Tuesday, June 20th, 2017

Rita Ora – Your Song

Not an Ellie Goulding Elton John cover…


Claire Biddles: Who is Rita Ora? Not in the New York Times longform profile kind of way, but in a genuine, baffled kind of way. What qualifies her to be a judge on The X Factor or host of America’s Next Top Model? How in sheer hell does she wangle an invitation to the Met Ball every single year? Can you even think of any Rita Ora songs? Her omnipresence on telly and in the pages of Grazia magazine hasn’t translated to any tangible output up to now, and “Your Song” doesn’t change that — I don’t want to sully the good name of Clean Bandit, but this is like a reeeeeally reeeeally diluted impression of a Clean Bandit song, with the plinky plonk tropical-ish sound effects but without any of the warmth or fun or personality or tunes. I’ve forgotten it as soon as it ends.

Maxwell Cavaseno: Only so many times can you make the same sales pitch, even to an audience who’s willing to take an interest if you don’t show a desire to sell… or at least that’s what my third most recent job kept insisting. The logic definitely applies to Rita Ora, who for a good few many years has been an insistent product that the UK Music Industry has pushed despite a continuous series of failure. The heavy Britishness of the lyrics on the first verse (courtesy of Ed Sheeran) is already a stumble to specificity that’ll have Americans confused. And like many of her singles, there’s a weirdly middling quality to the refusal to reach any sort of high thematically or emotionally. When we get to that sorta-kinda-big chorus, it’s like taking a big ol’ swig of flat ginger ale after a long day’s work, and equally disappointing to keep forcing it down and expecting some sort of relief or breakthrough.

Alfred Soto: Rita Ora’s scratchy vocal suits a song about making love on your best friend’s couch while tasting your lover on the tip of your tongue, never mind that Ed Sheehan wrote those lines. But the trop house arrangement is so worn that moths flew out of its pockets.

Ryo Miyauchi: Rita Ora’s recalling of her butterflies sounds age perfect: a little throwaway fun but it’s still a timeless flutter. And I crush for any song that uses a change in music choice as an effect from falling in love. For now, her new favorite music plays in the background as she does whatever with her fling. There’s a better song in here somewhere where she will tell us about specific records in detail, but that’s months, maybe years down the line from this.

Thomas Inskeep: This sounds like a paler version of “Shape of You,” and the red menace is pretty pale to begin with — so guess what, Sheeran himself wrote this garbage. Also, Rita Ora is a terrible singer.

Austin Brown: Of course Ed Sheeran has a co-write on this: it’s got the same problem that I noticed with “Shape Of You,” which is a noncommittal musical attitude towards the phenomenon of “being a person who is horny” that’s betrayed by the overt, specific passes being made in the lyrics. Here, Ora just seems to have trouble riding the (ugh) riddim that Steve Mac (also the “Shape Of You” producer) has provided, through both a lack of vocal dynamics and a simple lack of personality to make up for it. To extend the “Shape Of You” comparison potentially beyond its usefulness, the difference is that with Sheeran I just don’t ever want him to talk dirty to me. With Ora, it’s more that she never seemed invested in cultivating a writerly personality or identity (sappy as Sheeran’s might be) outside of “dance-pop hitmaker.” That set of limitations was always fine in my book. Why change now?

Will Adams: It’s snappy, cute and probably the best case scenario for a Sheeran-penned track. But as always, Rita struggles with identity; it’s no surprise that her only flash of brilliance was the one moment she didn’t feel the need to try so hard. “Your Song,” just like “How We Do” and “Shine Ya Light” and “Black Widow” before it, only reflects the pop landscape, but it doesn’t have anything to show for itself.

Katherine St Asaph: You can tell, like everybody, that this is Ed Sheeran’s song. If you can ignore that exhausting fact, “Your Song” isn’t so bad: arrangement prickly like goosebumps, lyrics kinda sweet. And at this point I’m just glad it’s Rita Ora with uncredited Ed Sheeran, not the other way round. But it doesn’t dislodge the thought that Rita Ora’s entire career is made up of imitations of other artists.

Scott Mildenhall: Rita Ora has done well to maintain her position as a thing that people are supposed to care about, considering the false starts and setbacks pockmarking her post-debut album output. One sure way to do this, of course, is to write songs for other people and have your backing vocals invariably haunting them. Thankfully this doesn’t actually sound much like an Ed Sheeran song, but it does have a familiar commitment to blandness. It’s nice to hear something so breezily sincere, but that breeze would doubtless be strong enough to make the whole thing collapse.

Crystal Leww: After hearing the Major Lazer remix of “Shape of You” with Nyla on the vocals and now “Your Song” by Rita Ora, I’ve been convinced that Ed Sheeran as Surprisingly Good Pop Songwriter for Women is a Real Thing that I should pay attention to now. Whereas his tracks sometimes come across as creepy with Sheeran on the vocals — maybe his tendency to devolve his delivery into bad rap vs. a straightforward sung vocal or more likely just because the dude with a guitar quietly mumbling to himself in the corner is always less preferable — it’s great elsewhere. Even Rita Ora, perpetually personality-free pop vocalist turns in good work here as the girl with a crush. This could slot in right next to a Fifth Harmony track and that Zayn/PND collab for a cute little summer pool party. 

Stephen Eisermann: I’m pretty sure Ed Sheeran has built a machine that just pops out catchy music when he puts in certain parameters. I’m positive that the different requirements he put in for this song were: love song, mid-tempo, background singers, and hand claps. It sucks, then, that Rita Ora ends up with this song and delivers a pretty boring and straightforward vocal, offering none of the bounciness or playfulness that a Sheeran co-write demands; and lest someone gets the wrong idea, I’m no big fan of Sheeran’s, I just know that his music is infinitely more tolerable because of the emotive qualities of his voice. What we’re left with here is the musical equivalent of a stock luxury car: sure, it’s got a lovely exterior, but if you have to roll-up the windows manually, is it really worth it?

Reader average: [6] (3 votes)

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

2 Responses to “Rita Ora – Your Song”

  1. a) why did no one finish their blurb “but then again, no”
    b) claire you are right about the met ball, the most baffling thing about rita (besides her role as christian grey’s sister and that one time she performed at the canonisation of mother teresa) is that karl lagerfeld thinks she’s cool

  2. @ Eleanor – RIGHT it’s so weird, every time I see her at a high-end event I’m like ‘WHAT DOES SHE KNOW? WHAT TEA DOES SHE HAVE?’