Friday, April 15th, 2016

Baauer ft. M.I.A. & G-Dragon – Temple

Beware their wrath.


Crystal Leww: I can’t believe that we’re still making this kind of orientalist bullshit in 2016. The pipa doesn’t deserve this. M.I.A. and G-Dragon don’t deserve this. And yet, this fucking bangs in the club. The entire Baauer album bangs in club! The redemption storyline has begun, and while the music has been extremely worthy, I wish that he spared us from that overly nonsense intro. 

Cassy Gress: I’m immediately nervous seeing M.I.A. and G-Dragon together on anything. As charismatic as they are, M.I.A. is all about spotlighting brown people, and G-Dragon tends to lean more on the appropriative side. And then the song starts with shamisens and my shoulders start creeping a little higher. I’m never sure if G-Dragon rapping in Korean in otherwise English-speaking tracks is because of personal preference or because he’s not confident enough in his English skills to do a full verse (or both).  He’s in Korean here again and the thought took me out of the song.  The shamisen gets repetitive, though I do like where it breaks into a bassy hum for a moment at 1:04.  All that aside, I mainly just like the sound of M.I.A. and G-Dragon twinning the tone of their voices.

Maxwell Cavaseno: Essentially a giant tribute to Timbaland’s second period, Maya and G-D are good picks in so much that they comprehend a record like this requires more textural appearance than hard spitting. But it feels arguably a bit too paint by numbers for Baauer and his MCs of the moment to really hit proper “banger” status.

Cédric Le Merrer: My five month old loves it when I sing “body body bod body wow” while changing his diapers. Baby, being natural poptimists, know a great hook when they hear one, and as a father I’m always looking for ways to distract my offspring. “Body body body body wow” does the job so well that I don’t care about the beat or anything else, this hook provides what I need the most from music right now.

Iain Mew: The beat is fine, but even leaving aside other issues with the Frosties-advert-level mystical Eastern bullshit, it drags the song down. M.I.A. and G-Dragon both barely refer to it, and take their verses widely and powerfully enough that it’s easy to wonder what more they could have done with a better focal point.

Alfred Soto: Acting as if Kala‘s Timbaland-produced final track was world historic, Baauer and M.I.A. shimmy over sampled koto, the latter yawning through Baauer’s received ideas and her worn phrases.

Edward Okulicz: I have to admit that the first time I listened to this, I was distracted enough at how hacky the stereotypical fauxriental touches felt on this that I thought G-Dragon was just M.I.A. pitch-shifted. The actual beat would bang in another setting, and I don’t necessarily mean the club, or 2001, or maybe a bonus track on one of Timbaland’s Shock Value albums, but all of those things are true. I like M.I.A.’s deployment as little more than a sound effect when she goes “body body body,” though, as she sounds confident but relaxed, but the verses overall on this are confident but weak.

Jer Fairall: Providing Ms. Arulpragasam with her most insistent hook since “Paper Planes,” novelty-hit survivor Baauer is wise to keep things simple, the chiming Eastern refrain encouraging the kind of clarity too often lacking from M.I.A.’s knotty (if occasionally rewarding) post-Kala output. Additional cheers to new-to-me Korean rapper G-Dragon for sounding keen and undaunted in her presence. 

Brad Shoup: Maybe it’s not surprising that G-Dragon kills it: Baauer’s not a contact, he’s an opportunity. Shame this opportunity comes behind the eight ball. Without the narration of the first half-minute, this could’ve been a suspended cod-koto banger. A little more G-Dragon would’ve gotten it there.

Reader average: [7.33] (3 votes)

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