Monday, November 28th, 2016

Stevie Wonder ft. Ariana Grande – Faith

We’ll keep this in our prayers…


Katie Gill: Oh my gosh, what did they do to poor Stevie Wonder’s vocals that they sound so LIFELESS? When you have the name Stevie Wonder attached to a project, it naturally comes with a set of expectations that this song doesn’t have. I can’t wrap my head around this song because one, it’s written by Ryan Tedder and you can tell. Two, if you’re wanting a mega hit with a lot of radio play a la “Can’t Stop The Feeling” for your animated movie, this middle of the album fodder is a valiant effort but certainly not it. And three, again, the song feels like it was written for someone like Charlie Puth but Stevie Wonder showed up and asked for the part, that’s how generic and boring his vocals are. But the worst part of all? I can’t actively hate it. I really, really want to hate it but I’m a sucker for peppy, handclappy pop that I find myself giving it a four even though it really deserves a two.

Alfred Soto: Of course I want new Stevie Wonder — it’s been eleven years. And he’s often a supernatural covers artist, so ceding songwriting and producing credits shouldn’t have bothered me. But Ryan Tedder and Benny Blanco? In singles like “Counting Stars,” Tedder has sought and attained a Rose Bowl level of dick-waving importance at odds with Wonder’s modest way of creating, inhabiting, and burrowing out of a track. “Faith” is a gesture, a series of hand motions, an attempt by songwriters without convictions to approximate transport. Nothing against Ariana Grande. Stevie however — Stevie sounds like he’s been told to gargle with margarine.

Thomas Inskeep: On one hand it’s not only to some extent yet another “Happy” Xerox, but it sounds (even if you didn’t know) like it’s from an animated film (which it is). On the other, it’s an uptempo Stevie Wonder song (hallelujah indeed) and features Ariana Grande at her most believably cute. So you bop your head to it, knowing that anyone under the age of, say, ten will likely be singing this all through the holidays, and that this dynamic duo will give Lin Manuel-Miranda a run for his money at next year’s Oscars. It’s pleasant, inoffensive, and perky as all hell.

Cédric Le Merrer: I guess if I was a CGI animal this would be my jam: as far as these soulless cash-ins go, this is a better job than both “Happy” and “Can’t Stop The Feeling.” Stevie Wonder can still do a better Ray Charles than most. And not pushing Ariana Grande too high smartly avoids any Minnie Ripperton comparison. 

Jonathan Bradley: In children’s entertainment, soul is used to evoke the uplift and positivity of the 1960s Motown sound while removing it from the sociopolitical context in which it was made. America loves black music of generations past: the creativity endures but the frisson has been muted by time. In “Happy,” Pharrell gave Despicable Me 2 a modern take on an old style; on “Faith,” recorded for a movie about a koala who sounds like Matthew McConaughey, an originator of this sound conforms to the cast poured by his successors. It’s entirely perfunctory; Ariana Grande exerts a greater presence than Stevie Wonder, which is not a good sign.

Ramzi Awn: Perfunctory pop with a punch of everyone’s favorite multitalented impersonator belting it out perfectly on point.   

Olivia Rafferty: A lot of it feels like a song assembled with a great sense of ease and formula, like stacking Lego blocks of Motown tropes. But Stevie Wonder’s still got it, Grande injects brightness with her vocals, and the overall energy keeps it comfortably afloat.

Will Adams: Illumination Entertainment’s relentless onslaught of advertising this year already predisposed me to dislike anything associated with Sing; “Faith” epitomizes the same in-your-face, market-tested approach to pitching a movie that seems to have no plot other than “animals singing pop songs.” Tedder and Blanco microwave “Happy” leftovers and serve it to Wonder and Grande, who’re left to poke at it with their forks so as not to mess with the family-friendly “fun.”

Reader average: [7] (2 votes)

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5 Responses to “Stevie Wonder ft. Ariana Grande – Faith”

  1. I was going to defend this until “Stevie Wonder Swag” happened and now I think you were all too generous.

  2. Boy, you guys can be grumps sometimes. A fun, upbeat Stevie Wonder song, something I typically think is immune to cynicism.

  3. The Singles Scroogebox

  4. ” A fun, upbeat Stevie Wonder song, something I typically think is immune to cynicism.”

    We thought so too until this dirty sock hit our faces!

  5. This sounds like a Glee original song tribute to Little Richard