Friday, June 26th, 2009

Tinchy Stryder ft. Amelle – Never Leave You

Best Mates Thursday segues into All-London Friday…


Martin Skidmore: We have another lively house production from Fraser T. Smith (as on “Number 1”), this time with added Sugababe, which is always a good thing. Her hook is very strong and catchy, and Tinchy is as enjoyable as ever, so the whole thing is irresistible. There’s still something a bit ridiculous about his success, but I am all for it, and this will surely continue his run of big hits.

Anthony Easton: So much noise, so much chaos, so much metallic energy (as in cutlery at the bottom of a stainless steel sink), and I am a sucker for the rough boy voice rapping and the pretty girl voice singing, which this does well.

Alex Ostroff: His cadence evokes TI’s recent inspirational kick, but it’s a bit early in Tinchy’s career to be speaking of the perils of fame, isn’t it? Regardless, this is appropriately epic for a ryde or die track, and quite enjoyable.

Michaelangelo Matos: As a Yank I think it’s a hoot that they’re trying to sound so damn American, but I’m also struck that this is only the latest example of a grime act aiming straight for the top of the charts, the whole post-“Rolex” thing as far as I can tell. I can see the closing credits of the rom-com already.

Talia Kraines: “Never Leave You” might use exactly the same formula as his last two singles, but it just sounds cheap and nasty to me.

Matt Cibula: I like this better when I pretend that it is a pop remix of a house classic, because then the piano chords and constant breakdowns make sense. Otherwise it all seems a bit too-too to me, trebly and troubling and clattering and clanking all over the place — and I can only keep up the illusion for so long.

Rodney J. Greene: I like a few splashy Jordin Sparks ballads and I like some measure of crabby Brit-rap, so I don’t see any good reason why I should be opposed to the combination thereof, especially when the Sparks parts are this exuberant.

Martin Kavka: Absolutely wonderful. In the lyric, in the slinkiness of the bassline, in the simplicity of its arpeggios, and in Amelle’s voice, “Never Leave You” manages to capture both the innocence of new love, and the maturity of old love that has reaped the benefits of the knowledge that love has to be worked and stoked in order not to become shopworn. The peak comes in the last verse, which is rapped/sung by both of them: “I’ve been gone since the weekend. So how’s your week been without me? How you keeping?”

Alex Macpherson: I don’t blame Tinchy for this. I’ve no doubt he genuinely loves the music he’s making now, and he seems to be having the time of his life. I blame the wider musical culture in this country that made him realise that cheap’n’cheesy crap like his past three singles would sell. “Never Leave You” is a mess. It rushes along at a frantic pace, propelled by a synth line pumping away purposelessly and an out-of-place, meandering house piano, but doesn’t go anywhere of note. A swamp of treble buries every ounce of character that both Tinchy and his guest, Sugababes’ Amelle Berrabah, possess. What’s really sad is that Tinchy continues to make excellent music – which is then buried on guest spots (his turn on Toddla T’s “Safe”), or released for free (the EP uploaded this week to his website), because anything that codes too obviously “urban” (ugh) is deemed inappropriate for the charts. What a terrible indictment of the British music industry all of this is.

Ian Mathers: I noticed that some of our commenters were kind of pissed that Tinchy Stryder has — is ‘sold out’ the right term? But, having never heard him before, I enjoyed the hell out of “Number 1”, and this one is even better. I have no idea how it stacks up against his old material, but this is a deliriously maximalist pop whirlwind, and Amelle does a surprisingly great job with the hook. It feels as if there’s about three choruses here, and weirdly enough the florid rush of the music and the breathless excitement of the narrative reinforce each other. It helps that I can honestly see this song as continuing on from, and being sung to the same person as, “Number 1” was.

Anthony Miccio: God, if you’re listening, please make Speidi cover this. It already sounds like them, and I’m sure they’ll appreciate the message of devotion. So get on it. Thanks.

Additional Scores

Hillary Brown: [5]
Chuck Eddy: [5]

10 Responses to “Tinchy Stryder ft. Amelle – Never Leave You”

  1. If you don’t know how well (badly) this stacks up to Tinchy’s old material, here’s where you can find out!

    “Underground” – huge grime anthem from 2005, the first time I realised he could be more than just Ruff Sqwad’s kid gimmick
    “Dance 4 Now – totally banging 4×4 bassline track from his 2007 Star In The Hood album, more danceable and more pop than any of the rubbish electro from this year
    “Perfect Timing” – see this is how you do cheesy pop-grime well, get Davinche to sing “Could It Be Magic?” behind your triumphant rapping
    “Stereotype” – and this is how you pander to Shoreditch hipsters well – love Goldielocks’ grumpy guest spot which perfectly matches her grumbling production
    “Hands Of Time” – reflective reggae lope featuring Ny, my favourite UK singer to have emerged in the past half decade
    “Sick Ina Head” – grimy brilliance from last year’s Cloud 9 EP
    “Princes” – his guest spot on last year’s Gang Gang Dance album

    ^^all of those outclass his three big singles this year by so much – I genuinely don’t understand why he’s had to take the direction he’s taken.

  2. Two youtube clips seem to start after the song already did, and sound recorded underwater. I’m guessing that’s not on purpose; as far as I can tell, there’s a perfectly mediocre half-hop duet hiding beneath the cloud cover. Albeit British, which in this case seems neither here nor there.

  3. I have to admit, none of those songs are making me like this one any less. But I’d love to hear how it is that (the perfectly fine) “Dance 4 Now” is somehow more pop than “Never Leave You.”

  4. Catchier – for all its overwhelming desire to please, nothing about “Never Leave You” sticks in the head, whereas on “Dance 4 Now” everything from the seesaw synth strings to Tinchy’s vocal tics (“East London where man dem a bok-bok-bok-bok!”) is an earworm. Better produced, feels more vital and now-ish. Tinchy seems more like himself on it, he rides the beat whereas on “Never Leave You” his rapping is relegated somewhat. I mean, I don’t even know what “more pop” even means, maybe it means “shittier” – that would certainly fit with what the UK charts have been like this year, I don’t even call myself a pop fan any more. Anyway, how are any of the tracks I’ve posted less “pop” than “Never Leave You”?

  5. Oh and obviously “Dance 4 Now” is also more fun to actually dance to.

  6. I’m somewhere in the middle on this one: I appreciate Lex’s point that it’s something of a mess, but I’m lulled by the prettiness of Amelle’s bit and the overall cooing softness of the track.

    Dance 4 Now on the other hand is a much /harder/ sounding enterprise, all big bassline and rap vocal.

    Perhaps you’re just allergic to prettiness, lex. But it’s the prettiness that is selling Never Leave You.

  7. I like prettiness! And I think “Hands Of Time” and “Perfect Timing” are much prettier than this, which has too much trebly harshness for me to find pretty.

  8. Listening to Perfect Timing now, I think you and I mean quite different things by prettiness.

    However, Perfect Timing is pretty amazing! But it wouldn’t do much on the singles chart even given the chance, I think.

  9. See, the chorus and much of the pre-chorus to “Never Leave You” DO get stuck in my head, and have been doing so quite viciously ever since the first time I heard this song, whereas the youtubed stuff we’ve got here strike me more as the kind of song I could easily grow to love, but that isn’t nearly as immediate. I suppose that’s part of what I mean by more pop (although the notion is, as always, nebulous). This is just going to be one of those weird cases where we hear different things, I guess.

  10. Ian and I seem to have similar ears. I watched the video about six times in a row after I finished writing my blurb, and I’ve listened to this song at least three times daily since. Maybe that’s not quite equivalent to the song getting stuck in my head (if that were actually to happen, I wouldn’t need to listen to it!). But it’s been a long time since I’ve so fervently replayed a single.