Tuesday, March 8th, 2022

Rod Wave – Cold December

Lukewarm March.


Al Varela: Now all I can think about is what a true Rod Wave country song would sound like. He’d be a natural fit for it, and “Cold December” is a great preview. The Hank Williams Jr. sample gives the song a defeated, distant feeling over the wistful guitar and dour pianos. Like the feeling of gentle snowfall drifting on your shoulders as you walk through the streets and feel lonelier than you’ve ever been. The kick into the trap beat is excellent, and though I wish Rod’s label gave him more time to flesh the song out, what we were given is still a beautiful meditation of Rod’s trust issues mixed with his romantic desires. Missing old flames and yearning for the one he could spend the rest of his life with. It’s a beautiful song, but I do think it needed maybe one more verse or a powerful bridge a la “Street Runner” to cement itself as one of his best songs.

Micha Cavaseno: I dare Rod Wave to make another song that doesn’t entirely depend on lazy emulation of Kevin Gates without any of the latter’s sense of storytelling and personal affectations. He won’t, but you have to hope that one day someone will expect more from him.

Alfred Soto: The lines don’t often scan, and Rod Wave, who at times emits feeble Kevin Gates echoes, attacks them like he thinks it’s the proper way to keep the errant lover. 

Andrew Karpan: Cannot help but feel like the Hank Williams Jr. sample that wraps its cold, sped-up arms around the latest dispatch from America’s favorite “Popular Loner” would vibe just a tiny bit better if it had been a Bon Iver feature instead. 

Nortey Dowuona: The Hank Williams Jr. sample is tiny, tinny, crushed to pieces, and deeply sad. When you actually listen to it, its tangled, slow and plush, Hank’s strong tenor curdling as his tale of woe wipes away a possibility for happiness. Producers TnTXD, Luke Walker ThatBossEvan and Producedbyjb smush and bury it with a bouncy, upbeat bass kick and crisp snare pattern with shimmering hi hats, plush pianos and a slight, brushed off guitar lick that slips in and out of the song at the beginning and end of the song, circling Hank’s now tinny and spectral voice, a ghost warning Rod of the possibilities that come with this life chasing the music. Once Rod’s rasping, yearning voice settles into the mix, it feels like he is trying to heed the frightening warning, as he details the names of Dee and Brianna and Shearra and what’s-her-name, all forms and current flames he tries to keep burning, all to keep warm during the freezing Decembers he wishes to never endure alone again. And Rod fades away, the warning ringing out at the song flickers and dies, the warning unheeded…

Wayne Weizhen Zhang: Made all the better given some à-propos 3-D text-painting: it is indeed a cold pandemic winter beginning to emerge from its own loneliness. 

Ian Mathers: The intro here is so prolonged that even know it almost certainly wouldn’t be, I started hoping the little distant, sampled-sounding voice would be all the vocals here. Actually give us something cold, desolate, remote. The part with the actual main vocals really just feels like one big verse in the middle, then they go back to the little voice — imagine just how distinct and weirdly powerful this would be if they just kept the little one all the way through. Not sure if I’m marking this up for potential or down for not fully exploring it.

Reader average: [6.5] (2 votes)

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