starving” succinctly runs through the ABCs of EDM: acoustic campfire opening, blaring pitch shifted vocal hook (both high and low!), and clopping beats over which synth string chords slash like swords. This also means Steinfeld, still responsible for one of last year’s best songs, gets to turn in a perfunctory effort despite the song’s carnal conceit. Neither here nor there, but about as clinical as music can sound these days.

Katherine St Asaph: And I know things now, many valuable things that I hadn’t known before: do not put your faith in a single with Zedd, get a more-than-one-trick producer instead; and take extra care with flangers, even drops can have their dangers, and though kissing is exciting, chill is different than good.

Reader average: [3] (4 votes)

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6 Responses to “Hailee Steinfeld & Grey ft. Zedd – Starving”

  1. That Into The Woods reference omfg

  2. but it has cracked the Hot 100

  3. In that case, amend my Hot 100 to Top 40. Because I just checked and it’s been on for two weeks and went from 96 to 81 which really isn’t all that promising imo.


  5. man y’all stink this one’s pretty good

  6. “That being said, I can kind of see why this won’t crack the Top 100.”