Monday, May 17th, 2021

HARD FEELINGS – Holding on Too Long



Ian Mathers: [Wrote a long, elaborate paragraph, eventually deleted it because I realized all I was really saying was] God, I miss dancing. Don’t you miss dancing?

Tim de Reuse: A love letter to disco that seems embarrassed to love disco. Why even bother putting that string section or palm-muted guitar in there if you’re going to place them in a corner at the back of the mix? Why update the warm kick-snare of the era into this sharp-edged tech-house clattering? None of the sound design decisions make the track sonically unpleasant to listen to, but it’s got that air of a childhood VHS favorite re-mastered from the original tapes in 4K, all crisp and high-contrast and nominally faithful to the original but off in an impersonal, cynical sort of way. Like, yeah, it’s good — but who asked for this?

Samson Savill de Jong: This isn’t a song to be listened to exactly, it’s really designed to be played on a club floor. Hence why there’s a 7 minute version and then a 3 minute edit, which is vastly outperforming the 7 minutes on Spotify even though the 7 minutes is just more of the same song. Not greater or worse, but just the song stretched out over a greater distance to allow club DJs to do more with it and club revelers to get more lost in it. That the full version of the song doesn’t drag, even sat down in front of my computer instead of experiencing it properly, is testament to the songcraft, and Amy Douglas’ voice is perfectly suited to this modern disco. But this is designed for a specific time and place, which limits its appeal outside those confines. 

Thomas Inskeep: This lyrical tweak on “I Will Survive” is the best thing Hot Chip’s Joe Goddard has touched in years, thanks in no small part to his teaming up with singer Amy Douglas, who brings to mind Beth Ditto in solo mode. “Hold on Too Long” is gorgeous deep house reminiscent of Hercules & Love Affair, but maybe (just maybe) better. 

Vikram Joseph: Oh, this is almost too perfect; exquisite piano-house that launches a coordinated, pre-meditated attack on the pleasure centres of my brain, channelling euphoria and melancholy in the exact proportions I want it to. It adds layers and viscosity subtly and incrementally, its seven-minute runtime self-evidently necessary in much the same way that an aeroplane needs no justification for its gradual ascent to cruising altitude: that’s just how long it takes to reach the ideal height.

Iain Mew: Lots of “I don’t know” and I “I don’t care” but it keeps circling and scratching and digging, one long journey to the centre of the earth. By the time they get there all that’s left is pure sensation and a distorted line that sounds like “I can feel” and sometimes that’s all the deep buried truth you need. 

Alfred Soto: It shouldn’t be this easy, but as with Jessie Ware’s recent material, dance music requires the skillful rearrangement of beats, strings, and backing vocals in combinations impossible to duplicate. HARD FEELINGS got themselves the right anonymous vocalist, resulting in a propulsive, insistent thumper. Give me more.

Edward Okulicz: This is a naked emotional grab, yet it’s pulled off with such a light, subtle touch for a dance track. Therefore, it gives all the emotional release without any of the slightly woozy drama a heavier hand would have ruined it with. It’s 2am after a slightly dispiriting night out no matter where you are, but it’s getting better.

Reader average: [8] (3 votes)

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2 Responses to “HARD FEELINGS – Holding on Too Long”

  1. Someone give Ian an outlet before his entry turns into that Blessed Madonna song

  2. Amy Douglass co-wrote this and Róisín Murphy’s Something More too, which you somehow missed reviewing last year. She’s a really great vocalist too, I can’t wait to see what else HARD FEELINGS has in store.

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