Saturday, January 20th, 2018

Liam Payne & Rita Ora – For You

Hey so Louis isn’t the only 1Der to have a song right now…

Scott Mildenhall: Ye gods — a Liam Payne song that doesn’t make its own jokes! Instead, it’s subtly evocative of a bygone era of trance hits. There are definitely hints of “Adagio for Strings”, but what it rips off in glorious style is “Airwave”. He had everything but the girl, she had Everything But The Girl; it’s a match made made in enlivening bombast.

Alfred Soto: Modern pop relishes a piss elegance, represented by electronically manipulated space; it’s the dream of Bryan Ferry’s late eighties records made streamed flesh. Substitute Louis for Zayn, Halsey for Rita Ora, or The Weeknd for Zayn and Ariana Grande for Halsey, each competing for best delivery of global weltschmerz, legible in Shanghai and Carson City.

Micha Cavaseno: Of all the One Direction members, Liam Payne has been (rather strangely in some respects, rather predictably in others) been the one who’s most visibly struggled to find his solo footing; Zayn’s failed upwards, Louis has been relatively conservative, the other two are doing pretty well. And ironically, who might be a better foil for him than the biggest Struggle Celebrity of UK Pop for a minute herself? A lyrical mess, with some real siren-piercing synths that deserved better, both of these two sound haplessly thrashing in their attempt to try and scrape together a hit based out of egads, another Directioner’s prior success. If only some of that neediness and desperation translated to the record to make it feel more poignant.

Alex Clifton: This shouldn’t work at all. Liam’s entire solo career so far has been a bore and Rita, bless her, tries her best but somehow gently misses the mark. In terms of a “sexy” song for the Fifty Shades franchise, this is a spectacular failure–those bombastic synths kill the mood. But this is oddly enough maybe the best song I’ve ever heard from either party, and certainly more interesting than the snoozefest that was “I Don’t Wanna Live Forever.” Liam works best when he’s not trying to prove he’s had sex, and Rita sounds buoyed up by the enthusiastic synth backing. It’s unexpected ecstacy. I wish this were for Eurovision and not for Fifty Shades, but I’ll take it.

Isabel Cole: Can’t believe the L*rries are so fixated on “Freddie is a doll” that they’ve totally missed the obvious 1D baby-related conspiracy staring us all in the face: management’s desperate and foolhardy attempt to convince us that Liam Payne has ever had sex. Wake up, sheeple! #stopmodest

Austin Brown: A perfectly okay slice of anthemic lust-pop, except Liam Payne, a Build-A-Bear trying to masquerade as a sex doll, is in it. I never thought I’d be so relieved to hear Rita Ora’s blandly tasteful voice in my life.

Ryo Miyauchi: Praise be to the Fifty Shades franchise for sticking to their own brand of baroque tragedy pop throughout their movie soundtracks. Only three years since the first film, both the fatalism and IMAX loudness already sound like a relic of its time next to the passive EDM-pop ushered by Jack U and Chainsmokers. The last installment is a very pale torchbearer to the series of beautiful disasters. Even the chorus of brass feels outwardly synthetic, like it knows it’s a self-parody to continue this franchise at this point.

Katherine St Asaph: OK, hear me out: Pretend “Never Be the Same” is the actual movie tie-in (might as well be), that Rita Ora is Carly Rae Jepsen, and Liam Payne is the dude you ignore like Justin Bieber or Adam Young. Then hate yourself, probably, but what’s more context-appropriate than a masochistic exercise?

Will Adams: Sure, Ali Payami opened the project file for Ariana Grande’s “Touch It,” bumped up the tempo a bit and called it a day. But the dark pop template gives off way more heat than the glurge of “Love Me Like You Do” or “I Don’t Wanna Live Forever” ever did, and both Liam and Rita act the part convincingly.

Ashley John: Well, if you look at this as an adventurous spin on the Fifty Shades audiobook, it isn’t as bad.

Stephen Eisermann: When songs are this blatantly bad and boring, I often mind myself drifting off and imagining what the writing session for what said song must’ve been like. Here’s how I imagine this one went:
HEAD WRITER: Ok, everyone, for this exercise I am going to say a simple phrase or description of a feeling and we are going to try and write a song around it. How does that sound?
WRITERS 2/3: Ok, for sure.
HEAD WRITER: Great. For this first one, close your eyes and imagine the feeling of staring blankly at a screen, having just finished a movie at the theatre, getting ready to stand up, feeling totally disappointed in a way that reminds you of that terrible night a couple of weeks ago that started at the bar when you went home with this guy, but not because he was cute, more bec–
WRITER 2: [whispering] so much for short descri–
HEAD WRITER: DO NOT INTERRUPT ME I AM THE HEAD WRITER AND YOU ARE NOT. As I was saying, you only went with him because you, well, you have needs too and it’s — it’s nothing to be embarrassed about, it’s just been a while so you can’t be too picky or you’ll be, you know, still hurting [tears start flowing] and and and, it wasn’t great, you know, but I guess it did the job? Right? No…. no it didn’t do the job. You still feel empty. So you walk out of the theatre, but you make sure to refill your large drink because you paid $7 for it and you’ll be damned if you paid that much for a drink and entrance just to feel like… well, like that.
HEAD WRITER: So, yes, write a song that feels like that.

Reader average: [7.66] (3 votes)

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