Thursday, April 15th, 2021

Fred again.. ft. The Blessed Madonna – Marea (We’ve Lost Dancing)

Well it’s always in the last place you look for it.


Nortey Dowuona: I’m kinda bummed I missed the Headie One and FKA Twigs songg Fred again… did, so I’m glad for this warm, washed out sour patch synth padded record with pump fake drums . A skinny oscillating synth skids around with synth fog wafting in, as The Blessed Madonna explains the many frustrating issues with losing the joy and excitement of dancing with a mass of people and the determination needed to bear the wack fuckery of this past year of 2020. A lonely foghorn wilts in the corner as the song slowly begins to fade and cascade, as The Blessed Madonna encourages us with the hope that our next phase will be….

Samson Savill de Jong: This annoys me. The facile explanation for why would be that we’ve lost much more important things than dancing in the past year, and maybe that is part of it, but lord knows I’ve made exactly the same complaints on this very site before. Maybe it’s because the pandemic is still too real and too close, but this song could only be made now because it’s not going to be relevant beyond 2021 (I really really really hope that doesn’t jinx things somehow) and if you can’t make songs about a literal global disaster what can you do? It might just be the Americanness of it all (despite the fact that Fred again.. is British), that grating unearned optimism that utopia awaits on the other side. But ultimately, I think it’s the simplicity of it. The pandemic has brought with it a lot of contradictory and complex emotions, and this song is trying to tackle them, but it doesn’t get anywhere close to doing so. In those reviews I linked earlier, the loss of dancing is a surrogate for the loss of living a human life, which clearly it’s intended to be here too, but it ultimately sounds like they’re literally just annoyed they can’t go to sweaty clubs at the moment (the danger of turning an off hand comment on a zoom call into a song). The production from Fred again.. isn’t very engaging, and the whole song just lacks the depth that is needed, and that it’s trying to express.

Julian Axelrod: The past year has been terrible for touring DJs, but excellent for would-be dance floor fillers. So it’s surprising it’s taken this long for two producers to create a Mobius strip of nightlife nostalgia: Fred² chops up The Blessed Madonna’s elegy for pre-pandemic proximity over a 3am garage mirage that might never be experienced by a packed crowd. On my less charitable days, it’s hard to empathize with two uber-successful DJs who probably still had a better 2020 than you or I. (“We’ve lost friends… We’ve lost dancing… We’ve lost the promotional cycle for my album of Dua Lipa remixes, now streaming on Spotify and Apple Music…”) But even if this isn’t a landmark work for either artist, it’s unfailingly earnest and effective in its longing for community. It’s not the song I’m gonna beg the DJ to play when clubs reopen, but FredxFred has made enough of those in this cursed year.

Austin Nguyen: Sentimentality has a way of backing you into a corner and forcing you to agree with whatever heart it wears on its sleeve. My poetry professor calls it manipulative, an act of puppetry that tethers your emotions to someone else’s hand. Some people buy in, surrender control to go along for the ride; others are more resistant, tugging back on the invisible string. In the case of “Marea (We’ve Lost Dancing),” I side with the latter: Grief does not need to come with the AutoTuned-optimism syrup of “We gon’ make it through, through,” and tempting as it might be, your empty-dancefloor epitaph is not a magazine profile — it does not need a kicker quote.

Juana Giaimo: As someone who’s never been very much into going to clubs, I find it hard to identify with “Marea.” But what I find even harder to empathize with is the optimistic message of the song. I’d get it in 2020, but in 2021 (after we’ve seen that a pandemic wasn’t enough to make people wear a mask, just to mention the tip of an enormous iceberg that also include the fact that some countries aren’t receiving vaccines because other countries decided to buy a lot more than what they needed), I simply don’t and I wonder what The Blessed Madonna means when she says “what comes next, will be marvelous.” The music is as vague as that line — it’s the typical combination of a fast beat, high-pitched sounds and spoken words. It sounds like a cheap “all you need is love” and in 2021, we’re all too pessimistic for that. 

Tim de Reuse: There’s a well-articulated sense of longing in the distant, bendy synth lines and the choppy lead, though it’s more nostalgia for turn-of-the-millennium Chemical Brothers than anything people were dancing to in 2019. Hearing the vocal sample more than once, though, is completely unnecessary. It’s too arrhythmic to be catchy, and the natural cadence of the voice is completely at odds with where it’s placed metrically in the bar, but more pressingly… are you expecting me to forget that I’m sad that I’m not at a crowded venue without a reminder that we’ve lost dancing several times a minute? Buddy, I’ve been sad that I’m not at a crowded venue every waking second of the last thirteen months.

Thomas Inskeep: I was hoping for better from Fred again.., who I’ve found interesting in some of his production work, but this is basically just big room/Sahara Tent house music for the masses, topped with some clips from a chat he had with The Blessed Madonna. There’s no spark here.

Will Adams: I feel bad dumping on this, because the emotion is honest and resonant. But when I think about mourning all the moments I lost the past twelve months, this inert lump of house fodder is not the first soundtrack that comes to mind.

Reader average: [5.66] (3 votes)

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2 Responses to “Fred again.. ft. The Blessed Madonna – Marea (We’ve Lost Dancing)”

  1. The tracks awful speech lines. No one ever needs a sappy trash about not being able to dance in some club. I’m not one to talk, losing something essential can be painful but this is not one of those tracks that do its purpose well.

  2. Just read this and it feels a bit too topical: