Friday, November 16th, 2018

Shawn Mendes & Zedd – Lost in Japan (Remix)

Google Maps works in Japan, you guys.


Tobi Tella: The original “Lost in Japan” was one of my favorite songs of the year, but this remix doesn’t improve it any way. Zedd has proven to be a one-trick pony to the extreme, and while “The Middle” basically being the same song as “Stay” could be ignored because it banged, as soon as I heard the clock ticking noises in this I almost threw my computer at the wall. Not to mention the completely unnecessary drop — it’s honestly hard to listen to a charming little song get turned into an overproduced mess.

Will Adams: The original was sweet but slight, and it was wise for Shawn Mendes to leave it a promo single. But now we’ve exhausted all other viable options. What to do? Zedd’s solution is to douse it in neon synths, bringing it slightly closer to another song about getting lost tonight but ending up cacophonous. 

Alfred Soto: Well, here’s a trick: Zedd turns Shawn Mendes into a sound effect and he won’t give. Turns out his uncooked quinoa of a voice is immune to bass notes and electrobelches.

Ian Mathers: Sometimes blankness can be, in its own way, a virtue. (Which is also why the hybrid in the video is better than the full remix.)

Micha Cavaseno: Zedd’s learned how to do yacht-rock EDM, which is not new territory as the Calvin Harris switch-up demonstrated, but a good way to outstay past the initial impact of one’s career. Shawn Mendes still can’t sing anything past this pinched nasal delivery that constantly erodes half the notes he aims for but he’s also managing to stay past the initial impact of his early singles in spite of his refusal to improve. Hey, one person on this record should be rewarded for development and growth, y’know?

William John: What was most delightful about the version of “Lost In Japan” that appears on Shawn Mendes — the Shawn Mendes song for which I have the most affection — was its buoyancy. Teddy Geiger’s deft, sparse sound design allowed Mendes space to express his blooming desire, to the extent that the notion of him bounding across clouds to a hotel in Japan, rather than boarding a plane to do so, became believable. Zedd, already in the dunce’s corner after some dimwitted recent tweets about Sheck Wes’ “Mo Bamba,” erases a lot of the joyful intimacy of the original by smothering it with his now predictable clock ticks and compressed synths. The pleasures of that chorus, though, would need to be subjected to far greater horrors to be completely destroyed.

Juan F. Carruyo: Sad chords, alienation. Shawn Mendes still sounds like he’s running on automation. 

Taylor Alatorre: The central conceit is a good one — guy who’s already far from home wants to go a few hundred miles farther because of girl, and because of the sunk cost fallacy. The pre-chorus even succeeds in making naked desperation seem sensual, with the self-plagiarized ticking clock effect sounding more at home here than it did in “The Middle.” However, all the finely wrought tension comes violently undone when Zedd’s domineering drop insists on crowding out all the negative space. It’s as if he grabbed the first thing he could from the future bass toolkit and scrubbed any traces of sonic diversity or tonal balance. Just like the distance between Manila and Tokyo, this is an obstacle that the listener can overcome, but only if they really want to.

Edward Okulicz: Such was the opprobrium doled out to Mendes’s early singles that it’s easy for a snob to have missed that he has maintained that early popularity and increased the quality of his output massively. “Lost in Japan” suffers a little from the bouncy Zeddification that threatens to turn the post-chorus into euphoria. The song captures a more tense situation — a tryst, one half of which wants to have something more but is disarmed by the tyranny of distance, and generic droppage seems an unwelcome intrusion. But I can forgive it because of the vividness of the song itself. Wanting to lose yourself in a new place and a lover, but perhaps feeling like flying there is an emotional investment that could make for awkwardness is something I can relate to, and I think Mendes hits the right notes here — desirous but nervous. And you know who, if you’re reading this, call me, we can split the airfare.

Katherine St Asaph: Seldom have I felt more out of step with my colleagues than when they embraced this remake of Lost in Translation by Charlie Puth in a cruise ship bar.

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