Saturday, May 12th, 2018

Ne-Yo ft. Stefflon Don & Bebe Rexha – Push Back

Stefflon, if you ditch these dodos, maybe you could get higher than a 5.83!!


Will Adams: Stefflon Don’s U.S. push feels like it could work; even when she’s out of place, she does her best to prove why she’s there. But increasingly, she comes off as an accent piece to legitimize people like Demi Lovato or Ne-Yo or Bebe Rexha doing dancehall, rather than them being the platform for her to break through. As with J Balvin on “Familiar,” Stefflon Don sounds right at home on Stargate’s adequate production (a brighter counterpart to “Hurtin’ Me”), while consummate professionals Ne-Yo and Bebe Rexha do their jobs and call it a day. The best outcome of “Push Back” is that Stefflon Don is given more chances to stand on her own without the excess packaging.

Iain Mew: The opposite of Sean Paul/David Guetta/Becky G, each vocalist sounds like they want to not only shove their way past the others but erase any memory of preceding parts. The broken up music co-operates in their goals. Ideally the song would end after Steff’s verse, to heighten the effect and to end on a high rather than muddling to a close.

Jonathan Bogart: If the Bebe Rexha verse was dropped, it might be an [7] or [8] — the late-’10s trend of piling up the guests in an attempt to attract enough fanbases to engineer a hit generally means that the loaded-up songs end up with no particular personality, just a bland soup of contemporariness. Trust Stefflon Don to bring the fire, though: even if she and the terminally smooth Ne-Yo don’t particularly gel, the slow-burn dancehall hits the spot, at least until the white girl brings everything to a screeching halt.

Katherine St Asaph: Ne-Yo and Bebe Rexha do their jobs: interchangeable components of tracks that are basically fine. Stefflon Don does a little more, but her US crossover seems intent on skipping her past the female-rapper imperial phase in favor of providing the throwaway verses Nicki doesn’t.

Joshua Minsoo Kim: Stefflon Don stands out, sure, but that’s not saying much considering the singers and verses she’s up against. Even then, her presence only feels like a prop meant to make the song more unique and legitimate. You can only do so much with a song so generic.

Andy Hutchins: Cool that Wayne Wonder was one of the 73 people to get a competent, anonymous Stefflon Don feature in 2018, but I’m not sure transplanting the country singer from that one Florida Georgia Line song on the middle of this track was a good call. Wait, that’s not Wayne Wonder? Whew. Here I was, thinking he sounded washed.

Alfred Soto: Desperate for a crossover hit, Ne-Yo has spent years in search of decent “ft.” credits, and Bebe and Stefflon come close. The way this credible attempt at dancehall uses synth stabs that allude, faintly, to Enya’s “Orinoco Flow” adds to its subtly insinuating groove. 

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