Wednesday, February 7th, 2018

Rae Morris – Atletico

Reminds us of a couple people…


Will Adams: Morris’s previous work tended toward introspection, which makes her recent turn to outwardly projecting songs even more endearing. “Atletico” is a crush song of the effervescent sort, when the quivers in your fingers turn into a full-body vibration. The music carries Rae through it all, with nimble drums, vocal squiggles to go right next to the heart doodles and a burst of flower petals with each breath-catching “you ah-are! the only one.”

Juana Giaimo: A few weeks back, I listened to an interview with the Argentine author Martín Kohan, who said that you can fall in and out of love many times, but when you experience one love, you live that love as an absolute — that is, the “illusion that it is ultimate.” I hear this view of love reflected in “Atletico”, as well as Carly Rae Jepsen’s “Run Away with Me,” since they both depict the thrill of the experience of discovering a crush. Rae Morris’ playful vocals, liberating and sweet, are perfectly complemented by a subtle house beat. Her lyrics don’t make a lot a sense, but nobody makes a lot of sense when falling for someone. Still, she leaves behind all her shyness and hesitation behind to sing with complete confidence: “You are the only one.” It is, as Kohan says, an absolute love. 

Alfred Soto: The rattling percussion matching the tumult in Rae Morris’ heart, “Atletico” captures the moment when the person at the other end of the room leaves you gasping banalities. This is no “You’re Beautiful,” ostensibly celebrating a woman’s destiny by caressing her thigh. The results are thin, but Morris is enthusiastic.

Scott Mildenhall: This could easily be a detailed account of an awkward experience on Take Me Out, but even failing such a delight, it is the second successive Rae Morris single to be ebullient in its beseeching of oneself to ditch filters. “Atletico” isn’t as excitedly awed as “Do It,” but it’s also less weighed down by patience. Here, a matter of seconds is all it takes, and less time to think means more time to be impulsive — as well as less time to become assured. It’s appropriate, then, that “Atletico” is an elastic ball of anxious energy that, unlike in “Do It,” seems unlikely to find an outlet.

Katherine St Asaph: A love song for the l’esprit de l’escalier, for the glorious, sexy, incandescent love affair, buoyed by celestial string and flinging your voice into new octaves and sounds, that you never initiated and now won’t happen. My favorite song on the subject, and among the saddest I know, is Tychonaut’s “Unplanned” (“but it’s not my place, pardon my intrusion / I’m horribly human, for seeing the most beautiful one I’ve ever hardly known / so another bird has flown”). This is the counterpart: just because your dumb body and your dumb room exist in the world where it didn’t happen, doesn’t mean you can’t imagine the infinite worlds where it did, and does currently, and can forever.

Joshua Minsoo Kim: Artists who utilize their voice in relatively idiosyncratic ways are always playing with fire. The novelty of their performance can rapidly wear thin, and lofty vocalizing can feel doubly offensive if it comes up short. On “Atletico,” Morris knows the surefire way to success is by making her vocals an integral part of the song’s musical and lyrical development. She twists her voice in ways that bring to mind both Elizabeth Fraser and Raphaelle Standell-Preston (unsurprisingly, she channels Björk on other tracks), and the end result is a song that’s brimming with joy. She may be home without a “beautiful boy,” but the thought of him lingers, and it’s enough to keep her elated.

Thomas Inskeep: I can’t get past the incredibly off-putting tone of her voice. Or her twee lyrics. 

Micha Cavaseno: The notion of jubilation coming out as hyperactive noise, especially trills, isn’t foreign but is becoming an unfortunate buoy for pop in 2018. “Atletico” is appreciable in some respects, with its passionate peals and syrupy staccato enunciations. Yet at the same time, its dependency on this foreignness reveals that it’s the same dull synthpop that people foist about as alternatives to… synthpop, but the more straightforward and commercial kind. The record’s ultimate problem isn’t any glaring flaw, but that it’s mostly garnish and little to chow on beneath.

Julian Axelrod: If y’all had told me Rae Morris sounds like a neurotic K-pop Kate Bush, I would have gotten into her way sooner.

William John: I’m currently reading Alan Hollinghurst’s latest novel The Sparsholt Affair, and its opening stanza depicts a narrative known well to introverts prone to silent infatuation. A student falls deeply in love with another; he confesses his ardent desires to a friend, but is exasperated upon his confrontation with the question “and have you spoken to him?” The skittish response is “well, when he bumped into me…but not since, no”; there’s sweaty embarrassment in the disclosure, as though an exalted secret has been ruptured irrevocably by reality. Rae Morris pirouettes her way through “Atletico (The Only One)” — initially somewhere on a dancefloor, observing, and enthralled by an object in a “matter of seconds”; then at home, still observing, but silently and in imagination only. As her feelings intensify, her vocal melodies somersault, regret and rejection yet to fully flatten her buoyancy. It’s all stark contrast to “Do It,” one of last year’s best singles and the next track on Morris’ album, in which taking action upon one’s desires is presented as blunt formality; but perhaps such candour can only ever be preceded by butterflies and reticence.

Reader average: [9.8] (5 votes)

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4 Responses to “Rae Morris – Atletico”

  1. The Do It acclaim

    what an iconic sing

  2. the whole ablum is fantastic too

  3. Not a huge fan of this song – the verse melodies get on my nerves – but the rest of the album (“Do It” particularly) is great

  4. (before anyone points out: I know that “the l’esprit” is redundant)