Tuesday, July 26th, 2011

Jamie Woon – Shoulda

Nominated for the Nontroversy Index!


Iain Mew: Jamie’s album soon ended up in my “impressed but somehow I don’t actually go back to listen to it all that much” column. This, one of its more watery songs, goes some way to demonstrating why and seems an odd choice of single. The creepy atmospherics are still there, it improves once it strips things down later on and it ends on a particularly cutting and effective note, but it takes an age to get there.

Brad Shoup: A pretty straightfoward Mirrorwriting cut. Would’ve loved for the bass go on a longer walk, but maybe I’m not getting the concept of tension.

Anthony Easton: Really Really Boring, even with the electronic gimcrackery. 

Jonathan Bogart: He’s a better singer than James Blake, and possibly a more complete songwriter too, though his arrangements are just as soporific and glacial. So why does he slide past the ear like melting butter where Blake sticks like grotty syrup? Unwelcome maybe, but it’s there.

Renato Pagnani: Woon’s voice is a piece of crumpled tissue paper, floating through the track’s pre-dawn purple haze, echoes of dubstep’s off-kilter wobble in the distance, the sun in the slow process of rising and returning the heat it took with it the night before. His vocals have no rudder; they blow where the wind takes them, possessing a kind of relaxed strength that could easily draw the spotlight’s focus to them instead of lurking in the shadows, unable to be pinned down, as they desire to here. And like his vocals, this track keeps its feet moving, something sinister and smothering bubbling under its surface.

Michaela Drapes: I found myself wishing desperately, for the first two minutes or so, for this to break out of its predictable verse chorus verse mold and veer off somewhere a little more interesting. But then that slap bass kicked in and it actually did. And then I got sidetracked into thinking that this reminded me of something way way way in the back of my brain. I don’t really remember hoping that 2011 would see a Tanita Tikaram revival, but here it is anyway! Now if only Jamie could get over being so sing-y.

Ian Mathers: If The Weeknd and Frank Ocean are indie R’n’B, this is R’n’B indie, but despite that dire prognosis “Shoulda” is a particularly shy kind of lovely. Does Woon do anything that isn’t drifty/floaty? Luckily, I like drifty/floaty, and “Shoulda” is actually pretty compelling in its own wispy way. I sense diminishing returns approaching swiftly, though.

Edward Okulicz: You can dress this song up as much as you like, but you can hear that spiritually, it belongs with an acoustic guitar in 1992. No bad thing, every generation needs its own iteration of Mondeo Pop. If anything, the production detracts from Woon’s wounded sighing croon — the dead air is his ideal backdrop.

Katherine St Asaph: This is how regrets work: you should have walked where you should have run, or vice versa; you’re not even sure how the shoulds configure themselves. You can try configuring them yourself for months, but you smother that idea down to the background, all haze and fuzz and thoughts circular and meandering as the taps in the backing track. You should have been specific, should’ve let your words sting instead of crumpling over themselves. You should have let the pads and the tectonic crackle of the percussion go where they wanted to, or at least let them split the surface a little; you should’ve brought your voice to a crescendo, even a small one, or let your harmonies do something other than mutter back at you. You should have noticed that bass puttering around and given it a direction. You should’ve written a proper ending, made this more than a diverting, lingering sigh. Your four minutes should’ve done more, counted more. Don’t you know it.

One Response to “Jamie Woon – Shoulda”

  1. For better or worse, Jamie Woon sings like a Backstreet Boy. Probably AJ.