Thursday, March 23rd, 2017

Ariana Grande ft. Future – Everyday

At least it’s not Mac Miller doing a song with Maroon 5, guys.


[Video][Website]
[5.33]

Katie Gill: Now this is the Future that I know and slightly tolerate! Slightly slurred words, borderline incomprehensible at certain points, I don’t know what sort of pod person Maroon 5 got for “Cold” but the Future of “Everyday” is slightly back to form. The song itself is cute and inoffensive which are its main perks and its main failings. After all, this isn’t Grande’s first song where the premise is basically “who has two thumbs and has a ton of sex” and the other song with that premise at least had Nicki Minaj saying the phrase “dick bicycle.”
[5]

Ryo Miyauchi: “Into You” and “Side to Side” worked because Ariana wanted to keep it all a secret. Even if it was obviously impossible for her to not spill it all from the get go, the change in the rules made her try different tricks. “Everyday,” though, once again taps into her worst tendencies of showing off, going extra to unconvincingly tell the world how “he’s giving me the good shit.” Ariana herself put it best in her other single on how this ought to work: “a little bit scandalous, but don’t let them see it.”
[5]

Maxwell Cavaseno: Why does Future always seem more inspired when he makes pop songs than when he’s doing autopilot rap? Why is Ariana doing weird trap-dubstep in this day and age? Why is the way she sings the word “shit” so weird? These questions and more are kind of hard to answer off the merits of this song, which remains the continued development of Grande trying to restrain her voice and performances (a development that might be a bit less effective than anticipated but certainly good at avoiding burn-out for her) and feels less like something that was really MEANT to leave the cutting room floor.
[4]

Tim de Reuse: Future sounds positively exhausted when he’s chanting the song’s title, and more in a “oh, shit, I’m late to work” sense than than in the sexier sense that was probably intended — his high, breathy panting in excruciating hard-panned stereo does not elevate the track beyond a decent hook, nor does his structurally incoherent verse. Ariana Grande dramatically la-la-la-ing her way through the chorus knocks it all a few notches further down. 
[3]

Edward Okulicz: My tendency to imagine pop stars stay the age they were when I first heard and saw them until they show real signs of aging means I have to avoid videos to take Ariana Grande seriously as she’s going to seem like she’s twelve nineteen to me until she’s nearly retired. Future’s chorus hook gives “Everyday” a nice touch of menace and darkness that’s enticing, and coupled with Grande’s cute mini-diva stylings trying to animate the phrase “good shit” is almost brilliant in how incongruous it is. It sounds really good loud, too.
[7]

Thomas Inskeep: This feels like Ariana dropped into a Future song, not the other way around, and I don’t believe a word she’s singing. Future, on the other hand — well, sure. But that cutesy-poo breath-y voice of Grande’s makes it impossible for me to hear her sing about gettin’ it on, sorry.
[4]

Katherine St Asaph: A rich, dank grotto of a track, with scuzzy guitar and Ariana cooing up and down the walls. I’ve heard this elsewhere, though, and the comparison doesn’t flatter Future — what sort of good shit might Miguel have brought to the track?
[6]

Will Adams: The thread connecting the songs on Dangerous Woman that actually live up to the album’s title is Ilya. “Everyday” finds him in the driver’s seat (Max Martin is only credited as a vocal producer) and, like “Into You,” the results are bracing. The bass is still weaponized, the snares are compressed into firecracker pops, and overall the sweaty, slow grind has echoes of “Pony.” Grande does well with the aural heat, as usual, and if Future’s verse seems like a throwaway, his hook more than makes up for it.
[7]

Alfred Soto: With the opening distorted riff and fluttering vocal, Ariana Grande steps into the future, or at least steps up to Future. He’s long aspired to transmit his rueful tales as pure sound, a string of murmured phonemes; he gets his wish.
[7]

Wednesday, March 22nd, 2017

Imelda May ft. Jeff Beck – Black Tears

One of these days your editor will not mistake her for Caro Emerald, but this isn’t then…


[Video][Website]
[4.71]

Alfred Soto: A torch song graced by a fine Imelda May vocal and Jeff Beck’s solo but rather too much of a predictable thing. What is a black tear, and why are May and Beck so sad about it?
[4]

Scott Mildenhall: What clever artifice: black and tears together, two things potentially irreducible combining to form something of no obvious reality-based meaning, yet doubly monolithic. The song itself is befitting: ceremonial sadness; a stately, upright lament when everything is sinking. It’s like a lesser “Kissing a Fool” — not demanding itself be taken seriously, but sounding like someone is feeling very serious, very seriously. That makes it hard to argue with, and rather all the more attractive; artifice made invisible.
[7]

Ryo Miyauchi: Imelda May’s story that got her to write “Black Tears” sounds more memorable than the actual product. “I looked like Alice Cooper,” she said, with streams of eyeliner coming down her face after a long goodbye. That image seems like a more complex cry, one you can’t help but to tear from a laugh because there’s nothing else to do. The tear shed in “Black Tears,” meanwhile, is plain and simple partly to a fault.
[5]

Katie Gill: Doo wop meets rock vocals and a bit of honky tonk guitar? There’s so much going on that occasionally “Black Tears” loses itself in the genre confusion. The minimalist approach lets May’s voice shine as she tears into those vocals and lets Beck’s guitar work shine in his solo, but I wish the song had a little bit more to support the two of them.
[6]

Jonathan Bradley: It wasn’t Adele’s fault she beat Bey at the Grammys; in some sense, someone who sold that many records deserved to be recognised at a ceremony as industry-oriented as that one. But it is our fault for constantly finding it remarkable when white singers invoke black styles, particularly the trad styles that remind us of older times we can set comfortingly in aspic. Imelda May has a richer, smokier voice than Duffy or Amy Winehouse or Joss Stone, but nothing says self-own like “ft. Jeff Beck.” Sonny Boy Williamson’s reputed quip that the Yardbirds wanted to “play the blues so bad” — the punchline being that they did — has been true of such aspirants for more than half a century.
[4]

Thomas Inskeep: Norah Jones divided by Janis Joplin = much, much less than the sum of its parts. Jeff Beck tosses in some guitar licks that almost anyone could’ve done. 
[3]

Edward Okulicz: The torch and twang of the chorus recalls to these ears Patsy Cline’s “Crazy” as much as the rest could have been any white girl singing soul pop. Despite the weighty subject matter, the song feels lightweight — like it needs the weight of the production and all its breathy backing vocals and old-school drum sounds to keep it flying away, but instead gets flattened.
[4]

Wednesday, March 22nd, 2017

Valerie June – Shakedown

Calvin aside, we now commence Bluesy Wednesday…


[Video][Website]
[6.67]

Alfred Soto: A lissome hurdy-gurdy of a tune and performance, reminiscent of the Latin Playboys if Erykah Badu fronted them.
[6]

Anthony Easton: An ass-shaking masterpiece that does the mysterious thing of having a steel spine of total control while appearing to break down completely. So close to noise, but with distinct harmonies, in ways that seem both historically minded (didn’t James Brown have this trick? Surely Bo Diddley did) and completely new (can we please get her and Brittany Howard into some sort of super group?) Might be the best sing-along single this year. 
[9]

Brad Shoup: Delightfully, it sounds like she’s merged country with Tishoumaren. Thus, she has no need to keen, only to twirl those guitars like a lasso whilst drawling out the hoedown.
[8]

Edward Okulicz: Wonderful groove, a voice that has just the right sound to exhort you to swing and shake, but the song on top is a bit static and stiff, like everyone (except maybe the backing vocalists) needed another drink prior to the recording.
[6]

Juana Giaimo: In “Shakedown”, Valerie June’s voice is too flat, repeating one scheme that never fully develops into something else that may provide excitement in a song that pretends to be upbeat and fun.
[5]

Ryo Miyauchi: Rather than stand out as the frontwoman of the show, Valerie June gets lost in the thick of the music. Her instructions to get down on the floor might not seem so urgent, but the blues breakdown does so much of the talking, she’s fine to ride along with the rest of us.
[6]

Wednesday, March 22nd, 2017

Calvin Harris ft. Frank Ocean & Migos – Slide

Equinox vibes…


[Video][Website]
[5.71]

Alfred Soto: Calvin Harris spent a lot of dough to recreate the The Weeknd’s lubed disco vibe with two of today’s happening artists: Frank Ocean, doing his damnest to remind people that he can’t sing, and Migos going polyphonic over lines about nachos and gelatos. Why couldn’t Harris get Usher or Trey Songz to sing the “melodic” bits? Was Chris Brown unavailable? (Don’t answer that.) I awarded an extra point for the chirped “I might!” dropped at key moments.
[5]

Hazel Robinson: Collaboration randomiser on full, but I’m surprised by how much I like this, in no small part because the “I might” of the sped-up vocal at the start reminds me of the “hey Mike” from “Drinking in L.A.” by Bran Van 3000. The whole song unfolds a little like that — implausible, doped up on sunshine and enviable in a slightly grotty way. It’s not the kind of team-up that brings out the best in eveyone involved, but it is hella fun.
[7]

Jonathan Bradley: Migos find a whole new side to themselves in upmarket disco: easygoing and mischievous, yet charismatic as ever, they deserve better than the unadventurous funk Harris has set aside for them. The introductory piano runs are more lush than the bottom end. It’s fun, but mostly because putting this much talent together carries a residual thrill even if they’re only hanging out. Ocean could do better; he bats his eyes, but still sounds like he’s arrived without having fully woken up.
[6]

Thomas Inskeep: I appreciate that this is more house-pop than Harris’s typical brand of EDM pneumatics, but it’s awfully sleepy. Not only is there no hook, there’s not much song. Ocean sounds mush-mouthed, and Migos drop in for their guest appearance fee.
[2]

Ryo Miyauchi: While Quavo lazily puts something together to match Calvin Harris’ brand of luxury, Offset’s out here looking slick and showing off. He fits his double time into a fine boogie, wearing sweet words like “gelato” and “Picasso” in his rhymes like jewelry charms. Frank sounds much impressed when he comes back for that final chorus.
[6]

Maxwell Cavaseno: I did not realize I needed to hear Offset and Frank Ocean being pals over yacht-disco in my life, or Calvin Harris calmly demonstrating that he didn’t need to work with Nile Rodgers to make adult-oriented EDM. This would have benefited from maybe a more lively chorus, or featuring Takeoff in some way, but they didn’t make the song for me.
[6]

Crystal Leww: “Slide” did not work for me the first few times I heard it — surprisingly, given how I am a fan of Calvin Harris, Frank Ocean, and Migos separately. The moment that this really clicked was while I was out in some bar in Brooklyn, the kind that plays the kind of set that a place in Brooklyn full of kids who know each other from ~The Internet~ would play, and this transformed into the fun little summer bop that it was always destined to be. I’m looking forward to hearing this in sets from now until late October, when I will be sick of it and sick of any kind of sexy vibe. But for now, this is great and sexy and fun and cute, just the kind of thing that would not be expected from this team.
[8]

Tuesday, March 21st, 2017

Rombai – Cuando Se Pone a Bailar

Uruguyan group who’ve apparently added a synth as their newest member…


[Video][Website]
[5.33]

Will Adams: A pleasant, summery duet between two singers who demonstrate a palpable chemistry, which makes fo-YOOOO GIANT UGLY TRANCE SYNTH INCOMING THOUGHT YOU WERE SAFE HUH THINK AGAIN LMAO
[4]

Alfred Soto: Serviceable cumbia pop with electronic fart effects.
[5]

Katie Gill: The entire song feels off-kilter somehow, as if the singers are constantly one step ahead of the beat. I don’t know if I like it, but it’s certainly interesting and it certainly adds a bit to this cute, if generic, beachy song.
[5]

Jonathan Bradley: Fernando Vazquez and Emilia Mernes are a good match; his lazy flirtation settles into the cumbia skank while she strikes out into more assertive territory, channeling Shakira. Each corrects the other, with Mernes rousing Vazquez whenever his arch, simmering tones threaten to make themselves too comfortable. I can relate: this sparkles like the best kind of sunshine.
[7]

Brad Shoup: The dance-pop pads so lightly, it’s that much more destabilizing when that rave synth attempts to thread the cumbia. I would’ve loved for them to navigate the whole track that way.
[5]

Juana Giaimo: Before reggaeton invaded the clubs of Latin America more than a decade ago, this was the kind of cumbia you could see young people dancing to — a light beat with an awful synth interrupting. Rombai — as well as Marama and other bands — returned to this old-fashioned cumbia but provided professional production and a cool image. The reason why these bands are so successful these days is maybe because of their inclination to pop melodies — after the aggressive rapping of late ’00s reggaeton, the smooth delicate voices of Rombai are pleasing. In this sense, “Cuando Se Pone a Bailar” may not be the most memorable song, but it is one that can make you dance and sing along to it.
[6]

Tuesday, March 21st, 2017

Mäkki ft. Pyhimys – Mixet Tahdo

See, this is what happens when you don’t credit your female singers: not only does Ed Sheeran keep you from going number one in Finland but the Jukebox doesn’t really like your song…


[Video][Website]
[3.86]

Claire Biddles: The disco-lite rhythm guitar tips this from corny-but-ok into genuinely bad, and the worldwide trend of not crediting the female singer who’s carrying your whole song is getting really boring.
[3]

Crystal Leww: Neither Mäkki nor Pyhimys felt it necessary to credit the woman on the hook, which is a shame because she’s easily the most listenable part of this song. Otherwise, this is just rap set over a FruityLoops — that’s right, not even FL Studio — beat. 
[3]

Jonathan Bradley: Neither Mäkki nor Pyhimys rap with any feel or character; each has the stiff flow of an earnest novice, the kind of delivery premised on the late night comedian’s notion that rap is a method of saying words quickly and rhythmically, and not a creative endeavor. An uncredited singer does better with the hook, though even that is a version of “better” that tops out at faint memories of Latin disco from a vacation decades previous.
[3]

Will Adams: The singer’s appealingly thin voice reminds me of Phoebe Ryan, and she’s easily the best part of “Mixet Tahdo.” Without her credit, we’re left to pay attention to mediocre raps and stale synths that recall that unfortunate time when Lasgo went electro.
[4]

Tim de Reuse: A beat so eerily similar in character to “Axel F” that I had to go take a listen to it to make sure they weren’t somehow using a sample of it in there somewhere. I’m pretty sure they’re not, but it’s got synth tom rolls and chirpy buzzing saw waves that get the same effect going: cheesy and dated, but in a pretty fun way.
[7]

Katherine St Asaph: An evocative throwaway Europop track, which is a nice cheap thrill until you remember Europop has historically included throwaway Euro-rappers.
[4]

Edward Okulicz: This sounds amateurish, badly produced and without any personality, and even the hook singer sounds like a zombie. You wouldn’t know it from this, but the cascading syllables of Finnish are really suited to rap, here neither Mäkki nor Pyhimys sound suited for more than four bars as a guest verse on a dance track.
[3]

Tuesday, March 21st, 2017

Take That – Giants

I was in a Bedford nightclub man saw a member of the group:


[Video][Website]
[4.00]

Joshua Copperman: Take That never really broke through in America — I’ve never heard any of their music here, on the radio or in pharmacy stores (on-and-off member Robbie Williams’ solo career aside). As long as they’ve apparently been around, if someone told me that this was a new indie pop band, I would believe them. Incredibly, I could actually see “Giants” having some sort of modest popularity in America, with the gorgeous, explosive chorus and the amusingly overwritten string arrangements (because if you have the money, why not go for it?). Even as the people involved have decades of experience, there is something youthful about this song; I don’t know if it’s due to producer Mark Ralph, who’s contributed work to Years & Years and Kygo, but this somehow sounds rejuvenated and current, the kind of thing Coldplay was trying to do on their last album. Release it under a different name, send it to some “modern rock” stations, and they’ll probably play it!
[6]

Alfred Soto: With Years & Years’ producer on board to modernize the technology, these hale and hearty former lads go for arena level self-help. But they ain’t never gonna play MetLife Stadium, so they should have called this thing “Wembleys.”
[4]

Tim de Reuse: “Midnight City” if it were stripped of its bold, fuzzy sound design and retrofitted with inoffensive, breathy overproduction and a sprinkling of grade-school rhymes.
[3]

Will Adams: Generic arena uplift that despite the best efforts of Mark Ralph and his glossy touch slips too easily into the saccharine.
[4]

Jonathan Bradley: A denuded regional pop throwback, reduced now to a trio, shambling into the present day with a statement of immensity. When Messrs Barlow, Donald, and Owen say they are giants, they don’t mean it the way a pop star is expected to — as self-actualization of a cultural colossus — but the way a plebeian might at a monumental moment in a drab existence. The boys do not make the ordinariness of the sentiment relatable, though; this is not a song about pop stars cut down now to the size of record buyers. Straining, Take That urges their workmanlike vocal toward uplift, assuring, “we are giants, every one of us/we are giants, in our hearts” — somehow condescending to the cheap seats even whilst they sit amongst them. To distract myself from an arrangement that marries the douchebag earnestness of The Chainsmokers with the democratic vacuity of Avicii, I thought about the second verse, which I might generously imagine turns these metaphorical giants into mythical ones: “there are giants across the water,” they insist. “In the middle of the madness, giants are being born.” My mind conjures Hagrid or the Brobdingnagians, but it also returns to an act that imagines its fans to be so dowdy that they should expect extraordinarily lives to belong elsewhere, on foreign and more monumental shores.
[2]

Katherine St Asaph: Much better than 2017-era Take That has any right to be, and suggests the intriguing idea that way out on the far end of the spectrum that contains the Chainsmokers and earnest anthemic EDM whatevers lies “Dancing Queen.” Neither of these, however, quite equal “good.”
[5]

Monday, March 20th, 2017

Violeta Castillo – Bajo la lluvia

The song gets a [6.71]… BUT THE KITTEN GETS A [10]!


[Video][Website]
[6.71]

Ryo Miyauchi: “Bajo la lluvia” can be described as “demo-like.” The brittle beat, filled with an overwhelming amount of silence, would back that claim up. But I find the song complete as is. Violeta Castillo sounds like she’s jotting down a thought before the essence of it was gone forever. It just so happened the first thought was also the best thought.
[6]

Juana Giaimo: While in her previous single “Envuelta” Violeta Castillo found herself lost in her own song, in “Bajo la lluvia” the music adapts to her absentmindedness. Her melancholic hushed voice is silently joined by low synths and a steady slow beat as she messes up lines that doesn’t seem to have a lot to do with each other, except that they all reflect that certain uncomfortable nature of hers — which she so well expresses in the lines: “You ask me to put myself in orbit/and I try to arrive in a diagonal.” But before she can make a conclusion, the song ends, as if she didn’t have more energy to keep going, or as if she got lost once again in her own mind, or simply because there was nowhere else to go. 
[8]

David Sheffieck: The climactic swell comes with little warning and is all the more striking for it — a slow build that happens quickly, and is gone as swiftly as it begins. In the lead-up, Castillo’s vocal and the production mirror each other: pensively gliding, or brightly skipping forward. It’s an intriguing song, over almost too soon.
[7]

Claire Biddles: Some interesting moments — the squelchy synth break, the spacey piano towards the end — but overall this feels directionless and meandering, never quite finding its hook.
[5]

Jessica Doyle: Gentle, careful, but not boring or unchallenging. It reminds me of being a child, being fascinated by the different tracks raindrops would make against the car window.
[6]

Alfred Soto: This worried nugget, whose electric piano sounds recorded in the same canyon as Thom Yorke’s on Kid A, carves a space in which rue and longing don’t turn in on themselves; when the acoustic piano enters the track it’s the proverbial sunshine.
[7]

Jonathan Bradley: Castillo takes the cotton snares and tentative, rounded synth pulses of Kid A and reconfigures them into a tiny intricate popscape. Her voice dances along in dainty melodic patterns, ushered, for a time, by obtrusive, bold handclaps that threaten to break through the layers of warm solitude swaddling the track. They don’t; rather, the delicate tendrils of tune grow wild, and, in a moment, they’ve blotted out the whole thing.
[8]

Monday, March 20th, 2017

Charisma.com – #hashdark

They’re @charisma_bot_co if you want to follow them!


[Video][Website]
[6.56]

Alfred Soto: Listening to a few Chuck Berry tunes persuaded me to give this riff-with-song a third listen, and insofar as it got me nodding by attaching its riff to the title hook. No reason it had to shimmy past the 3:30 mark, though.
[6]

David Sheffieck: The jittery energy is infectious, the rapping solid, the hook indelible. The production is an utter sugar rush, already too much at the intro and only doubling down from there; the climax reaches the kind of delirious, go-for-broke heights that few can attempt, much less pull off. I’m catching my breath, but I’m still ready for another go.
[8]

Katie Gill: Everything about this has the potential to be so dated, from the band’s name, to the sound of the guitars, to the fact that the chorus is based around the word “hashtag.” Thankfully, Charisma.com pushes RIGHT PAST THAT. The fun, funky sound transcends and pushes past the smaller, more dated aspects. Add in Itsuka’s insanely precise raps, and you’ve got a beautiful, bright, polished dance jam.
[8]

Ryo Miyauchi: Charisma.com’s top-notch delivery almost lets them off the hook but, sorry, a hashtag stinks of cheesiness no matter how prolific the musician. It’s a minor bug, though, for an otherwise bold statement of a chorus that plays as the centerpiece in a conversation about the IRL/URL divide.
[6]

Scott Mildenhall: In the past, Charisma.com have made music that’s more exciting than 95 per cent of songs that grace these pages, but this is disappointingly tame. Maybe it’s too demanding to ask that everything they do be as frenetic as “Otubone Rock” or “Suppliminal Diet”, but “#hashdark” feels ordinary by comparison. Many of the ingredients are still there — the crunching, the growling, the spinning — but they’ve been brought to a simmer, and it doesn’t have the same effect.
[6]

Jessica Doyle: Both the chorus and the guitar line, separately, get repetitive mighty quickly. If I had a lyrics translation at hand I’d be able to appreciate the point better; without it, and without Itsuka taking control by sheer force of will, this feels poppy and empty. I’m excited for the album (complete with Cibo Matto collaboration!) but I won’t be at all surprised if this turns out to be its weakest track.
[4]

Jonathan Bradley: Charisma.com have voices cut from stone that pound like they’re being struck against an anvil. On “#hashdark,” one of their lesser songs, those voices carve paths considerably more brilliant than the lower-carat funk guitar and a papery beat. The addition of a vocoder perks it up into a retro workout fit for indie disco night, but the repetition of the title wears quickly, particularly since it sounds like it might have warped into “hashtag” while we weren’t looking and is now reverberating like a banal viral tweet that keeps reappearing in your feed. 
[6]

Mark Sinker: Half desolate, focused pragmatism, half tamped-down rage, Itsuka’s machine-gun deadpan so intuitively fused into Gonchi’s unrelenting plastic motorik you can’t tell which half comes from where. In an earlier jukebox Edward O invoked t.a.T.u.: and it’s true that when these two hit lift-off there’s a not dissimilar cruising ground-cam glide. Maybe the war they’re waging here isn’t as clear as it’s sometimes been before (unless it’s on being translated tidily); maybe that’s just my fault for not knowing Japanese.
[8]

Will Adams: “#hashdark” appeals to me in much the same way that Avril Lavigne’s “My World” does. Both couch a potentially corny concept — for Lavigne, hometown rapping; for Charisma.com, hashtag references — in an infectious guitar riff and an unabashed declaration of “this is me.” As is typical for them, Charisma.com bump up the electronics to 11, and as a result they maintain a consistent energy that is captivating to hear.
[7]

Monday, March 20th, 2017

X0809 – Ho

Allow us to tell you about our specials for today…


[Video][Website]
[7.25]

Alfred Soto: What is this? Vocal samples arranged as Greek chorus supporting a high-pitched dismissal, Grimes-esque. Until the 2:21 breakdown when the track becomes another eighties dance floor revival, it’s quite static. A most lissome racket.
[7]

Lilly Gray: Around minute two things start to unravel, the machine hitting an analog skid when you try to replay a vicious message left by that one ex. Every blurred edge and fuzzed noise does nothing to soften, only intensifies and sharpens. If I have to be tortured in a neon pink cage behind the bowling alley by the one person I maliciously bewitched, let this be the soundtrack. 
[9]

Maxwell Cavaseno: A record so acidic in bitterness, it pretty much sounds like its dissolving and its trail would probably look like the rainbow effect in parking lot car-fluid puddles. “Ho” has the vibe of a world where the girl next door finds out about the “Sexy Pygmalion” the protagonist made in an ’80s T&A comedy and tries to take her out in disgust. Sickly sweet because deep down it’s just mean, and leaves you with a weird taste on your tongue.
[7]

Will Adams: It’s hard to argue with frosty electropop, no matter how faux-sassy it can be at times.
[6]

Jonathan Bradley: Synth-pop reflux inaugurates this hazy concoction of contempt and robotics. The porny vocabulary is jarring (“kissy-kissy,” “she makes you horny,” “she’s such a hottie”), and not in the intriguing way that dialtone vocal does once it re-focuses its disembodied malevolence from the third person to the second. “You mean nothing to me and you know it” is delivered with the uncomfortable authority of a message delivered from your own mind, and it slips into an untreated, human tone only as it fades out, enhancing the unease. “Ho” coalesces when it becomes wordless, however; then the pastels come technicolor and the circuitry attains its own consciousness.
[6]

Ryo Miyauchi: That hook — “you mean nothing to me, and you know it” — sits like a shining prize at the end of a pitch-black maze, which X0809 encourage you feel out the texture of its architecture to get to the finish. They make you work for it as you walk in the dark, but once you hear them warp it in all possible dimensions, the crack at the mystery becomes so rewarding.
[6]

Brad Shoup: “When you are lonely, you ring the bell” — it’s a clever reverse, and the actual bell that following is just as listless as its owner. Funny stuff. Presented with the choice of scoring points and damage, they go for both: the words cut and the vocalizations haunt. Plus, the track knocks: doorbell bass over one-legged kick.
[9]

Jessica Doyle: Musically it ain’t much besides a finely held note of contempt. “Musically it ain’t much” is missing the point. (I especially like that the line that gets repeated is “Everybody knows and talks about it,” suggesting that the used has the power and the user is the one losing social capital.) Gotta say, nothing about this (or this) is going to change my newly default stance towards all-female experimenting-with-electronic doing-their-own-deejaying expressing-their-own-anger duos, which is: YES.
[8]