It took me a while to realize he wasn’t Bright Eyes…
Will Adams: On behalf of 19-year-old males everywhere, I feel a strong moral responsibility to explain to the world that: 1) most of us are aware that you have to be 21 to enter casinos in Vegas; 2) not all of us think that hashtagging female singers’ names that we pulled out of a hat is a way to a woman’s heart; 3) we tend not to come across like some leering lech in the club with gems like “that little dress breakin’ every heart”; 4) none of us love tequila so much that we need to STOP EVERYTHING and dedicate some multi-tracked AutoTune barf to the stuff; 5) supremely lazy middle eights are not something we endorse; 6) despite what the video might make you think, very few of us are actually such creeps/terrible actors/creepy and terrible actors; 7) not all of us have the ability to make something that’s not even three minutes long this excruciating; and 8) we are so, so sorry.
Anthony Easton: I like how it’s no longer dance like you want to fuck or shake your ass like it’s an aesthetic experience, but one that shows you are famous — how fame has replaced any other concern. I also like how his accent (barely) makes “famous” and “Vegas” rhyme. I don’t have enough hair or a nice enough ass to succeed in his exhortations, but isn’t most pop music aspirational? Extra point for the fairy-dusted instrumental coda.
Katherine St Asaph: Shut up. (Katy Perry.)
Iain Forrester: A deep synth bass wobble like the one on this is really disruptive, so trying to build a song with it as a minor detail in the background is a bizarre decision. The whole song feels assembled from parts which don’t quite fit together, actually. Like last time there’s also a depressing sense of sleaze as an unthinking default, like no one involved is that committed to it but they are unsure what else to do. I like Conor’s Timberlake impression bit on “tequila” but that’s about it.
Jonathan Bogart: If he’s supposed to be the UK’s answer to Justin Bieber, that says terrible things about the UK pop industry.
Ramzi Awn: Tequila harmonies smooth like Patron pour on just enough Janet to make it worthwhile, but barely. I like the way he says Rihanna though.
Brad Shoup: Just like a theme bar: some impressive stylistic touches, but you’ve got to swallow a lot of dread to make it a good time. Or is that just me? This sort of excitement-about-excitement can work (and really ought to, with that library synth), but his team chose the stalest reference point and blew it up to 96. When I’m in the mood to convince myself of terrible lies I’ll slip this on and bomb out.
Alfred Soto: A kid for whom pop music referents extends no further than Rihanna and Justin (Timberlake but don’t discount Bieber) offends me less than the adult who enthusiastically calls The Fountainhead his favorite novel. The former will produce music of unsurprising innocuousness while the latter inspires terrifying Thanksgiving Day rants at the dinner table.