Thursday, August 8th, 2019

Big Sean – Single Again

We fuck with this slightly more than usual


Joshua Minsoo Kim: With a soft, whimsical beat, “Single Again” evokes the simplicity of childhood. The message recalls the sentiment of a ’90s sitcom, and it really does feel like there’s a full cast of characters here: Big Sean, the well-intentioned but slow-to-learn protagonist; Jhené Aiko, the affable ex-lover who should drop Sean completely; Ty Dolla $ign, the friend-cum-hypeman who probably calls this dude Sean Don; and DJ Khaled, the ostensibly profound fool who only ever appears in passing. “Cycles I need to break in myself,” sings Big Sean bluntly. He’s coming to terms with his personhood–how self-love has always been contingent on his relationship status. He reflects on his past, readily aware that he’s learning some tough truths that he should’ve come around to in his adolescence. He’s lucky that the instrumentation is sympathetic to his cause–most people won’t wait around for you to become a better person.

Ryo Miyauchi: While Big Sean disavows his former self — the spiteful yet comical rapper with an off-beat flow heard in “IDWYU” — “Single Again” reminds of a familiar character from his history way before the brash transformation. Save for the rolling snares, the somber R&B-influenced beat doesn’t sound too far from what filled his Kanye-adoring Finally Famous tapes. Sean’s dive into introspection similarly taps into a post-backpacker mode from that period. Though his return to a more pure moment in his life feels inspired, it’s slightly disappointing to know that after a decade’s time, he hasn’t learned that emotional maturity doesn’t have to come in expense of his pop instincts and sense of humor.

Alfred Soto: Instead of cramming psychobabble into reluctant scansion, Big Sean lets this confession develop with a ease that suits him better than when he played the goofball. The presence of Ty Dolla and ex Jhene Aiko have the air of group therapy, and on the aural evidence it’s working.

Jacob Sujin Kuppermann: I can’t believe I’m saying this but: I miss the old Big Sean. 

Ian Mathers: Somehow manages to make both being single and being in a romantic relationship feel like exhausting zero-sum games, without ever actually saying anything that feels novel or profound. Which doesn’t mean it’s without any power.

Kylo Nocom: Big Sean seems like a big dork here, not just in his subject matter but in the endearing singing and chirpy production; it’s like his own take on, God forbid, Zack Villere, who is certainly a welcome comparison coming from me but would probably explain why other people wouldn’t like this. I’m glad he’s finding time to love himself, even if the results feel oddly preachy and he can’t really pull off the “aww he can’t sing but he’s trying” energy the chorus requires. This is alright feel-good fluff for my end-of-summer panic. Jhené Aiko is a whole point by herself.

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One Response to “Big Sean – Single Again”

  1. this is honestly what the chance album should’ve sounded like