Thursday, November 8th, 2018

Nile Rodgers & Chic ft. Craig David & Stefflon Don – Sober

Alfred with the most harrowing sentence of the year…


Alfred Soto: What does Chic mean in 2018? A Daft Punk album whose processed vocals and acoustic elements collide to abrasive effect; it means a tighter Maroon 5 album. “Sober,” though, is closer to anonymous European dance music from 1994, given a present in Nile Rodgers’ inimitable guitar. 

John Seroff: I’m inclined to be charitable to the new Chic album; if ever anyone should be allowed a victory lap, it’s Rodgers. The best tracks to my ears on It’s About Time are the collabos with NAO and Mura Masa/Vic Mensa, but I’m somewhat less enamored of this New Jack a’la Umjammer Lammy chestnut that sounds more like summer past than celebrated. Good will bonus point for a catchy chorus that took me too long to figure out, considering it’s in the title.

Scott Mildenhall: The multi-tracked “she only loves me when she’s sober” forms the peak of this song’s broad inducement of flashbacks to CD’s ill-fated attempts at Americanisation on Slicker Than Your Average, but if anyone was to tell you that “Fast Cars” was anything other than ahead of its time then they are sorely mistaken, so that’s no bad thing. A shame that the British version of “Finesse” couldn’t be about Inverness or even Barrow-in-Furness, but at least it exists.

Stephen Eisermann: This wasn’t at all what I expected, but it’s a welcome surprise. Craig David sounds more alive than he has in years, and his voice complements the throwback production excellently. Stefflon’s subpar verse notwithstanding, this is a terrific, vintage, funky jam.

Will Adams: It’s no surprise Craig David fades into this competent new jack swing hologram, but it is surprising — concerning, even — that Stefflon Don does, too.

Joshua Minsoo Kim: I understand that Stefflon Don’s numerous feature spots help with exposure, but all they do is convince listeners that she’s unable to project any sort of personality. Craig David, a singer whose entire career is defined by a wallpaper-like presence that’s occasionally ignorable due to good production, only drags “Sober” further down. Neither New Jack Swing’s inherent bustle nor Rodgers’s guitar can save this.

Micha Cavaseno: Nile Rodgers determining that the future should be Craig David getting his Ralph Tresvant on is a curious but bemusing notion. It’s a fun misstep, just to hear Rodgers do New Jack Swing so well and to hear it with a modern mix, but it most certainly doesn’t read the room. And the Stefflon verse is about as phoned in as — er, well, I’m sure there’s a verse she hasn’t managed that.

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