Thursday, March 9th, 2017

Zedd & Alessia Cara – Stay

Not just for the night this time…


Katherine St Asaph: You say I only hear what I want to, but I have yet to hear any indication Zedd has had an original idea. This time he’s got clock ticks from “What Do You Mean” and vocoders from everywhere.

Crystal Leww: I am really enjoying the current wave of pop made by younger artists like Hailee Steinfeld, Daya, Khalid, and Alessia Cara, that I refer to as ‘earnest teen pop.’ Their music is wildly heart-on-its-sleeve with the most obvious production made for the big drops and big moments, and the lyricism truly buries itself both in the detail and the end-of-the-world feeling of youth. Cara is so good on “Stay.” The lyric that gets me everytime is “living on my sofa, drinking rum and cola underneath the rising sun” because it paints such a vivid picture; the line delivery that always gets to me is the way that she sings “we can stay forever young,” a hurried whisper like it’s almost embarrassing to admit. Zedd’s production here is back to his bread-and-butter of just emotion set over drops, and it plays well on this song about desperate young love. He’s gotta be working with Daya next, right?

Maxwell Cavaseno: The vocoder-splurge hook dive is pretty well-executed and while the windswept builds on the verses are meant to give an extra bit of grandeur behind Alessia Cara’s sense of herself as The One Most High Among The Youths, instrumentation here ends up resembling more of a travel agency commercial vibe. I actually wish this had been given the chance to be Alessia’s record instead of Zedd’s, because maybe it would be less sleek and more thunderous in Cara’s tendency to insist on her own importance, her greatest point to tease, but her greatest strength as well.

Alfred Soto: I’m not sure I’d sit in a room drinking rum and cola waiting for a lover — not if those beats are coming out of my computer.

Iain Mew: The clocks and humming are a neat way of extending his cut-up approach, but without any real way that they’re tied in to wider drama that doesn’t go far. I miss “the night.”

Will Adams: In which Alessia Cara sets her text better than Taylor Swift, and Zedd churns out what might as well have started as a bootleg remix of “Closer.” It’s nice to hear him leaning into cheese, between the tick tocks and the raised leading tones, which at the least gives “Stay” a refreshing sincerity compared to his contemporaries.

Ramzi Awn: Forever young is a state of mind, not a lyric that works anymore. And the punctuated “hey” doesn’t help. Zedd’s production shines and Alessia Cara’s voice is impressive, but the chorus borders on Kesha more than Imogen Heap.

Joshua Copperman: Zedd’s best production ever, easily, from the surprising Cb-Eb-Fm-C7 progression that pops up every so often to the intensely shiny percussion throughout (the amount of transient designer instances on that mix would probably melt my laptop), and the melody is such an earworm. As a contrast to “It Ain’t Me”, the lyrics in the verses do kind of seem like filler, but holy shit the chorus. The amount of playfulness and life in this song is refreshing, and while I’ve gradually lost interest in both parties over the years, I’m now re-invested.

Scott Mildenhall: While today’s Garrix and Kygo songs are entirely redolent of an immobile present, the chorus of this has hints of the robofuturism that electronic music can do like no other. There’s far more palpable emotion too, with Alessia Cara’s delivery, again far more evocative than Gomez’ or Lipa’s, combining with an almost mechanical pressure as she lays down her entreaty. Crucially, that’s where things are left: on a precipice of potentiality.

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3 Responses to “Zedd & Alessia Cara – Stay”

  1. Didn’t “Stay the Night” get to the ticking clock before “What Do You Mean”? Although recycling your own idea doesn’t make it that much more interesting.

  2. probably, “What Do You Mean” has just been drilled into my brain over the past year

  3. It made me think of Martin Garrix’s “Animals” which uses the ticks less as underlying beat and more like this (although without relating them to a lyric like the others)