Friday, May 19th, 2017

Maxwell – Gods

Good thing the greater Maxwell writes for us, then!


[Video]
[5.67]

Maxwell Cavaseno: As the lesser Maxwell dulls even further than his already non-stimulating output could provide, we find this fake-ass-Maxwell now past R&B and into soft-pop territory, occupying some weird territory between Peter Cetera and Bobby Caldwell. I do not know what the game of Gods is, but I couldn’t manage to be interested in the polite, driftiness of this single, far too tame and polite to impose even so much as a memory. Which is fine, because I’m sick to hell of being reminded of this guy anytime someone mentions “HEY YOU KNOW Y’ALL GOT THE SAME NAME?”. I could never be this passive, for better or worse in certain eyes, but certainly better when compared to dreck like this.
[4]

Will Rivitz: Maxwell’s recipe for stunning neo-soul is usually a winner, every ingredient included in perfect proportion. Here, I think the bag of Lionel Richie must have split over the bowl.
[5]

Tim de Reuse: Maxwell’s performance is spirited and emotive, but he’s belting half-rhyming wavering melodies that are too shy to properly resolve themselves around tonally indecisive chord progressions that barely poke out of a stylistically baffling instrumental and it’s all just monumentally frustrating to listen to (see: the intrusive sci-fi squeals, the failed attempt to rhyme “judiciously” and “convincingly,” the open hats on every goddamn upbeat). There is is a disconcerting awkwardness at work here that lives just below the glossy surface, like the score was drawn up by a misconfigured neural network and then realized by a producer who didn’t think to check if it made any sense.
[3]

Thomas Inskeep: A little more uptempo, a little more sneakily slinky, high-hats galore. And it comes in and out in under 3:30, utterly unconventional for a Maxwell song. He of course sings it beautifully, because he can’t do otherwise. That said, it all seems a bit slight.
[6]

Anthony Easton: The chorus here has a real hook, and the calm fury is genuinely scary. The whole track has a regal sumptuousness, the brushed drums, the keyboards, the slowed down track that nods to house. Such smart choices. 
[8]

Alfred Soto: Nine months after his album dropped and peaked, Maxwell releases its suavest attempt at sublimity. He re-conceives the refrain “You play the game of  gods” into a cry of despaired admiration, nudging R&B toward a  novel tension between romance and formal reserve.
[8]

Reader average: [6] (1 vote)

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