James Arthur ft. Shotty Horroh ‘Sermon’ Song Review

So James Arthur is riding high after his number one single Say You Won’t Let Go hit the airwaves, I mean as far as comebacks go, that’s a successful one. But I want to concentrate on the second single Sermon, why you ask? Well because second singles are always the most accurate judgement of whether a new album will be good or bad. So let’s dive in…

There is a lot of great stuff going on in this track. Of course the vocal performance was powerful and emotional; it is clear to see that James possesses a whole ton of talent. However, I think there were a lot of moments that were ruined by ‘over-singing’. For example, there were some words that lost diction entirely as well as losing direction; it felt like unnecessary crooning. Lyrically the song seemed competent enough; there were no metaphorical phrases or moments of note but they certainly weren’t cheesy or anything like that. The accompaniment was okay but it lacked some real flair or diversity. The guitar progression was well produced but repeated way too many times, the drum track lacked any spice or excitement and the bass just felt functional; your average pop, ballad backing track really. Structurally the song was safe and predictable but in this case that was necessary, it didn’t varying as it would lose coherence. Having said that, I do think the track suffered by not having a distinct middle eighth; it meant the track became too repetitive. The main flaw for me was the entire verse with Shotty Horroh. It felt so added on and tacky, it left the track feeling much weaker and by the numbers. The flow felt lazy and lacked any emotion; it just wasn’t good at all.

6/10 – A great vocal performance shrouded by weak instrumentals and a poor feature.

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