Tuesday, May 1st, 2012

Dawn Richard – Bombs

Comment-box conversations about problematic appropriation in three, two….


[Video][Website]
[7.89]

Iain Mew: The palette is still black and grey, but the switch from heartbreak to spiky confrontation turns up some new thrills. In particular there’s a demonstration that with a phrase as great as “bombs away!” to lead into the chorus even a subtle delivery and beat dropping into the space can sound explosive. 
[7]

Jonathan Bogart: It has the “Baptizing Scene” sample we all know from “Paris,” only applied to a much more crowded and frantic production, and the video has the all-woman desert-training fierceness that “Run the World (Girls)” was supposed to have. If nothing else, she’s aiming to keep good company.
[9]

Brad Shoup: The track sounds like something Kanye misplaced, and I mean that in the nicest way. It’s a heady mix of military call-and-response, impatient snare raps, and synth burrow. It’d be a tall order for anyone to blow up, and Richard’s near-miss should be a point in her favor. The compare-and-contrast motif just sits there, to be buried in the sandstorm of the chorus.
[8]

Katherine St Asaph: The pacing’s off. For a track called “Bombs” with a bombs-away chorus, you’ve got two approaches: your standard build-to-burst, or a TOTAL GRENADE ASSAULT, vocals and instrumentation and all. That’s what Dawn does, but with vocals only; it does result in a build, just from insufferable to awesome. My score at any given moment depends entirely on which part I remembered last.
[7]

Alfred Soto: Before succumbing to its perfervid energy I had caveats about how high she pitches her voice. Then I noticed how well she rode the drum tracks. It’s not that it’s all climax — it’s pushing and shoving for almost four minutes.
[6]

Jamieson Cox: Dawn Richard’s voice isn’t especially forceful or blessed with tremendous amounts of character, but her precision is well suited to the cool, mechanized thump of “Bombs.” It’s not immediately stunning, but it’s a grower: by the third or fourth listen, I couldn’t help but tap my toes, and after a few more I was crooning along with the chorus. Bombs away.
[8]

Anthony Easton: I love that you can tell someone is from New Orleans by how they ask the DJ to push the bass. All of it is here, bombs away, cowabunga, self ID-ing as a monster. She sounds harder and more rhythmic than anything from her former bandmates, and I desperately want to give her the boom boom bass. That all of this folds on top of itself, and that the continual moving forward and behind the initial beat, makes the construction of the track really difficult and really gorgeous.
[9]

Alex Ostroff: “Bombs” is not one of the strongest songs on Armor On. Thankfully, Armor On is one of 2012’s best releases, so a statement like that is all relative. Parts of the verses inhabit that awkward space adopted by Beyoncé in “Countdown” in which singers gleefully engage in hashtags, or other lyrical tropes from rap, because they’re still apparently shorthand for swagger these days, regardless of context. Even when she doesn’t hashtag, “I’m ’bout to blow / Just like an atom bomb” isn’t exactly the smoothest lyric Dawn has ever penned. Nonetheless, the persistent snare hits introduce the track like a less-manic “Stupid Hoe” and the stately cello line that pops up every so adds gravitas and class. Dawn’s carried forward Dirty Money‘s lessons in melancholy club songs and Danity Kane’s lessons in baroque choral arrangements.
[8]

Sabina Tang: Her voice mutates and expands, confident, to fill all available space, while drums and chants pound out the force of her convictions. Now and again, an ominous string figure lets you know she really means business, like a bodyguard lounging in the background and wordlessly cleaning their nails with a switchblade. I find the faux-native imagery dubious, but I wish I were at that club night.
[9]

One Response to “Dawn Richard – Bombs”

  1. Still like “Black Lipstick” more, but this is pretty slick stuff. Though it’s a small detail, the way the snare hit pans from left to right instead of staying dead center is nothing short of fantastic.