Thursday, May 17th, 2018

Ella Mai – Boo’d Up

As far as we’re concerned, you can wife us immediately, Ella.


Julian Axelrod: “Boo’d Up” is an incredible title, and that’s not even the best part of the song. The quiet storm synths and carbonated 808s hit my R&B pleasure centers, and the semi-scatted chorus saves the song from lethargy. But the real revelation here is Ella Mai, who’s tender enough to sell the song’s devotion. Some of the sillier elements (namely the spoken word outro) would have felled a lesser singer, but Mai’s charismatic enough to sell the sentiment.

Nortey Dowuona: Glassy, bouncy synths and prickly piano surf the the low, quietly strumming bass.

Alfred Soto: This English singer is touring with Kehlani, and I can hear the affinities: honesty, precision, an appreciation of space. I don’t hear a false note in “Boo’d Up.”

Tim de Reuse: There’s a charm to the unadorned 808’s and dry casio-preset pads, but it doesn’t really do anything beyond sit there and look pretty. The main pull is hearing Mai have fun around that short loop, but despite her confident delivery she doesn’t have nearly enough ideas to fill four full minutes. Without a good deal of concentration, it quickly becomes pleasant wallpaper.

Katherine St Asaph: A scented, full-blast summer fan breeze of a beat, and Ella Mai fluttering above it. Really, this could go on for hours and still be great.

Edward Okulicz: Putting that unguarded, but decidedly odd, spoken word bit at the end of the song rather than giving it pride of place as a middle-eight is about the only foot Ella Mai puts wrong here. To listen to “Boo’d Up” is to feel blasted by heat and desire at once.

Jonathan Bogart: Songwriter Joelle James ran down the history of the song on Twitter last week. At one point Wale was attached; at another point if Chris Brown had chosen not to hop on “Scream” it would have been a Kevin Hart (?!) song. Those averted potential futures make Ella Mai’s final version sound like even more of a miracle. Joy is precious, kids. Get it where you can.

Reader average: [5.08] (12 votes)

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One Response to “Ella Mai – Boo’d Up”

  1. I was waiting for yall do cover this track, it’s really great.