Tuesday, December 20th, 2016

Dagny – Backbeat

Guitars from all over the world!


Alfred Soto: Cool drums and backing vocal loop, hence the name, I suppose. The Norwegian singer is one of those who confuses shouting with enthusiasm.

Olivia Rafferty: Snappy and feelgood: a decent variation of the indie-dude, guitar and handclap genre. Mainly because it’s not some indie-dude in a white T-shirt. Dagny sings in her own English accent, but not in an affected way. It’s fresh and honest, and she’s wonderfully likeable.

Brad Shoup: Focused too tightly on the interlocking rhythms to worry about rhyme, “Backbeat” is an aerobic pop-rock wonder. Her words come out in a rush; I find myself singing to cadence, not words. Dagny’s working with similar processing as a Casablancas or a Flowers. It stretches well over guitarwork they’d both nod at.

Ryo Miyauchi: Boom-clap percussion, glam riffs and a call to dance some more. I’ve heard this kind of infatuation pop hundreds of times, and every time I encounter another, I remind myself how much I won’t fall for its tricks again. Dagny’s dance moves are not so different as those that has come before; she even lets out a “whoop!” like them too. But I once again come to the same conclusion Dagny does here to a buzz she’s feeling well familiar with: “feeling like I kid myself, kid myself again.” I’m never gonna be tired of this.

Will Adams: Good pop-rock propulsion is an easy sell for me, but there’s not much else to “Backbeat” besides a lot of repeated chorus.

Ramzi Awn: The canned filter on the vocals does little for the largely unimportant tune on “Backbeat.” The song features strong chords to distinguish itself, and that’s about all. Mostly, it reads like a watered-down Sleater-Kinney.  

Jonathan Bradley: The carefully planted piano chords and “woah-oh-oh” introduction threaten to usher Dagny into anthemic terrain, by which I mean the kind of anthem played over footage of attractive young people road-tripping to a music festival as they share bottles of A Diet Soda Brand. (Adwave has evolved over the past five years.) But the nimble syllables on the hook — check out her hiccuping pronunciation of “I kid myself again” — and hint of reserve in the verses suggest “Backbeat” contains richer emotions in its contours. The production, which smooths too much out, does its best to conceal them — as does the worn imagery of “flying when I’m in your arms” — but the propulsive internal rhyme of “borderline, wasting time” and the insistent “burning up” counterbalance the clichéd moments.

Josh Langhoff: With Dagny’s endearing scratchiness on her high notes, and with a cool countermelody bearing a family resemblance to the synth wiggle from Pink Floyd’s “On the Run,” “Backbeat” belongs on the short list of exuberant tunes named for their rhythms. Such songs sound like they never want to end: think Wisin & Yandel’s “Dembow,” Bombay Bicycle Club’s “Shuffle,” Gramatik’s “Boom Bap Reinstated.” I’d say someone should make a playlist but the cumbias would quickly swallow everyone whole.

William John: Sometimes we come to the realisation that to avoid stagnancy and/or the invidious crush of emotional pain, we need to position ourself as the catalyst. Sometimes, when in pursuit of romance, furtive glances and posturing and wallflowering work as a form of endearment. Sometimes, by contrast, when shyness serves as a disguise for commitment-phobia and all that’s left is a brooding egoist, it fails. We meet Dagny, a Norwegian Spotify darling, mid-self-actualisation in “Backbeat.” She, rather unfortunately, has one of these dreadful so-and-sos in her sight line, who has her tied up in knots with second guesses. Ultimately, she knows she’s kidding herself; not everything is supposed to be eternal, and nor can it be simple, which are two notions often distressing to grasp. In lieu of wallowing, Dagny embraces the ephemera and greets it with a holler, an unwavering topline, self-deprecation and guitars that rush like blood to the head of a cartwheeler. This isn’t so much “tears at the disco” as “dancing triumphantly through a hurricane of gloom.”

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