Tuesday, September 12th, 2017

Astrid S – Such a Boy

We were busy thinking ’bout “Boy”…


Iain Mew: On my first day at university my new roommate played me some of his death metal, and I played him something by super-earnest and not-so-masculine indie band Buffseeds; he was the more shaken. One of that album’s songs, “The Day She Fell to Earth,” uses the line “You need some space, well, here’s the universe,” in a way that meant too much for it to ever occur to me to think of as a joke. So it is now when Astrid S leads with the same gambit and ultimately the same bare hurt, filtered though it is through a thrilling cacophony of electronic bells and glitter. Her script-flipping chorus that turns masculine vulnerability-allergy into weakness is clever, but it wouldn’t mean so much if it wasn’t backed up by such a demonstration of the power of the alternative.

Nortey Dowuona: Astrid swings with authority over the swinging synth bass, twinkling synths and popping drums until the chorus break stops the song dead, confused and popping in the sky, mangling her voice. Still, at the bridge, she swaggers out of it, cooly into the sunset as the last synth drops out.

Alfred Soto: Confident enough to ride a beat of delightful twitchiness, the Norwegian singer sounds as if she keyed her voice to the gradations of her lust.

Joshua Copperman: I’m glad someone finally exposed the humor inherent in the chipmunk-vocal trend! Both the chorus and the “boy-boy-boy” drop are some of the most playful moments in big-budget pop music I’ve heard in a long time, but they still have power. It’s especially surprising coming from the same person who sang “Hurt So Good” (she didn’t write that one, but co-wrote this). I could hear her and producer Cass Lowe giggling as they 1. constructed the drop and 2. came up with some of those lyrics. When I heard “Say you need more space/What are you, an astronaut?” my initial reaction was is she serious? I’m so happy she wasn’t. This rules. 

Maxwell Cavaseno: The breakdown part reminds me less of the typical drops of the moment and accidentally reminds me of the time former wobble-step king Rusko did that Skweee remix. Considering that’s a little bit of weirdness sonically, I’m not all that mad. At the same time, the inversion of “Oh look, it’s the boy who’s emotional and unstable and totally acting like a mess…” I get it. It’s clever. Boys clearly suck, but here it leaves me cold as it manages the seeming unreality where this isn’t a case of pulling the rug out from under the norms, but rather being put down with no compassion. The victory’s effective, but I’m not really celebrating for better or worse.

Joshua Minsoo Kim: As someone who has struggled with feeling “masculine enough” for most of his life, this entire song is a swift punch to the gut. When Astrid S sneers “Here we go again,” you can feel the contempt as her eyes roll, and then she twists the knife when delivering the titular line. During all this, the twinkly instrumentation underscores how impressively she can straddle the line between sounding coy and caustic, and it all culminates in the juvenile neener neener that is the chorus’s sample cut-up. More than any of her other singles to date, Astrid S is able to completely embody and sell the material here. I know this to be true because “Such a Boy” made me feel personally attacked.

Will Adams: This is more fun when I imagine that Astrid S is roasting 80% of the men on the pop charts. As it is, “Such a Boy” is tastefully on trend, i.e. it sounds like a windstorm of glass shards and gulped vocal distortions. There’s a sudden shift on the coda, where she retracts her claws once she realizes she’s being a bit mean (“Breathe in, breathe out”). It comes off as a cop out, whereas I was ready to yell FINISH HIM.

Reader average: [8.75] (4 votes)

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5 Responses to “Astrid S – Such a Boy”

  1. was too exhausted to blurb this but my take would more or less have been “ah, Shontelle’s ‘Impossible’ as done by 2017” and like a 5-6 or something

  2. Were all of the blurbs by guys this time around? I don’t want to just go by names…

  3. Knew this would do well here.

    Miss Smeplass really turns out the bops.

  4. “hurts so good” is still so underrated!!

  5. SOOOO bummed I missed this, but I mean this is definitely an 8 for me.