Tuesday, December 13th, 2016

Heize ft. Dean & DJ Friz – And July

And the ~smoooooth~ continues…


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[6.82]

Madeleine Lee: Songs that want to be listened to in the summer are often forceful about it, trying to refresh you with a brisk splash of cold water. “And July” is a more relaxed kind of refreshing, like the breeze from an oscillating fan. It has a solid melody, a catchy beat, and an assured performance from Heize, all putting the “play” in playing it cool. The one complaint I have about this song is also my complaint about this year in Korean R&B: too much Dean. With a little bit of line redistribution this could’ve been a smashing duet, push and pull like the relationship they’re singing about; instead, Heize plays off of Dean while Dean plays off of a mirror. But if there’s too much Dean here, at least it’s the most interesting I’ve heard him sound all year.
[8]

Alfred Soto: Shufflebeat! How I’ve missed it. The arrangement of the two voices doesn’t cloy: imagine Justin and Janet over a Soul II Soul beat.
[6]

Thomas Inskeep: “And July” starts with a backbeat taken from De La Soul’s 1991 classic “Ring Ring Ring (Ha Ha Hey)” and some era-complimentary scratches from DJ Friz: my musical pleasure centers are immediately activated. Heize flips back & forth with ease from singing to rapping, while Dean chimes in here and there until the second verse, where they swap places. There’s a lovely little bit of keys throughout giving things a warm, lived-in feel. This could’ve been an MTV Jams jam-and-a-half back in the day, and because that’s my era, I am more than down with this.
[9]

Will Adams: In which DJ Friz presents a ~vibe~ and thinks that’s enough to carry a whole song. “And July” is not even four minutes and feels like a drag, and it’s not helped by Heize and Dean’s competent, safe performance.
[5]

Tim de Reuse: A cute riff, a cute story, a cute groove… but oh, dear, does it get old. The energy level twitches upwards during the chorus but apart from that this story of hesitant lovers in stasis remains itself locked in place — which, you know, might have been clever if the loop that most of the song is based off of wasn’t so insufferably peppy. Even the most innocuous-sounding thing can start to grate on the nerves with enough careless repetition, even if the intent is all good fun.
[5]

Ramzi Awn: “And July” bounces with smooth harmonies and delivers the kind of fun fit for both catching a tan and DJing a holiday party.   
[7]

Ryo Miyauchi: While artists like to apply B-boy hip-hop nostalgia as a front to cover up sensitivity, the wistful Rhodes keyboards on “And July” loosens up pride. It’s got Heize sprung and Dean dropping savings for his crush. Though summer has yet to come in the song, those keys leave a romantic yet melancholy warmth like it’s around the corner. And in a way, that odd feeling in the song is how the season truly feels: romance feels within arm’s reach, though somehow always slipping away.
[8]

Leonel Manzanares de la Rosa: While Heize’s delivery is certainly compelling — half-sung, half-rapped, with a pleasant tone that can easily swing both ways — Dean is the biggest surprise here. He’s experimented — to great success — with several forms of R&B, but this production, with the Velvet Rope-era Janet beat, the jazzy organs and the jazzier bridge is his perfect fit. 
[7]

Brad Shoup: Ah, the classic throwback jazz-bap track that mentions Ultra tickets. Dean’s better in his higher register, Heize is best going lower; they glide ever closer together before a nice mutual orbit in the end. It’s melodically generous: the backing vocals display a particular slyness, but both leads do the legacy of August Darnell proud.
[7]

Jonathan Bradley: Heize’s warm R&B lives up to the pedigree of the dusty boom-bap drums and chilled Rhodes groove; better still is her rapping, which is curly without appearing effortful, and laden with personality. Dean adds another dimension, though perhaps not enough to justify taking that much time from a lead as engaging as Heize. In its playful energy I’m reminded of Mamamoo’s far less compelling “Taller Than You”; this draws upon the same bounce without losing sophistication along the way.
[7]

Josh Langhoff: “And July” opens with four bars of chiming RZA austerity, then morphs into smooth Rhodes-based R&B like there’s nothing to it. And then it sticks with the Rhodes, even floating through a key changing MJ-esque bridge, assuring us the introductory chime was only a bad dream. But it does recur! The chiming does recur! The chiming, once encountered, will always recur just when things seem most peaceful and chill. Under a chorus of gangs who assure us they’re fine, we’re fine, everything’s fine, and July. You know? No.
[6]

Reader average: [8] (3 votes)

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One Response to “Heize ft. Dean & DJ Friz – And July”

  1. Dean is something different from other R&B singers in the industry.