Wednesday, July 8th, 2009

Richgirl – He Ain’t With Me Now (Tho)

Rich Harrison’s answer to Electrik Red…


Matt Cibula: Rich Harrison you are unsubtle and single-minded and we need you really bad on the radio so thank you. All four of these ladies are highly motivated young people who will inspire the children (to do bad things when thinking about them but I digress). Also the string hook is like the sound thighs rubbing together should make.

Michaelangelo Matos: All the wo-men! Who’s indepen-dent! Throw your hands up at me!

Al Shipley: At his best, Rich Harrison drips delicate layers of melody between the bombastic drums and belting vocals that are the signature of his productions. But this time, the balance only really works on the gorgeous pre-chorus, and everywhere else the singers bleat more than they belt. The “wiggle wiggle wiggle wiggle” refrain is what officially puts it over the top from abrasive to annoying, though. Harrison might be at his most ambitious here, but he sure ain’t as his best.

Martin Skidmore: This is tremendous. Pounding, thundering cellos and other lush strings, beats that do slightly recall producer Rich Harrison’s great job on ‘1 Thing’, and the R&B singing is powerful and urgent, and there are some lovely backing vocals too. I think we may well have here the best new R&B group since, ooh, Destiny’s Child, especially if they stick with Harrison, and a single of the year contender, for me.

Hillary Brown: This is so big that, when I had my headphones on completely, I thought there might be massive construction going on outside my window, or at least a train rolling by.

Alex Macpherson: Oh hell yes. Bass so heavy it could cause an earthquake, a one-note piano riff straight out of a Hammer Horror film – I imagine Rich Harrison cackling evilly as he dementedly bashes the ivories – and strings raising the temperature as they work furiously overtime. Meanwhile, Richgirl whoop and holler for their lives, four Ameries flinging their voices around like the track like Frisbees – “pull the pin and throw the grenade” indeed. This is a buckwild blast of pure fire, and incredible to dance to. Loving the sassy commands in the intro and outro, too.

Rodney J. Greene: Starts out sounding like Rich Harrison has lost his damn mind. There have been R&B songs built around sounds more atonal than an army rearing for war, but only a few. The screamed Sgt. Beyonce parts take advantage of this backdrop more effectively than the predictable auditioning-for-Amerie bridge. The latter is a necessary release (tho). Without it, this would be so tense it could snap.

Anthony Easton: A lot like eating an entire black forest cake, but it isn’t like I have never puked from the delicious richness before. I am wiggling, wiggling, wiggiling, so that the drinks will keep coming.

Chuck Eddy: More orchestrated, convoluted r&b-diva bombast yelling in my face for no good reason. Doesn’t wiggle-wiggle-wiggle as much as the fruity guest choreographer promises, either. At least the situation seems clear (tho): They left their man at home, right? Beyond that, I couldn’t tell you.

Ian Mathers: I actually really love the piano here, and the dense, dark strings; with nearly any other narrative this could get high marks. But while I guess there’s a certain amount of turnabout and thus fair play, this is definitely a case where two wrongs aren’t making me feel any better about everyone cheating on everyone else.

Anthony Miccio: Rich Harrison might have avoided the “wow, this is gonna blow up in 2005″ cracks this begs for if he’d hired singers that didn’t sound like touring company stand-ins for Jennifer Lopez, Amerie and Beyonce. A shame, since the track – dig when the drums snap out from under the strings! – is more than worthy of a star turn.

Alex Ostroff: Dissonant and martial, Rich Harrison’s new girl group doesn’t recall his greatest success – Beyonce’s “Crazy in Love” – so much as B’Day, from the “Deja Vu”-esque opening, to the dominating vocals powering over top of a total sonic assault. The lyrical conceit is interesting – handcuffed by their “real love” and in need of escape to the club with their girls in order to… what, exactly? It’s unclear. RichGirl and Electrik Red won’t be the Charts’ Second Coming of the girl groups, but wouldn’t it be nice if they were?

8 Responses to “Richgirl – He Ain’t With Me Now (Tho)”

  1. I don’t know what I love more: the actual song, or the fact that two of RichGirl are named Brave and SeVen.

  2. I actually wish I could love this more – on a sonic level I’d certainly rate it an 8 or so. I just can’t lose myself in a song when I kind of hate what it seems to be standing for.

  3. Good call on B’Day.

  4. You know, almost every time I give something 5 or under I can barely recall it when it comes up here, and usually feel some level of irritation when I do. In this case, I remember it pretty well and want to hear it again, so I should reevaluate it.

  5. Ian, it’s not about cheating at all. Not even in the nudge-nudge implied sense of, say, “Jumpin’ Jumpin'”. It’s just about hitting the town w/the girls and not having to act like a “good girl” for your man. I would probably advise her to cheat (tho), the original relationship sounds kinda unhealthy.

  6. Whatever the message of the lyrics, I can;t buy into this one with my full brain, much as my ass is delighted. It is just slighty too atonal. Let me try it on proper speakers with actual bass to them, though –

    – gah, that vocal is just slightly too atonal. I was fine with 1 Thing, but this?


  7. I mean, I get that sounding just slighty off-key is a whole /thing/ but that doesn’t make it any more pleasant to listen to. I got used to 1 Thing, though. Maybe it will happen with this.

  8. Guess what, it happened. I got used to it and am now playing this on loop. :)