Saturday, June 9th, 2018

Pharrell Williams x Camila Cabello – Sangria Wine

The fruit floats at the top; new Pharrell singles, not so much…


Julian Axelrod: If I had a time machine, I would go back to 2002 and play this clunky abomination for a Pharrell stan. I’d say “Doesn’t this sound like an unfunny Lonely Island deep cut?” and “Camila Cabello does what she can with these weak-ass lyrics, but she mostly sounds embarrassed to be here.” And they’d say “I don’t know who either of those people are.” Then I’d go kill Hitler or whatever.

Maxwell Cavaseno: At this point, nobody can ever tell me shit about Tyler, the Creator sounding like an imitation of N*E*R*D, because whereas that man’s music is at least sonically progressing with each album, Pharrell appears to have regressed back to 2009. This shifting pseudo laptop dub makes him sound like the “airport reggae” Rihanna accused Diplo of being, and makes Cabello sound like a cheap after-effect.

Leonel Manzanares de la Rosa: If “Havana”, which also included Pharrell in kind of an “invisible hand” role, aimed to explore Camila’s native Cuba and its musical signifiers, “Sangria Wine” looks at Jamaica — particularly in Williams’ Islander slang and the classic dub effects in the production — and its strange relationship with the Spanish-speaking regions of the Caribbean. This combination alone gives the tune plenty of song of the summer potential, but come on, should the hook be so damn repetitive?

Katherine St Asaph: You can’t force chemistry, nor can you force wordplay that doesn’t quite work — the same not-quite-right phrasing of “High Heeled Shoes” — through endless repetition.

Alfred Soto: I have an irrational contempt for the chorus/hook: if Camila and Pharrell feel all sultry, it’s not because of sangria “wine,” which is pretty weak sauce like the rest of this musty old barrel of a production.

Will Adams: Let’s set aside the oh-so-relevant fact that when making sangria you’re usually meant to use a wine of lesser quality since you’ll be dumping in a bunch of fruit (and possibly more add-ins). What’s really of note in “Sangria Wine” is that in attempting to create a summer jam — via musty reggae, cheap white noise stabs and Camila Cabello AutoTuned into a slur — Pharrell has nailed the sensation of being day drunk off bad sangria at an outdoor party where it’s 95 degrees and your friend insists on staying.

Jacob Sujin Kuppermann: A summer jam that sounds like the weirdest parts of summer– overheated days that make you feel like you’re melting into the concrete, hallucinatory and liminal nights that no one recalls exactly the same way. Yet it’s more interesting as a mood piece than an actual song. Aside from a bizarre bridge separating Camila’s two half-verses, there’s no real momentum here, no release from the track’s stifling feel.

Stephen Eisermann: I appreciate what this song was trying to go for, but I think it would’ve worked better as a full Spanish song rather than a bilingual track. The salsa-infused production is cool, but as if the juxtaposition between Camila’s and Pharrell’s voices wasn’t weird enough, that bizarre interlude halfway through (wait a minute, wait a second, que que) ruins what could’ve been a cool album track.

Juan F. Carruyo: Neptune boy goes Lee “Scratch” Perry while we weren’t looking. The results should’ve been interesting considering all the raw talent at hand — even the topic is gold — but the Pharrell-sung hook is irritating, and Camila’s contributions seem pasted from another song altogether, never quite melding with the theme. Ultimately, this song isn’t as fun as drinking sangria is.

Rachel Bowles: My introduction to “Sangria Wine” was wonderfully enough at a Camila Cabello gig. With Pharrell absent and the impossibility of the flirty push-and-pull duet being performed live, the song’s emphasis switched to its lyrical theme — dance. Separated into gendered groups, Camila led her female dancers in a swaggering, posturing salsa call and response with their male counterparts, who answered in time with Pharrell’s vocals. It was a sexy, impressive spectacle that was bigger than the song. When I hear the audio alone it’s kind of a let down, as if “Sangria Wine” is crushed under the weight of its own mid-tempo Latin-infused reggae, unable to hold its own. That it made the setlist yet didn’t make the cut to Camila’s final LP tracklist is of no surprise.

Joshua Minsoo Kim: Various elements here seem nice on paper: the wine wordplay, the dub echo/reverb, the fact that Camila sounds kind of tipsy. Other elements less so: Pharrell singing, Pharrell producing this, Pharrell obnoxiously repeating the titular line in the chorus. To no one’s surprise, the latter heavily outweighs the former.

Reader average: [1.66] (3 votes)

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