Tuesday, March 23rd, 2021

Brent Faiyaz & DJ Dahi ft. Tyler, the Creator – Gravity

Quick poll: How many of us are ready for summer?


Vikram Joseph: Well, this is lovely; a shimmering heat-haze of a song with a hypnotic two-note motif and an extremely satisfying circular structure. Brent Faiyaz’s falsetto range (especially on his vocal hook, “Don’t act like I’m average”) is a dead ringer for Frank Ocean, and Tyler’s gravelly vulnerability is a good fit for the spaces in between his urbane ruminations, as Faiyaz vacillates over whether or not his girl keeping him grounded is good thing. “Gravity” feels anything but grounded, though, and could be the first great summer jam of 2021.

Al Varela: As I write this I am facing a window showcasing a blanket of snow all over my apartment’s backyard. By that metric, it might be a while before this liquid smooth R&B jam reaches its maximum potential. Until then, though, I do really love this song. It’s so effortless and soothing to listen to; the kind of thing that soundtracks walking down the sidewalk in your best jacket and turning heads. It’s magnetic, and Tyler, The Creator’s incredible verse only makes it better.

Thomas Inskeep: DJ Dahi’s beat is nice ‘n smooth (but WTF with the vuvuzela?) for Brent Faiyaz to sing atop, and I’m never mad to hear Tyler rapping — I just want more of him.  

Alfred Soto: A squishy, squelchy, post-(George) Clinton funk track, rather wan, the kind often found on Big Boi albums. Tyler, theoretically, raps.

Katherine St Asaph: There’s an unending stream of retro-smooth tracks like this, I’ve found some to be evocative night music and some smarmy dated ’80s hell, and I’ve never been able to figure out what the distinguishing factor is. With “Gravity,” though, it’s easier; the parts I like coincide fairly well with Tyler’s parts. Brent is more smarmy.

Hazel Southwell: Brent Faiyaz has a gorgeous voice that only sounds better for being in a cut-and-paste mess of cheap but skillfully deployed sonic tricks. “Don’t act like I’m average,” delivered with a kick of cockiness just before saying to forget him, is sweetly acute, but it’s the soundscape more than the subject that matters.

Samson Savill de Jong: I like a lot of elements here: the distorted bassy vocals that act as part of the beat, Tyler’s verse, Brent Faiyaz’s rap verse, the chorus. I think they don’t do enough with the beat; it doesn’t vary enough over the course of the song, which makes it feel a bit longer than it really is. Faiyaz’s sung verse is less good than his rap verse; “It’s too much to be your boyfriend” is a dud line, but because it’s the central thesis of the song, everything drops out to emphasise it, which is a mistake. Those distorted vocals really elevate the song, but the topic itself isn’t fundamentally that interesting, and the song doesn’t work enough to make me care about them being on tour and too cool to be emotionally available.

Oliver Maier: Dahi’s beat is decent, even if the snare is trying to cave my skull in. Alas, it’s wasted on Faiyaz (an absurdly boring Weeknd knockoff) and Tyler (who is not trying). So lame and pointless that it irritates me more with every passing second.

Jacob Sujin Kuppermann: “Gravity” feels longer than its three minutes and 35 seconds, and that’s both to its credit and detriment. It’s a glorious throwaway of a track, with Dahi and Steve Lacy’s very expensive backing music enabling Faiyaz and Tyler to pursue their luxuriant loverboy fantasies. Faiyaz tries a lot here, shifting between singing and rapping but only seeming completely comfortable in the former. It’s the inverse of what his guest perfected on Igor, and the track as a whole feels like an outtake from those sessions, cut due to lack of coherence. On its own, it’s good enough, though: the kind of song that could play at an array of hip parties without disturbing the mood for a second.

Reader average: [8] (3 votes)

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