*** Illy making this move is bizarre, but not really any worse or better. It's a sidestep from stinking pile to stinking pile. He still sounds shit and the song is otherwise generic as all hell, but credit to Vera Blue even if her voice sounds more g-word than is normal for her.
**** ▒ Helemaal geen verkeerde samenwerking uit ½ augustus 2016 tussen de 30 jarige Australische zanger en rapper: "Alasdair David George Murray", alias: "Illy", en de 22 jarige Australische zangeres en muzikante: "Celia Pavey", alias: "Vera Blue" !!! Daarom ook gewoon 4 sterren ☺!!!
*** It strikes me as odd that it's taken this long for Illy to properly crossover. Not that it doesn't make sense how things have played out from my perspective, but he's always struck me as having determination for success, and the book & street smarts to pull it off. I mean he has a law degree. For that matter, he's the kind of artist I suspect can recite half of his peak positions, and would know what works & doesn't work. The fact that he's soon to land in 8 consecutive Hottest 100s is no fluke, it's the work of a strategist. After all, it was super late last year he put out a throwaway novelty single that didn't make an album, just because he hadn't released anything that year, and 2 years prior put an insane amount of work into getting a Like A Version to catch on, perhaps as it seemed "Youngbloods" was not a lock to do the same. That song actually reminds me how lucky he is to have such a following that over the years he's been able to sneak into the charts with songs that don't really fit the mold. For about a year I've called it the Major Lazer effect, because an artist who can do this tends to be one that's on the brink of a major breakthrough as soon as they put out something that fits right in.
And here we have it. My initial point is that I'm surprised it hasn't come sooner. It's clear the intention is there, as there's no artist I've seen promoted in web ads more in 2016, and this is the sound of playing all the right cards. I liken it to festival promoters, how at Splendour or Laneway, they study the market carefully to spot the up-and-comers to get cheap on the bill who are huge by the time it finally rolls around. That's pretty much what's happened here (and on his next single for that matter). Combine that with radio friendly hooks & structure and bam, you've got yourself a hit of course.
I just wish it offered more on the table. Like a lot of his songs, the production doesn't really mesh, particularly in the chorus where it really starts to clash with the vocals, leaving an odd power struggle where they can't really compliment each other. With the song structured the way it is, and with an underwhelming bridge, there's not really enough on offer to get me invested. In the end I just get mad at the system in which female artistry is still not taken seriously leading us to add another name to the list of artists played on triple j that had their biggest success once they teamed up with a rapper or producer. It's more demographics than malice but it still upsets me.
*** It has been growing on me, but I haven't yet reached the point of liking it. I'm sure it will come eventually. Patience KB, patience.
P.S. I find it insane that Illy almost scored a #1 hit, with the only thing stopping it being that Major Lazer happened to drop a new release that week. It just feels odd coming from that guy I remember listening to six years ago. It also reminds me a little of when 360 scored his first top 10 hit too.