Thursday, June 15th, 2017

Russ – Losin’ Control

His 49th single of 2015, and a hit in 2017.


Nortey Dowuona: Wow. Just… This guy once made a really whiny mixtape about how a girlfriend (who was a hoe) was a hoe, and threw a fit. This same guy called people queer when they didn’t post his music. This guy said Drake was the only one mixing things up. This guy got into it with Craig Jenkins because he was still whining. And yet… this song is empathetic and understanding and beautiful. The drums, sadly, don’t groove and just limp along, with quick jabs here and there. The synths are superb and pulse and glow, providing his heavy, awkward voice a buoyancy it’s never had. But it never goes anywhere, nor comes full circle. A shame, really.

Iain Mew: Using third person in the lyrics is a really interesting choice, working towards a similar balance between detachment and emotion as the match of the cool production with Russ’ crooning. The empathy is unusual and pleasing, but thinly stretched without much detail to the characters, and the switch to first person in the chorus loses the thread. Russ tries to see things from a girlfriend’s perspective but doesn’t manage to stay out of the way of the story, and at a time when the charts are so male, it’s not hard to think it would be better to listen to a woman telling her own.

Alfred Soto: The singsong melody is an annoyance — let’s get it out of the way. On the other hand, like the Maluma track we reviewed this week, the third person point of view adds a layer of sophistication to the usual cheatin’ scenario, despite my rarely assuming synonymity between the singer and the character in songs. But the spare arrangement can’t support that weak melody.

Micha Cavaseno: As of the time of this review, I’m lying on my floor in disbelief, staring at my ceiling, wondering how in the world there was somehow room for a major label version of Spooky Black, right down to the lack of vocals or any memorable production. Actually I take it back, somehow that hideous meme didn’t have nearly as bad a vocal tone and a much more capable use of drums. The anemic world of 808s and gloom is truly reaching the point of absolute collapse, and someone like Russ feels like whatever the landmarks might be that indicate you’re approaching a cliff-fall.

Joshua Minsoo Kim: “EVERYTHING IS PRODUCED, MIXED, MASTERED, ENGINEERED, WRITTEN 100% SOLELY BY ME.” These are some of the words that appear onscreen during Russ’ music video for “Exposed.” And yes, Mr. Russ Vitale is indeed the only person who worked on “Losin Control.” It makes sense; I can’t imagine more than one person having worked on this post-“White Iverson” eye-roller. There’s this nagging sense in all of Russ’ music that he needs you to know how authentic he is. When his lyrics don’t capture it outright, you hear it elsewhere. In “Losin Control,” it’s there in the calculated midword pauses, the defeated tone, the muted synthpad ambience. Let’s just be thankful he didn’t attach this note to the song.

Stephen Eisermann: Russ’ album is excellent and this song, the kinda-sorta lead single, is terrific. There’s a humility in Russ’ delivery that makes it easier to accept his narration of this woman’s inner thoughts. As a decent human being, I often take issue with men writing a woman’s story because it too often is used to advance whatever narrative the man is pushing — usually, one ending in the man being a hero/savior/etc. This song falls into that trap, but I don’t believe Russ is using the woman as a prop in the man’s story; instead, Russ opts to keep the focus entirely on the woman’s conflicting feelings, and though I could’ve done without the “he understands she’s coming from a hurt place” verse, as it feels very mansplain-y, Russ correctly leaves the “good man” two-dimensional for the remainder of the song. He is only described as the complete opposite of the man that our female protagonist endured. Furthermore, the way Russ relays what the woman central to his story goes through just feels so familiar and underrepresented. This woman has been emotionally and mentally abused, constantly thought to feel as though she was doing something wrong when it was her boyfriend who was betraying her. It’s refreshing to hear about this woman suffering and working through it on her own while accompanied by a minimal yet melancholy production. This song, like love, hurts, but they both hurt so good.

Austin Brown: Perfectly serviceable post-Drake does himself in by refusing to admit he might be a fuckboy too, and the faux-wistful third person only makes it worse. At least Drizzy engages, however hypothetically, in a dialogue with his fantasies of wronged purity.

Reader average: [6] (2 votes)

Vote: 0   1   2   3   4   5   6   7   8   9   10

One Response to “Russ – Losin’ Control”

  1. You are much more forgiving and kind than I am Nortey if you knew all those red flags but can *still* find this track empathetic and beautiful. Hilarious that he had beef with Craig Jenkins.