Tuesday, October 30th, 2018

HRVY – I Wish You Were Here

Well we wish you’d done a different music video, but we can’t always get what we want, now can we?


Juana Giaimo: “I Wish You Were Here” puts together many things that made a hit single in the latest years: a Justin Timberlake-like falsetto, deep voices acting as a beat just as in Mark Ronson and Bruno Mars’ “Uptown Funk”, plus a Pharrell kind of production in the chorus. All that it lacks is some personality. 

Tobi Tella: This is a bad Charlie Puth song given to someone with even less charisma. His falsetto sounds like it’s just as painful for him as it is for me. Bonus mention to the video because what the fuck.

Scott Mildenhall: Such an egregious video suggests that the people overseeing this do not know what they’re doing (never should the myth of social-media-as-bleeding-edge become reality), but HRVY’s new-found access to higher tier collaborators like Mojam sounds like it’s paying off, even if the budget doesn’t yet stretch to hiring them for a full song. That’s a strength though: “I Wish You Were Here” twinkles and skips and ticks and burrows. It says what it has to say inventively, concisely and directly, understatedly placing it a point of distinction. There’s a good chance that this will be just another song to fail to bring him to a wider audience, but if nothing else it almost justifies the sales of more branded bric-à-brac.

John Seroff: Brief, bouncy, benign bubblegum viciously voided via video; believe it or don’t, this atrocity is visually as bad or worse than anything Lil’ Dicky has inflicted upon the world. Bump that score by two (and maybe even three on a day with nice weather) if you’re listening blind.

Alfred Soto: The chorus is moronic-catchy, and I like how the singer makes taking his T-shirt off as unassuming as any hunk who wants to be an object of desire. Charlie Puth does this stuff better, though, and he has cool chord changes!

Jibril Yassin: This song feels incredibly short for its two-minute runtime; the fact HRVY chooses to spend its entirety doing a really bad falsetto does it no favours. It’s an incomplete approximation of late-aughts pop-rock with one missing ingredient: where’s the singer in all this? 

Taylor Alatorre: The era of the two-minute pop single came and went based on the physical limitations of music distribution. Now that such limitations have been obliterated and replaced with 24/7 choice overload, it might be due for a renaissance. “I Wish You Were Here” gives a Gen Z facelift to the get-in-get-out mentality and wry geniality of British Invasion also-rans like Herman’s Hermits and Gerry and the Pacemakers, albeit with a lyric about kitchen counter intimacy that definitely would have gotten HRVY blacklisted in 1963. Also unlike his forebears, he packs his self-imposed two minutes with the entire brainstorming sheet: bass boosted doo-wop, vocodered falsetto, pinprick guitars, the TR-808 cowbell, a ticking clock, and shameless Cheap Trick theft. Somehow this doesn’t add up to an egregious violation of good taste, as it all paints a convincing portrait of sweaty-palmed eagerness in a way that maybe wasn’t intended. Most intriguing is how closely HRVY adheres to the lyrical conventions of pop femininity: “When I say that I’m cool about it / I’m really not cool about it” is basically every Carly Rae Jepsen song. Inverted gender norms may not be the first thing you hear when you push play on this (avoid the video at all costs), but why not give it another go — it only takes two minutes.

Vikram Joseph: I mean, sure, just writing “I wish you weren’t” would be brief, lazy and glib, but then this song is all of those things so I feel okay with that.

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2 Responses to “HRVY – I Wish You Were Here”

  1. his falsetto was so bad that i couldn’t listen to this for the extended period of time required to blurb it

  2. this video truly suuuucks. so terrible in so many ways.

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