Young Greatness – Moolah

http://www.thesinglesjukebox.com/?p=21096

Does he have a bright future?


[Video][Website]
[5.57]
</b>

Josh Love: Young Greatness is an awful handle (was MC Good Rapper Guy taken?) especially for a dude who’s just now breaking through at the age of 31, but “Moolah” is still a keeper thanks to its sheer incongruity. The rapping’s a hypnotically tight feedback loop that might have been pure boilerplate over a teeth-rattling trap beat, but paired with a hyper-saccharine piano backing the results are arrestingly strange. The emotionalism reminds me of Fetty Wap, though here it’s more suggestive than stated.
[7]

Maxwell Cavaseno: The irony is that years and years of the futuristic movement’s utilization of melody and the application of Jazze Pha’s production meant at first I couldn’t tell if we had a R&B singer doing struggle anthems or another Future-a-like that QC was pushing. I couldn’t tell you much more even so. Jazze’s production is pretty to the point, doesn’t offer much new but is an effective banger. And Young Greatness isn’t doing much new; he sounds like Future, Quan, Snootie, Fetty and a dozen other rappers who do the same sort of thing. His bars aren’t worth recalling, and the hook is a one-note affair. A fine outing, but hardly anything that hasn’t been done before.
[4]

Alfred Soto: The Jazze Pha production accentuates this New Orleans rapper’s affinities with Future, and while this isn’t an insurmountable difficulty it’s irritating when I’m still steeped in Future shock.
[4]

Brad Shoup: I mean, maybe it’s Futuristic if we’re going off timbre. Something like “Turn On the Lights” without the curiosity, or the sense of swimming toward the light. Jazze’s divesting himself of GMOs: that piano chord progression is elemental. Greatness strikes something similar on the hook. Like everything else, it derives, only deeper.
[7]

Will Adams: The piano chords are also responsible, but that chord progression is really sad! A vi-V6-I movement upwards falls down to the IV, then tries to go up the hill again. It works pretty well with Young Greatness’ commitment to hard work, even if the song itself is content with being really repetitious.
[5]

Iain Mew: The hook is as bright as the crisp production, but comes up so often that by the end of the song I was double checking that I hadn’t accidentally put it on repeat.
[5]

Madeleine Lee: Thanks to Jazze Pha’s lightly applied piano chords and Young Greatness’s croon, “Moolah” is a song about being in love with the coco that actually sounds like being in love, or like the pause you afford yourself after a day of hard work to feel proud of what you’ve accommplished.
[7]

Carla Morrison – Vez Primera

http://www.thesinglesjukebox.com/?p=21093

The return of one of our Readers’ Week faves…


[Video][Website]
[5.71]

Megan Harrington: Morrison conjures the sonic equivalent of the nightmare where your body is running, pushing forward as hard and as fast as it can until you’re practically doubled over and falling to pieces — but you’re not moving anywhere. It’s affecting, but it’s the dark side of dreamy. The slight whistle on her vocal feels like running long fingernails through the grooves of my brain. 
[5]

Cassy Gress: This must have been recorded somehow through the Hubble. Carla is the lonely voice of a distant sun, keening over a people that abandoned her to the winds of space. Each soft “s” she breathes is a last thermal pulse of a dying star, expelling her essence into the void, until at last she is extinguished.
[10]

Will Adams: The opening ghost rhythms and atomized piano chords provide a wonderful base; unfortunately, “Vez Primera” doesn’t have a great grasp on the slow-build dynamic and carries on for five minutes of prettiness without much added.
[6]

Alfred Soto: A sad, slow crawl through the post-virginity blues. The synths evoke Disintegration-era Cure.
[5]

Josh Langhoff: This song has sent me down a praise & worship rabbit hole — it doesn’t take much — into those cavernous depths where feet may fail lugubrious, overly careful dirges and heavily treated guitars mean to sound like heaven or secret shames, sometimes both at once. I’m talking Hillsong’s “I Surrender” or Kari Jobe’s “Forever.” And Morrison’s lyrics aren’t too far off! Maybe she’d let me write a praise team parody and add a climax.
[3]

Brad Shoup: It’s the kind of track where you sings about heartbeats while a heart beats. Morrison maintains a tone-poem-like consistency, while Doppler’d strings and artificial woodwinds career past her.
[6]

Juana Giaimo: My problem with Carla Morrison is that her songs aim to be a sequence of poignant moments and, as a result, none of them are special and they finish up quite dull. In “Vez Primera”, the quiet verses build up inner reflections of a past love, then in the chorus her voice is as weak but there is a tedious element in the longing of the phrases. It aims to be dramatic but that truly doesn’t benefit the song.
[5]

Brett Eldredge – Drunk on Your Love

http://www.thesinglesjukebox.com/?p=21086

Big country hit has a great new metaphor…


[Video][Website]
[3.67]
</b>

Cassy Gress: I wonder if the concept of love being an intoxicant came originally from people who liked intoxicants, or from people who were trying to sell love as a more noble alternative to the harder stuff. How old is that metaphor, anyway? Google probably knows. These are the things I think about when listening to yet another drunk/high on lo–oh for fuck’s sake, he just said “I’m, so, drawnnk.
[3]

Iain Mew: The washed out intro being wiped out “the second she walked in the door” is a nice touch in a song that’s presenting someone as transformative. It’s funnier still when the same accordion sounds only come back for a final “I’m so drunk,” like the whole thing was the product of being too drunk to realise that it wasn’t on love. It’s at least a slightly more unusual way round to play the metaphor, and Eldredge bundles through the song with a convincing edgy ebullience.
[6]

Anthony Easton: Eldredge hasn’t quite broken through yet, which is a shame. Though the production is a little repetitive, his voice is warm and he knows how to work a phrase. 
[5]

Patrick St. Michel: The concept is already pretty well-worn, but geez, Brett Eldredge barely tries to do anything with it. “Drunk, drunk,” “love, love, love,” “why, why,” this is an exercise in laziness.
[1]

Alfred Soto: I thought he was signing “drunk on your truck,” which, you know, fine.
[2]

Brad Shoup: Eldredge’s lovedrunk is as wooze-inducing as an afternoon nap: he’s repeating a bunch of words, but that’s just slight disorientation. A promising arrangement of mandolin, accordion and bongos ends up humming like an AC unit.
[5]

Kali Uchis ft. Steve Lacy & Vince Staples – Only Girl

http://www.thesinglesjukebox.com/?p=21076

Want you to love me like I’m a hot pie, and you’ve got the munchies…


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

Cassy Gress: This is basically the extended musical cut of the skit at the beginning of “Heard It All Before”, but with everybody phoning it in from futons, baked as hell. Kali claims she’s trying to make a statement by putting the guy on the hook and teaching women about boundaries and living your best life, except, well.
[4]

Madeleine Lee: For such a pleasingly stoned-sounding song, it’s pretty ambitious: a high concept about “disposable/replaceable lovers…inspired by fake love, Edie Sedgwick, Nancy Sinatra and Calle 13,” played out in dialogue between his insistent excuses and her insistence that “I’m not a competition.” I suppose these are the kind of ideas that sound really deep when you’re blazed.
[6]

Juana Giaimo: It’s quite amazing how in only one song, Kali Uchis is able to build up a character: an elegant and busy lady who won’t have time for you unless you treat her well. You might consider her demanding, but you’re at her feet begging for one more chance and telling her all kinds of excuses — and you know that the delivery’s coherent, but talk is cheap.
[7]

Leonel Manzanares: Kali Uchis’ retro-soul vocals find a wonderful match in Steve Lacy’s smooth tone, but it’s Kaytranada’s kind-of-futuristic beat what steals the show. The result is a sultry Kelis-via-Erykah-sounding number, but one where Staples’ verse feels completely unwelcome. 
[7]

Iain Mew: The synths are lightly bubbled across the song, but have an acid quality which reminds me specifically of Rainbow Chan’s “Fruit” — the understated conflict of the lyrics seeps through even as Kali Uchis and Steve Lacy try to put a friendly and carefree spin on it, respectively.
[7]

Katherine St Asaph: Remarkable how, on a track ostensibly about confidence or at least some courtship contortion that passes as such, nobody on the track sounds confident. Maybe the producer does. The flat singing definitely doesn’t.
[4]

Brad Shoup: By turning a beggar’s chorus into a loverman’s, Lacy ends up the MVP. Kaytranada focuses on Reading Rainbow sequencing; the bass ends up in the melodic midrange. If you squint it’s a hazy springtime love song.
[6]

Megan Harrington: The baby pink synths and breathy carnation whispers are a memo to forever, but not the true love sort, more like unbaptized crib death. There is little romance in being the “Only Girl,” and Kali Uchis sells the unappeal of belonging. 
[6]

Will Adams: The kind of late-night plea that only makes sense when heard at that same time. Any other time sounds desperate, icky, and too forward. But in the haze of liquor and being awake for eighteen hours, one might say anything they feel, whether they think it will amount to anything. Just saying it is enough.
[7]

Kevin Gates – Really Really

http://www.thesinglesjukebox.com/?p=21070

…middle of the road.


[Video][Website]
[5.00]
</b>

Thomas Inskeep: Dirge-trap. Apparently we’re supposed to be impressed because Gates is “really really” high and “really really” has money on his mind. I’m not.
[1]

Katherine St Asaph: For a hook about being really, really high, this sounds really, really bleak. I doubt that was the intended effect.
[4]

Brad Shoup: His voice is as desiccated as the organ, which combines with the trap production to create the atmosphere of a hijacked funeral. Once again, he’s so poppy he’s got to insist he’s about that life.
[8]

Iain Mew: So you want to reference an iconic line you say you came up with… but which was by someone else. Either no one’s going to get it or you’ll look bitter. No problem! Build a whole increasingly frantic verse up to simultaneously giving her a shout out and claiming it. Do it with as much energy and a smile as Kevin Gates here, backed up immediately with a joyous chorus, and it might just about work.
[6]

Juana Giaimo: I understand: you have a lot of money and you like to boast about your life with girls at your feet. But I really really don’t want to listen to all of this.
[3]

Alfred Soto: The organ annoys me — I can’t get past it. Almost. But Kevin Gates is the only performer from whom we-made-its sound as buoyant as intended; check out his virtuosity in the “relationship flaking, no eczema” verse.
[7]

Andy Hutchins: Ask Kendrick Lamar if he’s real, and he responds with stunning self-aware meditations on the value of authenticity in hip-hop. Ask Kevin Gates, and you just get a laundry list of reasons why your question was stupid, because reciting all of those parody Rich Homie Quan mixtape titles would’ve been too clever by half. Gates has settled into a single flow and variations on it, and isn’t interested in switching it up for a second, but even if he veers into lyrical miracle territory late in the second verse, does it matter? He’s got the timbre to blare over the imperial Toomp-ish organs and snares. Not many do.
[6]

Ty Dolla $ign ft. E-40 – Saved

http://www.thesinglesjukebox.com/?p=21061

The song of the something, anyway…


[Video][Website]
[6.57]

Crystal Leww: I don’t want to say “DJ Mustard forever” because there was a period of time where DJ Mustard was definitely not good, but holy shit “Saved” is so good that it’s made me temporarily forget how bad EDMtrap-Mustard was. It pings and bounces and echoes. Ty Dolla $ign is back to his scoundrel ways, and that E-40 verse is filled with one great moment after another: “booooooty hella chunky,” “I ain’t Captain Save-A-Thot!”, “bitchbitchbitchbitch!” This will never go beyond urban radio, unfortunately, but it’s a pretty strong contender for song of the summer there.
[9]

Thomas Inskeep: No one but no one sounds quite like E-40 after all these decades, and he damn near always adds something to the tracks he laces. Ty$ is roughly this decade’s T-Pain, nimble enough to sing and rap and be solid at both. Team ’em up and they sound good together, though I wish the song had a little more to it.
[6]

Josh Langhoff: Recently in thrall to some mysterious beauty and shit, DJ Mustard has enlisted his new friends Twice as Nice to devise a four-bar cycle of syncopated synth floatiness. It’s similar to what they concocted for Kid Ink’s “Promise,” only there’s more of everything — boomy kick drum, pitched-up vocal sample running on a different syncopated cycle, some guys singing “Whoa-oa-ooooooooah” like they wandered over from a country song about the nostalgic implications of summertime drunkenness. Sometimes the rhythmic elements line up with one another, more often they don’t, but instead of sounding jagged and hard, the composite rhythm creates a cushy polyrhythmic suspension for our two anti-heroes to float away in. If I’m feeling charitable, the rappers’ shortcomings — flow patterns that play everything too straight, their less interesting takes on a 20(++++)-year-old lyrical conceit — reflect their submission to this masterful beat; or maybe they recognized that, in the shadow of such overstuffedness, they could simply toss some stuff off.
[7]

Josh Love: In which Ty Dolla $ign resurrects E-40’s churlish relic, “Captain Save-a-Hoe,” reminding us how depressingly little progress has been made in some respects over the past 23 years regarding gender dynamics that this kind of sentiment is still rubber-stamped as acceptable. Bemoaning gold diggers as the cost of doing business is uninspired enough, but what makes you queasy here is the unabashed glee expressed at getting to knock an unworthy striver back down the socioeconomic ladder. Mustard’s beat is totally pro forma too.
[3]

Maxwell Cavaseno: As usual with Ty’s work, subtlety is everything. Yes, we’re discussing a guy who said someone else’s girl looked like a “boogerwoof” or something as possessing subtlety. But the whole point of Dolla $ign is his mastery of articulating the mundane, making an art out of dumb shit. He takes E-40’s trope (from anthem for playa-era paranoia “Captain Save-A-Hoe” and drives the point until it fractures and fragments. He won’t give a girl nothing, but he takes the time to call himself a fuckboy for doing so, affirming everyone’s favorite appropriated insult of last season. The girls don’t love him, but they’re trying to get money and use what they have to get what they want. There’s no tower of power for him to be sour in — instead they meet at the mutual point of dissatisfaction. It’s not like a scumbag like Ty could save anyone if they wanted anyway, right? Mustard does right by Ty with shimmery EDM-influenced ratchet-pop, letting arguably the biggest musical talent in the now-dormant movement get the shine he so richly deserves after so many false starts.
[7]

Alfred Soto: The Mustard beat has a tang, but the repetition of the hook comes one time too many at the expense of the varied arrangements on Free TC’s other tracks. Plus, it’s been out for months so I’ve had time to get sick of it.
[4]

Andy Hutchins: It is almost summer, and yet “Saved” has seemingly seen its reign on the radio come and go — a shame, to be sure, because nothing’s sounded better steaming out of the dials to my ears this year. Ty is smooth as hell in maybe his most natural role — the consummate dickhead who still believes in “saving” as a concept, but is still fly enough to make the ladies’ eyerolls affectionate — and 40, forever preserved in amber (-colored malt beverages), is playing the same character that made him a regional star more than two decades ago, stretched vowels and all. Yet the reason this, and not “Captain Save A Hoe,” might make a party playlist, is the immortal, instantly ingratiating DJ Mustard and Twice as Nice instrumental, icy synths plinking every which way like lightning is shearing them off a glacier, then slicing under the sea for the bridge. Massive isn’t the half.
[10]

I.O.I – Crush

http://www.thesinglesjukebox.com/?p=21043

Hey, we ran out of words, give us a break…


[Video][Website]
[5.86]
</b>

Alfred Soto: This newly minted K-pop group curls their vocals around bits purloined from Kesha and Grimes with the zealotry of the converted. 
[5]

Brad Shoup: All those OMGs are Minajian; the bridge is frightening, like Britney in high dudgeon. “Crush” is frantic but not desperate. It’s like experiencing a rainstorm in a car with good tread.
[7]

Cassy Gress: I.O.I. has the problem that I imagine SNSD and Super Junior had when they first came out – there are way too many members to smush into one three-minute song. If I.O.I. sticks around for a while, then familiarity will help a lot with that issue. Aside from that, “kungkwang oo-oh-oo-oh” is a great hook, and lyrically this evokes some of the chaos of a new crush, though the sound doesn’t evoke much more than “dance.”
[6]

Thomas Inskeep: This is supposedly “trapical [not a typo] Dutch funk,” which I think is someone having a bit of fun, because to my ears it sounds like contemporary dance-pop that gets a little pneumatic on its chorus. Ridiculously fun.
[6]

Iain Mew: “Crush” reminds me of the all-action approach of the kind of songs that got me into K-pop in the first place. It’s not just the passage of time that means that keeping up constant energy isn’t enough on its own though. Ideally this kind of thing should sound like it was thrown together in ten minutes but also that the ten minutes was of such magical productivity that there would be no way to improve on it. This sounds like it was thrown together in ten minutes and pressing deadlines kept anyone from going back and fixing it to fit together properly.
[5]

Patrick St. Michel: If you haven’t watched Produce 101… well, maybe don’t read too much about the people who appear in the “Crush” video, because you should really spend a week of your life burning through the just-finished show, wherein a new K-pop girls group is put together in a show half American Idol and half AKB48 election. There is no way I can listen to “Crush” without being a bit biased — mainly because I’m so happy for you, Kim So-hye, who likes collecting trash and playing the ocarina — but it does a good job of, well, highlighting all the things these women were judged on, gathered in a tight package. It peaks with the chorus, a nice electro explosion, but it’s so good it makes the forced elements (errr, the rap) feel OK. 
[7]

Madeleine Lee: In the period where most of my K-pop-loving peers were following Produce 101, I became obsessed with the Japanese franchise Love Live! School Idol Project. It follows nine girls who become “school idols” to keep their beloved school from closing, but are really just a front to sell character goods and CD singles. The songs are solidly written and hit on the major strains of mainstream J-pop: the uplifting anime theme song, the sparkly electropop song, the epic rock song, etc. For every song, each character’s voice actress records the entire thing, and then the line division is adjusted in the mixing. This probably isn’t how “Crush” was made, but it has that same quality of sounding both highly individualized (the performances) and completely impersonal (the assembly). I realize this accusation could be made towards many large K-pop groups, and that this tension between the individual and the interchangeable is the nature of Produce 101 itself. Still, I can’t help but hear this song as a fill-in-the-blanks template for whoever the top 11 contestants happened to be, and it doesn’t do much to convince me that it’s not. Basically, if you’re listening for your best girl, you will enjoy her part and probably wish she had more. If you’re not, it’s a lightly clubby girl group track with shouty bits and a smooth chorus, and the song that description makes you think of is probably more compelling. Another Love Live!-obsessed friend wondered what the Korean equivalent of its accurately generic J-pop might be like; between the “35 Girls 5 Concepts” sampler and “Crush,” Produce 101 seems to be the answer.
[5]

Yuna ft. Usher – Crush

http://www.thesinglesjukebox.com/?p=21042

Today’s highly specific theme is Five Letter Words That End In “sh”…


[Video][Website]
[6.70]
</b>

Juana Giaimo: “Crush” is such a simple and achieved song. Yuna’s and Usher’s voices are yearning, but as the song advances, they start to fuse, and their desires are corresponded. Their delicacy has moments of nervousness — because it’s still just a crush far from stability. You can almost picture their warm gaze when they both sing “So tell me that you feel it too,” but they know that straightforward declarations aren’t needed when the connection is so strong. 
[9]

Thomas Inskeep: Gorgeous, feather-light R&B, clearly influenced by Maxwell, sung by a pair of singers who harmonize rather beautifully.
[8]

Maxwell Cavaseno: Smooth and delicate, possibly to a fault, as Yuna’s restraint and ginger approach has emerged in an era with overly whisper-dominated vocalists. Thankfully, here we have a duet with Usher, whose falsetto has been perfectly preserved over the years and works excellently to compliment Yuna’s tone. It’s not a standout, but a perfectly acceptable slow jam.
[7]

Will Adams: The light-stepping “down down down”‘s take this dangerously close to coffeeshop territory, but the sparse arrangement keeps “Crush” interesting. Even better, it’s a proper answer to my longing for Usher to keep trying out more unconventional material since “Climax.” He and Yuna blend so well that at one point they’re just singing “la la” and I could care less.
[7]

Madeleine Lee: A lot of songs about having a crush try to replicate the feeling in the music as something giddy and top-of-lungs and a little too fast to handle. This “Crush” instead goes light and dreamy, winding Yuna and Usher’s high notes around each other like delicate wisps of cloud punctuated by plucked strings. The result is that rather than recreating the feeling in its sound, it recreates it in the listener.
[7]

Cassy Gress: Are all grown-up crushes this understated? All of mine that come to mind have been obsessive and all-consuming; this is a song for making eyes across a smoky bar. In that sense, it works — some duets sound like they were recorded on entirely different dates and times, but I can see Yuna and Usher staring into each other’s eyes as they sing this. I just don’t know if “crush” is the right terminology… crushes are butterflies and nerves and “is my hair okay.” This sounds like a more seasoned and enduring relationship.
[6]

Patrick St. Michel: A sweet little singing display that would be a bit meandering if not for the voices at the center of “Crush,” two artists who can bend a song their way (in very different ways).
[6]

Sonia Yang: Muted yet coy, with ethereal vocals. It’s a bit plain, but I appreciate the simplicity letting the melodies shine. 
[6]

Alfred Soto: When she sings “I’ve got a crush on you” it’s with a primness and fear that’s recognizable, as if she were in love with the football star or another woman. To his credit, the producers got Usher, who brings his characteristic warmth. A wee thing, but the sort of thing out of which Grammy performances are made.
[6]

Brad Shoup: The guitar downstrokes are a decent rhythmic element but they’re a lousy guide. Usher barely gets to flex, and Yuna’s little crush sounds vanishingly small indeed. A little airiness would have served them both.
[5]

Perfume – Flash

http://www.thesinglesjukebox.com/?p=21040

This song would be really helpful for getting through Rock Tunnel…


[Video][Website]
[6.11]
Will Adams: Perfume have recently taken to the idea of injecting drama in their music, and it suits them well. Last year’s “Pick Me Up” was a trance-pop masterpiece, and “Flash” follows it nicely. While their usual tricks are present — massive chorus, Yasutaka Nakata’s EDM build-ups, vocal lines spun into silk — the additional pathos is a natural fit. It’s immediate, urgent, and another reminder of their consistency through all these years.
[8]

Alfred Soto: Creeping at the edges of Perfume’s music but visible as the song approaches chorus is a strain of melancholy, a sigh. The video game bleeps suggest a world where the lovers will be together in electric dreams.
[7]

Thomas Inskeep: Rather generic-sounding electronic pop, with added video-game noises.
[5]

Cassy Gress: A cross between “Party Maker” and any Euro-dance song you can think of from the late 90s. Their voices sound less processed than on their last few albums, but at the same time, that results in the thoroughly out-of-tune final “flash” toward the end of the song. I have a lot of feelings about Perfume, most of which were trying to artificially inflate this to a [7] or so, but that chorus doesn’t go anywhere.
[5]

Iain Mew: Perfume releasing significantly different single and album versions of lots of songs has been an interesting aspect of their career for the while. For “Flash” they were more or less simultaneous, and it’s easy to play pick and mix and imagine ways of improving on both. Better balance the swells of hopeful emotion of the album version with the drive and dynamism of the single version and its massive EDM bursts, and it could have been up there with “Spring of Life.” As it is, it’s two good songs hinting at a great one.
[7]

Jessica Doyle: Everything seems to be going just a shade… too… slow for the group’s higher pitches and the music’s invitations to dance. Which is not usually a problem for Perfume: some of their biggest hits, especially “Chocolate Disco,” have felt positively leisurely. I prefer them acting with more urgency, like in last year’s “Pick Me Up,” or the older “Night Flight” (I will likely wear out my copy of “Night Flight” before the year is out). But they can do either: they just can’t do both in the same song. At the end of the second verse, Nocchi seems to lead the others into a resolution that comes a minute and a half too early, and springing back to the chorus feels almost like a disappointment.
[5]

Brad Shoup: All this bosh summoned around a millisecond. Perfume is insistent that you pay attention; they’re pointing at the plastic bag and hollering. Yasutaka Nakata can’t present a riff that can comment or sum; they end up bearing the singers, ambulance-like, to the finish line.
[5]

Sonia Yang: For a song with lyrics mentioning “lightning speed,” “Flash” crawls at a snail’s pace. It’s a bit reminiscent of “Cling Cling” and “Hold Your Hand,” but lacking the urgency of the former and the endearing sweetness of the latter. The modern dance/stage kung-fu choreography is pretty awesome, especially towards the end when they’re wielding lightsabers, but if we’re going by music alone, this is the most vanilla I’ve heard Nakata in a while.
[5]

Patrick St. Michel: The central contradiction of Perfume over their career has been that, despite consistently releasing electro-pop songs that all exist in the same joyful-and-fizzy space, they’ve never had solid footing. The trio were going to be broken up in the mid-aughts, only to have surprise success, forcing them to figure out what style would help them stick around. They finally sort of did and made an album called JPN that was a stab at cementing themselves in the J-pop realm… only to see that one catch some attention abroad, making them swivel again. “Flash” is as elegant as they and producer Yasutaka Nakata have been at balancing all of these conflicting elements, burbling EDM touches co-existing with nursery-rhyme-like verses. Yet critical to all of it is that what has always been there — the project’s ability to create big, enthralling hooks that feel like emotion broken down to molecules — comes through clearly.
[8]

Skepta – Man

http://www.thesinglesjukebox.com/?p=21030

Hey, cuz, how are you doing? Why don’t we just tell you..


[Video][Website]
[6.12]
</b>

Maxwell Cavaseno: Over a sample from the opening of Queens of the Stone Age’s debut OF ALL THINGS, Skepta finally manages to do something other than play bait content for his benefactors at i-D (now they have former junior mayor of Lewisham Novelist running around rhyming about weed and white girls and abandoning The Square for his “TuugSet” =_=). His approach as an MC has always been bull in the china shop, so his more considered and spacious attempts at writing have actually been detrimental. The self-consciousness of his consistent branding, with the “white n***az/black mates” pat on the back for his Student Loan Roadman fan contingent, and “Tracksuit Mafia” Jason? Come on. But Skepta has been excellent at being rude and calling out other people on THEIR bullshit, hypocritical as it may be. So give him a heavy beat and the Meridian Walk Man Dem can always deliver.
[6]

Alfred Soto: A Queens of the Stone Age sample powers it, I’m told, but Skepta’s rarin’ to go anyway. “Told me you was a big fan/ But the first thing you said when you saw me is/Can I get a pic for the ‘gram?” rasps the dude who hates Instagram. Yeah, you do that, bro. For an artist whose self-possession has felt less chimerical than his claim to a privacy that was never threatened, “Man” earns at least part of its furor.
[7]

Cassy Gress: On Queens of the Stone Age’s self-titled, that opening riff in “Regular John” functions as an ominous leer. In “Man”, it’s turned almost into an air raid siren. Skepta is fed up with the article-less “man” who hangs around all the time, attempting to mooch off him and his real friends, and you can hear the fed-up seeping from his voice.
[7]

Claire Biddles: The most surprising and wonderful moments are when the lyrical back and forth between the communal and the private echoes in the production — when claustrophobic sampled guitars, voice and drum hits suddenly pan out to include echoing voices, the space around the percussion expanding and multiplying only to suck itself in again half way through a line.
[7]

Edward Okulicz: If I hadn’t already heard “That’s Not Me” and “Shutdown,” this might be an 8 or a 9, but Skepta’s relative renaissance has robbed him of the element of surprise. While the lyrics definitely bring a few lols (Myspace, titter), the sample’s menacing whine wears me out by the end. As long as Skepta’s throwing out jabs like a drunk boxer, or a magician juggling and spilling an entire deck of cards, it’s hard not to grin along though.
[7]

Brad Shoup: As the bars unspool he gets more and more unsteady. You can hear him trying to undo syntactical knots; you can imagine him passing off unrelated lines as the work of a man who can’t be bothered. Good sample, though: it sounds like an ice cream truck for mosquitoes.
[5]

Will Adams: Didn’t realize Lavender Town had such a big grime scene.
[5]

Megan Harrington: Skepta’s silliness makes the seriousness of the production grate. All the talk of calling up moms and taking pictures for Instagram makes the Drake connection not just apparent but natural. 
[5]