Saturday, June 15th, 2019

Nicole Bus – You

We really, really, sorta, kinda like…


Thomas Inskeep: So today, a classic-sounding R&B track basically means it sounds like peak-era Lauryn Hill (whose first solo album is now 20 years old), and “You” does that in spades. The song smartly samples The Charmels’ “As Long As I’ve Got You” in the same way that RZA did on Wu-Tang’s landmark “C.R.E.A.M.” — and considering that Wu fans from ’94 (Enter the Wu-Tang is 25 years old, y’all) are likely to be Adult R&B listeners, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that “You” raced to the top of said radio airplay chart in a ridiculous hurry. Bus has got a real L-Boogie tinge to her voice, and combined with some clever pop cultural references (“love you like Kanye loves Kanye,” et al.) and that sample, this kinda can’t lose. It works equally well for late nights, early mornings, and head-nodding all day long, and is one of my favorite R&B records of the year.

Ian Mathers: “Former The Voice of Holland competitor interpolates old Wu-Tang song, older song Wu-Tang song was sampling” doesn’t sound like the most promising logline (although these days also far from the worst), but it’s finally getting hotter and that matches well with the interesting grit to Bus’s timbre and the way the production here keeps the haze in the right places, in just the right amounts. I’m going to hate the summer heat, but songs like this matching with it so perfectly redeem the season a little.

Alfred Soto: A Charmels sample, a timbre recalling Lauryn Hill and Jazmine Sullivan in ballad mode — Nicole Bus is a demographic dream made flesh. She convinces as a person who thinks she’s found the right song.

Joshua Minsoo Kim: Sounding exactly like Lauryn Hill is notable, I guess, but “You” doesn’t present Nicole Bus as anyone with any sort of personality. The sample does a lot of the heavy lifting; elsewhere, it’s just a bunch of serviceable vocals and lyrics like “and I love the way you love me/like Kanye loves Kanye.”

Iris Xie: I’m fairly amused by the first verse, where the triad of Idris Elba/Steph Curry/Luke Cage references stack upon each other like stan tweets. But it doesn’t elevate from there, and the crooning and staid instrumentation result in this 90s R&B homage sounding tired instead of wired. 2019 is a pretty rough year in a series of rough years, but if you’re going to do a slow jam, at least try to forget how the world is for three and a half minutes. 

Tobi Tella: Beautiful voice, but wasted on a bland as hell slow jam about a lover, which is a topic that has been gone over many, maaaany times by R&B songs more memorable than this.

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