Thursday, May 13th, 2010

Chipmunk ft. Esmee Denters – Until You Were Gone

It’s We’re-All-Friends-Here Thursday!!!…


Michaelangelo Matos: “It’s kind of weird/How you took off quicker than my career.” Is it now?

Renato Pagnani: I don’t buy the melodrama from either him or Esmee, who’s about as corporeal as the pouff of a beat here, all weightless guitars and floaty drums.

Edward Okulicz: I’m a sucker for this kind of manipulative half-rap half-song half-drivel (viz my adoration of Blazin’ Squad’s probably terrible “Let’s Start Again”), but this is pretty much all drivel. The story seems very flat and thin, and it’s not entirely clear what all of Chipmunk’s verbiage does — it doesn’t really flow well or make anything interesting as a narrative. Denters is, as usual, accomplished but charisma-free, trying to wring an emotional connection out of nothing at all and failing.

Martin Skidmore: A medium pace dance number. I like Esmee’s warm and strong singing, but it feels like they settle into a verse tempo and mood at the start, and just stay there for the whole song — I kept expecting a big chorus, but it just doesn’t change at all. Chipmunk remains bright and reasonably likeable, but I wouldn’t miss him if you took him off this.

Anthony Easton: Is it the anglo accents that make this much less generic for those across the pond?

Alex Ostroff: Much as New York gangsta rappers churned out Ashanti features once they realized it was a sure-fire path to the charts, the past year has seen grime’s ascending stars grow cuddlier, both in content and in sound. “Until You Were Gone” is an example of how to do this properly. The track manages to soften the standard Bosh beat with a wash of synths and Denters’ layered vocals. Chipmunk, meanwhile, is well-suited to this shtick, earnest and approachable; his raps are capable but never overly complex, letting his regret and the hook carry the weight. A more detailed picture of the relationship or a nuanced take on his emotions might make for a better song, but not necessarily a hit. While this isn’t as memorable as a “Song Cry”, it’s certainly more commercial.

Pete Baran: Is there a way of building a gigantic chain of people who feature on each others records? Daisy Dares You ft Chipmunk. Chipmunk ft Esmee Dentures. Esmee ft Justin Timberlake — if only there was an easy way to jump from Justin to Daisy Dares You… It may suggest there is a tight pop gang out there at the moment, and if there is, Chipmunk certainly knows how to pick pop songs where his limitations as an MC are not a problem. The move from grime into straight pop has done wonders for its main protagonists, and Chipmunk was the least grimey of the bunch. But I’d take this over N-Dubz any day. Not that anyone is forcing me to.

John Seroff: The audio equivalent of watery jailhouse oatmeal: lacking in flavor, mouthfeel, substance and nutrition, it blows right through you.

7 Responses to “Chipmunk ft. Esmee Denters – Until You Were Gone”

  1. Usually there’s SOME thing to grab onto in these kinds of pretty-dopey-prettiness songs, but this has got to be one of the most lifeless of the year.

  2. Yeah, the song is pretty non-descript Facebook status fodder. Although I do like in the first verse how Chipmunk says “Too busy chasing the skrilla” and in the background he helpfully adds, “That’s money.” Thanks, Chipmunk!

  3. #3 in the UK, so they probably do not care about the reviewers that did not like the song.

  4. Yeah, chances are that they really don’t care about the critical response to their piece of music as long as it’s popularly successful; good argument for the work’s artistic viability.

  5. This was better last year, when Tinchy Stryder and that one from the Sugababes, no not that one, the other one, yeah her, did it, and called it Never Leave You.

  6. Chipmunk is actually a terrific MC if he puts his mind to it, there’s some great stuff on his early mixtapes, but he’s not really bothered on anything I’ve heard him on for the last 12 months.

  7. The trajectories of Chipmunk and Tinchy Stryder’s careers are testament to how, apparently, putting less and less effort into your beats and rhymes, and more effort into cultivating a vacuous inoffensiveness and generic “good times” persona, which seems to be all that British pop can currently stretch to, is a surefire recipe for success.

    The UK urban crossover is so fucking terrible :(