…and also Black Thought.
Katie Gill: Michael Buble constantly exudes oily smarminess. He’s the sort of person that Hannibal Lecter wouldn’t really eat but could find a way to make a nice salad dressing out of, he’s that oily. I sat through his Christmas special, I know that no matter his actual personality, this man generally comes off like he is incapable of being a trustworthy human being. Singing a song that’s a good 80 per cent creepy possessiveness does not help that image in the slightest. The song’s not “it’s my right to be hellish” levels of creepy but man, it’s borderline.
A.J. Cohn: Last year, Bublé posted a creepshot of a stranger on Instagram, which was received with criticism. In response, he released a quasi-apology, remarking that he was sorry if anyone was offended but his intentions were nothing but good: “I was not brought up that way and it is not in my character … Women are to be celebrated, loved, respected, honored, and revered.” If, after all that, anyone thought Bublé really cared about women, he sets the record straight with “Nobody But Me” expressing his controlling, patronizing, and generally disrespectful attitudes towards his female subject with uncommonly revealing lines like “Oh my papa told me once or twice/Don’t be cruel, don’t be too nice.” Save for Black Thought’s sweetly clunky and notably uncredited verse, this track is pure sexist slime.
Joshua Copperman: In my Notes app, I have many different variations of this blurb with varying degrees of seriousness, all relating to how awful this particular possessive strand of toxic masculinity is. Anything from Laura Jane Grace’s pain at her male socialization in regards to seeing her ex with another man (“the idea of owning sombody … seemed like a very male thing. Where’s the line between anger and misogyny?“) to eschewing all that and making a joke about Nick Jonas’s not-dissimilar-in-theme “Jealous” comes to mind when hearing this. I could also write about how this kind of song can done well, using “Genghis Khan” as an example of how to do a “shitty clingy boyfriend song” with far more self-awareness and even playfulness. Yet I listen back to this song, I listen to how Bublé wants to keep his girl exclusively by his side, but expects her to put up with his shit when he gets “reckless,” and I hear Black Thought trying to do damage control but only coming up with “I’m proud of you/like a treasure,” then I hear those fratty horns backing up Bublé, and I think of another reference altogether: Christ, what an asshole.
Thomas Inskeep: Lyrically this adheres to Bublé’s usual themes, but musically this does him no favors, sounding like an overly busy 2009 Mika b-side. The production on this is seriously horrible. And Black Thought’s uncredited guest rap couldn’t be more awkwardly shoehorned in.
Jonathan Bradley: Bublé has today tasked himself with levity, and in service of such ends has mustered pomaded charm and bitten-off syllables. It isn’t for lack of commitment that he winds up sounding cautious amidst the ensemble gang chants and finger-snaps, but more his innately conservative approach to his material: there is likely an unpleasant possessiveness to this lyric, but I can’t be bothered listening closely enough to find out and I’m not sure Bublé bothered to think about it either. “Nobody But Me” is the kind of song that, as a risk, includes a rap interlude: Black Thought is a versatile vocalist with a knack for sidestepping memorability, and he delivers exactly as little as was demanded of his contribution.
Alfred Soto: Usher or Justin Timberlake might have cut dashing figures selling this soft shoe, but Michael Buble is determined that prove that his last name means “gormless” in Canadian.
Anthony Easton: This lacks his usual sense of humour, and doesn’t swing very much at all. It is much closer to Jack Johnson’s “Banana Pancakes,” but at least that had a whiff of the post-coital that refused the cuteness. This is just cloying. (And made worse by the completely out of place hip-hop break.)
Madeleine Lee: A fine entry in the “songs for moms and their children to dance in the kitchen to” genre, but not much use outside of it.
Will Adams: Since when did Michael Bublé become possessed by Jason Mraz?
Scott Mildenhall: For a man so imitated Michael Bublé is inimitable. He is, audibly — singularly — The Nicest Man In Showbiz. It’s thus perhaps easier for him than anyone else to get away with such disconcertingly cheerful possessiveness. “Nobody But Me” is pretty much entirely about monopoly over another person, and little actually about them. But it’s so amiable! As for Black Thought’s surprise cameo, the only plausible reason is the possibility of a one-off credit for “Thought Bublé,” but actually mentioning him may have spoilt the surprise. Like all the weirder Bublé songs, this doesn’t actually seem as weird as it is.
Edward Okulicz: One of those chirpy songs off Jason Mraz’s first major album minus involvement of The Matrix plus cornball winking lite entertainment revue stylings plus creepy lyrics about possesion and control minus any self-awareness of these that would make it silly or endearing. It does not swing, it does not code intimacy as his fanbase probably insists his voice does, and it does not need a rap verse. It doesn’t even drip with enough smarm to satisfy people who like smarm. If I felt the love and intimacy here, I’d be more worried about a length of rope going around my neck when I turn my back.
Katherine St Asaph: Michael Buble is the embodiment of the ironic :D. Don’t you dare wear that dress out in public, and hand me your cell phone right the fuck now — your looks and life only exist for me! :D Aren’t I such a good and real singer, despite expending zero effort and much processing? :D :D I’m saying “hell” and featuring a rapper — aren’t I so forward-thinking for blending [ahistorical glob of big-band, doo-wop, and soft-rock meant to signify the mythical time when Music was Real Unlike That Trash] with pop music, despite this being done by legions including Meghan Trainor and the entire year of 2003? :D :D :D
William John: Michael Buble’s voice is one of this earth’s most hideous sounds; always unnecessarily foregrounded, ponderous and slothful, gleaned of all surface, blander than boiled zucchini. On “Nobody But Me,” Michael attempts to serve us a bop with a guest rap, but a revolting voice grafted onto a jaunty arrangement does not a banger make, especially when the sentiment is so narcissistic and vainglorious as to presume that your partner needs nothing else in life but you.