Wednesday, October 9th, 2019

Arin Ray with Kehlani – Change

2012 X Factor alum makes probably better music than he would made seven years ago…


Alfred Soto: Young love articulated as prettily as anything by Hi-Five, Aaliyah, or Kehlani herself, with canny production: The echo-fade before her appearance suggests how we think we merge with our objects of desire during moments of self-deception. Young love, then.

Kylo Nocom: Immediately familiar in the way that would communicate unoriginality on a lesser song, but “Change” benefits from production prowess (the way the beat cuts near the end… [chef’s kiss]) and the charm of its two leads. Their half-rapping in the bridge bewilders for a moment, but the delivery of “look at God, look at love, look at how it overflow” is beautiful enough to justify this and the whole song.

Michael Hong: Arin Ray and Kehlani’s voices complement one another well, but the spoken word interlude in lieu of an actual bridge feels gratuitous, and the sampled drums are unnecessarily harsh.

Katherine St Asaph: A [6], probably, but I’m overrating this because of how rare it is to find this particular sort of duet, even in 2019, when everything is a feature even when it doesn’t need to be. It’s the kind of track that comes off deeply felt (by both parties, woman and man: even rarer) yet nostalgic, breezy, ephemeral in the best way.

Josh Love: Even when she only sounds halfway engaged, Kehlani is still capable of elevating her material, in this case a pleasantly nondescript R&B duet that sounds like it could have nestled into the charts at any point in the past 25 years.

Hazel Southwell: I like this, which is probably because you can buy my love at a staggering discount of “put literally any beat TLC might have used on the track.” But it’s also legitimately sweet in its own right, a proper boy/girl song about bittersweet fondness full of lines that’d make good fanfic titles.

Stephen Eisermann: A romantic nostalgia-fest that shows how effective a well-used sample can be, “Change” showcases both Arin Ray and Kehlani’s versatility as they shift from singing to rapping seamlessly. These two make breaking up and reconciling sound worth it. 

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