Tuesday, January 8th, 2019

Mahalia ft. Kojey Radical – One Night Only

Ending the day on a more positive note…


Katherine St Asaph: It’s not the song’s fault that “One Night Only” is neither Mahalia Jackson nor the Dreamgirls song, but those associations aren’t gonna un-exist, or stop showing 2019 Mahalia up.

Joshua Minsoo Kim: Much like “Surprise Me,” “One Night Only” begins with a fantastic verse that drops you in the middle of Mahalia’s current mindset. The feelings that she has are relatively clear, and the rest of the song would do well to crystallize them into something more palpable, more relatable. Instead, we’re offered the opportunity to shallowly understand two different viewpoints with the inclusion of multiple Kojey Radical verses. While the sentiment and potential utility of the Mahalia-sung chorus is nice, its rhythmic structure is a bit too labored over; by the time she describes herself via the titular line, it loses a bit of the propulsive steam needed to sound convincing. More damning is Mahalia’s decision to spend one of her verses providing exposition via spoken word. Talking feels like a cheap shortcut to explaining herself; even if there were fewer words, singing would be able to emote in ways far more potent.

Thomas Inskeep: Someone needs to sign and release this in the U.S. stat, because this could follow in the shoes of Ella Mai, H.E.R., and Daniel Caesar in the “new school” of R&B. (No added features, please.) Mahalia’s voice sounds so genuine — and she can write, too.

Katie Gill: “One Night Only” lives up to its title. It’s slinky and sexual, with sultry vocals over an equally sultry backing track. The spoken word bit is superb, even if the rap is a little embarrassing at points.

Julian Axelrod: Thrilled to hear the longstanding law requiring male R&B artists to be less interesting than their female duet partners (also known as the Bryson Tiller Act) has finally been repealed.

Nicholas Donohoue: I almost resent how easy Mahalia makes it to like her, but when she’s offering as tight and full an experience, you can’t resist. She runs the charm gamut of lush, sexy, confident, then emphasizes all of her excellent points with strings, bells, and spoken interludes.  

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