Josh Love: Approximates the experience of Lana Del Rey on molly, so I’m glad I pass on both. Might’ve been tolerable if it didn’t go from zero to sixty in a nanosecond.
John Seroff: Another big-bodied blue-eyed soul voice shoehorned into a clockwork dance engine with minimal melody or originality.
Iain Mew: The best thing I can say about this is reminded me of the pleasure of “Feel the Love,” even if I was initially going back to work out why this feels like such a poor imitation apart from that Rudimental got there first. A lot of it is basic and structural. “Feel the Love” took a full minute to get to its d’n’b drop and didn’t even put the full chorus over it then, plus it had plenty of room for a reflective trumpet solo. “Changing” blows everything at once after thirty seconds, and Paloma Faith has already hit the moment of maximum outrage even before that (“this ain’t what I signed up to!”). It’s left with nowhere else to go apart from haphazardly sticking on some vaguely gesturing strings and gospel bits.
Maxwell Cavaseno: The way-too-early dip into hardcore breaks demonstrates two problems with this sort of attempt at dance pop. Number one: Paloma is too interested in making her stamp. This is not a spacious record, though the production is very light and sparse. So rather than emphasize the air, she sucks up every bit of it and thrusts her face into the center as much as possible. The relentlessness of her ambition is nice and all, but there’s no moment for the dance to take priority; it’s all about her. Number two: Sigma has no idea how to effectively use that break, placing it as a build-up, rather than using it for the peak of the intensity. It cheapens the break, and leaves us with Paloma’s weak chorus as a reward for making it through the volley of drums.
Scott Mildenhall: Without the words, sure to soundtrack Football Focus profiles of future Scott Sinclairs for literally months to come. With them, almost as corny as Chris Lake’s similar effort from a few years back. It isn’t clanging enough to prevent going with it though, and Paloma Faith could sell it all year round — not just at this serendipitous cusp of autumn.
Mark Sinker: It’s instructive fun hearing how d’n’b — once very much the posterchild for radically disruptive afrofuturist something-or-other — can be so neatly and efficiently tidied into just another technical element in a by-no-means-bad string-driven ’60s pop-soul arrangement. But there’s something about Paloma’s bony single-strength elbow-flex of a voice that flattens out all the levels and builds and dramas being so studiously architected round it.
Brad Shoup: It’s three-and-a-half minutes that sound like 90 seconds, with Faith rushed through a sunset saudade. We both should have been able to savor the cello thrum and the cod-gospel backing vocals, but the effect is actually kinda comic, which I can get behind.
Katherine St Asaph: “Oversinging” is a charge leveled primarily — and enthusiastically — at women. Generally there’s some overlap with personality attacks, “oversinging” becoming a proxy for “taking up too much space” or “being desperate.” It’s why Britney is a critical and public-image darling and Christina is not, why crossover R&B starlets tend to be the ones whose voices are tiny or studied, and why Sam Smith gets to NAAAAOAOAOAOAOOWOW-I’ve-got-you-in-my-space all over a perfectly acceptable Disclosure song and have people call that a climax, while when Faith does the same she’s oversinging. So while Faith isn’t the greatest vocalist — she sings like she’s airing out a mouth ulcer, and her bratty intonation on “cool” sounds much more natural than her Duffy impression — she is not the primary issue with “Changing.” That would be the dated vocal stutters and canned orchestral nonsense, or the same cod-gospel breakdown that the UK music industry is foisting on everyone from Smith to Jessie fucking Ware, or the lack of emotional oomph to any of this. Hm, that probably is Faith’s fault. Sigma you’d never even expect it from.
Alfred Soto: “Known for her unique, retro, and eccentric style” and distinguished at none of them; she’s a singer in search of a context, a performer who hasn’t figured out the audience or even what house audience she wants.