Thursday, December 2nd, 2021

Maxwell – Off

And yet so very on…


Thomas Inskeep: Nobody does woozy, sexy R&B like Maxwell — no one, no matter how long he takes between records (akin to his spiritual siblings in Sade). And in case you forgot, “Off” is here to remind you. 

Nortey Dowuona: The first thing I heard was that Maxwell got the cornrows back. The second thing I heard was his tenor, tumbling yet careful, the swirling synths and shimmying drums, the snare just a half step ahead, the smooth, lurking bass circling in the mix. The next thing I heard was the lingering piano chords leading him away, so warm yet heavy. That’s how you do this, Anderson.

Ian Mathers: Despite the rhetoric, doesn’t get quite as far off the launching pad as was intended. The chorus is beginning to get there, but the verses are kind of damp squibs, and nothing ever feels like it properly builds up. Still, there are plenty of worse ways to spend four minutes.

Claire Biddles: I’ve rarely heard a more corny, weirdly removed description of sexual climax than “If I hit that spot/Accept the mission/And go off”… and yet “Off” is so supremely, confidently Adult Horny that I am willing to forgive Maxwell’s cornier impulses. Maybe it works so well because it isn’t afraid to be corny, kind of like how the best sex is always with someone you can have a laugh with, and how this usually happens when we’re old enough to know better than to hide our goofy selves.

Alfred Soto: The sumptuousness of the mix — the hiss of cymbals, the delicacy of the reverb — would be a pleasure in itself if “Off” sucked. But Maxwell is on. “If I hit that spot/Accept the mission/and go,” he sings before offering his lover a lemonade. I’d prefer a port or Campari. That’s how much I’ll cede to Maxwell.

Oliver Maier: Maxwell’s vocals are a bit Original Broadway Cast Recording, but it’s deeply refreshing to hear a R&B song this effortful in a genre full of half-songs and the same fucking keyboard presets everywhere.

Katherine St Asaph: Maxwell’s vocal is a bit too thin and quavery for this ’80s action movie of a sex jam: tiny breaths where the moment wants wind machines. Basically any of his peers would do it better. But basically none of his peers are doing it right now, so…

Reader average: [9] (1 vote)

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