Red Hot Chili Peppers – Dark Necessities

http://www.thesinglesjukebox.com/?p=21461

Writing these blurbs served a therapeutic purpose.


[Video][Website]
[4.11]
</b>

Lilly Gray: Imagine, if you will, that you’ve been cornered by a witch. “Name this song or I’ll transform you into my very own hideous imp,” she demands. You accept, believing this to be an task that you might conceivably manage to best. She then hums the juicy bass line of Dark Promises. Sweat begins to gather on your brow. Get ready for a lifetime of servitude to a dark and fickle master, friend, because even if she takes pity on you and adds the sweet ooze of the nonsense lyrics and moebius strip piano, it’s basically indecipherable from every other RHCP song. 
[3]

Brad Shoup: Van Halen’s “Right Now,” overwritten by a rippity-rapping serial killer. Yeah, Kiedis’s melodic gift — the way he colors his mush — is as good as it’s ever been. But I wish the Peppers had given the instrumental hues a little more time in the lamplight. There’s a really lovely descending guitar whine in the bridge, but it’s chained to Kiedis.
[6]

Taylor Alatorre: It takes chutzpah to pen lyrics this transparently bullshit. I try to ignore them and lose myself in the piano-driven groove like the band wants me to, but something about astronauts smoking weed comes up and the immersion is shattered. Just as the rote bass slaps are leading me to check out entirely, a polished and efficient chorus arrives to save the Chili Peppers from themselves. “Dark necessities are part of my design” — hey, we got Señor Kiedis to form a coherent thought! And I can even sing along if I wanted to, which I don’t, but still! So this is the latest in a long line of RHCP singles that scrape by on the backs of their surprisingly strong choruses. Given just how long that line is, though, can it really be considered surprising anymore?
[5]

Tim de Reuse: For the most part “Dark Necessities” is a smothered, half-baked chore, but there was potential here! Flea’s bassline is more percussive than the percussion section, more melodic than the lead guitar, and more expressive than anything in the lyrics by a country mile. He’s the only truly engaging element present, and when the song deigns to allow him a little elbow room he brings together a couple tight, satisfying verses. Unfortunately, someone thought that lush background strings and twinkly little piano interludes would be the perfect complement to that pure RHCP-funk-energy. This is not the case. (Actually, it makes a lot more sense if you imagine that everyone but Flea woke up ten minutes before recording and they were all just thinking about getting back to bed; this also nicely explains the groggy, phoned-in solo from not-John-Frusciante that closes it out.)
[4]

Alfred Soto: The silent majority — Chili Peppers fans keep the albums shipping platinum while never troubling the sleep of Anohni and Santigold fans. The flattening of Anthony Kiedis’ voice and the opening piano ripple augur gentler Peppers, but Flea can’t resist horning in with a solo, perhaps to compete with a line that sounds like “Socrates isn’t part of my design.”
[5]

Cassy Gress: I’m not questioning whether Anthony Kiedis is presently struggling with sobriety, and I don’t dispute that drugs are bad for you. However, the strung-out heat mirage of a song he wrote 25 years ago blasts this chilly, late-night highway groove out of the water.
[4]

Will Adams: The intro had me hooked, cultivating nervous energy through arpeggios and sixteenth notes in the bass. But then the groove locked in, I realized the handclaps and heavy blanket of piano were here to stay, and “Dark Necessities” descended to the level of “tepidly received Coldplay single.”
[4]

Alex Ostroff: “What would happen if RHCP replaced the tightly-wound nerves of yore with some jazz bar vibes and a piano interlude or two?” wondered precisely nobody.
[3]

Peter Ryan: If they were going to win me over in 2016 it would probably have to be with something like this — I was never altogether immune to their moodier, hookier charms, and I have a real soft spot for irrelevant adult contemporary-leaning rock. But, oh, don’t they sound exhausted, and this is in the running for Most Inane Specimen of Kiedis-Babble Ever. Danger Mouse Danger-Mouses, Flea’s trotting out his slap-happy gimmickry to placate the base, but none of it staves off the sense that not even they know why they’re doing this anymore.
[3]

The Stone Roses – All for One

http://www.thesinglesjukebox.com/?p=21459

A generation held its breath.


[Video][Website]
[4.75]
Katie Gill: The lyrics are terrible. The melody is basic. But oh my god, there is some wonderful guitar work in this song. John Squire plays the hell out of that opening riff and that other riff near the end is a thing of beauty. At least it’ll earn the band some money when it inevitably shows up on Guitar Hero a few years in the future.
[6]

Cassy Gress: This belongs on a classic ’90s movie soundtrack or as a segue on Daria. It needs a flannel shirt tied around its waist and a backwards cap. Can we go back in time and put it there?
[7]

Alex Ostroff: Oh hey! It’s that band from Louis Tomlinson’s T-shirts. I was slightly too young for The Stones Roses the first time around. The lyrical platitudes are wallpaper, but they’ve got some good jangle for Brits, and out of today’s “Guess Who’s Back? Back Again” slate, these lot are the only ones who really have a pulse.
[5]

Will Adams: “All for one, and one for all/If we all join hands we’ll make a wall.” Since the USA Freedom Kids never took off as expected, maybe Donald Trump should call up these blokes for the convention in July.
[3]

Alfred Soto: Gone all these years and all they’ve got are plodding beats and a line about joining hands? Who bloody cares?
[1]

Edward Okulicz: Nice riff, pleasing jangle, not a lot more. And the lyrics! Oh my. Holding hands and building walls — did they decide to write a campaign song for the US election and hedge their bets between Sanders and Trump?
[4]

Iain Mew: I recently watched Studio Ghibli’s 1986 début, fantasy Laputa: Castle in the Sky, for the first time. I had an overwhelming realisation that I was finally seeing something clearly that I’d already loved all kinds of reflections and refractions of, and that doing so satisfyingly tied those together. As someone who got into new music at the arse end of Britpop, listening to The Stone Roses ten years ago provided a similar experience. Studio Ghibli went on to evolve and diversify, and seeing their modern films I don’t think of Final Fantasy or Fez or anything else that took after Laputa, but The Stone Roses have been rather less prolific. The result is that if they want to be recognisably The Stone Roses, they’re on ground which has been taken over in their absence, and “All for One” reminds me of their successors than their own material. Principally, John Squire’s fluid variations on the theme of jangle remind me of those of Adam Devlin of The Bluetones, who (to be reductive) spent their early days as The Stone Roses minus the swagger. They were also one of my favourite bands, and so I get a peculiar circular nostalgia from the way “All for One” is filled with the same kind of bubbling sweetness. It just about wins the fight against the vocals and lyrics being more Oasis, i.e. The Stone Roses minus the magic.
[6]

Brad Shoup: It’s got the lilt of top-form Rolling Stones, the cheeriness of sunshine pop, and a production that suggests approaching the festival stage from behind. They did it!
[6]

Blink-182 – Bored to Death

http://www.thesinglesjukebox.com/?p=21452

Gin: ‘a hosanna to world-weary masturbation.’


[Video][Website]
[5.20]

Jer Fairall: Though I jammed along to “What’s My Age Again” and “Man Overboard” back in the day, I never cared enough about the band to learn any names, so colour me grateful that the member they recently dropped turned out to be that annoying, high-voiced dude. Whatever else he may have brought to the band, his departure hasn’t hurt their taut sense of dynamics or their way with a bright, chiming guitar riff, but “Bored to Death” lacks their earlier bratty exuberance, instead suggesting something closer to a middling Jimmy Eat World track. 
[5]

Katie Gill: If this came out in 2000, it’d be played in Hot Topics nationwide. It’s nostalgic in all the worst ways, the worst offenders being the lyrics. And look, I never expected Blink-182 to mature. But I honestly expected 2016 Blink-182 to at least sound a BIT different than 1999 Blink-182 and less like a band that’s going through the motions. Nobody likes you when you’re forty three.
[2]

Taylor Alatorre: It takes a lot of talent to pen lyrics that are this transcendently meaningless. Call it “dream imagery” or “death anxiety” if you must, but that won’t make you feel any less self-conscious when you find yourself shouting along to some half-assed koan about tigers stuck in trees. The real coup here is in creating a song where it doesn’t matter that the words don’t matter; as with “I only wanna die alive” and other Max Martin-isms, the meaning is subordinate to the surrounding headrush. With its “Adam’s Song” guitar line, “Feeling This” drum fills, and an “over and over” refrain that plays like “First Date” fanfic, no expense is spared in recreating the ineffable sound and feel of a TRL-era Blink single. In the wake of Tom’s departure, laying out an appealing nostalgia buffet is no mean feat, and it’s all the world was really asking for. Turns out the vibe generation still likes to take off their pants and jacket when no one’s home.
[7]

Alfred Soto: The change from boys 2 men is less excruciating than composing music to accommodate twaddle like “bored to death and fading fast” and the other pensées with which they decorate the oh-ohs and rhythm changes. Yet boredom is a phenomenon over thirty too — and more dangerous, signaled by those rhythm changes. In short, they don’t sound bored to death, just bored by feeling the same things, over and over.
[7]

Lilly Gray: Blink-182 solidly expresses the earnestness of being young, upset, and about to vomit or jump a chain-link fence. This anthem — which easily could have been released in 2008, a detail that is probably off-putting to many — gets a huge pass from me because of that double whammy of recognition and yearning. All Blink songs are plucky loser songs, and I feel just as ready to indulge in satisfying, shouted sadness as a directionless adult as I did as a teen. I’ll see you all at Warped Tour this summer. 
[5]

A.J. Cohn: Would that the stupidly perfect chorus (so shout-along-able!) were hitched to less perfectly stupid verses.
[3]

Joshua Copperman: Apparently John Feldmann thought “Life is too short to last long” was a deep statement about getting older, but once it’s processed and multi-tracked to hell, the line lands with a thud. There are some glimpses of maturity, including one lifted from Frightened Rabbit, but that doltish line, along with the whole thing about “rescuing a tiger from a tree”, doesn’t exactly suggest that this band is growing up. Lyrics have never been Blink-182’s strong suit, though, and neither have vocal performances. As a result, it’s up to Travis Barker to carry the song. By and large, he succeeds. His drums busily move about the stereo field before finally taking center stage in the thrilling, string-filled climax. As far as last-minute crescendos go, it’s not exactly “Keep Yourself Warm,” but it still lends just enough gravitas to be effective.
[7]

Cassy Gress: Blink-182 to me will always be embodied by the “All The Small Things” video on TRL, from which 16-year-old me in cereal-logo baby tees and baggy jeans developed an embarrassing (particularly in retrospect) crush on Tawm deLawnge and his lip ring. It’s not a surprise to me that a older and more mature version of the band has joined in the 2016 90’s revival, and while this doesn’t sound much like the Blink I remember, it does sound almost exactly like my memory of the summer I graduated high school: sunsets and concrete and finality. A YouTube commenter (I know) mentioned that the chorus is the Tom part of this, though, and now that I read that, I’m not sure Blink-182 functions as well without him.
[6]

Gin Hart: The, um, I’m sorry… pop-punk “thing” is something I respect but don’t understand. I dig (or have dug) it, sure, I mean the shit’s so “talking bout my generation,” but I’m at most a visitor to these hallowed halls. Everything seems a hosanna to world-weary masturbation, and I embarrass myself when I try to shout along in the car on the highway with my friends who never stopped caring about all the small things.Some neat history: Blink-182 was formed in San Diego in 1992 (coincidentally the town and year of my birth). Tom “Rock Star turned UFO Investigator” DeLonge (our past) and Matt “painter, pisces, biker, surfer, lover, fighter, loner, rebel” Skiba (our present) were both 17. This is an ouroboros of the band’s (the tiger’s) interpersonal distress in the form of a subtweet in reference to, like, a letter in a lovers’ quarrel. It tries its best to remain blinky, to get sonically snuggly with diehard and burgeoning audiences, all the while eschewing narrative specificity for fear of being petty and/or emotionally uncouth. It’s so curled in on itself yet so empty in the middle! So fraught yet so boring! It’s backed up against the wall, masturbationlessly world-weary, mumbling “I’ve made a huge mistake.” If this sounds like a negative review, it’s because it would be if I weren’t so entranced by the simultaneity of core nothingness and liminal heartache. What can I say? I love see-through things.
[7]

Alex Ostroff: Overwrought pop-punk trying to sound like a world-weary adult is only charming until you’re actually old. ‘Bored to Death’ is warmed-over 2003-era Blink-182, so in the spirit of clichés and nostalgia for 1997, let me presumably be the fifty-leventh of us to end with: Well, I guess this is growing up.
[3]

Nite Jewel – Kiss the Screen

http://www.thesinglesjukebox.com/?p=21438

But is God on the screen or nah?


[Video][Website]
[6.00]

Juana Giaimo: For some people, the Internet is a mirror of their reality, since they mostly interact with other people they know in real life and the websites they visit are related to their daily activities. But what happens when you discover in the internet another reality? To put it in our terms, does The Singles Jukebox exists outside the Internet? I know all the writers and readers exist in person, but a daily publication of collective reviews of three singles per day that include comments and readers’ ratings, is inconceivable without the Internet. When I listen to “Kiss the Screen,” I see myself trapped in the double life I carry every day. Although Nite Jewel mentions a “he”, it has little importance who her crush actually is. Instead, she is disturbed by a reality that exists only in the other side of the screen yet still manages to emotionally affect her. After the despairing questions of the chorus, her voice suddenly shifts to find satisfaction in one idea: “And I take it out with me; we’re just a handheld fantasy”. There is secrecy in her voice, too, not only because this crush is literally in her hands — and only there, not in real life — but also because she knows that many people in real life would disapprove of her feelings. They’d say it is a silly entertainment turned into an obsession; but we’d be incapable of differentiating it from life. 
[9]

Tim de Reuse: So, we’ve got a bouncing, off-kilter Moog bassline; stretchy, sparkling synth chords; a kick-snare-kick-snare rhythm section from the cheapest drum machine money can buy; delicate, feathery oohs rounding out the chorus. The element that keeps this track from being a forgettably pitch-perfect emulation of late ’80s / early ’90s kitsch is the masterfully catchy hook of the main chorus, delivered with just enough passion to cut through the sugary fog. That hook is the only leg the track has to stand on, unfortunately, but hey, that’s as pop as pop gets, isn’t it?
[6]

Katie Gill: This is a weird, wonderful hybrid of radio pop and somebody having too much fun with the synthesizer. The vocals and the electronics blend together in a wonderful way, bright pop mixing together with the pulsing backbeat. The pop hook interplays with the slightly DIY sounding electronics in a way that sounds refreshingly natural.
[7]

Taylor Alatorre: At the halfway point between bedroom pop amateurism and Big 80s maximalism, and afraid to fully commit to either. The parts that deftly elaborate upon the basic synthpop template — the snare hits before the chorus, those softly fluttering “kiss kiss”es — are clouded by the claustrophobic rigidity of the whole affair. Gonzalez certainly sings like someone who would agonize over whether to hit send, but under these conditions, the effect is to deepen the distance between artist and audience rather than cultivate empathy. Also, I’m getting a bit bored of songs about modern technology that sound oblivious to the era in which they were created.
[5]

Alfred Soto: Those frosty synths go some way towards mitigating the blank, parched vocal; it sounds like a demo, with its inherent charm and limitations.
[5]

A.J. Cohn: The perfect marriage of opposites. On the one hand, “Kiss the Screen” is about the tragedy of the digitally-facilitated sexual fantasy that can never be consummated, what with the inevitable barrier of the screen. Yet on the other, the track sonically celebrates, with its shimmering synths, the radiant, luminous joy of an all-consuming crush.
[8]

Cassy Gress: Those “yes, yes” susurrations in the chorus are meant to be an echo of her own bursting heart, but they’re mixed higher and more clearly than the stairwell harmonies. Combined with those shooting-star “The More You Know” synths and the implacable bassline, I envision the person saying “yes, yes” as an eerily grinning figure, a dark twin shadowed behind her shoulder.
[6]

Ryo Miyauchi: Listening to Nite Jewel’s gutsy take on digital love, I realize I prefer my second-screen pop to feel cold and fragile. I like its disappointment about distance to be expressed by a sigh, not exclamation points. It just hurts better that way.
[6]

Moses Kim: I know what it’s like to fixate. I know what it’s like to stare at pictures of men you have convinced yourself are too good for you; this is just how it goes when you’re gay and traumatized and still trying to figure out what love can look like. Most nights, you find yourself buried under the sheets, eyes splintering under the gaze of your phone screen. You fixate on beautiful images of beautiful people you have imagined into being, but you can’t stare at them too long–they’ll blind you if you let them. Somehow, knowing this and feeling it aren’t quite the same. “Kiss The Screen” sounds like my iPhone 4 feels in the palm of my hand: old, tired, yet too familiar to deny. Its dynamics have been worn dull on both ends, its synth progressions sandpapered into monotone ranges, Ramona Gonzalez’s voice rendered as thinly as morning mist. It all feels tired to me, and still I want to believe there is light filtered through all the melancholy: the song marks its chorus like a beacon on a map, constantly circling back to the same handheld fantasies. It’s exhilarating. It’s exhausting. It’s something I can’t replay too many times.
[6]

Katherine St Asaph: The Jepsenbot was better in theory. Especially when the one production came out with had those hollow choir vowels.
[2]

Peter Ryan: In these here modern handheld-fantasy times of swipes upon swipes and headless torsos ad infinitum, Gonzalez deftly maneuvers the emotional terrain of the unvoiced online (or at most, minimally-IRL, but there’s no evidence they’ve ever actually met) crush, balancing lustful-creepy-anxious paralysis on the verses (those Gary Numan synths) with the chorus’ borderline-euphoric declaration of near-intent to act (“maybe I’ll figure out…”). That she can do this without any crotchety hand-wringing or judgy subtext makes this something special. Between this and

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<p class="ljsyndicationlink"><a href="http://www.thesinglesjukebox.com/?p=21438">http://www.thesinglesjukebox.com/?p=21438</a></p><p><i>But is God on the screen or nah?</i></p> <p><center><img src="http://www.thesinglesjukebox.com/images/nite-jewel.jpg" border="2/"><br /><b>[<a href="https://soundcloud.com/nite-jewel/kiss-the-screen-2">Video</a>][<a href="http://www.nitejewel.com/">Website</a>]<br /><a title="Controversy index: 1.35">[6.00]</a></b></center> <p><b><a href="http://juanalikesmusic.tumblr.com">Juana Giaimo</a>:</b> For some people, the Internet is a mirror of their reality, since they mostly interact with other people they know in real life and the websites they visit are related to their daily activities. But what happens when you discover in the internet another reality? To put it in our terms, does The Singles Jukebox exists outside the Internet? I know all the writers and readers exist in person, but a daily publication of collective reviews of three singles per day that include comments and readers&#8217; ratings, is inconceivable without the Internet. When I listen to &#8220;Kiss the Screen,&#8221; I see myself trapped in the double life I carry every day. Although Nite Jewel mentions a &#8220;he&#8221;, it has little importance who her crush actually is. Instead, she is disturbed by a reality that exists only in the other side of the screen yet still manages to emotionally affect her. After the despairing questions of the chorus, her voice suddenly shifts to find satisfaction in one idea: &#8220;And I take it out with me; we&#8217;re just a handheld fantasy&#8221;. There is secrecy in her voice, too, not only because this crush is literally in her hands &#8212; and <i>only</i> there, not in real life &#8212; but also because she knows that many people in real life would disapprove of her feelings. They&#8217;d say it is a silly entertainment turned into an obsession; but we&#8217;d be incapable of differentiating it from life.&nbsp;<br />[9]</p> <p><b>Tim de Reuse:</b> So, we&#8217;ve got a bouncing, off-kilter Moog bassline; stretchy, sparkling synth chords; a kick-snare-kick-snare rhythm section from the cheapest drum machine money can buy; delicate, feathery <i>oohs</i> rounding out the chorus. The element that keeps this track from being a forgettably pitch-perfect emulation of late &#8217;80s / early &#8217;90s kitsch is the masterfully catchy hook of the main chorus, delivered with just enough passion to cut through the sugary fog. That hook is the only leg the track has to stand on, unfortunately, but hey, that&#8217;s as pop as pop gets, isn&#8217;t it?<br />[6]</p> <p><b><a href="http://www.twitter.com/katiebeluga">Katie Gill</a>:</b> This is a weird, wonderful hybrid of radio pop and somebody having too much fun with the synthesizer. The vocals and the electronics blend together in a wonderful way, bright pop mixing together with the pulsing backbeat. The pop hook interplays with the slightly DIY sounding electronics in a way that sounds refreshingly natural.<br />[7]</p> <p><b><a href="http://momsneedguitars.tumblr.com">Taylor Alatorre</a>:</b> At the halfway point between bedroom pop amateurism and Big 80s maximalism, and afraid to fully commit to either. The parts that deftly elaborate upon the basic synthpop template &#8212; the snare hits before the chorus, those softly fluttering &#8220;kiss kiss&#8221;es &#8212; are clouded by the claustrophobic rigidity of the whole affair. Gonzalez certainly sings like someone who would agonize over whether to hit send, but under these conditions, the effect is to deepen the distance between artist and audience rather than cultivate empathy. Also, I&#8217;m getting a bit bored of songs about modern technology that sound oblivious to the era in which they were created.<br />[5]</p> <p><b><a href="http://humanvacuum.blogspot.com">Alfred Soto</a>:</b> Those frosty synths go some way towards mitigating the blank, parched vocal; it sounds like a demo, with its inherent charm and limitations.<br />[5]</p> <p><b><a href="http://resonance-frequencies.tumblr.com">A.J. Cohn</a>:</b> The perfect marriage of opposites. On the one hand, &#8220;Kiss the Screen&#8221; is about the tragedy of the digitally-facilitated sexual fantasy that can never be consummated, what with the inevitable barrier of the screen. Yet on the other, the track sonically celebrates, with its shimmering synths, the radiant, luminous joy of an all-consuming crush.<br />[8]</p> <p><b><a href="http://www.twitter.com/thoughtsaddup">Cassy Gress</a>:</b> Those &#8220;yes, yes&#8221; susurrations in the chorus are meant to be an echo of her own bursting heart, but they&#8217;re mixed higher and more clearly than the stairwell harmonies. Combined with those shooting-star &#8220;The More You Know&#8221; synths and the implacable bassline, I envision the person saying &#8220;yes, yes&#8221; as an eerily grinning figure, a dark twin shadowed behind her shoulder.<br />[6]</p> <p><b><a href="http://sneek-m.tumblr.com">Ryo Miyauchi</a>:</b> Listening to Nite Jewel&#8217;s gutsy take on digital love, I realize I prefer my second-screen pop to feel cold and fragile. I like its disappointment about distance to be expressed by a sigh, not exclamation points. It just hurts better that way.<br />[6]</p> <p><b><a href="http://woke-up-with-a-butt-in-iraq.tumblr.com/">Moses Kim</a>:</b> I know what it&#8217;s like to fixate. I know what it&#8217;s like to stare at pictures of men you have convinced yourself are too good for you; this is just how it goes when you&#8217;re gay and traumatized and still trying to figure out what love can look like. Most nights, you find yourself buried under the sheets, eyes splintering under the gaze of your phone screen. You fixate on beautiful images of beautiful people you have imagined into being, but you can&#8217;t stare at them too long&#8211;they&#8217;ll blind you if you let them. Somehow, knowing this and feeling it aren&#8217;t quite the same.&nbsp;&#8220;Kiss The Screen&#8221; sounds like my iPhone 4 feels in the palm of my hand: old, tired, yet too familiar to deny. Its dynamics have been worn dull on both ends, its synth progressions sandpapered into monotone ranges, Ramona&nbsp;Gonzalez&#8217;s voice rendered as thinly as morning mist. It all feels tired to me, and still I want to believe there is light filtered through all the melancholy: the song marks its chorus like a beacon on a map, constantly circling back to the same handheld fantasies. It&#8217;s exhilarating. It&#8217;s exhausting. It&#8217;s something I can&#8217;t replay too many times.<br />[6]</p> <p><b><a href="http://katherinestasaph.tumblr.com">Katherine St Asaph</a>:</b> The Jepsenbot was better in theory. Especially when the one production came out with had those hollow choir vowels. <br />[2]</p> <p><b><a href="http://www.twitter.com/tumptruck">Peter Ryan</a>:</b> In these here modern handheld-fantasy times of swipes upon swipes and headless torsos ad infinitum, Gonzalez deftly maneuvers the emotional terrain of the unvoiced online (or at most, minimally-IRL, but there&#8217;s no evidence they&#8217;ve ever actually met) crush, balancing lustful-creepy-anxious paralysis on the verses (those Gary Numan synths) with the chorus&#8217; borderline-euphoric declaration of near-intent to act (&#8220;<i>maybe </i>I&#8217;ll figure out&#8230;&#8221;). That she can do this without any crotchety hand-wringing or judgy subtext makes this something special. Between this and <a target="_blank" title="" boo="" hoo""="" href="https://soundcloud.com/nite-jewel/boo-hoo-2">&#8220;Boo Hoo&#8221;</a>, she&#8217;s getting all of my mopey hopes up for <i>Liquid Cool</i>.<br />[8]</p> <p><b><a href="http://ourroyalcustomers.tumblr.com/">Will Adams</a>:</b> Like if Goldfrapp&#8217;s <i>Head First</i>&nbsp;belly flopped instead.<br />[4]</p> <p><b><a href="http://the20000.tumblr.com">Brad Shoup</a>:</b> A voice coming at you from the heels, baking in a shallow pan. The synthbass wants so badly to walk it out, but a brittle kind of clarity is desired. To be reductive: Whigfield covering &#8220;Anything Could Happen&#8221;.<br />[6]</p>

Jana Hermann – Kults

http://www.thesinglesjukebox.com/?p=21437

Not God, but at least it’s got a religious title!


[Video][Website]
[6.11]
</b>

Adaora Ede: In this new track from the Latvian electronic artist, Hermann borrows heavily from a sound that feels as if it originated in the new wave clubs of the urban Soviet Union à la 80s Russian rock groups like Piknik. Probably didn’t, and I’m most likely thinking way too hard about dance music, but this starts off sounding wholly industrial poppy. Even so, to say just that would be stopping at the first minute of haunting vocals. Aside from the singing that finds itself justly in the background, the foreground is hard hitting guitars and stabbing synths that make you want to dance, but definitely not at a club with a dancefloor and lights. “Kults” is more of a dimmed, shut-out room with a Party City disco ball on the ceiling. But like, only after the beat switches up.
[5]

Alfred Soto: The vocoder and synth crackle is straight out of an early ’80s disco, lower Manhattan or Berlin: fresh, tart, frills-free, and over in less than 2:40.
[7]

Brad Shoup: Her bass sounds like the trains that run past our duplex. At the start, anyway. Past that, Hermann offers hollow twinned vocals and flimsy synth riffage.
[5]

Claire Molgat: Listening to this feels like cruising in the passenger seat with a  driver who knows their car and seems to know exactly where they’re  going. The confidently-calibrated, stuttery beat of the lead-in is  fantastic, leaving you eagerly waiting to hear where it goes, especially  as the sharp stings of the synth come in. The hang and the drop are  exactly as satisfying as they should be, and it’s good stuffit’s  excellent stuff, even. But then the song turns off the road and stops  dead to pick up a coffee, and you’re left in the car with the idling  engine, impatiently hoping that it will come back. All this needs is a  minute more of the same, just to enjoy the drive for a little bit  longer.
[7]

Katie Gill: The more I listen to this song, the more disjointed it feels. Hermann’s certainly having fun playing with all the settings she can find, but never really comes to a unified conclusion.  The biggest offender is the drop in the middle. It’s just so ABRUPT that it threw me even more off balance. It also doesn’t help that as soon as I got back on balance, the song was over–the song feels a lot shorter than it’s already short 2:30. And hey, I get that some songs are supposed to sound off balance or purposefully disjointed. But in my eyes? This is not one of them.
[4]

Katherine St Asaph: There’s Bjork in how this Latvian artist attacks notes, and the mix of sputter percussion, church engine, synth Knifing and metallic vocals reminds me of “Pluto,” less in sound than unbound imagination.
[8]

Moses Kim: “Kults” begins as a tip-toe through an array of fun noises, like a third-grader sneaking around the music classroom after hours: she fiddles with a few chords on the chipped piano before playing with the hi-hats on the drum set, the broken window across her bathing her soundscape in shards of summer sunlight. Unfortunately, she breaks the magic of the tinkering when she accidentally triggers a drum preset on the new Yamaha keyboard and Mr. Robinson catches her red-handed: detention for both our heroine and the song.
[6]

Cassy Gress: In the first third of this, Jana is a cyborg Nordic maiden in tunic and leggings, gazing out over the rainy fjords, unblinking. In the second third, she has walked inside her turfhouse and is warming her fingertips by the fire. In the final third, she is inside the Discovery One‘s centrifuge, her eyes fixed firmly on the monolith orbiting Jupiter. It’d probably be an [8] if the turfhouse bit wasn’t comparatively simplistic.
[6]

Tim de Reuse: Every element of “Kults” celebrates its own artificiality. Its mix is  top-heavy and scratchy, its sound design pallet includes only primary  colors, and its percussive elements sound like a stuttering Toys’R’Us  keyboard – reminiscent of The Knife, but with some of the sinister  swapped out for giddy glee. This kind of dedication to plastic, chemical  excess can grate on the senses when improperly handled, but this piece  is thankfully short and sparse, and with every instrument staying in its  own corner there’s never enough to truly overwhelm. The distant, fuzzy  vocal line is the nicest bit of it all, gluing everything together and  flowing around the synth stabs and steady pulse of the song’s  unexpectedly energetic second half. It’s a decent candy bar of a track –  there’s not a lot to chew on, but it’s sugary, it doesn’t overstay its  welcome, and it gets its job done.
[7]

Gnash ft. Olivia O’Brien – I Hate U, I Love U

http://www.thesinglesjukebox.com/?p=21436

Where are Ü now, God, when we need Ü


[Video][Website]
[2.33]

Katie Gill: Put in a synthesized backbeat, rerelease this as a radio remix, and we’ll have the Kroger brand answer to “Somebody that I Used to Know.” The problem here is that “Somebody” could bring the emotion when needed, while Gnash and Olivia O’Brien settle comfortably in listless melancholia. It’s less of “I Hate U, I Love U” and more of simply “Eh.”
[3]

Alfred Soto: “The strength of Gnash’s songwriting has always been his genuineness. The LA singer-producer uses his pen as a knife for the BS. When you listen to his verses, you are hearing feelings,” someone wrote. What I hear is psychobabble, someone who won’t translate therapyspeak into plain English because his melodies are weak. Olivia does a blank Rihanna imitation of Rihanna singing with Gnash’s Drake, playing an asshole playing an asshole.
[2]

Katherine St Asaph: This YouTube cover of Drake is kind of iffy.
[4]

Taylor Alatorre: Gnash (or is it G-Nash?) sounds like a survivor of the late 2000s “powerpop” debacle who was airlifted into an environment teeming with sadboy rappers and, for some reason, still Mike friggin’ Posner. Stranded in an unfamiliar world, he was forced to take on the attributes of his competitors. In reality, of course, he’s just another rootless kid raised by the internet who took “Marvins Room” a bit too close to heart (been there, dude). Olivia O’Brien does most of the emotional heavy lifting, but had it just been her singing into the void, the sketchy hate/love dialectic would tire quickly. These two need each other the way two teenagers in the throes of their first relationship “need” each other.
[4]

Cassy Gress: I, I apologize, but a duet lamenting and raging for a broken relationship over mournful piano? There can be only one. I might have given this one more credit if Gnash’s use of profanity didn’t make him sound like a kid with his hand in the cookie jar.
[4]

Brad Shoup: Given enough time, pop-punk was always gonna triangulate Drake.
[0]

Peter Ryan: I’m here for a good old she-said-he-said, but to work both parties’ claims have to resonate some, contain a few glimmers of truth within the requisite bullshit; the problem here is that she’s critically underwritten and he’s just being a full-on tool, so I don’t much care about or believe either of them. But what this really doesn’t get is that if you’re gonna do this particular sentiment, especially as a duet, you’ve gotta go absolutely face-meltingly HUGE.
[3]

Moses Kim: This is the worst song I’ve heard in my entire time as a music fan, and not worst as in amusingly bad or as in interestingly bad, worst as in is this my life now worstLet’s break this down: 1) That fucking chord progression. Like, I get it, bro, playing piano’s a great way to woo chicks, but only if you passed the first book of Alfred’s theory and know to play more than the same four chords ad nauseum. That the four chords GNASH!! chooses are the musical equivalent of wet paint is even worse. 2) Let’s talk gender politics. Namely, the proliferation of terrible ballads about sad white heteros who have broken up, leaving the girl pining for her betrothed’s kiss “against her lips” (as opposed to where, her nipples?) and the guy spitting the f-word like an angry toddler trying almond milk for the first time. Thing is, it’s always the girl in these songs angsting in the background about how she still lurves her Miracle Whip ex-boyfriend, who is too busy renewing his Mucinex prescription and thinking of words that rhyme with “harm” (like “arm”!) to give her more of his song than the first verse and, uh, the bridge. 3) Which would have been a shame had GNASH!! recruited a female vocalist with more emotion presets than a toaster. Instead, when Olivia O’Brien builds to the climactic “you don’t give a damn about me” in the bridge (ooh, she said the d-word), she sings less with the tranquil fury of a lover scorned than with the entitled outrage of an IHOP patron denied an orange juice refill. 4) The flipside of this imbalance is that we get a fully minute and twenty seconds of GNASH!! trying to sing-rap in that beautifully congested voice. A minute and twenty seconds of “If I pulled a you on you, you wouldn’t like that shit” and “Caution tape around my heart”  and “If I were you, I would never let me go” (because in the tradition of many Sad Bros before him, GNASH!! is really into projecting all of his feelings onto the women no longer dating him). It’s so painfully melodramatic that even he can’t take himself seriously, a discouraging sign: committing to sincerity (even unfounded) is one thing, attempting to salvage bad writing through asking your fanbase to chortle at you is another. 5) Seriously, the guy rhymes “like that shit” with “bite that shit,” “mind that shit,” then “mind that shit” (yes, twice). And then he rhymes “fucking did” with “fucking fix” and “fucking mixed.” 6) “I know that I control my thoughts and I should stop reminiscing,” he sing-raps in one particularly poignant moment, “but I learned from my dad that it’s good to have feelings.” While I am proud of GNASH!!’s dad for resisting the norms of hegemonic masculinity, the moment in question is so awkwardly realized that I question its rendition in song. 7) Was the percussion on this song performed entirely on a single timpani and a half-empty box of Apple Jacks? 8) Bonus point of awfulness, but the entire music video is just a series of nature shots and bad attempts at emoting, like this fucking moment in which GNASH!! warbles while leaning against a tree trunk like he’s cosplaying Henry David Thoreau or some shit. 9) JUST SPELLING OUT “YOU” TWICE WOULD HAVE TAKEN ONLY AS MUCH EFFORT THAN WAS INVESTED INTO THE WRITING, PRODUCTION, AND PERFORMANCE OF THIS SONG. I hate this; I love, however, that spilling this much ink on this floating turd of a song has, at the unlikely hour of 4AM, cured my Singles Jukebox writer’s block. I almost want to give it a point for that, if nothing else, but then I remember 10) I have to report for work at 8:45 in the morning, so…
[0]

Will Adams: I wish I could go the whole hog with a goose egg here, especially when the song offers new, spectacular failures at every turn: bloated pauses after choruses like copy-pasted ellipses, pathetic piano, uncompressed vocals, expletives with NERF gun impact, unjustified melodrama, the lyric “I learned from my dad that it’s good to have feelings” — it’s astonishing. But the more I envision “I Hate U, I Love U” as the sound of two high school freshmen nervously fumbling through their first talent show — one covering Drake, the other covering Skylar Grey — I don’t hate it so much as I pity it.
[1]

Chance the Rapper ft. 2 Chainz & Lil Wayne – No Problem

http://www.thesinglesjukebox.com/?p=21426

No candy…


[Video][Website]
[6.86]
</b>

Jer Fairall: I keep wanting to like this guy, and given that he was central to one of the greatest songs of the decade, I suppose I already do, but “No Problem” is typical of too much of what I hear on his own records: sloppy construction and an adherence to lyrical concepts that do too little with his daffy charisma and charmingly off-kilter flow. He needs a sharper focus, and providing Wayne a space to commiserate over label woes is not what I mean.
[4]

Taylor Alatorre: Manages to turn record industry rabble-rousing and child abduction boasts into a theme song for a PBS Kids cartoon. The Weezy-Chano connection is a fascinating one to explore, but its impact is muffled slightly by the incongruous presence of 2 Chainz, which didn’t have to be the case. He and Wayne released ColleGrove earlier this year as a respite from the latter’s Cash Money woes, and by all accounts the two share a genuine and lasting friendship, so there’s no excuse for traveling the well-worn “run shit like diarrhea” route. But this is only a delay in the song’s momentum, not a derailment. Just treat the 2 Chainz verse like the hip hop status symbol it is, and focus instead on the unshakable charisma of the label-averse co-stars.
[7]

Cassy Gress: 2 Chainz’s verse is the problem (but a small one), due to the way it’s sandwiched between two smooth, floaty rapped/sung verses by Chance and Lil Wayne, over a track that sounds like kids jumping in puddles in alleys on a scorching summer day. 2 Chainz isn’t as committed to following the metronome as they are here, and the way there’s a pause followed by the bass unexpectedly on the offbeat starts the verse off tripping over its shoelaces a little bit. But he pulls it together real quick with the Petey Pablo reference and “Where the hell you get that from? / Yeezus said he ain’t make them“.
[8]

Gin Hart: Damn, they phoned it in. Chano and Tunechi are ordinarily modern marvels of high energy whiny-yet-sexy weirdo singraps, but that shine is slimed over with autotune and sluggish with halfhearted verses. Even the production feels uncanny, like they took an Acid Rap instrumental and held it underwater for several minutes in hopes it’d come back ironborn (it didn’t). Still a great sound, but waterlogged, and unfortunately also the best part. It honestly feels as though they went easy to protect 2 Chainz’ feelings as their artistic lowest common denominator. 
[6]

Alfred Soto: What a crowded mix: that choir and Chance’s pitch-altered wheeze, irritating on their own, create one insistent din. Wayne’s verse is a glass of sweet tea with moonshine. 
[5]

Anthony Easton: The repeating chorus is almost as interesting as the overlapping, processed chorus, both feeding into a formalist cri de couer of personal and professional independence.  One of the things I love about Chance is how difficult it is to tell those two narratives apart — he continues to be an artist whose message is remarkably synthesised. 
[9]

Ashley Ellerson: This is the Chicago sound that makes me miss home most. This is the sound I blast through the Southside with my best friends in my mom’s Toyota Camry (one day I’ll get my own car to drive around; for now we share). Most musicians I know share the same sentiment as Chance — labels better back off. There’s an appeal and advantages to signing with a label, but there’s nothing like having your own creative control to make honest music with whoever you desire. Chance and crew are having fun on this cut, but don’t forget that it’s a threat too. Chicago musicians are not to be crossed.
[9]

Twice – Cheer Up

http://www.thesinglesjukebox.com/?p=21422

The latest big Korean hit has some mixed messages…


[Video][Website]
[6.00]
</b>

Leonel Manzanares: You heard it right: That’s a 16-bar pre-chorus with a reggaeton beat and a key change. Yes, “Cheer Up” tries so many different things, it loses focus at times, and the chorus is comparatively underwhelming — and by that i also mean the vocals are kind of iffy — but few songs this year have such brilliant moments. Twice is still a very young group with a long way to go; they’re still trying to find their very own sound, but we can finally see the extent of their potential. And chart success doesn’t hurt. 
[7]

Jessica Doyle: (10) No. (9) Ow. (8) Songs should not improve when the halfhearted rapping starts. (7) But there was nowhere to go but up from that chorus, which must be JYP’s fault, as I refuse to believe Jihyo and Nayeon would have chosen to go that shrill and off-putting on their own. (6) Unless they were trying to match the thin and unpleasant backbeat (5) and the shallow and juvenile politics. (4) “But it’s a new girl group with a cute concept — does thoughtfulness actually make a difference?” Yes. (3) I hope Sana is getting Suzy-esque money for managing to pull a meme out of this morass. (2) At least the costumes are cute.
[1]

Alfred Soto: I cherish the rhythm change before the chorus — somewhere Pitbull is crowing about his rhythms having a global reach beyond the 305.
[6]

Anjy Ou: I like that the pace picks up from the verses through to the chorus – brushing past rock and reggaeton beat signatures (and an unexpected pre-chorus key change) and eventually landing on peppy drum ‘n’ bass. I almost wish there wasn’t a breakdown because it breaks the symmetry of the song, ostensibly to emphasize the cheerleader concept and mirror “Like Ooh Ahh” (though I thought the breakdown there was better). The vocal performances are good, as usual – Twice, like Red Velvet, are a little bolder than their peers when it comes to vocal arrangements. But the aegyo (“cuteness”) is excessive and the lyrics confuse me. If you want someone, why keep them at arms’ length? It reads less as a reluctance to commit or get close and rather as “playing hard to get,” which I have never understood. Just be straightforward! It saves time!
[6]

Cassy Gress: As a feminist, but also as a bit of a cynic, I am torn about the sentiment of this song. Listening to the song by itself, and how so many lines end with a vocal hair-flip (except for the eyelash-fluttering on “baaaby”), I would probably parse this as a “lol we girls are such bitches, right? teehee” sort of song, one that would feed into MRAs’ masochistic friendzone complexes. But mix the video in, and watch them literally wave their pom-poms around with big sparkling grins on their faces while they chant “cheer up, baby!” and run through an assortment of cutesy dance moves. It pushes the whole thing over into parody or snark for me, which is better, I think, except for the part where it might not be parody, and my waffling over it is not promising. Contextual ambiguity aside, the I-iv progression adds a nice sense of the ominous, whether she’s really manipulating her new boyfriend or just making fun of other girls who do.
[6]

Iain Mew: The video isn’t the only reason for their breakthrough success, but it must have helped. Its concept of switching lenses bringing up different movie archetypes is a superb way to showcase a lot of group members, it’s visually exciting, and its changes are perfectly timed to complement switching modes for the song’s incredible range of hooks. The video also affected how I heard the song. With a common visual thread of playing established roles, it gets easier to read the song as being about playing established roles too. Maybe the point is the unclear borders between 1) actual feelings 2) playing a part according to constrictive gendered dating rules 3) actual feelings as a result of playing a part according to constrictive gendered dating rules. The soft-focus verses’ gorgeous sigh and sparkle makes me think of Lily Allen’s “The Fear,” and maybe “Cheer Up” is the answer to what happens if you react to being trapped by expectations not by easing into resignation but instead by lashing out, portrayed complete with a fixed grin and massive d’n’b-pop chorus. At least, that possibility is how I enjoy the cruelty it builds to, how I process Momo singing “I will be your baby” with gun pointing at the camera, how “I hope you understand, I’m a girl after all” and “be a man, a real man” become intensely sympathetic, and how I’ve been overwhelmed by feelings from my first listen onwards.
[9]

Madeleine Lee: I’m going to be the jerk that compares this to Twice’s miraculous debut single, “Like Ooh-Ahh.” It’s not a bad thing that they’re comparable, since everything “Cheer Up” has inherited from “Like Ooh-Ahh” is great: catchy sing-song melodies, a gang chant bridge telling the men in their lives to be more worthy of them, and pep for days. But I just don’t feel the same magic in it that “Like Ooh-Ahh” had. It’s a song that’s supposed to pump me up, but between the increase in tempo and decrease of a tune to balance out Jihyo’s tendency to yell, I find it exhausts me instead.
[5]

Gin Hart: This video is a masterpiece of what it is to be a girl having a feeling playing the role of a girl not having a feeling in order to feel something more interesting. Bubblegum Inception. Dream 1 — The girls in a kitchen, waiting for their pastel-surrealist cameraman to catalyze new ~Becomings~ with his gaze (note: the least real entity here holds the reins). Dream 2 — The kitchen has taken a Twilight cast. Nayeon, on the phone in the corner, would be crying in real life, too close to a feeling; we move on. Dreams 3 through 12 — Schoolgirls/magical schoolgirls/elegantly melancholic housewives/ASSASSINS/a stoner?? a quirky girl blowing bubbles/cheerleaders/Girls TM/a cowgirl/a girl in a court drama, all having too much aestheticized “fun” to call a boy back. Until the two-minute mark, this abundance of fun is enacted with dead eyes. Then there’s a glimmer, though nothing changed to precipitate it. It’s just practice. Girls are told to become so many archetypes of desirability when we like somebody, the willingness to flatten into a non-self acts in lieu of more earnest communication. But we’re good at it! Give us prop guns and we’ll teach ourselves to lift them with conviction (Momo) and twirl them with style (Chaeyoung)!! Twice grab the reins via mastery of each filter, leaving the cameraman confounded by the humanity that’s usurped his fantasy, and by the way fantasy still clings to reality once he lifts his lens. Cheer up, buddy. We are living things. 
[8]

Madeintyo – Uber Everywhere

http://www.thesinglesjukebox.com/?p=21414

Other taxi apps and rap tracks are available…


[Video][Website]
[4.00]
Adaora Ede: Soundcloud rap has come full circle, from the simple days of promoting your mixtape in the bio of your Twitter (thank you, spam followers) to you-know-who‘s cosign from you-know-who. We all recognize the sound. The self-awareness seen in the references to the most commonplace of Internet phenomena (don’t tell me that you didn’t roll your eyes when he brought out The 6 and Kylie Jenner) doesn’t make me want to like Madeintyo’s  Seussical flow, yet it can’t make me dislike the song. If it helps, I thought “Trap Queen” — a forebear that also found its popularity via Soundcloud — was trope-y nonsense, and nothing like the Southern trap song it tried to be. A year later, I am a proud member of the #FettyHive. I’ll wait on it. I’m not about to lie and say I didn’t hit dem folks when Madeintyo dropped the verbiage that is “Bad bih in LA tell me she’ll make the trip.” Skrr skrr.
[5]

Cassy Gress: Madeintyo is a young, up-and-coming rapper from Atlanta who still lives with his mom for money reasons and is releasing hot new tracks, or so says the internet. I listen to this and I have no idea what is “hot” about it. He’s obviously not eight but take out the dick references and pitch his voice up a bit, and doesn’t he sound like it? It’s so “I’m Madeintyo and I’m here to say” school assembly-like, awkwardly shuffling from side to side. This was recorded in his kitchen and sounds like it, totally humorless with his “skrr skrrs” and his attempt, serious or not, to make Uber snazzy and cool.
[3]

Taylor Alatorre: I like the impatience in his voice when he snarls “every-fuckin’-where.” Then again, it’s hard not to sound like a badass when using expletive infixation. As for the nonchalant way he raps about everything else, the best I can say is that it’s refreshingly low-stakes for mainstream hip hop, but others like Makonnen and Lil Uzi Vert have already covered this territory with more heart and less cynicism. Those “skrt skrt”s don’t sound playful to me; they sound like the exchanging of memetic business cards.
[4]

Alfred Soto: I take the title as a statement of fact rather than complaint. Despite my liberalism I support the ride sharing service’s sinister way of beginning and ending an evening’s bar crawl with cheaper and faster alternatives to the squalor of South Florida cab rides. For men at any rate. This Atlanta rapper’s timbre is as cool as market realities. If the track fails to connect, is contemptuous towards women, and doesn’t care how it gets to its final destination, ain’t that just like Uber?
[6]

Lilly Gray: The success of this song is a marriage of unpretentious flow and killer hook; I’ve sent this to friends and intend to quote the lyrics at them for a solid week. It’s a weird jam, from the vocals that sound like they were recorded using a computer mic to the see-saw backing and surprise harp plucking. Madeintyo’s rapping is lazy-casual and satisfying, with lines like “I think that bitch from Canada” that find a home in your head and stay there, pulsating, until you have to blurt them out. It’s also the first time I’ve heard Uber name-dropped like a luxury car, which is ultimately #relatable. The one thing that brings this dangerously close to a YouTube parody is the canned beat. Satisfying dick-suckin’ hook aside, there is such a thing as too casual, though the cheap feel is an integral part of the song.
[6]

Madeleine Lee: Both the bedroom production value and the tone of Madeintyo’s voice are really easy to listen to and make me understand why this song has grown so popular. What stops me from putting this on repeat myself is my total apathy about any of the 3 or so recurring lyrical topics, which even the charm of “skrr skrr” can’t conquer.
[5]

Gin Hart: Listen, I am in support of pre-rolls in the VIP, but Ubering everywhere (skrr skrr) sounds like the least interesting transportation-related activity possible on this earth and the existence of this song makes me so embarrassed to be a living, breathing youth. Additionally, don’t give or receive head in your Uber, kids.
[1]

William John: Entirely charmless, slurring, self-aggrandising in the ugliest way, and disposed to inventing irritating catchphrases; this is the inebriated stumbler you do your best to avoid getting into an Uber with, in song form.
[2]

OT Genasis ft. Young Dolph – Cut It

http://www.thesinglesjukebox.com/?p=21407

“It” being “that annoying tree to the east of Cerulean City,” right…?


[Video][Website]
[5.83]
</b>

Anjy Ou: I feel like OT Genasis is trying to be the rapping business guru of the drug world. This feels less like a celebration of balling like a drug dealer and more like a promo for his eventual NYT bestseller I Fell In Love With The Coco: How to Get Rich Selling Drug Music. It helps that OT knows how to write a catchy hook. The piano intro was unexpected, and the beat that it becomes is sparse but solid. The track loses steam once Young Dolph comes in, though: his rap is much less convincing, almost like he just popped in to say “Hey, I have money too!” But I doubt we’ll be going to him for advice on how to raise your net worth to $1.5 million.
[5]

Taylor Alatorre: The title of this song’s mixtape, R&B: Rhythm & Bricks, is so perfect that it will probably be reappropriated for a “New Atlanta” compilation album someday. Ironically, “Cut It” may not be considered memorable enough to make it onto such a compilation, but it also isn’t “memorable” in the forced way that “CoCo” was. With their skillful use of ad-libs and amiable vocal tricks, OT and Dolph are able to prevent this ode to single-minded trapping from descending into formalistic drudgery. The sense of organic collaboration is low-key endearing as well. Even if I could decide which one sounds more at home rapping over Zaytoven-inspired piano and organ flourishes, I wouldn’t want to play favorites. A well-earned retreat from Vine rap purgatory.
[7]

Brad Shoup: Everything beside the backseat slanging works OK: a couple guys happy with their work, figuring out how to spend their paychecks over members-only piano.
[6]

Ryo Miyauchi: OT Genasis tries to raise the bar by triple-timing his last words, but Young Dolph reminds that one thing people keep forgetting when they borrow from Migos — bugged-out energy.
[5]

Jonathan Bogart: Trap music in the mid-2010s reminds me of nothing so much as late 1940s and early 50s jump blues: they share formal limitations, comic hyperbole about criminal prowess, homosocial posturing, and a tidal surge of regional production as the old music distribution networks broke down. Once jump blues was adopted by the white overground, of course, it became rock ‘n’ roll, whereupon it was erased from history. Basically, I’m saying enjoy “Cut It” while you can.
[6]

Gin Hart: To interact with this song is to engage in multi-directional abstraction. Having never baked me a pie in the manner young Odis claims to have mastered, I strip back the alien connotation and am left with an imagined sensory whimsy: OT crimping the crust of the strawberry rhubarb confection he’s gonna serve all his friends at what’s shaping up to be a delightful block party. Smells great. It is indicative of my privileges that I get to rework the lexicon. As I’ve never participated in the economy of crack cocaine, the eponymous “cut” dips into the laid-back trap sound to gift me with a workable meaning. “Cut it,” rolls from OT’s tongue in a mildly peeved drawl, sounding like “cool it,” “chill out,” “relax, man.” I like this song. Every time I hear it, I check myself. Am I doing too much? Is my blood pressure high? Do I need to cut it? Thanks for keeping me grounded, OT Genasis ft. Young Dolph. 
[6]