Friday, April 9th, 2021

Griff – Black Hole

A Sound of 2021 short-lister doubles her score in her second appearance.


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[5.82]

Wayne Weizhen Zhang: The title promises an earth-ending, massive moment with gravitational pull; the song delivers a solid strong hook and structure, but lacks the corresponding production and biting vocal delivery to fully deliver. 
[6]

Camille Nibungco: At first listen, I wasn’t that enchanted by this new Griff single as I was with her previous releases. Black Hole seems to be another rendition of a heartbreak song of the same minimal beat combined to compliment her lower vocal range. It’s a tried and true recipe perfected by the likes of previous gen-Z alt-pop stars before her. Given that she’s still on the rise in the pop industry, I’d still love to see how she ends up evolving musically in the near future.
[5]

Juana Giaimo: “Black Hole” is the kind of flat pop song that takes one influence (here it’s Gotye’s “Somebody That I Used to Know”) and makes it less interesting. She erased all the quirky things that made that song feel unique, and didn’t add any personality. Instead, she gave it a synth-pop twist suitable for playlists, and a chorus (which she repeats twice every time) that became tiring by the second time I listened to the song.
[5]

Iain Mew: The story is lightly sketched with some over-familiar phrases like laughs and bellyaches, which means the synths have to do a lot of heavy lifting. The doomy bass bits are a flash of inspiration, but they’re not enough for the song to build to the kind of density it needs to give an emotional pull to match its aims.
[5]

Jeffrey Brister: Lots of simmering and threatening to blow, but it never truly boils over, pulling back when the chorus should pushing out. And then it’s over before it can really do anything. The relatively spare arrangement sounds really nice, but ultimately it’s just sorta background-y, I guess? It’s a fuller and more engaging version of the bland early-00’s dance-pop I’d hear on the radio occasionally, but it shares that indistinctness that caused the sound to wash over me and forget I was listening until the next song came on.
[5]

John S. Quinn-Puerta: More synthwave pastiche from the UK on the Jukebox, but unlike KSI’s outing earlier this week, Griff absorbs all the light at the center of this track. Keys run through tight MP3 compression lead off, a four-on-the floor 808 amplifying the anxiety around the longing and sadness. The echoing, sinister synth hits in the pre-chorus and chorus seem to play off the black hole metaphor. The song seems to shrink and expand with each choral repetition, dropping instruments like a hat only to add them in stronger on the next measure, keeping you moving. Griff’s lyrics are deceptively simple, but still manage to speak to her feelings of emptiness.
[8]

Ady Thapliyal: A lovely melody, particularly in the verses, that the “Somebody That I Used to Know (Club Mix)” beat doesn’t do any favors for. 
[6]

Alfred Soto: It doesn’t quite pull the listener inexorably to its core — does it have a core? — but the chorus has a confidence to which the rest of tune inspires.
[6]

Nortey Dowuona: The chomping synths and smoothly synced drums are swept away by Zack Snyder bass for Griff to ensure that her torn heart continues to beat, despite the last of the drum head as thin as her faith in fixing it all. She begs for their return, a return which could cause her to collapse on itself.
[8]

Thomas Inskeep: The production on “Black Hole,” all too thin (especially on its chorus), lets Griff down. She’s got a good pop/R&B voice, but needs something better than this. The song isn’t so hot, either, trafficking in a bunch of clichés.
[4]

Scott Mildenhall: Thoroughly unambitious, but just the right side of bland. While never committing to anything more sonically dramatic than might scupper ubiquity, there are hints of intrigue in the delivery and commitment to metaphor. Ultimately it rests a lot of weight on the chorus, which it withstands with no great commotion.
[6]

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