Monday, July 26th, 2021

Normani ft. Cardi B – Wild Side

One big-name clash deserves another…


Wayne Weizhen Zhang: No one is harder on Normani than Normani. The surgically cut phrasing on “Wild Side,” the stunningly intricate video, the expertly-curated Cardi B verse that lands with the gravity of concrete: they all exemplify the level of precision and control that she exerts on her music. And while Normani is amazing as an auteur, it can also lead to a painstaking process and music which sounds overthought. It’s been nearly two years since she’s has released new music, and she’s admitted that the delay has been the result of self-doubt and feeling in her head. “Wild Side”, unfortunately, shows some of these cracks: Normani has recounted that the writing and mixing process was full of anxiety, so much so that it was like writing a paper over and over again so much that she hardly even knew what it says anymore. The result? Although “Wild Side” is technically proficient — even excellently produced — it still sounds like the work of an artist chasing a level of unattainable perfection rather than allowing herself to authentically show herself. The world is waiting for what Normani wants to sound like unsaddled from any expectations — and just realizing her tremendous talent. 

Jessica Doyle: I know many of y’all (and us) want Normani to be a big star, and I get it, she’s very talented, but I don’t see how this does for her what either she or her fans want it to do. At least in “Motivation” she was the sole star, and the explicit focus of the video was showing her off. Here she’s upstaged first by the costumes and then by Cardi, who apparently did not get the memo that this particular Song of the Sufficiently Sexual was supposed to be bland (“I wanna put my pretty pink toes in your mouth” being my favorite line on first listen). In the short term, Normani looks like the hook singer on someone else’s song, rather than the main attraction. In the long term… I wonder if twenty years from now we’ll be having the same conversation about her being pigeonholed and leered at that we’re having now about the likes of Lindsay Lohan and Christina Aguilera. The alternative would be to have that conversation now, and see if we can’t get Normani a song that’s actually interesting enough to do her justice.

Nortey Dowuona: Normani is a really good singer but she’s not really much of a rapper. Cardi isn’t good at singing and has somehow forgotten how to rap. The beat is so bare and so static it can’t settle into a groove. Cardi keeps saying believe me so much I can’t believe her. Normani does a bunch of OK Thugga runs. I can’t believe motivation had a 21 Savage remix. People need to stop biting Solange and work with Solange. Can we bring roll up back? This song is OK. Wish it had a Nezi Momodu verse. Cardi, this inhale is not it.

Alfred Soto: Other than an irritating vocal melody, I can’t find a thing wrong with “Wild Side.” From a formalist perspective, it’s excellent. To my ears, though, Normani lacks personality, and Cardi B raps as if she hasn’ t heard the rest of the song.

Thomas Inskeep: From the Aaliyah sample (used so judiciously) to the deliciously filthy Cardi verse to Normani aping Beyoncé’s staccato talk-singing (not quite rapping), this gets 10s, 10s, 10s across the board.

Leonel Manzanares de la Rosa: This is a Velvet Rope Janet song with a Cardi B verse breaking the joint. That is a compliment, really.

Katherine St Asaph: Normani’s PR campaign continues to be more impressive than her material. Cardi excepted, this is decidedly on the mild side: not striking, not sultry, just kinda there.

Reader average: [7.33] (3 votes)

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One Response to “Normani ft. Cardi B – Wild Side”

  1. Say what you will about the actual song but it’s hilarious how much of a meme it’s become. All the du-du-du-du-du jokes (especially as they relate to Beyonce’s alarm going off when Sia tries to escape her basement) kill me

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