Tuesday, August 16th, 2022

Doja Cat – Vegas

What happens in Vegas…

Thomas Inskeep: Interpolating “Hound Dog,” sure, but to what end? As dead as Elvis.

Jacob Sujin Kuppermann: Not as fun as either Elvis or any of the Planet Her tracks still hanging around the charts, but a perfectly adequate movie tie-in nonetheless. You get the sense that Doja Cat would rather not be having to rap around Big Mama Thorton’s chopped up vocals or around the vague Presleyan mythos (she doesn’t even talk about Vegas that much, even though she’s clearly a good culture fit), but when she gets a chance to break from the clutter she sounds like the most interesting thing in all of pop music.

John S. Quinn-Puerta: Okay, maybe I do have a weakness for Baz Luhrmann soundtracks. I feel so dedicated to my general dislike of Doja’s dominance that it feels almost sinful to enjoy this, especially with the sample being what it is. Perhaps when I finally see Elvis it’ll lose its luster in the way most Baz does, slowing to a crawl after sixty frenetic minutes. But for now, I’ll bounce to the lazy Dog and Frog rhyme like I do to will.i.am on “Bang Bang”.

Leah Isobel: “Vegas” semi-deconstructs the myth of Elvis by drawing a parallel between him and the ain’t-shit dude Doja rips apart, while simultaneously sampling – and serving as promotion for – the film that has done more to prop up that myth than any other cultural ephemera in the last decade. These competing impulses don’t push on each other in any compelling way; despite Doja’s energy, the chorus feels limp and the beat grating, as if the song’s duty as a piece of advertising muffles its perspective.

Harlan Talib Ockey: Baz Luhrmann’s Elvis soundtrack simply repeats his Great Gatsby soundtrack’s concept verbatim — “how do you do, fellow kids” — but I regret to inform you that it still works. As a personal preference, I may be the world’s biggest advocate for sampling more ’50s blues. Even apart from that, however, Doja absolutely kills this, from the vicious portrait she paints of her target to the transfixing charisma in her delivery. Not only can you practically hear her holding for applause at the end of each verse, it’s hard to refrain from cheering. The late Shonka Dukureh is also a formidable secret weapon; embodying Big Mama Thornton’s titanic vocals should be an impossible task, and yet she does so effortlessly. There are several unstable transition points between the modern production layer and the 1950s-style instrumental, but it locks back together in the verses. Elvis who?

Alfred Soto: By all means recontexualize/sully Elvis — he’s existed as postage stamp since I was a kid. This catchy nothing interpolates a howled “Hound Dog” callback over a trap beat and offers little in the service of humanity, but after years in search of a context Doja Cat lives again.

Reader average: [7] (1 vote)

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