Saturday, May 1st, 2021

Bebe Rexha – Sabotage

When we say “sadly, not a Beastie Boys cover” we mean it. That could have been awesome. This, well…


Mark Sinker: Concentrated essence of humblebrag: “I’m self-destructive, me! Wahey!” Beyond that it doesn’t really do anything, first softly, then loudly, then softly then loudly again.

Thomas Inskeep: Singers who can’t sing really shouldn’t attempt power ballads.

Samson Savill de Jong: Bebe Rexha yelps her way through a song that’s supposed to be emotionally devastating but doesn’t even make it to mildly diverting. 

Vikram Joseph: For a song about self-destruction, this doesn’t half make some safe choices. “Sabotage” is a perfectly competent piano ballad that erupts in a perfectly controlled manner at the most technically correct points in the song; as such, it’s sterile. There are some decent lines — “The walls are closing in because I built them up,” is pretty good, and “I’m the queen of burning bridges,” would have sounded convincing in the hushed, self-lacerating context of Lorde’s  “Liability.” But by comparison, there’s a performative, slightly self-aggrandising tint to Bebe Rexha’s narrative here that grates.

Leah Isobel: Bebe has two modes: “overwrought, shouty belt” and “overwrought, whispery vibrato.” Here she uses both as well as she ever has, but the attempts to zhuzh up a simple concept with absurd syntax (“I’m my own worst enemy and think you are”) require a lot more gravitas than she can provide.

Juana Giaimo: Bebe Rexha’s voice has always been a no for me, but in this loud and over dramatic ballad I just find it extremely hard to connect to anything she says. There are so many pop artists exploring self-sabotage right now that a self-pitying ballad truly doesn’t affect me. I understand that it’s written from a place of pain, but the thing about songs is that you need to shape those emotions into something for it to work instead of relying on rote metaphors like burning bridges and building walls.

Edward Okulicz: There’s songs that are unsubtle for effect, and then there’s songs whose unsubtlety is so overwhelming it actually feels insulting to listen to. Rexha swaps between SWEETLY FRAGILE and SELF-LACERATING to try to animate this but all she does is amplify how much of a nothing the song is. I had to look it up to confirm, but apparently Rexha was born in the 80s, but still sounds like a small child throwing a tantrum in the chorus — her pain is almost cute in its artifice. Maybe this is her audition tape for a part in an animated movie-musical or something. 

Alfred Soto: As Overwrought As We Wanna Be.

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One Response to “Bebe Rexha – Sabotage”

  1. I think the fact that this is (if I’m not mistaken) the music video that is throwing her into a “feud” with Gabbie Hanna is also a good indicator of quality

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