Friday, April 15th, 2011

Marsha Ambrosius – Far Away

You want a solo single by one half of Floetry? BOOM…


Alfred Soto: As sweet as Aaliyah’s “Miss U,” and as restrained. The difference is the androgynous grain of Ambrosius’ voice, which, when combined with Just Blaze’s spartan arrangement, lends the song a hymnal quality. This might explain why it also flirts with the boring.

Martin Skidmore: I like the crisp Just Blaze production well enough, but her delivery, between rapping and R&B singing, doesn’t seem to catch much of the virtues of either. The lyrics are apparently about someone committing suicide, and I find the hints of self-justification (“I play by the rules / You play by the game”) highly distasteful, and the whole thing is self-centred.

Anthony Easton: This is just pretty. Nothing more, nothing less, drenched in a kind of Chanel No. 9, floral top note, pretty for pretty’s sake. All of those ooos and snaps filigreeing on top of Belgian lace.

Jer Fairall: For spawning its potentially groundbreaking music video, I’m grateful for this song’s existence, but for something that specifically (if we follow the video, at least) wishes to address a barely visible fragment (African American homosexuals) of a larger social ill (bullying and suicide), this goes about it just a little too politely and conventionally for my tastes. An extra full point awarded for her laudable intentions, though.

Chuck Eddy: Vaguely atmospheric, competent but rote urban adult breakup schmaltz with nothing remotely interesting going on in either the songwriting or the delivery. But then, five minutes in, a computerized male comes in, and takes the track somewhere else. When an eventually multi-tracked Marsha returns to duet with the robot, there’s somehow a real lushness to how their voices work against each other. I assume that’s only on the album version, not the single. But it’s enough to redeem this a little regardless.

Ian Mathers: This is generally a very silky, tasteful song, but listen to the subtle bass growl that comes in for the second verse. Sure, the harps might be a bit much, but that bass is the kind of grace note that can redeem far greater sins. Not sure it can do much with the pointless robot voices near the end, though.

One Response to “Marsha Ambrosius – Far Away”

  1. I’ve been hearing this a lot and I’ve come to really like it.

    Martin: I don’t think your reading of the lyrics are on point. I take it as musing over a relationship with an ex who committed suicide some time after the breakup, thinking about how things were, how things could’ve been different, etc. It’s complex and confused and all over the place with the emotions and the rationality, because how else could it be? So a lot of it is about the relationship, and a lot is about the suicide, and it’s all about her feelings on these two subjects interact and how there are no easy answers for her feelings.

    Chuck: the robot duet part has been in every version I’ve heard on the radio. It’s super-long but brilliant.