Monday, October 12th, 2020

Clean Bandit and Mabel ft. 24kGoldn – Tick Tock

Time goes by so slowly…


Wayne Weizhen Zhang: The titular “tick tock” hook feels gimmicky and stilted, like the parties involved sat around a table trying to brainstorm what would connect well with “the youth.” The rest is a mess: the electronic and orchestral aspects of Clean Bandit’s production have never sounded so disjointed, Mabel suffers from her usual lack of charisma, and 24KGoldn’s sounds like it was slapped on in the right before the song’s release. 

Scott Mildenhall: Clean Bandit have a lot to teach Mabel in terms of iterating a recognisable sound while maintaining personality. 24kGoldn, meanwhile, demonstrates preternatural expertise in turning up, taking his money and leaving almost no impression at all. Altogether, it works. The pleasure of “Tick Tock” is route-one Clean Bandit: not their most ambitious, but a bright and sprightly trifle nevertheless.

Juana Giaimo: There is something very empty about this song. The violins are completely out of place; they have a folk vibe, which sounds comical, especially when the lyrics are supposed to be sensual. Then there is Mabel, who has a nice voice but still has a hard time transmitting anything — and the cold production behind her doesn’t help. Finally there is 24KGoldn, who delivers some loud and slightly annoying verses, plus backing vocals in the last chorus, which are barely audible. Each element is completely detached from the rest of the song, but even on their own they don’t have much to offer.

Will Adams: If you’re seeking a trop-house song that successfully addresses the feeling of a crush taking over every waking and dreaming minute of your thoughts, try Zedd and Katy Perry’s overlooked “365.” But if you’re more in the mood for a song that makes you feel like music isn’t really that great after all, try this.

Jacob Sujin Kuppermann: My beloved partner of five years hates pop music. That’s fine by me — we don’t have to agree on 100 percent of our musical taste, and it’d be boring if we did. He thinks that contemporary pop is a fundamentally annoying genre, a collection of pop-up-ad-style hooks and abrasive personalities barely held together by mediocre arrangements. I tend to disagree — I wouldn’t spend as much time as I do writing or thinking about pop if I was annoyed by it all the time. If all pop songs sounded like this, though, I’d have one fewer thing to fight about.

Alfred Soto: Nostalgia for trop house in 2020 is like an eighties comp in 1992: I’m not sure this music’s been gone enough to get wistful about it. This wouldn’t matter if “Tick Tock” offered other goods besides the vague Middle Eastern lilt to the chorus.

Thomas Inskeep: I thought trop-house ended a couple years ago? Or maybe I just hoped. Mabel sounds more anonymous than ever here (she ain’t her mother, that’s for sure), and 24kGoldn’s Auto-Tuned nothing rap continues to be worthless. I guess because Clean Bandit include strings we’re supposed to be impressed, but I’m not; this is trash.

Edward Okulicz: I’m fully aware that 2020 has lasted for ten years, and the three months since I last wrote a review feels like about half of that, but it’s too soon for a retrospective of the glory days of trop house that takes in all of its variants. And while there’s very little new under the lyrical sun, this one is especially banal. While not offensive to listen to, it’s nothing but a bunch of musical tropes that became passe arrival expertly welded to some of the most meaningless-from-repetition lyrical cliches like “24/7,” “need your body,” “tick tock.” It really takes a lot of gumption to put that out as a single.

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