Wednesday, May 19th, 2021

Leony – Faded Love

Hope the Numa Numa guy is doing well, wherever he is…


Scott Mildenhall: “Dragostea Din Tei” always had the makings of a canonical melody, so it’s almost surprising that only one hit bigger than this has drunk from its well. The comparison is worthwhile: “Live Your Life” was lazy, almost laughably so, hardening its timeless sample into something precisely dated. But in so doing, it maintained O-Zone’s essential effortlessness. As Leony — who has form with this — tries admirably hard to wrap her woe around it, one of the most unifyingly joyous songs of the 21st century becomes leaden.

Joshua Lu: Kind of over this mini trend of otherwise nondescript pop tunes sampling throwback meme songs just to have some gimmick preventing the track from being completely sonically barren — and at least when Rita Ora and Imanbek used Crazy Frog, they weren’t over a decade late to the idea.

Juana Giaimo: It’s simply impossible to listen to this song and ignore the sample. Everyone involved in “Faded Love” should have already known that, so it doesn’t make any sense to me that they chose this sample for a sophisticated electro-pop heartbreak song when the original source is a fun silly party song. I really can’t take her seriously when she sighs “aah”s when that part in the the original version is just auto-tuned nonsense. Maybe it would have helped if the song wasn’t so bland and anonymous.

Samson Savill de Jong: The problem with taking a famous sample, especially from a meme, especially sampling this meme, is I can’t really listen to this song without picture a man in his bedroom fist pumping and lip syncing along (remember when that’s all you had to do to go viral on the internet? Good times). It’s especially a problem because the joy of that was its… joy, how upbeat and cheerful it all was (the modern internet would have called it wholesome). This song, in contrast, is about faded love, things fizzling out, and there’s an incongruity between the downbeat lyrics and the upbeat sound. People flip samples to the opposite of their original meaning all the time (most famously Eminem with “Stan”), but the production doesn’t do enough to reckon with how happy the sample they’ve chosen is, and the distance between the intended tone and the result is too great (without be so massive to flip back around into working again). The production isn’t bad exactly, though the song is enjoyable to listen to mostly because the of the parts they’ve taken from another, better, song.

Austin Nguyen: This is, at least, 5 songs wrapped in one: sped-up “Señorita” verses that, like, don’t fetishize your duet partner; literal pining-through-the-window acoustic balladry, “She’s So Gone” guitar snarl (alas, relegated to the background); a Zedd-vocoder bridge; and, of course, the “Dragostea Din Tei” sample. I know heartbreak is supposed to be tumultuous, but an identity crisis is another thing — and lifting your throughline beat from a 2016 meme, as if one weren’t enough, yet another.

Thomas Inskeep: (Bebe Rexha x Dua Lipa) + pop guitars.

Michael Hong: A lovely chorus that makes something intoxicating out of something so campy using Leony’s pillowy smooth vocals and a guitar line that’s just urgent enough to make its intentions clear without being forceful. Just a shame that the verses are laced together so awkwardly.

Alfred Soto: “Faded Love” might’ve worked with less weedy vocals and an onomatopoetic hook less obsessed with pricking the listener. 

Katherine St Asaph: Article idea: A full oral history of “Dragostea Din Tei” and its many second lives: the Italian Ednaswap to O-Zone’s Moldovan Imbruglia, Gary Brolsma (and Gary Brolsma’s emo album), the million interpolations and covers of varying sincerities, from “Live Your Life” to “EXTREME MEME MUSIC MEGAMASHUP 3” to this, I guess. “Faded Love” is an attempt to combine two going fads: shitpost soundclowning and zoomer sadcore that sighs over lyrics like “I’m falling apart, a faded love.” But despite the original song, years and layers of irony ago, being about love underneath the linden trees, the combination doesn’t work. You can make the “Dragostea Din Tei” melody a joke. You can jack its nostalgia catchiness. But you really can’t make it poignant.

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2 Responses to “Leony – Faded Love”

  1. horrifying cross-internet-generational thought I had when writing the subhead: “did numa numa guy get milkshake ducked”

  2. You know I don’t think Katie Mitchell would like this one as much as Live Your Life.