Saturday, March 3rd, 2018

The Weeknd & Kendrick Lamar – Pray for Me

In Wakanda this peaked at about #42.


Micha Cavaseno: Hmmm. It’s crazy to think this contemporary Eminem single was deemed an appropriate lead off to Black Panther. I wonder what Kendrick was thin– you’re saying it’s Kendrick himself? No, c’mon. Look at this identikit beat that has no influence for anything going on in rap, pandering math-matic rap-schematic flows and this phoned-in guest chorus from Weeknd. This is every Eminem single for the past 5 years, and you mean to tell me Kendrick Lamar did that? Wow. Crazy.

Edward Okulicz: So Black Panther is smart and kicks ass, so obviously its big soundtrack tie-in is going to be just the opposite. I am partial to a big soundtrack anthem where you can imagine that the action or the emotion is being channeled in the music, but here I think The Weeknd — a mopey shit at the best of times — sounds like he couldn’t be bothered to do anything, not even get out of bed let alone convey excitement or feelings, and this must be the easiest job Lamar’s ever taken. 

Ryo Miyauchi: I still have yet to watch Black Panther, but this one seems the most obviously made as a movie tie-in out of the soundtrack’s singles. There’s of course Kendrick rhyming “hero” for four bars, but the overall tortured protagonist narrative sung both by Kendrick and Abel lays the song’s prompt too bare, like an amateur creative writing assignment.

Will Adams: We’re in the throes of tentpole soundtracks that spawn safe, theatrical radio pop, which is why “Pray for Me” sounds like “Starboy 2: Retread Boogaloo” and why neither The Weeknd nor Kendrick Lamar sound terribly engaged. I haven’t seen Black Panther yet, but I struggle to see how this could be representative of its blockbuster feel.

Katherine St Asaph: The Weeknd’s hyper-specific sleaze is transformed into a more generalized lonely warrior schtick, with an oddly restrained voice; Kendrick’s verse is diluted to move soundtracks. But the beat (apart from the mushy bridge) saves it–not sure whether Doc McKinney or Frank Dukes is more responsible, but whoever it is, they’re getting far too little credit for their production chops.

Alfred Soto: Combining standard Weeknd self-loathing and standard Kendrick Lamar self-empowerment guarantees instant commercial rewards. Product for sure, and except for the chants “Pray for Me” has no energy divorced from Black Panther.

Reader average: [5] (1 vote)

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