Sunday, July 22nd, 2018

Damso – Smog

Closing out the week with some pleasant non-troversy…


Iain Mew: A lot of “Smog” is really unassuming for a #1 single from an album which took over France’s top 10. What makes it work as more than ambience is its unpredictable and cutting use of silence. The way the music shifts and drops away so suddenly at times gives even the softest moments a thrilling tension, something extra to even a simple statement like “it’s good.”

Tim de Reuse: It opens with a confrontational mission statement (“Motivation: sang de fils de pute sur mon linge”) but everything about it sounds exhausted; the breathy delivery, the anemic drum machine, the minor-keyed beeping in the background. To that particular end, it’s evocative, and the wordplay is worth staying awake for, even though there’s not very much of it.

Alfred Soto: He does more with a singsong melody than Drake does, and its low key confidence is cool, but “confidently low key” still results in a half-compelling performance. 

Will Adams: The title and Damso’s laid-back delivery suggest the moodiness we expect from trap, but the most interesting points — vocoders creeping in; hi-hats accelerating into sparks — are when it veers toward the mechanical.

Edward Okulicz: The music certainly sounds fitting for a track called “Smog,” though it’s less stealthy suffocation and more battering pulses of sadness. Still, it’s a compelling track. Unfortunately the airwaves are already saturated with Sad AutoTuned Men, so this feels like it gets monotonous quickly, even though I love French in nearly any pop context. Five years ago, I’d have given it an [8], but it’s a buyer’s market.

Hazel Southwell: Any song about hotboxing should be as foggy as the haze its invoking; this gets halfway there and then tries to use autotune distortion to tweak the image. It’s like watching the CCTV of someone getting stoned, rather than actually being in the room.

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