Friday, April 30th, 2021

Yola – Diamond Studded Shoes

Eat the rich, or at the very least tax their shoes.


Ian Mathers: The combination of breezily laid back and beautifully pissed off here is just sublime. The kind of song you can absolutely imagine becoming a huge hit on the radio both with people who are living those lyrics and those who are never going to listen to let alone understand them.

Nortey Dowuona: The galloping guitar and sidewinding bass feel so sinewy and warm around Yola’s deep, throaty voice. There’s a bracing pride in her words as she strikes back at the massively skewed world set against us. 

Samson Savill de Jong: Yola clearly knows how to intwine politics into her songwriting. Her themes are universal but underpinned by her own experiences and beliefs, and she gets her point across clearly without proselytising. The song sounds pretty upbeat, despite its message of refusing to let things just continue and fighting against it, but the contrast works rather than holding it back. It’s not the most complex song; musically it doesn’t particularly go anywhere. But Yola comes and does what she sets out to do, and maybe more out there music might have got in the way.

John S. Quinn-Puerta: In the midst of classic electric twang and slide guitar, Yola said make the bass gallop, belt the verse, fight the power, and Tax the Rich. 

Thomas Inskeep: Yola goes less country and leans into the Stax on “Diamond Studded Shoes”; I just wish this sounded a little more vibrant and less like something trapped in amber. Blame producer Dan Auerbach for that, I guess. Lyrically, this look at income inequality is great.

Edward Okulicz: The verses to this are absolutely fantastic, fitting beautifully into country, soul and protest song traditions; part of a fight is the hope of triumph, and that’s in every syllable Yola sings. The actual chorus (“you know it isn’t, you know it isn’t”) sounds a bit like a placeholder waiting for something better to replace it, but overall “Diamond Studded Shoes” nails that feeling of sounding like something old that’s just become very fitting to the times.

Leah Isobel: Yola’s voice is rich and agile enough to sell a generic line like “You beat it into us like a hammer,” which means that when she gets to sing “They buy diamond-studded shoes with our taxes” you hear every single inch of her bitter humor, smoldering rage, resignation, and resolve. 

Al Varela: “Diamond Studded Shoes” might be the best song Yola has ever made. One that’s so full of joyous energy that it’s impossible not to get sucked into its old-school charm. Yola is a delightful singer and her energy singing about the dire state of the world but still having the will to fight makes the skippy percussion and twang of the guitars all the more infectious. It’s a gospel-country blend that calls back to the kind of music you’d hear at a saloon, but still has that modern touch to remind you of how timeless this kind of music can be. 

Reader average: [7] (5 votes)

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One Response to “Yola – Diamond Studded Shoes”

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