Thursday, February 15th, 2018

Rudimental ft. Jess Glynne, Macklemore & Dan Caplen – These Days

Here’s an artist line-up created by drawing balls from a lottery machine. And nobody wins!


William John: It seems a lifetime ago that Rudimental were in competition with Disclosure for the title of the UK’s most beloved new dance music act, both releasing Mercury Prize-nominated albums filled with propulsion and dynamism. My fruitless yearning for anything approaching the swooping, precipice-drops of “Baby” or the melodrama of “Powerless” continues unabated; “These Days” confirms Rudimental, who admittedly do have history here, as staunch proponents of hackneyed pallor. This time they recruit evergreen cornball Macklemore in an attempt to romanticise lost love with some piano chords that seem to have wandered in abstractedly from a Sam Smith album. Neither Jess Glynne nor a stray trumpet or two do anything to alleviate the bloodlessness.

Katherine St Asaph: Man, I feel terrible for anyone graduating this year. Or if this charts higher, the next five.

Micha Cavaseno: The infernal wailing and clunk Rudimental provides (somehow equating to dance) manages to not be the most grating thing on this track; no somehow that’s Jess Glynne providing an awfully extra pitch-tuned performance to flatten out her shouting style into an attempt at a nuanced delivery while Macklemore goes for cutesy and ends up somewhere closer to babbling. It’s an all-round poor performance from people who already have the worst of tendencies in pop now joined forces to learn how to fail to play to one another’s strengths and instead flaunt their weaknesses.

Alfred Soto: When Macklemore opens his mouth, several wheat fields dry, water supplies evaporate, and Brussels sprouts stay unavailable from grocery streets. “These Days” has a trumpet solo, a distinct nod to Sam Smith’s “Stay With Me,” and no reason to exist as a Spotify revenue stream.

Thomas Inskeep: I was skeptical — Rudimental have never fully delivered for me, and then of course there’s Macklemore. But all of the parts here fit, with Caplen and Glynne (so glad to have her back, more please!) trading vocals and Macklemore coming in for a pair of verses. The song itself is sweet and a bit wistful and may catch you off-guard — as it did me. 

Ryo Miyauchi: After its stint first as a release for the heartbroken, then the hypeman to a petty ex-lover, that squeaky vocal riff makes its way to a pop song more leveled than the former and more earnest than the latter. To find it in a new environment isn’t necessarily novel, though. Everyone involved here swallows their pride, maybe begrudgingly. While it’s a more adult way to handle things than tear-soaked letters or snide remarks, politeness doesn’t make for exciting pop. 

Stephen Eisermann: Macklemore must have a version of the “Midas touch” where every track he is a part of becomes a boring tale full of nostalgia because every one of his tracks is starting to run together. Rudimental tracks are seldom this lifeless, but not even Dan or Jess’ vocals can breathe life into this thing. 

Edward Okulicz: Here’s a collection of cheap appeals to its listeners’ range of nostalgias, all done without the slightest hint of feeling whatsoever. Couldn’t have been dumber even if it was about mopeds, honestly.

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