Friday, August 27th, 2021

Elton John & Dua Lipa – Cold Heart (PNAU Remix)

Do we agree on this remix-mashup-duet? Do we like “Sacrifice” or are we living in separate worlds? Let’s find out.


Will Adams: Well, they were right about the “cold” part. Dua Lipa’s bloodless rendition of “Rocket Man” is proof that swiping classic pop hooks alone does not make a surefire hit. Meanwhile, PNAU’s leaden arrangement serves as a dispiriting reminder — even after last year’s electrifying disco resurgence (not to mention “Sine From Above”) — that, in our current pop age, all roads lead to chill.

Crystal Leww: I’m sorry but I still cannot believe that someone so devoid of personality like Dua Lipa somehow became the biggest pop star of our time. This collaboration with Elton freaking John (!!!) is so boring. 

Ian Mathers: There are some remixes that practically replace the ‘original’ version, but I think this is the first time I went looking for the non-remix to hear the difference between them and just… couldn’t find it. Given that Elton’s singing “Sacrifice” and Dua’s singing “Rocket Man,” both over a pretty straightforward (but well executed) dance chassis and some surprisingly vital live-sounding backing shouts, it starts to feel a bit like there is no original. And one of the small glories that keeps you (or at least me) listening to pop music is that… it works!

Alfred Soto: Rocket Man came out two summers ago. “Sacrifice,” although a UK #1 in 1990, is not anyone’s idea of top-tier Elton. Dua Lipa sings one of his chestnuts as if she’s reading the lyrics on Genius from her phone. I can’t dance to it. Who is this for?

Wayne Weizhen Zhang: Elton is a goofball with a habit of appearing on random tracks he has no business being on,whether it be the camp pastiche of Fall Out Boy, the heartwarming affect of Rina Sawayama, the loopy fun of Young Thug, or the bizarro transcendence of Lady Gaga. But against most odds, these collaborations have worked. Unexpectedly matching the style of someone else’s work in an unexpected and exciting way, Elton’s additions have been pleasant, if odd surprises. “Cold Heart,” unfortunately by contrast, doesn’t hit because it sounds too much like the reheated leftovers of an (actually iconic) Elton John song. No one needed to update “Rocket Man,” and while the source material indicates a high floor, this version certainly is too half-assed and languorous to compare to the original. 

Scott Mildenhall: A successor to the painstakingly conjured masterpiece Good Morning to the Night has reportedly been in the pipeline since its release, and so as welcome as “Cold Heart” is, it smacks of homework done the night before it was due. It’s obviously savvy — if you can get a massive popstar to pitch in then people will listen — but appreciably less ambitious. Nonetheless, it’s still a curious collage set to PNAU on autopilot, and shoorah, shoorah, that is still colourfully weird enough to be happy about.

Tim de Reuse: How do you get those two names to fit together on a track? PNAU’s trick: supply a four-chord house loop so utterly utilitarian, devoid of nameable characteristics, that the two big personalities have an acre of sonic space each. I think they overestimated just how much energy the two stars would put into their performance, though; the result goes down smooth, but it barely develops the one flavor it’s got.

Austin Nguyen: Elton John’s career continues to taper off into Snoop Dogg side-questing for collabs with the next generation of gay icons, passing off the torch (or so I imagine the press release saying) in the most anti-climactic way possible. That Dua Lipa appears on this list is no surprise; that their duet would be this phoned-in — they have all the chemistry of a fly and drywall, and handclaps do not a chorus make — feels more underwhelming than already expected. The “d” in disco seems to stand less for “drama” and more for “detached.”

Claire Biddles: Absolutely the corniest thing imaginable BUT I have to give some due credit for the inclusion of underrated Elton hit “Sacrifice.”

Nortey Dowuona: I have to be real. I love, love the original “Sacrifice” with a burning passion, think it’s a great song, but it’s not a song that can be flattened into an anonymous 80’s tribute with a bland Dua Lipa croon atop the chorus and with dull house kicks. Maybe I’m wrong, but I’d rather they had just covered the original instead. I think Dua would do a fantastic job at that.

Edward Okulicz: Listening to this has made me realise that melody to the verses “Sacrifice” are kind of okay, even though I’ve always considered the song to have a dud chorus and that singing “sacrifice” as four syllables is unfor-uh-giveable. So cutting out the worst bit of the song is a plus. And “Rocket Man,” now that’s a fantastic chorus, so this is on paper a good idea. But not really, because Dua Lipa is a performer, but she’s not a showman, a character, the same way Peak Elton, or, of course, Kate Bush is. Without that, “Rocket Man” is actually nothing. Fittingly, this “remix” of a quadruple Elton feature is also nothing. None of this is bad, it’s just something that doesn’t need to exist from people who could have made something else.

Thomas Inskeep: If this were just a (relatively subtle) PNAU remix of Elton’s “Sacrifice,” I’d be fine with it; it would be unnecessary but fine. But adding in Dua Lipa singing bars of “Rocket Man” for no discernible reason other than streaming clicks really cheapens this. And you thought you couldn’t make Elton look cheaper than he does these days…

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4 Responses to “Elton John & Dua Lipa – Cold Heart (PNAU Remix)”

  1. omg Crystal!!!!

  2. waiting for the nicki minaj x elton john track

  3. THis is seriously boring rubbish but well done to the
    marketers for fooling everyone into thinking that this
    is some kinda masterpiece when it ain’t.
    Bout as uninspiring as Take me to the clouds above
    to which everyone got carried away with just cuz U2
    was in it.

  4. Worst song/ collaboration ever!!! Why did they have to go and spoil such a timeless masterpiece like Sacrifice?! Personally I think Sacrifice is super classy, beautiful lyrics and one of the most classic hits. Its almost as if they didnt have words or cintebt for a new song