Monday, February 25th, 2019

Khalid & Disclosure – Talk

Do you feel like a puzzle; you can’t find your missing piece?


David Moore: I was hoping Disclosure would pep Khalid up a little, but Khalid just drags them down to zombieland (I had to google my previous review of Khalid to verify that I already used the word “somnambulant” to refer to him). What a waste of an ampersand.

Alfred Soto: Those syrup-heavy synths do the work. Khalid programs a fuck-me plain that’s supposed to be a sensitive come-on.

Katherine St Asaph: I can reverse-engineer what this might be doing: positioning Khalid somewhere around Bruno Mars. Khalid goes for 2010 Bruno Mars with a sensitive plea to have the relationship talk — who in current pop is more likely to put “I apologize” into his chorus? And Disclosure go for 2017 Bruno Mars, specifically “That’s What I Like.” Neither really works, though. The former keeps Khalid out of the most interesting, precociously gravelly parts of his range. The latter has a massive charisma hole in the arrangement that soft-spokenness doesn’t fill — and besides, it’s Disclosure, who are already very good at being Disclosure. Did anyone want them to pivot to Marshmello?

Thomas Inskeep: Disclosure don’t do Khalid any favors with this molasses-glacial track, and Khalid, whose voice lacks any personality, could use some favors.

Ryo Miyauchi: Khalid tries to show off some range on more robust pop production to suggest growth in both skill and character, but he still sounds best as the teen sheepishly musing about some crush out of his league. He reaches for those strong notes, but that soft, shy coo in the chorus is where he should best stay.

Joshua Minsoo Kim: Khalid’s voice is prone to anonymity, and Disclosure have found a way to make sure he sounds completely devoid of identity. Over chipper and sparse production, Khalid’s voice dissipates into the ether, his request for conversation no different than an advert you hear on the subway. Which is to say, it’s different from an advert before a YouTube video — one that you prepare to skip — because he simply exists as part of the background noise you’ve conditioned yourself to ignore. “Can we just talk?” he sings, without response.

Iris Xie: The emphasis on the first “talk!” in the chorus is satisfying to listen to, because Khalid sounds so pained, like a guy who actually has to admit that he has feelings for someone, either because he is discontinuing his standard schedule of hitting and quitting it, or he actually has real connection in a way he’s never experienced it before.  This is compounded by the line right after, “Can’t we just talk?” that sounds almost whiny and full of pleading, like a puppy wanting attention. It’s a frothy, light take on being tortured in the beginnings of a relationship that might be the start of something more, or the collapse of it, who knows. There are loud “oh shit” moments amongst twinkly daydreams, replicated in the shy but obnoxious funk horns and fluttery synths, both which keep falling over each other in volume and rhythm. The clumsiness is emphasized from how it took around 30 seconds of a buildup to a quirky instrumental intro, and it only gets louder and denser from here until the end of the song, where it drifts off like a half-finished thought. Khalid does not have a handle on his feelings at all, and is totally tripping over his love interest in a severely uncool way, unlike how Ella Mai is cool and composed on “Trip,” and to be honest, it’s absolutely amusing to witness.

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