Wednesday, November 23rd, 2016

Sabina Ddumba – Time

UK house via Swedish R&B…


Tim de Reuse: Can’t help but feel like I’ve heard this before: the dotted-eighth-note bouncing bassline, the particular brand of instrumentation, the vocal hook stretched out into a melodic hook against its will (“If it’s oo-oo-oo-vuh-er“) are all common tropes of pop of the last few years, and there’s no particularly novel talent brought to the foreground here. Past the immediately derivative elements, though, there’s nothing to complain about — Ddumba’s an expressive singer with a good deal of dynamic range, and she nails a few ruthlessly earwormish melodies.

Alfred Soto: An excellent R&B single, buoyed by all manner of percussion gewgaws, sampled and real (love the ticking clock). The Swedish singer doesn’t oversell.

William John: Having deduced that her lover is as jaded as she, Sabina Ddumba turns to finger snaps and house thumps from the John Talabot textbook for solace. They prove formidable foils for her charming voice, which, as it turns out, has a natural deference to R&B cadences when not paired with twee staccato piano and other associated Sandéisms.

Iain Mew: The wobbly, hard-to-parse chorus reminds me of “Lean On,” or at least a much grittier and messier version of it. That grit almost works for the sentiment, but so many musical and lyrical themes compete for space that they add up to a strangely featureless murk.

Claire Biddles: I’m still not tired of this kind of misty, moody R&B even though it’s been everywhere this year. Like producer MNEK’s singles, I don’t think I’ll have properly heard this until it comes on in a club at 1 a.m. — the drops in the chorus beg to be accompanied by a half-drunk haze and blue lights through a fog machine.

Adaora Ede: Ddumba makes a grand introduction of Laura Mvula dramatics in “Time”, but quickly dissipates into MNEK’s signature UK garage sound. Her voice opens up the dancefloor more than her benefactor’s wailing does (I’m glad this wasn’t the duet I expected). The extra emotive quality, I think, might be the solitary justification for this contemp RnB/synthpop emulsion extending the reach of troped-up dance music. There’s a bit of ardor in even that trite pulsating beat; Sabina Ddumba reveals that she won’t be our puppet European house diva.

Will Adams: What makes the bustling chorus satisfying is that, contra to EDM-pop diktats, it isn’t foreshadowed with synth risers or filter sweeps. The result is a song that allows Sabina Ddumba to stay in total control; the music serves as an extension of her voice, not the other way around.

Reader average: [6] (2 votes)

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One Response to “Sabina Ddumba – Time”

  1. We can add this one to the short list of “Alfred’s score is the highest” entries ( )