Wednesday, January 30th, 2019

Kehlani ft. Ty Dolla $ign – Nights Like This

Not — and I cannot emphasize enough how I will never tire of this joke — an Icona Pop cover…


[Video]
[5.62]

Joshua Minsoo Kim: Ever since “As I Am,” I was convinced of Kehlani’s talent for making great R&B music. Her secret? Knowing how to make every word out of her mouth, whether elated or desperate or jaded or pissed, sound frank and personal. Even at her most stately, Kehlani’s less an untouchable superstar than a familiar friend. “Nights Like This” is no different, with each line sounding like a spewing of pent-up thoughts that land on a final, exasperated realization: “You gon’ get my hopes high, girl.” The production is too familiar to be exciting, but Kehlani makes it sound like a candid heart-to-heart. The question on everyone’s mind: so why’s Ty here?
[6]

Camille Nibungco: Beyond her incredible vocals, Kehlani has a gift for delivering weakness, vulnerability, and self-awareness within the swagger and seduction of contemporary R&B. “Nights Like This” is a continuation of this on-brand sound and vision, but could have done without Ty’s feature.
[7]

Alex Clifton: Some days it feels foreign to have more queer-friendly songs playing on the radio, but in a good way; it’s nice that Kehlani is singing about a failed relationship with a woman without batting an eyelid. It’s too bad the song itself is boring. Ty Dolla $ign makes for a welcome addition during the last chorus and his voice blends well with Kehlani’s, but it says a lot that I was way more invested in the narrative of the music video than the actual song.
[4]

Julian Axelrod: Kehlani’s been gone just long enough for her influence to seep into the water. So when I say this sounds like seven other songs, it’s really a testament to her skills. Of course, her pointed use of pronouns adds pathos in the corners most singers leave unattended. That puts my beloved Ty Dolla $ign in a tough spot: He’s never unwelcome, but here he’s definitely unnecessary. Consider him proof that no one does Kehlani like Kehlani.
[7]

Thomas Inskeep: I know that people rep hard for Kehlani, but I’ve never quite understood why. Everything I’ve heard of hers is more average than anything. And the tenor of her voice, slightly piercing, is mighty nails/chalkboard to my ears; “Nights Like This” is no exception.
[4]

Alfred Soto: The lyrics and melodies are rote, but once again Kehlani approaches the problem with the sense of a real person: like Vanessa Williams, Rosanne Cash, or Janet, she sings like a normal person enduring recognizable emotions. “Nights Like This” works at this level, and it’s enough.
[6]

Ian Mathers: The oscillation between the itemized list of reasons why going back is a (proven! known!) bad idea and “if I call, would you pick it up?” is evergreen, and Kehlani gives a rich, regretful spin on it. Ty Dolla $ign adds roughly nothing, but doesn’t really detract from proceedings either.
[7]

Jacob Sujin Kuppermann: Both of them can do so much better than this, and it shows — especially in the final moments of “Nights Like This,” where both Kehlani and Ty show off their supreme talents for luxurious drama. But instead the song is mostly a loss, two artists straining against a limited frame.
[4]

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