Tuesday, May 10th, 2022

Bree Runway – Somebody Like You

We’ve been runwaying around, always looking down at what we see…


Leah Isobel: As delightful as it’s been, Bree’s major-label work has generally felt a little slack. “Somebody Like You” does not suffer from this problem. A grand, cavernous devotional with hooks slung over every passage, it pulls itself tighter and tighter over the course of its four minutes; when Bree finally sings that she would die for somebody like you, the stakes feel so high that you get the sense she actually might.

Nortey Dowuona: The gossamer synths that seem worrisomely similar to “In The Air Tonight” are so quickly harnessed by Bree’s plaintive yet powerful voice, seemingly empowered by the rumbling bass and slapdash drums, that the similarity doesn’t sink it. In fact, the song seems to lean into it, as Bree soars off into a carrying coo that slides above the BUMBADUMDUMDUMDUM and takes flight, all combining into a blinding light over clashing sonic pieces. Yet she stays noticeable and visible even as the drums hammer, doubled with vocoder as they fade into the synths. She’s still too strong to be mashed down.

Edward Okulicz: Eee, I feel so conflicted about this, because for about 2 and a half minutes, this shapes up as a modern take on an overblown ’80s power ballad, and does it very well. Pulling off the trick of being massive and cavernous but also slinky and enticing, there’s very little to not love. And then for the last minute when the gear shift is supposed to go up to ridiculous, it goes down and quietly rants itself to sleep and sounds terrible doing so. That is a such a horrible, horrible shame and waste.

Alfred Soto: An estimable talent turns to the sort of neither-here-nor-there gesture she hopes will bring in the streams. I don’t want to hear Bree Runway coo sweetly, nor am I taken in by her brag mode. Maybe she needs the right producer + beats combo. 

Micha Cavaseno: Life was kind of semi-cruel to me in that as I learned to explore my femininity, I learned how difficult it is to find that same energy in rap. The closest I’ve had in a while is the spoilt glee of your Flo Milli’s and your Bali Baby’s. But for the most part, what other women seem to love is truthfully more masculine energies: bombast, smug certainty, martyr complexes. And that’s the weird thing I keep bumping into whenever someone tells me the various Cardi & Megan or even Rico-type rappers are meant for me. Yet there’s none of the hysteria or surging peaks that embody my delestrogen flooded mess of a life. Bree Runway is similar in that I don’t hear the glee of the excess, I’m just served a whole lot of c*nt in flat disinterest and expectancy. Watching her turn away to generic stadium pop ballading about vague romance that in reality is just about her own expectations is… tiring. This could easily be a Drake or Kanye song that I know half of this site alone would happily lampoon if it was just some man. Maybe I’m myself too entitled to want more, but I want the range of personalities, I want the extremity. I need to be allowed moods, not acknowledge that something is the “mood.” As I find myself, more and more the boys are disappearing in nonsensical keening and the ladies are hardened warriors who feel divorced from their emotions in rap. Damn, I was hoping I’d feel seen as women in rap and my own womanhood were finally allowed to exist. Now I just feel more lost and more useless.

Jacob Sujin Kuppermann: So much contemporary R&B has fallen into a chill abyss, making dreadfully boring quiet storm derivations or hookless vibe records. In the context of its field,”Somebody Like You” is shockingly maximalist, like if Jim Steinman listened to SZA. It’s a showcase for Runway’s vocal talent, mixed to perfection to make her sound like the center of the universe. Around her drums thunder and synths blast but she still sounds greater than them all.

Danilo Bortoli: Doing my homework, I found out Easyfun, the PC Music-affiliate responsible for one of last decade’s best songs, is behind this. It goes only to show how maximalism has steadily ingrained itself into this prime, gorgeous example of a new iteration of quiet storm. 

Wayne Weizhen Zhang: Draped in hook after gorgeous hook, “Somebody Like You” sees Bree Runway trading in her trademark feisty ferocity for a vulnerable, moonlit drama. It’s a good look. 

Thomas Inskeep: A surprising left turn from Runway, serving ultra Robyn-ness on a slow burner of a midtempo pop record. And by “slow burner” I mean it smolders, perfectly. 

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