Thursday, April 5th, 2018

RL Grime ft. Daya – I Wanna Know

Then just ask!


Eleanor Graham: “Why do I get the feeling we’re getting close/but we’ll never be there?” Well, OK. This is fine. Is it British reserve that fuels my appetite for songs that are about denial, restraint, resignation, but don’t sound like it? Robyn warning “don’t fall recklessly headlessly in love with me” on the most reckless, headless chorus you’ve ever heard; Amy Winehouse’s immortal void-scream “he walks away/the sun goes down” set, diabolically, to a sample of “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough.” I could take worse, I really could. I’d take someone screaming “I want to touch you but I never fucking will” against a mammoth, sugar-rush “Run Away With Me” chorus. This isn’t quite that, but it’s the same idea — the tick-tick-boom of a pre-chorus building for the inevitable release, while the lyrics mourn the terrible non-inevitability of release. It’s the idea that you feel as much when you don’t get the girl/guy as when you do. And for those of us with a taste for the austere, for the alone, for the bitter side of sweet, it’s worth writing about, screaming about, over and over.

Micha Cavaseno: Former king of Trap-step bro misogyny RL Grime is rebranding into a ‘sensitive and emotive’ EDM producer for the newfound demands of his audience, but all his own notes hit false and Daya carries this record solely off the strength of her own vocal performance. Frankly, she deserves all of the credit for any of the few heights of this dull tracing of current trends but this record itself is nothing short of false valor.

Crystal Leww: Trap is dead and future bass is so 2017. While future trap / future bass are really just the last gasps of dying sounds, when done well, it still sounds really good. Daya’s 2016 was a surprisingly solid, especially given that it’s an independent pop release, and she’s been one of the best EDM vocalists basically since she hopped on the Chainsmokers’ mega-hit “Don’t Let Me Down.” I thought “Feel Good” was criminally underrated in traditional poptimist circles, and “I Wanna Know” seems to be headed in the same direction. It’s a shame because Daya is so good — she just has a way of making a vocal sound like open-hearted end-of-the-world vulnerability so associated with teenaged years but I feel like usually teens end up being a little too precocious with. RL Grime doesn’t do anything new with the formula, but he gives Daya something good to work with. This is great and deserves to close out Electric Zoo with fireworks shooting off in the background. 

Katherine St Asaph: The Postal Service has gone through enough this week without being summoned to introduce a generic EDM song.

Stephen Eisermann: Daya has a voice made for anthemic, EDM tracks. Though the lyrical content is familiar and generic, the music and Daya’s expressive voice make up for it. I would also like to know if I’m as loved and supported as I need to be in my relationship, and now I’ll have a banger to play in the background as I bug my boyfriend for validation.

Edward Okulicz: A colour-by-numbers bit of touchy-feely EDM, sure, but it’s given a great deal of emotional heft by Daya, who has both power and nuance. She sells the insecurity at the heart of the song with more skill than it deserves.

Will Adams: The anxious counterpart to last year’s criminally overlooked “Feel Good,” “I Wanna Know” is another example of the power Daya can deliver when backed with the heightened emotionality of EDM. Shame that RL Grime doesn’t quite hold up his end of the bargain.

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