Monday, November 12th, 2018

Alice Chater – Hourglass

Tick-tock, tick-tock, tick-tock…


Iain Mew: I’d prefer if it was a little less “Hung Up” and a little more “SOS” or “Beware of the Dog” (the heavy breathing and screamed bit are on the right lines) but if we do have to go back, back to 200x, this is a great formula to revive.

Joshua Minsoo Kim: I’m ok with artists aiming for 2000s Kylie and Madonna in 2018, but this hook is understated in a way that’s more tedious than trance-inducing. The bouncing bassline and flecks of synth during the verses are invigorating, and the bridge is a nice dynamic contrast to the rest of the song. So close.

Iris Xie: The trash gay in me loves this song, the sour bitter bitch isn’t too sure. This is basically a ’90s-style android amalgamation of Kylie, Madonna, Britney, and Gaga, complete with ice blue eyeshadow and leotard. But who is Alice Chater? There are a few good moments here, in the verses where she coos and does some fast half-rapping that plays with the instrumentals. But overall, I find myself confused by the song and can only label it as a “reluctant grower” — there’s no sense of abandonment and too much control. It has all the funk guitar licks that would fit in a Sweetune-produced song, and a hook-y chorus that could handle a simple dance routine, but fails to stick in your head.  The song is in a transmutation circle of its influences, it lacks a thesis for a head, and is disconnected from the verve of ball and disco culture from where this music stems from. It could be so much more if I just knew who this singer was, and if this singer decided to take up space and add some more them to it. A meandering myriad of middleness.

Katherine St Asaph: It’s always a pleasant surprise when a song that’s getting a push from YouTube and other PR outlets is good. Something-something compression of the nostalgia time cycle, but if “Hourglass” is a sign that tastes are moving from supposedly-inherent-to-the-streaming-medium tropical chill pop (a thinkpiece claim that has always been [citation needed]) to Kylie/Gaga electro, I don’t remotely mind.

William John: Well, I suppose it was inevitable that Lady Gaga’s 2008 aesthetic (itself highly reverential to the Human League, who provide the indefatigable synth hook here) would some day be revisited. Unlike those Gaga singles, however, “Hourglass” isn’t revolution or reinvention — just recapitulation.

Jonathan Bradley: “Hourglass” sounds like a dance smash torn in three directions: in one, by the sophisto-pop of its Human League sample; in another, by the brassy club tug of its hook; and in a third, by the sleek digitized impetus of its groove. All of these intrigue me, and I can’t tell whether the song is weakened for not settling into one or benefits from the constructive tension between them. 

Will Adams: Electrified disco that’s equal parts Kylie and Dannii would catch my attention in any era, but in today’s somnambulant pop landscape, it’s a welcome shot in the arm.

John Seroff: That bassline is a “Loba”-alike and the much-bombast-about-nothing is straight out of Gaga’s playbook, but “Hourglass” lacks the pace, joie de vivre, and charisma of its clear late-aughties disco influences. Lord knows all this stuff is carefully contrived by definition; I suppose I either like the seams to show a bit less.

Reader average: [5] (4 votes)

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