Tuesday, January 23rd, 2018

Kendrick Lamar ft. SZA – All the Stars

You’ll be seeing one of these artists again later this week, btw…


Eleanor Graham: Almost everything that makes Kendrick and SZA themselves has been well and truly Disneyed out of them, and it’s a credit to them — well, mostly SZA — that this still sounds kind of intergalactic. I think movie trailers showcase music better than most music videos. Even in the stickiest £12 a ticket Cineworld you can experience the full catharsis of surround sound, the towering strings, the huge, percolating chorus. It’s the cheapest, most expensive form of emotional manipulation. Not enough to distract from the song’s thematic incompetence, but it’s thrilling to hear that grand-scale urgency lent to the most quintessential of SZA throwaways: “it’s a turn on/get it away from me.”

Will Adams: The dusky synths and string swells make for compelling cinema pop at the cost of both SZA and Kendrick having their personalities ironed out. At least it’s not “Doves In the Wind.”

Alfred Soto: Their last collaboration sucked, the lamest track on SZA’s debut. The chorus of “All the Stars” soars as intended, its destination an ickier place than expected. I can think of other artists I’d approach for phony uplift. 

Nortey Dowuona: SZA murks Kendrick on his own song by sounding more enthused and involved over the pedestrian drums and surprisingly energetic Hans Zimmer type-bass line and the sliding, sink-clean synths.

Micha Cavaseno: You know, even as someone who’s relatively found SZA less charming than half the planet, I do believe she deserves better than the Alicia Keys spot on a bad version of Thank Me Later-era Drakk type pop crossover records. Unfortunately, Kendrick hasn’t felt enough of his labelmate to bother with such dignity, so here we are.

Ryo Miyauchi: Kendrick Lamar has tackled impossibly heavy topics like it’s his purpose here on Earth to the point it has become stressful to hear him sing “let’s talk about love,” no matter how sweet that effects-drenched voice may make it seem. Ambitious, to be certain, but “All the Stars” follows his poor track record of turning such efforts actually into pop with him tackling the concept with a half-baked verse.

Stephen Eisermann: Synths, drums, and introspection — oh my! Kendrick Lamar’s verse is the perfect introduction to the Black Panther we’ve seen thus far — quiet, sure, but confident and powerful. However, it’s SZA who steals the show with her ethereal verse and chorus. Synths and strings swell behind her silky voice on the terrific chorus, and almost instantly you feel stars closing in too.

Julian Axelrod: A vision of a not-too-distant future where every pop song is a patchwork of leftover Maroon 5 guest spots.

Reader average: [6.5] (2 votes)

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2 Responses to “Kendrick Lamar ft. SZA – All the Stars”

  1. i thought i was the only one that though doves in the wind was kinda bad

  2. SZA’s verse alone warrants this a [9]