Saturday, July 21st, 2018

Martin Garrix ft. Khalid – Ocean

The singer makes his tenth Jukebox appearance and logs his most middling-of-the-middle score yet…


Alfred Soto: If there’s a more prettily vacant singer on the Hot 100, then Abel Tesfaye should feel offended. Martin Garrix, who has arranged lovelier skitters and bloops, keeps trying for an American crossover.

Nicholas Donohoue: Khalid continues to sing like he has cotton balls in his mouth, and I am wooed as ever. Martin Garrix turns to the orchestra pit for some cinema score vibes, and it’s refreshing. Earnest this is not, but it is a gentle and kind song which is a good enough substitute.

Hazel Southwell: One of Martin Garrix’s problems is that he doesn’t quite have the songs — or maybe the emotions — to back up what he’s trying to invoke. This is a non-classic by any standards but particularly wastes a couple of good hooks into blandness. The breakdown is the best bit.

Will Adams: The understated (by Garrix’s standards — never forget) production creates a nice environment for a vocalist like Khalid, who’s here in typical brood mode. But the silly cascading string figure sours it, only serving to highlight that Garrix has done drama better elsewhere.

Stephen Eisermann: If I were Khalid I’d be a bit more selective with which projects I take on; he has one of those rare voices that sound great regardless of surroundings. But while that makes his voice an easy fit for features, overexposure (especially on mediocre tracks) will only hurt him. “Ocean” isn’t bad, but it’s nothing all that interesting, either, and Khalid deserves better than being relegated to a go-to hook singer or features artist.

Katherine St Asaph: I’ve listened to “Only an Ocean Away” too often in my teens (er, and past) to be fully immune to this. And Martin Garrix’s production, which adds gratuitous string flourishes to the ’80s guitar licks, arpeggio peals and nighttime festival melancholy, inadvertently leans that way. More sweet than nothing.

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