Friday, February 21st, 2020

Doja Cat – Say So



Jacob Sujin Kuppermann: The first three waves of Doja Cat fluke hits focused on her personality above all else, using fairly standard zoomerwave beats as delivery devices for weirdo punchlines and e-girl phrasings. “Say So” instead leans heavy into sounding like a pop crossover — the beat, made by Dr. Luke under an alias, sounds like a TikTok remix of something off the bad Chic reunion album from 2018, and Doja Cat’s singing voice, normally used as a tool of slight subversion, plays the lite disco straight, singing absolute nothings for a few minutes. I barely registered any lyrics the first few times I heard the song — it’s real head-empty, no thoughts territory. She eventually gets back to rapping in the second half, but it feels more like Doja Cat cosplay, a perfunctory “Juicy” appearance at a corporate function. And yet the glassy funk the song cultivates, and Doja’s glide over it, are catchy enough to distract from the problems I have with “Say So” — it’s not a genius song, but it’s a glorious loop.

Leah Isobel: “Say So” leans so heavily on its (very catchy!) chorus that Doja doesn’t really have enough space to develop her character or story, as she does on her more bulletproof material. In the blank space where her personality usually is comes a whole host of… negative associations.

Kylo Nocom: Dr. Luke’s idea of disco remains as dull as ever. “Sweet Spot” was the worst song of last year, and the backbone of “Say So” remains indebted to Skylar Spence’s future funk without an inch of its charm.

Nortey Dowuona: Slick, thinning and slightly rickety disco drums carry wet, shaky guitars, squashed pumpkin synths and elven crooning from Doja, who slides down through the mix, chilling and reading, before dropping her book to kick around. She’s then pulled down, kicking out of the sugar walls and falling into the waterfall, before clumsily swimming back to shore to see her beau holding the book, closing it and helping her out, wrapping her in a towel and walking her back to her car.

Alfred Soto: Thin, moist white disco-funk in which Maroon 5 specialized during the second Bush administration. We nostalgic for that era already?

Brad Shoup: Mealy disco-pop! It doesn’t assert its smallness, it just mumbles until you finally look away.

Michael Hong: Kind of fun when watching Laura Dern shove her daughter aside to do a viral dance, less fun when you’re confronted with the final product. “Say So” rolls in waves, with Doja Cat’s voice slippery enough to just slide underneath its production. It’s pleasant if not slightly uninspiringly repetitive, at least until it’s interrupted by her heavy-handed rap. An attempt to inject some energy and something new into an otherwise dreamy track ends up bursting its bubble. It’s just a greasy puddle, no longer the adventurous water slide it could have been.

Jackie Powell: This track is straight-up ear candy and I just want to scream into the void because Doja Cat could have collaborated with Pharrell, Nile Rogers or even Ian Kirkpatrick to create the glorious rhythm guitar which functions alongside a blatant bass and simple percussive tempo, steadied by an electronic snare and a hi-hat. Why do I feel like I could sing The Cardigan’s “Lovefool” over the Dr. Luke-engineered instrumental? Tore Johansson, work with Doja instead! Anyway, Doja is a star. A master of vocal duality, which appears to be a marker for success in today’s pop. Take Lizzo for instance. She sings, raps and plays a Jethro Tull-reminiscent flute. While I wait for what exactly will emerge as Doja’s triple threat, her silky, soulful but breathy mezzo-soprano is so soothing on this track, and her flow on the rapped second verse punches without being too abrasive. It’s natural for the 24 year-old. Oh no, I saw she has a history of homophobic tweets… ah. All right, I’ll scream into the void as I melt listening to “Say So.” TikTok really wins, doesn’t it?

Reader average: [8.75] (4 votes)

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One Response to “Doja Cat – Say So”

  1. Jacob’s blurb!

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