Wednesday, June 27th, 2018

NOTD ft. Bea Miller – I Wanna Know

Not a Daya/RL Grime cover, but honestly, isn’t *not*…

Will Adams: That 2018 has already had an EDM sad-banger with this exact title demonstrates how we’ve reached peak saturation. There are fine elements here — a Shontelle cadence and the guitar licks tucked into the mix, for starters — but they add up to a song that’s mostly glitz without any lingering excitement.

Josh Love: This pop-house pairing is essentially replacement-level “Zedd + Maren Morris” or “Kygo + Selena Gomez.” So I don’t know if it’s an indictment of the marquee purveyors of this particular sound or a sign of its resilience that “I Wanna Know” lands pretty close to the mark set by the higher-wattage stars of this subgenre. I imagine many of my colleagues will chalk it up to a deeply mediocre formula, but to me there’s a certain high floor of quality that makes this kind of stuff quite durable no matter who’s making it.

Katherine St Asaph: I’m not against this festival cottage industry of rising pop stars getting work on Chainsmokers-esque EDM tracks. In theory it brings them listeners they wouldn’t have otherwise — Bea Miller has released four EPs and two albums, including one, Aurora, released this February to press silence. But the distribution of prestige (and credit, and money) granted to singers (usually female), topline writers (also usually female) and the EDM producers (almost always male) they’re paired with is fundamentally backward. Producers get top billing for functional music, but it’s the vocalists who bring them listeners, indeed are chosen for that — despite being on NOTD’s channel, the comments on this video are almost all about Bea Miller or the lyrics, penned by uncredited Jason Gill, Sara Hjellstrom and Nirob Islam (“All We Know“). And lyrics are what people relate to, despite made of such interchangeable things as “hooks” and “words.” (Be suspicious of anyone who says “lyrics don’t matter”; they’re often people who have taken music sites’ copyright-law concerns as prescriptive gospel, or people who don’t care about things said by women.) NOTD, whose anonyname Acronym Finder suggests might stand for “Nail of the Day” or “Night of the Deceptacon,” Chainsmoke away just fine. They don’t do much, but they do everything they need to; no extra effort would noticeably improve the track. But giving vocalists and songwriters more credit also means acknowledging that they can do more, and should. Bea’s vocal is fine, with appropriate cracks on “I wanna know,” but hardly distinctive. And Hjellstrom et al’s lyric is fine, uncomplicated longing, but the stock image of a T-shirt could be the incredibly specific images of “You Oughta Know,” or the barely-concealed bitterness of Natalie Imbruglia’s “Want.”

Scott Mildenhall: It’s best not to dwell on the detail, because lyrically there is pretty much none, save for the description of wearing a shirt — which you used to like! — misguidedly laden with such significance that it is somehow the most Chainsmokeresque thing about the song (if not the most redolent of a million unofficial YouTube uploads illustrated with semi-cropped, sepia-tinted models). No, the dwelling is all done by Bea Miller, and deftly too, inhaling at all the right moments while NOTD project her internal mood wave. Such focus obviates detail.

Juan F. Carruyo: Bea has a lovely, expressive voice that is put to good use in this unassuming yet pleasant track. The lyrics are a non-entity, but Bea does her best to emote her way into meaning.

Stephen Eisermann: The huskiness of Bea Miller’s voice carries an expressiveness that most artists can only strive for. Here, her voice simultaneously soars and lilts, adding some much needed nuance to an otherwise average dance track. Damn if she doesn’t sell the hell out of the idea of longing for someone.

Iain Mew: I appreciate the in media res approach of starting with “Is she the one? The one you’ve been waiting for?” in a way that could easily be the chorus. The lack of buildup turns out just to make room for more repetition, though, and the compressed electronic shuffle doesn’t make that very rewarding.

Ramzi Awn: Banal lyrics and unoriginal production make for a garishly generic track from NOTD and Bea Miller. It’d be better off if it were truly awful — at least then it would be memorable.

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One Response to “NOTD ft. Bea Miller – I Wanna Know”

  1. I missed blurbing this, but unsurprisingly I looooooooove this, despite that it is, as Katherine mentions, basically another Chainsmokers track.