Thursday, May 24th, 2018

LSD – Genius

Pictured: Labrinth’s Andalite cosplay, Sia’s ongoing Sia cosplay, and Diplo’s head.


Juan F. Carruyo : A stuttering vocal hook for the chorus largely carries this anodyne collaboration. 

Iain Mew: “Only a genius could love a woman like she;” only a Labrinth could mangle a line like that. “Genius” is shot through with his excess, and how tolerable that is varies wildly with how slow and how sentimental the song it’s applied to is. This is neither, and Sia is a good match, so while it’s not quite “Earthquake,” it’s ridiculous in an enjoyable way. 

Dorian Sinclair: I must not be a genius, because I am finding this song very difficult indeed to love. I am a noted Sia apologist, but nothing here is really working for me. The hook is inane, the transitions too abrupt, and things overall just fail to cohere.

Hannah Jocelyn: Whoever put Labrinth, Sia, and Diplo in the same room is a genius in their own right — I doubt anyone saw this collaboration coming, much less a song as gloriously goofy as this one. At first I thought that the song was Sia’s version of “Issues” or any other “I’m complicated someone plz be broken with me” song, but it’s actually the opposite — instead of Sia being complicated, it’s Sia literally being beyond the comprehension of mortals, with the exception of Labrinth. It’s a bid for deitydom like Florence or Bey, a burst of hubris that is a surprisingly natural fit for Sia. Her second verse especially is as playful as she’s been in years. Labrinth matches her energy, with his “gee-gee-gee” hook and shouts of “only a genius could love a woman like she!” My brother recently told me about a general who favored the clever and lazy over the dumb and diligent, and while Sia’s choruses were starting to fall into the latter, overwriting without purpose, Labrinth’s hook is proudly in the former. The production is clever, diligent, dumb, and lazy — even the smallest detail, like a castanet, is creatively panned or processed in some way. Yet when things start to get too weird, like the post-chorus vocal sample, the pop instincts kick in a measure later, and that balancing act pays off.

Matias Taylor: The only part of the song to achieve a solid groove is the pre-chorus, with Sia’s staccato hook bouncing off the descending trap synths, but the chorus then regresses into the kind of senseless monosyllabic repetition that stopped being a thing half a decade ago. You can practically hear her phoning it in in the booth and half-expecting Diplo and Labrinth to ask her to try something else. So much could have been done with the “genius” conceit; instead, the best Sia comes up with is name-dropping Stephen Hawking with no follow-up.

Stephen Eisermann: As if the weird composition wasn’t pretentious enough, the lyrical concept — a man complimenting himself for being able to… love his girlfriend? ugh — is so gross and makes it really easy to figure out where these incels have come from.

Katherine St Asaph: Synths that are probably supposed to suggest ~genius composers~ but end up around Drake’s “Headlines“; vintage Max Martin piano stabs that weren’t used on a Liz song (the mock-seriousness to the melody is very “bridge to ‘Oops (I Did It Again)’, too”); whistling that wasn’t used in 2012; a rickety Lego version of trap; utterly sincere talk of geniuses, of Einsteins and Newtons, with zero irony whatsoever besides the band name. It’s not genius, and not good, but it is camp.

Alfred Soto: The mixture of arch vocal mannerisms and stuttered hooks is certainly not genius.

Reader average: [7.5] (2 votes)

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