Wednesday, December 6th, 2017

Pabllo Vittar – K.O.

Via Luca, a Brazilian drag queen who broke out with a Portuguese-language cover of “Lean On,” is now thankfully more original than that…


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Luca Zingali Meira: Pabllo’s ascension from just one of many drag queens having a big moment after Drag Race got popular to one of Brazil’s biggest stars still surprises me a bit. The rise of reactionary thought has hit us as much as anywhere else, and it feels important to have a popular voice pointing in another direction. But it was unavoidable: “K.O.” is a giddy song about finding love and being shocked by it’s power. It’s loud, it’s showing of and it’s got the horns to match. The ones knocked out were everyone else.
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Iain Mew: Streaming numbers just keep on getting absurdly bigger, from the top on down. That includes the number of views a video can now reach without even someone like me on the lookout for hits ever encountering it — 450 million, it turns out. That count is the most notable thing about “K.O.” for exactly as long as it takes to reach Pabllo Vittar’s vocal performance, piercing and dramatic and controlled and winsome. With a buoyant but unspectacular arrangement, it’s that performance that turns the song catchy even beyond melody. It’s not the tune, but the precise weaving of her tone across it in the chorus that has been looping round in my head for days.
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Alfred Soto: She’s a Brazilian drag queen, but the polite horn chart gives no indication. 
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Will Adams: It’s wild to think how much more impactful Pabllo Vittar was in her brief appearance on “Sua Cara” than she is in the entirety of “K.O.” No matter how hard she tries, the enervated samba backing her turns what might have been a slow jam into a slog.
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Juana Giaimo: Pabllo Vittar doesn’t need Major Lazer to show the great potential of such a strong and smooth voice. Joined by the the brass and a warm rhythm, “K.O.” perfectly suits a sunset summer party. 
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Nortey Dowuona: This had average pad synths going in, but then decent if flattened drums flush with cotton candy bass, indistinct piano, an air horn passing the studio and a smooth, well-cut trumpet. But Vittar’s such a full presence that Vittar fills in all the spaces Vittar needs to.
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