Saturday, March 5th, 2022

Tiësto & Ava Max – The Motto

You say Max, we say Mid — let’s shrug the whole thing off…


Katie Gill: That’s how you can tell crypto bros have no taste: they choose this piece of absolute nothing to shove their product placement into.

Wayne Weizhen Zhang: The first Ava Max single since “Sweet but Psycho” — a [9] by the way — that I’ve genuinely enjoyed. My habitual criticism of Max is that her songs sound like knockoffs of more iconic popstars, but “The Motto” feels like a creation of her own (ironic given the Tiësto credit, I’m aware). 

Edward Okulicz: Tiësto obviously still is attempting to make music for the club. As blank as Ava Max is, I am pretty sure she aspires to the very lucrative market for songs played during group fitness classes. This collaboration between the two splits the difference nicely to the extent that I would certainly go moderately hard in either setting.

Nortey Dowuona: I’m just gonna say that if I heard this on good speakers, I would not mind the piercing keen of Ava Max pushed directly in front of those splash snares. But I am hearing it in teardrop earbuds, and hearing all the flaws in the tuning, especially as the pre-chorus ramps up, making you wince and flinch like, did no one even think to turn down the vocoder/flanger on her voice when it goes into the pre-chorus!? All that’s left is to turn to the near-invisible kicks, which just pour a jug into a bow the snares slap barehanded, in such a simpatico way that it feels instantaneous. Except it also evaporates once you stop hearing it.

Leah Isobel: The ghost of 2011 hovers over “The Motto,” a cartoonishly relentless approximation of apocalypse-pop. Ava is a perfect choice here — slightly darker than Rita Ora, slightly less annoying than Bebe Rexha, definitely more anonymous than Dua Lipa. She disappears into the beat like a spirit into smoke.

Scott Mildenhall: There are innumerable people across the world making exactly the same song as this at every minute of the day. Most of them will be amateurs, inexperienced or removed from the support systems of superstardom. So what’s Tiësto’s excuse?

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