Saturday, August 27th, 2022

Calvin Harris ft. Justin Timberlake, Halsey & Pharrell – Stay With Me

Is it better to let go?


Wayne Weizhen Zhang: For something that starts with “Hey, it’s a mess out there,” this is unfortunately devoid of anything gritty or unexpected. The three major personalities in “Stay With Me” are flattened out and neutered by Harris’s glossy but tepid production, which feels far from the heights he achieved during the 2010s. 

Thomas Inskeep: Calvin Harris’s métier these days seems to be sun-soaked retro disco-pop, and this certainly fits in that bucket. Timberlake and Pharrell sound right at home on it, too (they’ve both hoed this particular row), but Halsey — uh, doesn’t. Their voice sounds lifeless and limp, and I don’t get why. It takes me completely out of the song, which is otherwise perfectly fine.

Hannah Jocelyn: Halsey’s uncharacteristically flirty hook is a [10]; it’s so hot, it’s hurting my feelings that the rest of the song goes to Pharrell and Justin Timberlake. 

Scott Mildenhall: Pharrell and Timberlake have been here a thousand times, so it’s only the ill-fitting Halsey who disrupts the over-considered flow, miraculously bringing the wrong kind of blankness to the facsimile party. While the male vocalists do their best to remember what fun is, she summons a studied insouciance that jars. Either way — and from a man who once “created” disco with little more than an Amiga and his idiosyncrasies — this is the music of self-expression without any sense of self.

Al Varela: One of those collabs that seems weird on paper, but works wonderfully in execution; exactly what makes Funk Wav Calvin Harris such a delight. Justin Timberlake, even this far into his career, can knock out this brand of funk in his sleep, but it’s Halsey’s flirty chorus that makes this even more of a wonderful surprise. She doesn’t get to do much, but her presence is still baked into every facet of this fun summer love song. Pharrell acting as the smooth-voiced hypeman once again helps too!

Jacob Sujin Kuppermann: Every part of this is perverse — the guitars are phasered within an inch of incoherence, Timberlake and Halsey are forced into strange, tight melodies without sense, and Pharrell sounds as inhuman as ever. Taken as a whole it sounds wrong, like a vinyl record left in a hot car. And yet I keep coming back to it. Perhaps, in a pop landscape filled with boringly competent disco pastiche, excitingly incompetent disco pastiche has its place.

Reader average: [6] (5 votes)

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2 Responses to “Calvin Harris ft. Justin Timberlake, Halsey & Pharrell – Stay With Me”

  1. Hahaha Hannah plugging Caroline Polachek whenever she can

  2. Talk about going out with a whimper. I’ll miss you TSJ <3

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