Our first eight of the year!…
Asher Steinberg: Diddy is one of the great unsung auteurs of popular music. Here’s an entrepreneur and global icon who keeps making music, not because he needs it to maintain his profile (unlike a Jay-Z or J.Lo), but because he wants to make house music… about break-ups. Though no one mentions it, this is his second straight break-up-centric album, and even before Press Play, there was “I Need A Girl” and Mario Winans’s whole Diddy-helmed discography. Clearly this is a guy who really takes awkwardly rapping about relationships seriously! To the point where songs about ass on the floor turn into songs about Diddy’s heartbreak-induced slow death. As far as this song goes, I wish there was more, and better, Diddy on it, but his verse is awkwardly endearing in his ever-so-earnest way, and the girl really isn’t half-bad. And Swizz, for the first time in about a decade, isn’t annoying.
Anthony Easton: Melancholy and heart break, repeated almost liturgically, as the same beats pound… stretched, until it is strung out, and I love this, profoundly.
Edward Okulicz: I was never expecting Diddy to ever put out such a series of good pop records, and “Ass On The Floor” is like three or four of them compressed into the running time of one. It’s dance! It’s heartache! Then it is them both at the same time! The marching beat is an instant hook, the chorus is a subtle delight, Diddy is… well, competent and it sounds both tough and light. It doesn’t have the same emotional pull of “Coming Home” but its dancefloor lure is hard to resist too.
Martin Skidmore: The rather military drums are a surprise, as is having Swizz deliver the chorus, which is unfortunately nowhere near as rousing or punchy as it needs to be. The women are better, but the warmth and strength of their singing very much highlights the weak chorus. Diddy gives us a guest rap verse, which is undistinguished.
Jer Fairall: The timing insists I hear this as a close sibling of J.Lo’s “On The Floor,” classed up a bit with a cool drum shuffle and a merciful lack of Pitbull. It lacks anything resembling that hit’s occasional loveliness, though, and the suddenly credible (or suddenly emo, take your pick) Diddy’s truncated verse adds nothing. Still, I imagine it works quite nicely as the dance floor filler I’m sure it was always intended as.
Chuck Eddy: Beatz as funky and alive as any I’ve heard in a hip-hop track in recent memory — sounds like Washington, D.C. go-go, only more technological. The chorus chants add even more exuberance to the equation, and make me chuckle, too, though I hope all those people sitting with their asses on the floor don’t take up too much room. Kind of hate how the lead woman sings, especially how her vocal goes blank whenever she starts spewing all those gratuitous “motherfuckers,” though here I suppose it does sort of work since her blankness somehow signifies “scorn through clenched teeth”, and her “motherfuckers” turn into actual hooks, and warmer backup voices make up for her ice, whereas the even more gratuitous and irritating curse-wording on some of the rest of Last Train To Paris has the ultimate effect of making a really good album basically unplayable. Also, Diddy’s misty rap part here doesn’t grab me much, despite some intriguing words about, uh, a place in France where the ladies don’t wear pants or whatever. Still adds up to my favorite track on the record; a high 8 where “Coming Home” was more a low 8.
Hazel Robinson: My favourite song off my album of last year, this is a fight through a club and back out the other side. Diddy’s protagonist and the girl are drunken and stumbling and bickering, full of pride, paranoia and the swearing that’s the song’s staccato beat. The single edit tones down some of the militarism of the album’s beat but keeps to the kinetic chase over Paris- breathtaking and genuinely cinematic. All punctuated by Swizz Beatz’s invasive instruction, like an evacuation klaxon: “WHEN YOU IN THE CLUB GET YO ASS ON THE FLOOR.” Quite right, sir.
Kat Stevens: This truly is the sparkling Prog epicentre of Last Train To Paris, packed with hooks and secret passages to the other half of the album viz the inside of Diddy’s metaphorical Pyramid of Cheops which is actually a nightclub made of diamonds etc. Anyway, there is a lot of ride cymbal and ‘motherfucker’s and I am very pleased indeed whenever this track comes round on shuffle.
Alfred Soto: Imagine wandering uninvited into a party and witnessing a couple fighting: two people so different in sensibility and matters of musical taste that you wonder what they saw each other in the first place. “Ass on the Floor” is like that: a collision between the sassy, nasal drunker than motherfuckers Diddyettes and a lumpen, leaden Diddy dropping Sade’s mispronounced name like a wine glass on tile. Martial beats, helium synths, glistening synths — the present sounding like the future.
Zach Lyon: I’m irate right now, owing to the fact that it is five AM and I’m not being allowed the opportunity to sleep. This is not the right attitude to review your favorite-song-of-the-year-so-far in. I can’t make this look good, so I’m just going to list the reasons this song is great, in chronological order. 1. I suddenly love Swizzy the same as when I first heard “It’s Me Bitches.” 1b. His outfit in the video. 2. The motherfuckers of Dawn and Kalenna. There are still decent ways to employ vulgarity in pop music! 3. D and K throttle Swizzy’s beat better than B did. 4. “Shit you know deep down I’ll always love ya/Tryna find my way back to you your heart you motherfucker.” 5. I still can’t make out a lot of the chorus and I’ve no desire to; I am genuinely distracted by its beauty. 6. “I wanna make sure she can hear this”: he actually has a motive for that “turn me up” shit. 7. Diddy on how to cope: smoke weed, listen to Sade. 8. his verse is stilted and awkward, and the best songs have a way of turning those into “vulnerable” and “emotionally nude.” 9. But I can’t decide between “epic” and “subtle” as the best words to describe the layers-on-layers after Diddy’s verse. 10. I feel like I’m going to love this song five years from now, and that’s a sensation I haven’t felt in a while.
Jonathan Bogart: I really have to listen to Last Train to Paris, don’t I?