Tuesday, March 26th, 2019

Bryce Vine ft. YG – La La Land

Just like its namesake, controversy abounds…

Tobi Tella: It really is an accomplishment to make something more privileged and less self-aware than the real La La Land, but they certainly managed to do it here! YG’s additions are more regular-bad than funny-bad, but Bryce manages to get in several gobsmacking lines, including telling us this girl “lives in a mansion” despite being right out of school, meeting her at Coachella, and of course, dropping that she’s Instagram famous. Never has a song made me happier about living on the East Coast.

Ramzi Awn: There’s no denying that “La La Land” is well-suited for the radio. Bryce Vine’s voice is easy on the ears, and the single is produced expertly. Despite his best efforts, Vine avoids the pitfalls of the song’s parts in large part due to a great hook with a soft touch.

Alfred Soto: Nothing screams “hit” like a lethargic tour through dead cultural signifiers.

Iris Xie: Reminds me of the time I first went to a Urth Caffe for brunch (the Pasadena location, to be specific). Sitting next to an impeccably done mosaic fountain, perfect cornflower blue sky, and eating my impossibly well-made quiche and salad combo while discussing poetry, I was like, “This is some belly of the beast.” I like brunch as much any other millennial with “fuck-it expenses” does, but the relentless sunniness of the place made me feel like I was going to split in half, the fountain absorbing my soul, spitting me back out, and then rendering me into a flattened sitcom version of myself. This song would be the initiation sequence.

Katherine St Asaph: Based on this rehash of Bazzi, the Chainsmokers, Travie McCoy, LFO probably, and so on, Bryce Vine should probably change his name to Bryce 20-Times-Reposted Vine Compilation on YouTube, With a 20-Second Intro and Multiple Watermarks Lazily MS Painted Out, That Starts With “Road Work Ahead,” Posner.

Ian Mathers: YG’s verse feels kind of pointlessly mismatched with the rest of the song; there’s a weird undercurrent of darkness to both the production and Vine’s delivery that’s surprisingly successful. Eventually “La La Land” winds up feeling like the tonal inverse of another song about California we’ve covered; this time everyone knows what’s really going on and nobody’s talking about it directly.

Joshua Minsoo Kim: The way the beat momentarily changes in order to accommodate YG’s feature is smooth, but little about “La La Land” actually makes the city seem worthwhile. This flaw, intentional or not, proves to be the song’s only asset: the hollowness of L.A. is deeply felt, everything so appropriately perfunctory.

Will Adams: Los Angeles has been plenty romanticized and scandalized and picked apart in song, but “La La Land” targets the specific ennui that comes from constantly being surrounded by glitzy symbols. It’s how people relate to each other: someone you met at Coachella, a hookup from the One Oak on Sunset, a house party in the hills, a networking event in Hollywood; each location performing prestige but offering little in the way of mobility, whether social or professional or personal. Ordinarily, the reliance on these signifiers would seem hacky, but Bryce Vine seems to want to peel it all back to reveal it’s bullshit, a waste of time, a palliative to help make it through the week. It’s there in the music as well: the guitars alternately brood and bleed into each other, the melody of the “waste your time” hook would otherwise evoke the carefree disposition of Sugar Ray but flips it into an acidic drawl and the disaffected la la’s are straight out of Daria. Bryce’s gaze at the unnamed girl detracts slightly, but the lingering feeling is one of loneliness, and moreover the frustration of feeling that loneliness when you’re in a city that promised you so much.

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