Tuesday, September 17th, 2019

Ed Sheeran ft. Stormzy, Jaykae & Aitch – Take Me Back to London (Sir Spyro Remix)

We can go drivin’ in… on my scooter…


Wayne Weizhen Zhang: Stormzy sounds fresh coming off his number one UK single, and there’s decent fun to be had here with Jaykae and Aitch on this remix, but Ed’s hook is so aggressively, horrendously inane that it approaches Taylor Swift levels of cringe

Alfred Soto: Ed Sheeran writes hooks — solid ones. Stormzy and company do well by the pizzicato-anchored arrangement. For once Sheeran is surrounded by more capacious talents, and he compensates. 

Jackie Powell: The remix of this song is what I initially expected from Sheeran’s collaborations project that dropped this summer. What made No. 5 Collaborations Project, his first of this kind, truly ambitious was how Sheeran embraced homegrown artists. The original track tries but doesn’t quite go all the way, which could be said about the entire project (No. 6). What makes this remix a bit more redeeming than the original version with just Sheeran and Stormzy is the lyrical content and the pacing. Stormzy’s flow is intense and the percussion that moves with him flies just as quickly. There’s a present punch on this rehashing. Sheeran’s hook on both versions slows the pacing which offsets the balance of the track itself. While fellow Brits Jaykae & Aitch don’t match Stomzy’s intensity exactly, their rhymes are concentrated more on their culture than their clout. Their commitment to assonance on the verses stands out. But on the original, however, Sheeran spent way too much time rhyming and executing his flow all about his new glamorous life. The extra verses from these two other guests bring the song lyrically back down to earth. I’m hoping that was Sheeran’s intent: to do the remix in the first place so that his roots had actual space in a song all about his roots. Sheeran mentions grime but here’s the irony, his hook on this cut is the contrapositive to the whole point of grime. Grime moves swiftly. It doesn’t have time to gloat as it just embraces what it is.

Joshua Minsoo Kim: Sir Spyro is the real star here: he transforms the lethargic original into something agile and energetic. That we get less of Sheeran’s voice helps too, of course. If there has to be a Sheeran song that sits atop the UK charts, we could do much worse than this.

Thomas Inskeep: Much better than your average Sheeran single, because it doesn’t really sound like a Sheeran track: it’s a straight-up grime track, with Stormzy, Jaykae and Aitch all spitting rhymes, and even the red menace flipping a couple verses of his own. This is a light, nimble track — the beat just kinda floats, in the best way — and I’ve gotta say, I like it.

Kylo Nocom: Sheeran’s cadences in the chorus are irritating and this honestly shouldn’t have been his song. Otherwise, I’m having so much fun listening to this at the restaurant area in the front of this Target!

Scott Mildenhall: To give credit to Ed Sheeran, an inter-city collaboration like this is a great idea on paper. It’s just a shame that everything he chooses to do seems to be predicated on it being a great idea on paper, regardless of its eventual quality. Fundamentally, that quality is never likely to be high with him. Here, Jaykae is the standout performer, reliably bursting out of the track with identifiable personality. But as for his host? Instead of acknowledging that he’s a posh boy from Country Life magazine’s number one place to live in 2006, he continues to have the temerity to use his alleged ordinariness as a gimmick — with his crisps, pint and pub (quite possibly the one beneath his house), he sounds like an American’s rudimentary parody of an Englishman. It’s purposely benign to mask the ways in which it is malign. How is it possible that a man with this background can brag about having made his way to even greater riches, in this company, with a straight face? No amount of criticism will ever undo the façade, but it bears repeating that all of it is symbolic of a country’s culture run by thousands of Ed Sheerans, tacitly conspiring to never admit the truth.

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One Response to “Ed Sheeran ft. Stormzy, Jaykae & Aitch – Take Me Back to London (Sir Spyro Remix)”

  1. I feel I owe it to everyone to share this incredible Wiley interview on the subject: https://www.bbc.co.uk/sounds/play/p07n3rl4

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