Thursday, September 6th, 2018

Ella Mai – Trip

Just putting it out there, but we might have underrated “Boo’d Up” a bit.


Nortey Dowuona: Trembling, plush piano drops into the water as Ella carefully makes her way across before bouncing bass and clicking drums circle around her before they rise from the water, carrying her gentle falsetto across the ocean to the coast of California, dolphins following.

Jacob Sujin Kuppermann: This is basically just 3 minutes of Ella Mai trying out different hooks for the same song over some gorgeous pianos from producers Keys and DJ Mustard (who might actually be better at producing R&B than rap at this point.) Considering how good the hooks are, that’s not a bad thing.

Alfred Soto: A Dopson and Mustard production? This? Then urge them to stay away from hip-hop, please. After wowing me with “Boo’d Up,” Ella Mai returns with mid-tempo plushness centered on a prominent piano part. I cant wait for the full-length release.

Anna Suiter: This song is all about the mood it sets. It’s about the feeling you get from how Ella Mai sings about this kind of love, and it works. Or at least, it works enough. Maybe the song feels a little too controlled for how the lyrics illustrate someone coming undone, but really, that just makes it better.

Iain Mew: The repetition as the piano treads water eventually dulls the appeal, but Ella Mai does keep simplicity working for her for a long time. A lot of that is in all the different things she can do with “trip” and “trippin’:” from excitement, to confusion, to onomatopoeia via making it sound like “drip.” 

Alex Clifton: This feels like a vintage R’n’B track that would’ve sat comfortably on the radio comfortably next to Alicia Keys some fifteen years ago, but also feels timeless. Mai’s voice is the equivalent of sipping wine and being astonished by how smoothly it goes down: no burn and a complex body of emotion under such a rich voice. I could listen to this on repeat and still discover new things in her vocal performance. In fact, I think I’ll do just that.

Taylor Alatorre: You know we’re living in strange times when a Mustard-produced track sounds like a contender for Best Traditional R&B Performance. There’s some surprisingly complex piano chords contained in here, paired with an almost minimalistic refrain that’s not shy at all about its desire to get stuck in your head. At this early point it’s still hard to tell what makes Ella Mai distinctive from other female R&B singers of her generation, but distinctiveness isn’t really the point with “Trip.” It’s all about making you feel like you’ve heard this before without falling back on way-too-obvious reference points. It’s also about that part in the chorus where she perfectly accents the syllables of “your love, it’s too good to be true” as Mustard tinkers with his drum kit in the background.

Reader average: [8.5] (2 votes)

Vote: 0   1   2   3   4   5   6   7   8   9   10

One Response to “Ella Mai – Trip”

  1. This chick!