Thursday, June 14th, 2018

K-391 & Alan Walker ft. Julie Bergan & Seungri – Ignite

Coming soon to a montage near you:


Will Rivitz: OK, so this song is awful, but the most offensive part about its awfulness is it doesn’t have the decency to be awful in even a mildly interesting way. Its music video closes with a message from the artists generously offering itself for “free use for everyone on youtube [sic],” and appropriately so: “Ignite” is the soundtrack to a poorly-edited Premier League highlights video, an intro clip to a Fortnite Let’s Play by a 27-year-old who still thinks it’s funny to make “triggered” jokes, and a promo video for an “upscale nightclub” that charges $25 for a Long Island Iced Tea all rolled into one. There are specific things wrong with “Ignite,” to be sure — the awkward transitioning from a swung feel to a straight-ahead 4×4 and back again at the drop, vocal chops that sound straight out of a meme video from 2014 or so, an out-of-left-field bridge that aims for smooth R&B and lands about two feet from where it launched — but even these specific things are so consummately forgettable that they seem to have hardly existed in the first place. I’ll probably hear this song on some JukinMedia video in a week and not be able to place it.

Iain Mew: Alan Walker’s tundra trance has previously been tasteful to a fault, so it’s a surprise to find something with him attached which is so entertainingly not. The real star is Julie Bergan, though, taking on the preposterous with relish and managing to make the explosive drops sound like a fitting emotional expression. Meanwhile Seungri’s part is beamed in from a different musical universe, and serves as a surreal but effective palate cleanser before another flamethrower burst of synths and exclamations.

Alex Clifton: Almost feels like sparks about to burst into flame, but somehow never manages it despite the bombast of the production. Part of the issue here I think is that the vocal textures all meld into the backbeat, so it’s less of a collaboration and more just voices piled on top of one another. It also has a sonic profile that I think would’ve been more engaging three years ago, but now feels overplayed. It’s earnest EDM with its effort, I suppose, but I don’t listen to dance music for earnestness.

Katherine St Asaph: Begins like something melancholy from pop radio in 2010 — the year of “DJ Got Us Falling in Love,” “Only Girl (in the World),” etc. — that also kinda sounds like “All That She Wants,” then just goes all over the place.

Edward Okulicz: Had this come out about eight years ago, it would have been utterly revolutionary, or at least utterly surprising in a way that would force people to sit bolt upright and listen. People would have made EDM Bingo cards based on this song. It would have predicted just about every trend going. As a collection of competently-executed cliches, it is pretty much impossible to top: throwing in fire cliches, drops, Julie Bergan going at it to not be swallowed by the drops and her own cliches, and a verse from Seungri sung quietly so as to sound mysterious/meaningful. It’s pretty much indefensible, but I concede in the right context it would also be unstoppable.

Will Adams: So: a “Faded”/”Applause” mashup, a very Sia lyric (empowerment via spontaneous combustion), a bridge that lurches us into an entirely different rhythm and genre, and a hiccup drop. There are ideas here, however they’ve been dumped into one pile so meaninglessly that I suspect what’s being ignited is a garbage fire.

Joshua Minsoo Kim: Bergan forces a thunderous vocal performance, Seungri contributes a superfluous verse that secures more international success, and the drop is just active enough to present a sort of excitement that isn’t too wild to scare anyone off. In other words, this is a song so frustratingly generic that I would be more forgiving of its existence if it were specifically made to sell a mass-produced commodity. “Ignite” has lyrics that are decidedly shallow, ensuring that its hollow message of uplift can resonate with the masses. Even the title seems carefully decided upon: it’s a familiar word that can be used as a mantra for a 5k charity run, a children’s summer camp, or your workplace’s team building outing. The song’s innocuous nature makes it likely that it’ll soundtrack the video montages of such events too. And as the music video for “Ignite” notes, K-391 is ever-so-humbly allowing people to use the song for whatever reason they so choose. Such generosity is negated by the song itself — one whose sole purpose is to be ubiquitous and nothing else.

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