It’s the UK “Love the Way You Lie”!
Katherine St Asaph: Everyone’s gonna call this “Love the Way You Lie” for Brits, but at least that one had frisson. This is “Written in the Stars” with a screechier Tinie Tempah analogue and an initially promising gender-swap of an Eric Turner replacement that loses luster when proven not to be Lily.
Jonathan Bogart: I was trying to figure out if my instinct to call this the British “Love the Way You Lie” is due more to the mopey clatter of the track or the broody self-seriousness of the video. But then I realized that that was far too much time spent thinking about it.
Brad Shoup: If you squint, it’s a deeply unsatisfying Beyoncé/Eminem duet, churning with drums and spiced with serious-making piano. The themes wouldn’t be too out of place on a Shady record: the Professor’s dealing with a suicided father and the pressures of fame. Incredibly, in an age where anything, theoretically, is permissible as subject matter, Professor Green reps his anti-censorship bona fides, daring the world to forbid him to ask Lily Allen to treat him nice. “Put it in the papers,” Sandé sings, which is a neat image: an outmoded means of communication disseminating an outmoded communiqué.
Alfred Soto: Sure, scream and shout all you want through the thickness of your languid vocal, martial drums, and an Eminem manque who elides consonants because that’s what a boy’s supposed to do these days. Read about it? I can barely listen to it.
Iain Mew: This must have been cathartic to record but as a song it’s too one-note and melodramatic to really enjoy. Worth a lot more than the likes of “No Regrets,” sure, but it’s still a little pompous and presumptious in its own way and there’s not enough wit or insight to leaven the autobiographical outpouring. By the end even the normally reliable Sandé is sounding strained by it all.
Jonathan Bradley: Professor Green trudges his way through an ungainly and charmless rap about how awful it is to be talked about or something. It’s a throwback to those pre-grime days when British rap was amateurish and only passingly acquainted with rhythm. Emeli Sandé’s chorus is thin and too syrupy, and would have been better saved for another amen break.
Hazel Robinson: Christ but this bores the shit out of me when it comes on in the gym.