Thursday, August 25th, 2022

Cardi B ft. Kanye West & Lil Durk – Hot Shit

Lukewarm shit.


[Video][Website]
[5.00]

Thomas Inskeep: Durk raps about “bitches” (the less said about his verse, the better), and Kanye does his conspicuous consumption lines on autopilot. But Cardi, as is nearly always the case, comes with the, well, hot shit. Over a minimal beat (which frankly spotlights her voice better), she spits and spits and proves yet again that she’s so far above the commercial hip hop game right now — well, her and Megan — that it’s ridiculous. Minus two points for her guests’ verses.
[6]

Oliver Maier: Cardi could stand to go for more interesting beats if she’s going to drop so infrequently (and Tay Keith can do better), but she, Durk and even Kanye all manage to be charming on this, if not that clever.
[6]

Andy Hutchins: Cardi was the hottest shit circa the release of Invasion of Privacy, and she had bona fide hits with “WAP” and “Up,” but this just sounds like a distress signal from label-based purgatory: The same “super fly” Jimmy Snuka bar hundreds before have used, no brags bigger than buying houses and wearing unreleased Chanel, nothing more clever than “I’m a bad bitch at breakfast,” and all over a stepped-on variation of Tay Keith’s signature minor key menace. (Telling that AJ Tracey and Aitch realized they could do more jogging than bragging and slid better on “Rain”!) Smurk has some entertainingly smirky bars, but he ain’t carrying Cardi and an entirely uninspired Ye.
[3]

Tobi Tella: A few years out from her massive debut, it’s weird to see Cardi become the “Ol Reliable” of mainstream female rappers. There’s nothing wrong with this; she gets in some good punchlines, the hook is fine enough, Lil Durk and Kanye don’t embarrass themselves (although Durk insisting the song is for Glock users only may have needed some focus grouping), but nothing about it makes it essential. Feels weird to ask such a big personality this, but can we get some style with this substance?
[6]

Andrew Karpan: A continuous and simmering rage animates Cardi’s first top-billed record in over a year. Her voice quivers with audible impatience as it crawls around a quiet blare of stylishly ominous, hard beats from Tay Keith. This creates a kind of frustrated authenticity that swallows the song whole, leaving an impression not of so-called street life, but of hours of studio time. On the other side of the song is Kanye, another studio rap maven, who continues to both push nobly at the sonic boundaries of his repeated scatting on last year’s Donda (good) and threaten to stalk his ex-wife (bad). In between all this, Lil Durk is perhaps slightly underappreciated.
[6]

Harlan Talib Ockey: If you clipped ten seconds from “Hot Shit” at random, I might be impressed, but sitting through all of it is exhausting. Cardi’s verse feels like an endless slog, given the sheer repetitiveness of her flow. Although she gets a few good lines in (“I don’t know what’s colder, man, my heart or my necklace”), most of it is on the level of rhyming “contest” with “contest”. Even the energy she brings drains out almost immediately with such an obvious lack of variety or progression. Kanye’s flow is actually mildly interesting, but it’s so full of self-absorbed, arcane nonsense about God, Skete, and Balenciaga that I can’t sit through it either. Lil Durk, who would be largely ignorable in any other song, is somehow the strongest link; he sticks to the theme, switches up his rhythm a few times and sounds like he genuinely wants to be here. The production is the most viscerally grueling element of all, sending an overpowering onslaught of bass to incessantly club you over the head. There is such a thing as going too hard, especially when doing that without variation for the entire song. Any component that might work here is hammered into the listener in the most punishing way possible, with no sense of structure or respite at any point. I’m so tired.
[3]

Alfred Soto: Cardi sounds engaged, and, boy, can I relate to “I don’t know what’s colder, man, my heart or my necklace.” Kanye offers varied meter and a Maybach full of merchandise. Durk barely hangs on. A draw.
[5]

Friday, August 19th, 2022

David Guetta & Becky Hill & Ella Henderson – Crazy What Love Can Do

We’ve discovered the seam of average: wordless Becky Hill hooks


[Video]
[5.00]

Leah Isobel: “Dun dun dun,” as a sound, is blunt and closed-off, almost comical — it lacks the airy percussiveness of a “la di da,” for instance. When Becky and Ella sing it to double the instrumental, the effect isn’t captivating or emotional. It communicates unsubtly, cynically: here is a hook. Dance, fucker.
[4]

Thomas Inskeep: Just as there are big dumb summer action movies, the kind where you put up with plot hiccups and just-OK acting for a two-hour rush of explosions and movie theater air conditioning, this is a big dumb summer dance single. There’s nothing particularly artistic happening — David Guetta is the epitome of a genre whore, jumping from one style of dance to another in his eternal search for a hit, and both Hill and Henderson are perfectly fine, nothing-too-special vocalists. But yet, it works. Hill’s voice, in particular, is just quirky enough to sound unique, and Guetta is nothing if not a pro: he knows what he’s doing, and on “Crazy” he gets it right. Big, dumb, but an awfully fun sugar rush, like a handful of Skittles eaten at the beach. 
[8]

Oliver Maier: I think absolutely every song that these three touch runs from a [2] to a very generous [7] but I have a respect for them all the same. There’s no affectation of depth — it’s boring, reliable dance music that gets the job done. Everything happening here is an excuse for three minutes of kick drum to get you through that last bit of cardio. Begrudging it would be like getting mad at a packet of instant noodles for not being tasty.
[3]

Katherine St Asaph: As an Old in an ever-accelerating world, it is strangely comforting that David Guetta is still out there doing David Guetta things. He’s even got better mainstream dancepop to sound like.
[6]

Andrew Karpan: Guetta records these days generally feel big and go nowhere, but the effect is compounded slightly by the decision to have EDM dancefloor queen Becky Hill’s anonymously brusque singing repeated, for some reason, by Ella Henderson. In retrospect, I think Hill did a sharper job than gave her credit for when she last cut such a song — or perhaps the returns from the pair are just that diminishing. The loud, wordless vocalizations that tie the indistinguishable musical strands together here made me think, however, of “Tom’s Diner,” which is always nice in the cool evenings as the summer heat dies quietly.
[2]

Hannah Jocelyn: In an age of Instagram therapists, I’m surprised people aren’t tearing this apart: “I didn’t care for anyone until there was you”? “You’re my oxygen, now I can finally breathe”? I’d bet money this relationship failed by the time the song was released. Especially as it feels like it was recorded a decade ago. Maybe people aren’t latching on to it because there’s nothing to latch on to.
[5]

Scott Mildenhall: The power of love is ineffable, so fair enough, why bother with details? The power of Love Island, meanwhile, was a code cracked long ago. Boohoo deals for all and easy wins for the powerhouse Hill. The only curveball here is the presence of a pretender to her throne, but to the naked eye that ball still seems to bounce vigorously in the straightest of lines.
[7]

Tuesday, August 16th, 2022

Doja Cat – Vegas

What happens in Vegas…


[Video][Website]
[5.33]
Thomas Inskeep: Interpolating “Hound Dog,” sure, but to what end? As dead as Elvis.
[2]

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.
[6]

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”.
[6]

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.
[4]

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?
[8]

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.
[6]

Wednesday, August 10th, 2022

Kane Brown – Like I Love Country Music

Whoever said that love knew no genre?


[Video][Website]
[7.00]

Alfred Soto: Once upon a long ago the insistent whack of “Like I Love Country Music” would’ve occasioned serious chatter about genre and who polices it. In 2022, to quote Brad Paisley a decade ago, this is country music. I like the way Kane Brown’s vocal plays hoochie-coochie with the guitar interjections; I like less the rote callbacks to legends who existed on Earth to give their blessings to Brown. This is fine. It isn’t Miranda Lambert.
[6]

Thomas Inskeep:  “Like I Love Country Music”‘s version of country music is so smart and so reminiscent of Shania Twain’s ’90s-’00s Imperial Phase: it thumps (and occasionally features a squalling electric guitar) while still spotlighting “trad” country instrumentation (barroom piano, fiddle, steel guitar). None of this would matter if it weren’t topped by the endlessly charming Brown, however; you can damned near hear him smiling as he sings. Come to think of it, that’s much like Twain’s peak period, too. The lyrics here are cute and a bit pat — I mean, how many country songs have you heard, especially from the ’90s forward, praising the history of the genre in which they’re being performed? — but Brown is able to sell them. He’s one of the best stars the genre has to offer right now, and this is further proof. From almost any other male commercial country artist right now, this would be a [6] at best, but in Brown’s hands it’s an 
[8]

Kayla Beardslee: This song sounds exactly like you would expect based on the title, but the hook plus guitars get the job done. It’s corny, but ultimately harmless. I’m not sure we of the Jukebox have much of a right to tease other people for randomly spouting off about how much they love music!
[5]

Al Varela: Nashville’s current love affair with 90s country throwbacks has been surprisingly fruitful. Though “Like I Love Country Music” isn’t as creative as Cole Swindell’s “She Had Me at Heads Carolina” or as outstanding as Scotty McCreery’s “Damn Strait”, it manages to get by almost entirely on its rich, delightful sound. In reality, the writing is pretty derivative and relies on easy name drops, but the twang of the electric guitar and fiddle on top of Kane Brown’s excellent baritone… It’s such a cheat. And then the fiddle solo!!! The fiddle solo!!!! On top of that, there are little moments like the quick vocal sample of “Brand New Man” by Brooks & Dunn and the song doing a fake-out ending before going off on an instrumental solo, which, ugh! Again! Cheating! But it sounds so fun and full of love! I can’t help but smile.
[8]

John S. Quinn-Puerta: This sounds tailor-made for Season 3 of The Righteous Gemstones, and reader, that’s a good thing. The “Black Skinhead” drums lead into a solid jam, with well-executed fiddle and what sounds like pedal steel. Sometimes a song irritates when it pulls a fake ending, but “Like I Love Country Music” feels less like a sitcom lasting a season too many and more like your buddy deciding he can have one more beer.
[8]

Leah Isobel: The whole concept is a little overbearing, but the crunchy stadium guitars and Brown’s appealing, dorky enthusiasm sell it.
[7]

Friday, August 5th, 2022

Joji – Glimpse of Us

We found a glimpse of your score, if that helps…


[Video][Website]
[1.83]

Thomas Inskeep: An insufferable sadboy piano ballad that damned near makes the likes of Sheeran sound like Godflesh. 
[0]

Katherine St Asaph: The problem with Joji remains the fact that a significant portion of his audience would be equally happy being seduced by Filthy Frank.
[3]

Jacob Sujin Kuppermann: He’s somehow more disrespectful to the audience doing sincere piano balladry than edgelord YouTuber trash. This is bad and boring in ways that I did not think were still possible, the nadir of this year’s trend of worthless pop men selling hook-devoid wares on the strength of their charisma alone. The problem here is, of course, that Joji lacks even the charm of Jack Harlow, let alone Harry Styles or Drake. Even a more distinct personality would have trouble selling this. “Glimpse of Us” resembles most of all the first songs that we all write when we’re heartbroken teenagers, clumsy stabs at trenchant sentiment let down by a lack of specificity and life experience. Joji’s 30!
[0]

Leah Isobel: There’s a nice Bacharach lilt to the melody, but the lyrics are featureless and Joji’s performance is adenoidal and mushy. There’s no sharpness, nothing to pierce through the soggy self-regard.
[3]

Harlan Talib Ockey: I imagine this is what Adele’s discography would sound like if you stripped it of half the emotion and all of the vocal acrobatics. There are a few vaguely interesting psychedelic moments in the production, though they vanish as soon as you notice them. The skeleton of a more interesting song.
[5]

Rodrigo Pasta: Trying to talk about all that is wrong with “Glimpse of Us”, by a long shot the worst pop hit of 2022 thus far, would be too long and exhausting for a Singles Jukebox blurb. Instead, I’m going to narrow down the song’s many, many wrongdoings into a single passage: “Why, then, if she is so perfect, do I still wish that it was you?”. The killer here is not the overall (not really) “toxic” vibe of this line, it’s much more specific: it’s the “then“. That throwaway word is not only a means to fill up the cadence, it’s meant to serve as a literary device! By sheer virtue of being there, it’s meant to lace the line with a poetic air, an extra sense of delicacy and care that previously couldn’t be found. Now, the line should feel more “refined” and “thought out” — give me a break! Like it’s somehow not the same clumsy, childish writing with some smaller details to indicate that Joji really took his time writing it. That word gets even worse when you hear it: it’s just another word. A “then” could indicate a pause in a train of thought, some crippling doubt in one’s speech, maybe even make the following words feel more urgent. All of that flew by Joji, who sings it with his mouth shaped like an o and his dull, puppy-eye emoting, like words mean nothing but the sentiment they transmit. That’s not careless, that’s deliberately careless, which makes a world of difference. This is so rehearsed, all emotions leave the table. “Glimpse of Us” sets out to be pathetic (already a bad start) and ends up being goddamn twee! Delicate pixie softboi, “I can fix him” playlist fodder shit. I’d feel embarrassed if I felt there was anything being conveyed, but there’s not! Grab the keys and get in the freaking truck, you jabroni! I’ll slap you jabronis!
[0]

Tuesday, August 2nd, 2022

Harry Styles – Late Night Talking

Feelings > talking…


[Video][Website]
[6.00]

Leah Isobel: “Late Night Talking” is luxe, lightly funky, gently wonky, and utterly sexless. It finds and demonstrates the precise amount of personality needed to make it feel present and identifiable as “Harry Styles Music” and stops right there. When people online talk about himbos, this is what they mean — not unintelligent, but blank and frictionless. Perfect, in a sense.
[6]

Thomas Inskeep: I found “As It Was” a not-at-all-original ’80s pastiche, but this takes influences from ’80s pop and makes them its own. (And the chorus sounds naggingly like it’s cribbed from a track on Dua Lipa’s debut, which is a plus.) The lyrical conceit works from Styles, too.
[6]

Jacob Sujin Kuppermann: Increasingly clear that this guy’s touchpoint for 80s funk rock is not Prince but Phil Collins doing Prince. At least when Dua Lipa did a “Blame it on the Boogie” riff she sounded like she was having fun. Here, Styles continues to perform his cosplay pop with characteristic ambivalence, trying too hard to seem cool and laid-back but not committing hard enough to seem like a good hang.
[4]

Harlan Talib Ockey: Unearthed a priceless historical artifact yesterday: the first known article to compare Harry Styles to Robert Palmer. Stereogum argues their shared poise reads merely as bland — and perhaps it did, at the time — but by now, Styles has assumed all the elements of Robert Palmer that detractors hated most. “Late Night Talking” is varnished with the same brand of soulless, impenetrable slickness, sung over the ceaseless bounce of a broken pinball machine. The lyrics, too, are polished air, consisting only of the dullest and most simplistic way to express each sentiment. Lines like “I just wanna make you happier” and “I can’t get you off my mind” may be smooth and objectively correct, but the result is so empty as to be gravely, impossibly boring.
[3]

Al Varela: Harry Styles is so good at making excellent pop music. He’s not a stand-out incredible pop star or anything, but that doesn’t matter much when “Late Night Talking” has so much infectious momentum behind it. It’s catchy in the feel-good way where you can find yourself dancing to it as you head down the sidewalk, living in Harry’s awkward charm and indulging in the little moments that make the song so good. My favorite part is that little “wooOOO” right before the second pre-chorus.
[9]

Scott Mildenhall: There is an appeal to the contrast between the unshakeably languid performance of Styles and the chirpy synths jittering around him, but at the same time he would do well to sound just a little bit more invested. It gives the sense that he isn’t truly feeling this, which would be a shame — regardless, the song succeeds in spite of him more than because of him.
[7]

Alfred Soto: As his confidence has grown (without yet earning the mush offered on his behalf a few years ago), Harry Styles has perfected a mean-what-I-say forthrightness. Innuendo suits him as well as a mustache. “Watermelon Sugar”? I mean, really. Crisp and meaningless, “Late Night Talking” almost prompts an ugh, but its staccato chorus and expert programming won me over. Go on, Harry — keep chattering.
[7]

Saturday, July 30th, 2022

The 1975 – Part of the Band

Fun fact: Healy actually named this song after a sitcom he dreamed his dad was in…


[Video][Website]
[4.00]

Aaron Bergstrom: I like my frontmen like I like my coffee: meticulously packaged and sold to me via so many niche cultural signifiers that I have completely lost the ability to distinguish between marks of legitimate quality and pretentious nonsense. The fact that I love it anyway makes me feel weirdly complicit in something.
[8]

Thomas Inskeep: If the Killers were lacking Brandon Flowers’s charisma, and forgot to write a song, it might sound like this wet, low-sodium saltine cracker.
[2]

Harlan Talib Ockey: I don’t think I’m ever going to like this lyrical style. “Part of the Band” is a solipsistic, pretentious supercut of Very Online Buzzwords arranged like it’s supposed to reveal some deep personal truth. Musically, this is so evidently inspired by Bon Iver that you can even pinpoint the specific songs that spawned each synth and saxophone flourish. There’s also a strange “Viva La Vida” flavor to the strings, which makes for an incongruous and uncomfortable combination that doesn’t quite seem to know how sincere it wants to be.
[2]

Hannah Jocelyn: Don’t promise me “Viva La Vida” and give me “Stave it off, 1,2,3”! Pre-Norman Fucking Rockwell, I would have loved a maximalist, Antonoff-produced 1975 record, and if this was a band that didn’t write about Vaccinista tote bag chic baristas, “Paul Simon meets Bon Iver” would sell me unconditionally. There’s a lot to appreciate in what we do have (thanks Manny Marroquin!), but the self-conscious 70s rock pastiche of the chorus still grates, and Antonoff’s muted-cacaphony shtick — which only barely worked on the ten minute “All Too Well” — feels less like a trademark than a crutch. Go listen to Gang of Youths’ “Returner” instead, which does the better parts of this song backwards and in heels Australia.
[5]

Alfred Soto: “Am I ironically woke? The butt of my joke?/Or am I just some post-coke, average, skinny bloke?” — boy, Matt Healy wants an epitaph. The mishmash of homosexual confessions, clever argot, nonsense and string sections isn’t as compelling as previous chapters; the arrangement, as woozy as a reveler staggering out of a party at sunrise, needs shaping.
[6]

Jacob Sujin Kuppermann: The 1975’s albums so far: thesis (their mediocre debut album), antithesis (their very good second album), synthesis (their good but over-thought third album), self-parody (their mess of a fourth album.) If “Part of the Band” is a representative sample of LP 5, we’re entering an unprecedented era of self-parody of the self-parody, with a band that has ventured so far into its own mythos that there’s nothing left beyond haphazardly scattered imagery and self-reference. I’d be happier with it if there was a hook or anything resembling one. Instead, we’ve got Jack Antonoff on production, suffocating our boys with the same respectable adult alternative material he hands out to all of his sophisticated clients. There’s maybe one line and one drum fill I enjoy here. The rest is detritus.
[1]

Friday, July 29th, 2022

Taylor Swift – Carolina

Our second-favourite Swift soundtrack single, after the one about Paul Potts


[Video][Website]
[6.50]

Kayla Beardslee: A nice, eerie entry into the Folklore section of her discography. Taylor has never been a better or more dynamic vocalist than she is right now.
[7]

Harlan Talib Ockey: Swift’s vocal performance is exceptional; she brilliantly conveys the solitude inherent in the lyrics, and her low notes are incredibly poignant. The lyrics are largely effective. It’s not technically personification, but there’s still a pervasive undertone of nature as a sentient force. However, I don’t love how often “you didn’t see me here” is repeated, especially given how barren in imagery it is compared to the rest of the song. Finally, anything that resembles the hushed, understated guitar of Hiss Golden Messenger’s Bad Debt is very much appreciated.
[8]

Wayne Weizhen Zhang: Sleepy tunes for Evermore apologists. 
[4]

Alfred Soto: Growing in confidence with each pass at folk, Taylor Swift and Aaron Dessner assemble a suitably haunted movie theme. No doubt its breathy chill reflects the precision of its makers even if Swift sounds rather genteel: she doesn’t sound haunted so much as a singer-songwriter enraptured by the Emmylou Harris vinyl she’s discovered.
[6]

Thomas Inskeep: Wow, this is impressively high (low country) gothic, akin to Emmylou Harris in the ’90s, or Dolly Parton’s early ’70s murder ballads. Chilling in the best way, pushing the sound of Folklore and Evermore further out naturally, and precisely what I want more of from Swift. Does this mean that Aaron Dessner is her Daniel Lanois? Chew on that.
[9]

Andrew Karpan: Drawing at its own measured pace, Swift’s voice here feels like a ghostly hush creaking out of the floorboards of the indie-folk aesthetic she’s been building with Aaron Dessner for some time. While it appears on a soundtrack loosie and is largely contained to communicating the accumulated resentments that populate Delia Owens’ publishing-phenomenon-turned-minor-hit-movie, Swift’s commitment to the Mumford & Sons cosplay of it all is enough to make the moment feel strangely definitive. Most prominent is the sound of a fiddle, its thin needles of sound decorating the song with a stirring, if not quite authentic energy. But if the song tried any harder, you wouldn’t be able to hear Swift at all. 
[5]

Thursday, July 28th, 2022

LF System – Afraid to Feel

But not afraid to blurb!


[Video]
[5.86]

Thomas Inskeep: There’s a cottage industry in the UK right now of DJs making house records based around vocal samples from other records – especially from the ’90s and ’00s. But this single from a Scottish duo is something different, and special. They took a vocal by Debra Henry, from the Philly International soul group Silk (from a deep cut, “I Can’t Stop (Turning You On),” on their 1979 album Midnight Dancer), and didn’t just loop it; they speed it up, slow it down, and play with the track they made to surround the vocal. Most records of this ilk run a lyric into the ground atop a simple dance beat, but this has genuine thought and innovation in its bones, and I can’t get enough of it. (It’s also a killer earworm.) 
[10]

Ian Mathers: This is one of those cases where it’s worth checking out the source material to see what exactly they grabbed from it and what they did with that. The question isn’t whether they grabbed the best bit (often counterproductive!) but you can definitely spot check whether the rerub is worth listening to when the original is out there. “Afraid to Feel” is a pretty solid example of taking a bit that might have passed most by in the original song and making such an indelible hook (here via doing several variations on it, all pretty successful) that it does stand on its own instead of just riding coattails. Even from a home listening remove it feels like it would just be brutally effective on a dancefloor, which bumps it up.
[7]

Harlan Talib Ockey: Apparently this is a house take on a disco edit, but what is a disco edit for if not extensive build-ups and hypnotic flow states? This careens between sections so swiftly and abruptly that it seems genuinely impractical to dance to. The vigorous bass and keys do go incredibly hard; these elements are from Silk’s original, though, and ultimately I’m not sure anything LF System added stands out as particularly worthwhile. I also have to question the decision to re-record Silk’s track, rather than sampling it directly. I can’t find any indication that this was necessary due to copyright issues, only that LF System wanted to cut any possible red tape by doing so, denying Silk potential royalties for use of a sample in the process. And you can’t even dance to it.
[3]

Alfred Soto: What I’ve always wanted — what sounds like a Justice remix of the Silk evergreen.
[6]

Katherine St Asaph: One of those cases where the source material is good enough already that any “remake”/”cover”/”interpolation”/”sample replay”/hook colonization can only lose points, in this case by futzing with the tempo for no discernible reason besides Conor Larkman and/or Sean Finnigan saying they did something. Change the speed, get the lead.
[6]

Andrew Karpan: Nostalgia for misremembered vibes.
[3]

Samson Savill de Jong: This has such strong 2008-2010 YouTube vibes. I’m yet to decide if that’s a compliment or not.
[6]

Thursday, July 21st, 2022

Drake – Falling Back

And staying low…


[Video]
[3.17]

Wayne Weizhen Zhang: Failing up. 
[4]

Katherine St Asaph: Drake tries to recapture the deep-house moods of “Too Good” through More Life. Unsurprisingly for both 2022 Drake and 2022 in general, he achieves less life — but not that much less.
[7]

Thomas Inskeep: Just what we needed: an entire album of Drake singing lazily over largely dull house beats, of which “Falling Back” is a prime example. The only reason I can come up with for his continued massive appeal is the fact that he’s so often the lowest common denominator, and that shit sells.
[1]

Scott Mildenhall: The open road that the instrumental lays down offers “Falling Back”‘s performer endless scope to make it humanistically resonant. Alas, the performer is Drake. In going for smooth he gets gawky; in getting gawky he’s still forgettable.
[4]

Ian Mathers: Extremely rich of fucking Drake to accuse someone else of “feeling nothing”, especially on this particular mediocrity. Loses a couple points for feeling like half of it is just the same five seconds looped.
[2]

Nortey Dowuona: I know some people for some reason are praising the bland hellscape of poorly tuned Drake singing but this song is better than his whole album. There’s better singing by the amazing Samantha Harper, there’s better dancing from Mufasa and Hypeman (and more cool melodies), the drum programming and synths from Riton are better, and even John Reid shows up so you get that DU-DUDUNUDAHDAH synth line you hear once and hear until you die. It’s so much more than this bland, turgid sludge. The frustrating thing about “Falling Back”, tho, is that while the falling-back kick and jostled-around percussion are good, the synths are just too thin and cloudy to carry the melody. When Drake starts singing in his head voice it literally sounds like falling back into the inky blackness you see when you die. Even registering it now so I can keep this much more interesting song in my blurb has me pinned to my seat in complete apathy. And I’m only at the 2:44 minute mark! AND IT STARTED AG—-
[1]