Monday, December 2nd, 2013

A Great Big World ft. Christina Aguilera – Say Something

Glee-twee bros strike it big, and God bless us everyone…


Will Adams: “Say Something” brings out the cynic in me: A no-name band with pre-existing entries into the industry releases a song. Lacking traction, it “catches the attention” of a massive pop star who also has an in with television, and it’s “re-recorded” (read: the exact same song with said pop star layering harmonies over it), and it leaps to the front and will sustain Hot AC airplay for eternity. Part of me feels bad for knocking these two chaps, who seem pretty humbled to have struck it big, but here’s where I go to have my fears about the industry confirmed.

Patrick St. Michel: You tell me it is a great big world, but this is what you want to share?

Josh Langhoff: I’m sure Xtina could still be a potent force in the culture, though I couldn’t hum anything more recent than “Keeps Gettin’ Better,” but hopping aboard this song feels like a gruesome mix of hauteur and desperation to read her name in Billboard. We wouldn’t be talking about “Say Something” if not for her, so her largesse counts for something. But these guys landed a tune on Glee, and they could’ve won over The Voice‘s audience without her breathy solemnities in the background. Up and coming soft poppers, they’re in no position to refuse a favor. I’m worried, though, that they make that Five For Fighting guy look like an austere sonofabitch.

Alfred Soto: Of course he feels small and is giving up on her and it’s over his head — who wants that voice over that piano?

Anthony Easton: I, and the sales, would indicate that people prefer when Xtina is vulgar, not this polite. I wonder if she is capable of vulgarity anymore. She isn’t capable of being politely interesting. 

Katherine St Asaph: The intro to this sounds so much like Cathy Davey’s “Overblown Love Song.” Too apropos, really.

Crystal Leww: The line “Say something, I’m giving up on you” is desperate and lonely in the best of ways. The rest of this is saccharine and clichéd in the worst.

Jonathan Bradley: There’s a lot of space in the ambiguous relationship between the repeated clauses: is it “say something (because) I’m giving up on you,” or “say something (or) I’m giving up on you”? A plea or a threat? The round vowels and hushed prettiness are at odds with a lyrical sentiment unaware that it’s so callous, and that venom makes for a queasy listen. I think I’d like the tune better if I thought it were intentionally vicious.

Brad Shoup: A compelling portrait of a sociopath who knows he’s about to utterly dominate yet another game of emotional chicken, “Say Something” is the sound of someone who only knows how to fall in love with Sigur Rós videos. It’s goosed by the name, if not the presence, of La Aguilera; she’s so tiny here, it’s as if she’s echoing her lover’s words on the drive home, cratered by the idea that she gave herself for so long to something so monstrous. Great work, all.

Reader average: [5.46] (13 votes)

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5 Responses to “A Great Big World ft. Christina Aguilera – Say Something”

  1. Brad’s blurb is awesome.

    To clarify, what irks me about this song’s success is the whole “they just struck it big and Xtina listened to the song on a lark!” reeks of invented mythology; maybe it was luck, but it’s likely that there were a couple phonecalls and handshakes at play behind the scenes, which I find infuriating.

  2. I bet that’s not even Christina Aguilera’s real hat!

  3. thanks, Will

  4. This song Say Something is nice and endearing, and video is a breath of fresh air. Ultimately I’m excited for their new ep out next month


    Much, much more effective than the original for me. Smart move flipping the gender of the opening line (I think there’s this vulnerability in “Say something, I’m giving up on you” that the original missed but is brought out wonderfully here) and adding the percussion (the original’s biggest flaw was its utter lack of forward movement). Interesting use of layers, too–the echoed “say something, say something, say something,” the part near the end where more and more people join into the chorus–and repetition.

    Kind of weird timing with the recent Pentatonix single being covered here, but I thought it was worth sharing.