Monday, January 22nd, 2018

Cassie – Don’t Play it Safe

It plays well enough for us…


Alex Clifton: Do you remember 2006? Do you remember “Me & U,” Cassie’s ultra-minimalist, hypnotic hit? I’ve been upset for years when best-of-the-2000s lists ignored this gem and have Googled Cassie about once every six months to see what the hell she has done since making that masterpiece. And now she’s back, sounding like a space-age J-Lo. There’s something deeply comforting about the fact that this sounds like a more grown-up version of her old stuff; she’s not gone for the immediate pop-drop wub-wub-wub approach that is in vogue now, but has stuck to a version of what she knows and does best. Playing it safer? Sure, but this is still great: it’s a great showcase of her charisma, and she delivers it well.

Julian Axelrod: It’s nearly impossible to sound bad over a sleek KAYTRANADA beat, but Cassie sets a new bar here. Her breathy, ethereal confidence is reminiscent of Take Me Apart. But where Kelela subsumes herself in the digital abyss, Cassie skims along the smooth synths’ surface without getting lost in its thrum. It’s an understated pop vocal from an underrated pop star.

Leah Isobel: Cassie’s voice is as vaporous as ever, and she’s acquired a subtle grit over the years that adds depth to her performances. If only she had a more eventful melody or KAYTRANADA’s production pushed harder against her. As it is, his smoky synths and her misty voice just create empty air.

Edward Okulicz: Here’s a fairly slight song given extra depth and urgency by Cassie’s vulnerability. The lyric demands no less from her object of desire.

Micha Cavaseno: I do not care for KAYTRANADA’s music to be quite honest. However, this man has managed to make Cassie feel the most back to snuff since she’d left Ryan Leslie scrambling around in the dust, so I have to give it up. “Don’t Play it Safe” is the sort of plasticine R&B sculpting that Ventura had proven to be perfectly suited for and while her career has languished with that formula going in and out of vogue, it is delicious to hear her do the very thing that made her so satisfying so long ago. A shame the song feels so slight though.

Alfred Soto: Spanning several decades of electronic R&B, “Don’t Play It Safe” on first listen honors truth in advertising until Cassie’s reserve provides the modern affect. No hints of gospel or a diva’s fervor. A performance of impressive immobility.

Will Adams: A slow-motion dive into a pool that’s been adjusted to the perfect temperature, cool enough to refresh but warm enough to envelop you in it.

Reader average: [9.4] (10 votes)

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3 Responses to “Cassie – Don’t Play it Safe”

  1. didn’t blurb this (did write about it elsewhere though) but if I did I’d try to grapple with the one thing that bugs me on an otherwise [9], which is that I know that it is *isn’t* but feels like it’s in a very awkward conversational place with the whole “I Don’t Want To Can’t Read Signals”gate

  2. Cassie – Don’t Play it Safe got me feeling my ex. lol

  3. this is sooooo good, cmon Casandra drop that album!