Wednesday, April 18th, 2018

Azealia Banks – Anna Wintour

Meanwhile, Anna is supposedly retiring for about the third time..

Katherine St Asaph: God knows how long it’ll be standard for every Azealia Banks blurb to begin with a line something like: Azealia Banks’ music was never bad, just sidelined. “Anna Wintour” is also not bad, though also not especially new-sounding; if it sounds made for a ~2013 mix alongside George FitzGerald, that’s because it basically was. Junior Sanchez, who’s kicked around for decades with credits including post-“Finally” Cece Peniston and Katy Perry’s worst song — he isn’t bad, honest — was brought in to remix “Ice Princess,” which has a kernel of house in it and an Anna Wintour namedrop. The Anna-containing sample doesn’t make it to the final cut, and nor do Scary Spice or Nicki Minaj, the floated guests: “If you listen to ‘Anna Wintour,’ the parts that kinda you can tell where I was going with the idea of the song,” Banks said. “This is the part I wrote for Scary Spice and the rap verse and stuff. It’s just like a ghost collab, kinda.” That might explain the trace of an empty-room feeling in this track that might otherwise bang — but it’s just a trace.

Alfred Soto: Using enough contortions in the first verse to wonder if her larynx does yoga too, Azealia Banks shows she doesn’t need Melanie B and treats Robin S’ “Show Me Love” as palimpsest. Ah, Anna Wintour, infamous for her polite hauteur — does this sound like our Azealia? She’s too reckless to insist on the anonymity of pop house, and her flow these days is at best solid. Maybe Betty Rubble’s a better model.

Will Adams: Banks is less invested in chasing traditional pop structure and more in creating an intricate universe where her songs live. Self-quotation is nearly a given, whether she’s plucking flows from “212” for the end of “Yung Rapunxel” or tapping the whispered hook from “Luxury” for “Miss Camaraderie.” “Anna Wintour” is a direct sequel to “Ice Princess” from this standpoint — hear the “princessprincessprincess” before the first chorus; the “let me out!” cry — but also from a narrative one. It melts its predecessor’s too-conventional-for-Banks’s-own-good template (frosted radio-trap complete with sampled EDM chorus) in favor of something with less form but more identifiably her. Now, she’s found love, awaking from the meandering first verse in which she lounges in a bed of diamonds and snapping her eyes to the center. She’s alluded to that love coming from a higher power, but if the crisp house, screaming bridge and tight rap verse are any indication, that higher power is music.

Leah Isobel: “Anna Wintour” is the glossiest an Azealia Banks song has sounded in some time, and her pop instincts remain as sharp as ever. The moves between the sung first verse and chorus into the megaphone-on-mic bridge into the rap verse are so smooth and so natural that the shifts barely even register as such. As much as Azealia’s public image is tied to controversy, her actual art has always been animated in part by joy — joy for what her voice can do, joy for music, joy for life. She sounds full of that joy here, and it’s wonderful to listen to.

Ryo Miyauchi: I take it the pumping house beat remains muffled to give Azealia Banks’s voices the attention they deserve. And her voice is indeed plural: while it splinters into megaphone screams and crisscrossed raps come the second verse, it’s the main diva-vocal mode that takes this one home.

Nortey Dowuona: Shiny, runway synths slide across the bumpy, rubbery house drums as Azealia glides with the brassy bass then skydives through the beat, piercing it with stunning accuracy.

Thomas Inskeep: The groove is a bit too four-on-the-floor, never deviating, and the verse and chorus make “Anna Wintour” sound even more like this early ’90s pop-house classic. Except that Robin S was a better singer, and was singing a better song. Banks feels too often like she’s trying to cram too many syllables into each phrase, for maximum — something. And Banks’s mid-song rap sounds spliced in from another song.

Julian Axelrod: There’s some cosmic harmony to Azealia Banks hijacking Disclosure’s Settle sound for a boring comeback single five years after beefing with them, especially since this song easily could have come out that very same week.

Stephen Eisermann: ’90s house with an interesting vocal turn by Azealia, but I just struggle to separate the artist from her art. This doesn’t reach the heights of “212,” but Azealia still goes hard in the second verse while explaining this self-realization she’s achieved; I’m sure many a gay will feel the same on the dance floor this summer.

Reader average: [8] (12 votes)

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One Response to “Azealia Banks – Anna Wintour”

  1. love to file then realize this is actually an 8