Martin Skidmore: There’s a fine line between ‘very catchy’ and ‘fucking annoying’. For me this leaps boldly across to the latter side from the start, and happily stays there. “Eenie meenie miny moe/Catch a bad chick by her toe” is a horrible opening, and it sticks with the theme. Sean is heavily autotuned, Justin is wet. The Benny Blanco production is actually rather good, bright and cheery, but I kind of hate this anyway.
Michaelangelo Matos: The chorus is reprehensible, the appeal to kids is appalling, the Auto-tune needs the National Guard called on it: but that’s not what bothers me the most about this song. What does is this: “You seem like the type to love ’em and leave ’em/And disappear right after this song.” Sorry, dudes, but no: you do not get to be reflexively postmodern. This record sucked hard enough without it.
Al Shipley: The very existence of a song with this title by these artists has brought me about as much entertainment as any bad song in 2010 not by the Insane Clown Posse, so it gets a couple extra points for that. It gets the other points for the way they really try to sell this thing with such a forlorn melody and emotive vocals, even when they’re saying “shawty is a eenie meenie miney mo lover.”
Alex Ostroff: This is basically serviceable and inoffensive autotune&B, but I can’t get over the chorus. There is no level on which “Shorty is an eenie meenie minie moe lover” is not laughable, and the feeble attempts to evoke regret, pain or empathy in the verses are completely undercut by how incredibly dumb the entire conceit is. A suggestion: Kingston’s next single should be called “Lil’ Bo Peep” and feature Nicki Minaj. It’ll seem marginally less desperate.
Hillary Brown: If I start to think hard about this song, I could scale back my rating due to the fact that, for example, it’s not as bats as Trey Songz’s “LOL,” to which it bears some resemblance in its melodic qualities and immaturity, but sometimes the heart wants what it wants, and the pairing of two of the prettiest voices around today on material that doesn’t waste their talents is really nice to have.
Jonathan Bogart: I never expected Justin Bieber to be the highlight of a guest-spot, but he winds up sounding more thoughtful and assured than the presumable star of the track. (And now I’m wondering if all those songs I thought were by Akon were really Sean Kingston.) Meet the new Jesse McCartney, same as the old Jesse McCartney, I guess.
Renato Pagnani: Is it just me or does the Biebs sound exactly like Ellie Goulding here?
Alfred Soto: When Bieber pipes in his bit seconds after Kingston wishes in his Auto-tuned chirp that he and his girl “come together as one,” I assume Bieber is the girl. That Auto-Tune, I tell ya — turning boys into girls who want boys.
John Seroff: Number grades and critical reception hardly matter when what’s being critiqued is less a song and more a trending twitter topic. “Eenie Meenie” might have a greater half-life than a tweet, but I’m not sure it could outlast a green banana; evidence of this piggy being rushed too quickly to market is caked on like improperly trimmed flash. It took a few listens for me to realize that Kingster (Biebston?) were not trying to “catch a fat chick”, the lyrics sound mad-libbed and the by-the-numbers melody is drably preset and forgotten. To be fair, neither of these kids really rankles; they’ve both already pinched out at least one loaf of bleached but acceptable product (“Beautiful Girls” and “One Time” respectively). A low score here is less emblematic of my disliking the song (which I do, but whatever) and more a sign of my disapproval at the forcing of the golden goose to so frantically shit itself. A few more empty farts of this sort and the amiably mediocre Bieber may be fried and forgotten before he finishes his teens. Young fella, pace yourself.
Matt Cibula: I’m assuming that dude is saying “bad chick,” in which case this all makes a hilarious sort of nonsense. (If it’s “fat chick” then I subtract eight points from my score.) Anyway, I’ll get gored for this by the good critics around here but my ears hear a pretty good example of how artificial ingredients can taste wonderful, even though they are pretty damned bad for you in the long run.
Katherine St Asaph: My mother told me to pick the very best one, and you are not it. Especially when you just CTRL-V Bieber into “Fire Burning.”