Artist billing of the year, y/y?
Alfred Soto: Tropical house notwithstanding, the distortions and fades wouldn’t have troubled Justice’s sleep in 2007, including the gross horn chart treated as if it were a second guitar solo. We can do better, people.
Taylor Alatorre: The lightly funky soul sample is nice, I guess, but its “can’t buy me love” lyrics sound quaint when pitted against tropical house, a subgenre designed to evoke a lifestyle which is inaccessible to most of humanity. Maybe I’d be able to stomach this kind of island-hopping escapism if it were built around something more substantial than five, and then seven identical horn stabs in the quote-unquote drop. Not to mention the most unearned “woo!” I’ve heard in music this year. “Whatever works,” the disembodied, chopped-up voice seems to say. If this is all it takes to score a European hit in 2016, then yeah, no kidding.
Patrick St. Michel: Inoffensive and unremarkable song that might be the closest tropical house comes to its own “Tequila.”
Cassy Gress: The original “This Girl” is a drowsy, summery pastiche of “Come and Get Your Love.” Kungs sped it up a few BPM, slapped some house drums and claps onto it, but more significantly cut up the chorus. If you listen to the two back-to-back, it’s patently obvious when you get to the part where Kungs thought “all right, here’s where I’ma make my mark on this song.” And that’s the part where it gets a lot more boring.
William John: It doesn’t seem fair to be so derogatory about a fresh-faced EDM French kid whose birthdate is worryingly close to beginning with a 2, but the clock has struck amateur hour here. Kungs is certainly no Madeon nor Martin Garrix, and lacks the poise and ear of so many of his compatriots in dance music. I’m all for revitalising what research reveals to be a pleasant bit of coffee shop soul through unselfconscious Eurobosh, but where there should really be a donk we instead only get a slight shift in tempo and an ugly horn preset. It’s all a bit limp, but will do well enough for ruddy Britishers ready to forge memories on yachts in the Aegean over the coming months.
Katie Gill: The song’s cute and peppy, a perfect sort of driving with the windows down jam, bouncing along like a less mellow Robin Schulz remix. But there’s something about the mixing that annoys the heck out of me. The backing threatens to overtake the (admittedly really blurry) vocals at certain points. I’ve got to strain to hear what exactly the singer’s SINGING, which is never a good sign.
Scott Mildenhall: A French DJ lazily applying a little filtering to an already attractive sample? Everybody wins! Of course that’s not all he’s doing, because there are Solveigian comedy horns too — more victory! — and the “Stormy” guitars stand out more than in the original, but this may be the most fun “Waves”wave ever gets, and even for that alone Kungs must be applauded. Not so much for kicking Kylie Auldist off the credits, though.
Brad Shoup: Clothespinned to this rhythm, the chords suggest “Stormy” when the sun breaks. It’s fairly unambitious in the rhythm but not the rhythm track: there’s about a half-dozen drum sounds here, like we’re in the heyday of reggaeton. The meat is melody, though: big, dumb, toss-your-head-and-bob-your-shoulders melody.
Adaora Ede: Copy-paste summer song. And I LOVE everything about summer, especially when it comes to the heat and European DJs throwing together some vaguely vintage sounding sample on a electro-disco-house melody to create a mid July hit. With the song itself coming out choppy, the jazzy vocals entirely make the song for me in the places where the exotic instrumentation that I expect from a Euro-dance jam should have been. On the other hand, Kungs probably should have cut off the song right before the dreampop-inspired bridge and omitted the handclaps. But seriously, if there’s going to be an attempt to plop a deep house sleeper hit on us, you’re gonna need a little bit more djembe.
Gin Hart: It’s about lovin’ and losin’, but is loveable for reasons that, for me, involve more craft than content. The viscera are in the production — smooth and funky and crisply stratified. Were you obsessed with soil horizon diagrams in late middle/early high school? I was. Listening to this song feels like looking at one of those while biting into a perfectly crisp apple that isn’t exceptionally juicy but still tastes mad decent. At, like, a silent disco/beach volleyball tournament. Those horns! That banger beat! That film of millennial apathy that gentles the boogie! Pop music deftly done.