Singles Bar | OMR Reviews April 13th
This week’s Singles Bar – new releases from Drake, Taylor Swift and Kendrick Lamar.
This week the staff of One More Robot magazine pick through the latest releases from Cash Money crooner Drake, Nashville princess Taylor Swift and up-and-coming hip-hop star Kendrick Lamar.
Drake – ‘HYFR (Hell Ya Fucking Right)’
[Young Money/Cash Money/Universal Republic]
‘HYFR (Hell Ya Fucking Right)’ finds Drake and his Young Money label head Lil Wayne in celebratory spirits, but what separates the track from the trillions of other rap songs about partying and being rich is that the song brings you in. You feel like you’re part of the party; you can almost feel Lil Wayne’s arm over your shoulder as he launches into the song’s rousing chorus. Drake uncharacteristically raps with lightning speed but loses none of his lyrical clarity while dropping instantly quotable Drizzy zingers such as “working with the negatives can make for better pictures” with dazzling effect. Wayne’s verse is solid but his primary function is to sneer the songs chorus which he does with aplomb. All of this combined with a filthy synth-laden backing track makes ‘HYFR’ a certified swag symphony. – Jesse Melia
Taylor Swift – ‘Eyes Open’
Although it’s not a collaboration in the strictest sense, pairing Taylor Swift with the angsty Hunger Games makes more sense than putting her with BoB – rap’s Bruno Mars – on his extra staid new single ‘Both of Us,’ or even her forthcoming duet with the ebullient Justin Bieber. Swift is Princess Bubbles at awards shows, sure, but on record, she works better with longing and melancholy, so channelling her inner Katniss Everdeen, as she does for two songs on the The Hunger Games: Songs from District 12 and Beyond soundtrack, is ideal. ‘Eyes Closed’ isn’t as affecting as ‘Safe & Sound’, her track with the faux-morose but perfectly serviceable Nashville folk group Civil Wars, but the solo song’s big wailing guitars have some bite. It’s a sub-Speak Now (Swift’s most recent record), down to the pre-chorus falsetto, with a circular, simple melody that still sticks. It’s rote, but it keeps working. – Joe Coscarelli
Kendrick Lamar feat. Dr. Dre – ‘The Recipe’
Kendrick Lamar may not be a household name yet but he has been hustling his way through the hip-hop industry for many years in his native California. New single ‘The Recipe’ portrays Lamar’s three key ingredients for life: “women weed and weather”. This Scoop De Ville-produced track is a breezy, laid back tune featuring a jazzy female vocal. This ease is almost juxtaposed to the rough edges of Dr Dre’s guest delivery. Lamar’s rhyme virtually bounces along as he expresses his love for Cali while he chants “welcome to LA”. The hook is slightly lazy sounding but yet still catchy and memorable. The customary misogynistic, materialistic lyrics are less than challenging but if you had access to a convertible on a sunny day, you’d be forgiven for bobbing your head to this. – Karen Lawler