Wednesday, March 30th, 2011

Jennifer Hudson – Where You At

Never reviewed her before, apparently…


Al Shipley: If any singer and songwriter combination possesses the powerful voice and sense of writerly detail to turn the kind of question people usually text to each other into a poignant refrain, it’s J-Hud and Kells. But they don’t quite get there, do they?

Alfred Soto: Too lustrous to sit staring at the phone. “Too smart,” I’m not sure. Who ever heard of a woman who looked askance at her boy going to church? Maybe he’s praying for an anvil falling on the Oscar winner’s head.

Anthony Easton: Crisp phrasing, and in words and phrases that would provide an excuse to go buck wild on the vowels, she restrains herself (c.f “Umbrella”). The coldness of the delivery suggests an exhaustion with the player — not anger or cataclysmic sadness, but just a giving up. Breaks down the control in the last very little bit, but Hudson may be one of the great gifts of American Idol.

Jer Fairall: The pristine clarity of the sparkling piano hook, slick backing loop and the song’s overall melodic forthrightness are like something off of an MTV playlist circa 1995 that I probably wouldn’t have cared for at the time, but which today finds me mournful over the comparative lack of smooth professionalism in the cookie-cutter scraps regularly thrown out by Dr. Luke or Max Martin. Shame that no one involved was able to resist the melismatic finale that Hudson’s presence all but guarantees, but which feels wholly inappropriate nonetheless.

Ian Mathers: Those opening sobs of vocalese pass sad on the way to lugubrious, and that barbaric yawp circa the words “no show” is ridiculous, but the verses are solid and who doesn’t love it a little when she bluntly directs him to stop slangin’ and get a fucking job? If only there were an actual chorus…

Martin Skidmore: She delivers it very well, with vocal muscle if not too much personality. Ultimately it sounds sort of generic, all well done and in a genre I like, but in the end uninspired.

Jonathan Bogart: Good for her for finding exactly the material she’s suited for — outraged you-ain’t-living-up-to-my-standards Big Balladry. And extra points for the “Umbrella” reference in the opening line. But despite what is evidently supposed to be a sturming and dranging production, it kind of just ebbs back and forth, without building to any kind of catharsis.

2 Responses to “Jennifer Hudson – Where You At”

  1. J-Hud is great on this, but the song itself is awful and whenever the chorus comes round I wonder what the hell she’s doing here.

  2. Like I said, I felt sympathy for [i]the guy[/i].