Friday, July 16th, 2021

Rae Morris ft. Soph Aspin – Fish n Chips

We’ve Fylde our reviews and hope they’re illuminating…


Thomas Inskeep: “Where the hell are my friends?” goes the refrain of this not-quite-ode to returning to your hometown after an extended absence. I can hear and appreciate the emotion in Rae Morris’s voice, but Soph Aspin’s rap doesn’t add a lot, and overall I want more energy from this, more thrust.

Vikram Joseph: As Conor Oberst so succinctly put it, “I feel more like a stranger each time I come home.” Of course, home is a moveable feast, the concept of which gets warped the longer you live away from the place(s) you grew up, and that barbed blend of disconnect and nostalgia so many of us have for our hometowns is fertile creative ground. Rae Morris takes us back to Black(pool), and “Fish n Chips” captures a certain kind of damp, dismal whimsy specific to those British seaside towns that they forgot to close down. Unfortunately, it also encapsulates the spirit of those places by being a bit chintzy and disappointing — Morris doesn’t offer much in the way of emotional insight beyond “has this place changed or have I?”, and Soph Aspin’s cameo is more than a little bit grating. Like an unfinished pier, this is a nice concept, poorly executed.

Scott Mildenhall: Whether it be their home, holiday destination or place to point and stare at, Blackpool has a powerful pull for a large part of England. Nowhere is more associated with the seaside experience: the bucket and spade and the deprivation. It’s the kind of place that lends itself to complicated returns; delusions of coming back as the main character. “Fish n Chips” knows this all too well. As the major-label popstar outlines her oblivious dreams of amber-preserved teenagers in long-shut clubs, like The Risen from In The Flesh, it is a delight when they give way to a quite cutting rejoinder from the voice of truth. Soph Aspin was not so long ago made an object of curiosity by London Media Types, but here she gets to frame herself and much of the song — she is central, and so is Blackpool. Rae Morris has foregrounded the place before — how the world-conquering “Someone Out There” was not actually world-conquering is a mystery — but this conflicted, self-deprecating dialogue is the most thoughtful and heartwarming instance of that yet.

Claire Biddles: I just can’t get past that opening plaintive croon of the title — like a mediocre parody that is almost as cringeworthy as the earnest homecoming slow jam it’s aping. Theoretically I’m into the sporadic, almost proggy slip-slides throughout the song, but in reality it’s half-arsed sonic attention seeking. Soph Aspin’s rap is mortifying. Rae please do better I know you can!

Oliver Maier: It’s hard to articulate what exactly I hate so very much about this, possibly because it feels like the accumulation of lots of very specific details rather than a single overarching failure. Here are some of those details: 1) pretty much everything about Morris’ vocal performance irritates me 2) the lyrics, amateurishly bland even by the standards of a tedious concept 3) wHeRe ThE hElL aRe My FrIeEeEeEeNdS 4) the key changes, which if I am being generous I suppose could signify feeling unmoored, but in the context of a song that I listen to with my ears sound bad 5) Soph Aspin’s pitiful guest verse (“And they’re in the clubs, They’re on the beach / Sat by the sand and the sea / And they’re in the town, they’re in the park” — bracing stuff). If I can identify a larger structural issue it’s that “Fish n Chips” is at once totally humourless and packed with production choices that sound goofy in context; I feel like I’m being custard pied while watching a GCSE art student’s very sad, very earnest, not very good short film. Why the autotune? Why this whimsical beat? (It is admittedly not their fault that it reminds me of the silliest Brockhampton song). Why the chipmunked outro? There are worse songs out there, but few that sound as genuinely unfit for release as “Fish n Chips”. I don’t mean that as a snide, non-specific drag; I mean it in the sense that there are about two good ideas here that should have been extracted and used for other things entirely, rather than in service of this half-baked rubbish.

Leah Isobel: Rae’s voice has a yelpy innocence that works really well here, and the way the line “where the hell are my friends?” barrels in like an intrusive thought is fun. It gets less fun with repetition, and maybe that’s intentional. It also feels a little lazy. Soph Aspin’s verse, a little unremarkable on its own, brings enough of an energy shift that the song works; and the playfully wonky key change on the outro elevates the whole situation. What an odd assemblage of parts.

Ian Mathers: The little “where the hell are my friends” bit and the production pretty much work, and it takes Aspin coming in to confirm that they work a lot better with a rapper than with the rest of this song. Feels like it needs a remix/refocus and/or more rappers?

Nortey Dowuona: The loping synths look at Rae’s soft, lilting voice, lifted by the pulsing bass and shimmering synths above swooning strings and bouncy, concave drums, with another synth sweeping in as Soph steps in, gently piecing together the life that’s long past Rae. Soph still has a few lingering strings, and as Rae melts with the rain, the entire mix smushes, turns inside out and fades away.

Mark Sinker: Don’t like to damn a song for a cheap crappy video really, and should note that when I was only half-listening while doing other things I was enjoying this, for the sound of her voice and the structure supporting it, and the snide edge to Soph’s rap also. But the self-regard just doesn’t survive closer attention and the rushed little rhythm spurts feel like overlooked blunders. Plus why is the treble clef at the start centred on B rather G? OK that’s the most trivial issue possible but detail matters! 

Juana Giaimo: I generally don’t create expectations for follow-ups, but Someone Out There was such an underestimated album that I always expected Rae Morris’ next would be a pop explosion that would put all eyes on her. Maybe it could have been if we hadn’t gone through a (surprise!) pandemic in the last year and a half. Now that she finally comes back with a new song, it’s far away from my expectations. “Fish n Chips” is one of the most desolating songs I’ve heard in a while. From the first seconds she puts us in this lonely mood: the ambient rain, her pensive tone and those slightly eerie backing vocals that repeat those lyrics that probably many of us have thought a lot in these times. “Where the hell are my friends?”, why am I not sending a message to see how they’re doing? Why aren’t they talking to me? Are they mad at me? Do they miss me? Do I miss them or could I live in quarantine for the rest of my life? Maybe I could… When Soph Aspin’s rap comes in, she sounds like the unbearable voice of conscience that we want to shut up and leaves us feeling even lonelier than before.

Alfred Soto: “Where the hell are my friends?” could be a Pet Shop Boys refrain, but the execution is so lifeless I wonder why they wonder.

Reader average: [4.66] (3 votes)

Vote: 0   1   2   3   4   5   6   7   8   9   10

4 Responses to “Rae Morris ft. Soph Aspin – Fish n Chips”

  1. Just started a new job so haven’t had time to blurb for a few weeks, annoyed I missed this though because I thought the concept was so interesting but the execution so lackluster (probs a 4 or 3)

  2. 5/10 song, 10/10 header

  3. Also OMG just noticed the In The Flesh reference <3333

  4. Ha, great show (the miniseries mostly). The comparison is probably a bit muddled, but this did bring it to mind.

Leave a Reply