After being somewhat impartial to her new track’Hurt’, the enthusiasm I once had for this new record did somewhat waver. But I thought, ‘heck, it’s just one track you can’t judge a whole record off of just one track’, so I thought I’d give her new single ‘Garden’ a shot before I slip into a negative mindset. Shall we see how that went?
Well again this track has me somewhat conflicted, and for different reasons this time than ‘Hurt’. This track is both classy and stylish, as well as generic and plain, it has moments of intelligence and moments that make your eyes roll. Let’s start with the production.
I feel the vocals were very well mixed and pronounced, allowing for Emeli’s voice to really be on show. The instrumentals, though textured well and sporadically brilliant, do suffer from this slightly distorted kick that didn’t really fit the electronic-lounge feel. It was only minor however as I think that was more based on preference than on production itself. Overall then, very well produced.
I felt the vocal performance was one of the best we’ve seen from Emeli in a little while, as she shows much more diversity and composure here. Whereas ‘Hurt’ felt constantly intense and honestly a little ‘shouty’, this track showed some vocal sophistication, showcasing her vocal dexterity, dynamic control and astonishing falsetto. The little chorus hook had great control and it showed her capabilities in a more flexible manner. I did find the lyrics disappointing though as I feel Emeli is capable of better than this. I felt the lyrics in ‘Hurt’ were the shining stars of that track whereas here the phrasing comes off as predictable and stereotypical.
Jay Electronica’s verse to me caused the eye-rolling I mentioned earlier. They were delivered as if he was directly imitating Kid Cudi and it just added nothing to the track. In just four minutes, we got four verses when you combine both artists; that’s way too many for this short of a run-time. I think a proper middle-eighth where the song explored a new avenue would of been better suited than just sticking a rap verse over the looping instrumentals.
Ah this song is a difficult one. I really like the idea again, but the execution just felt so lacklustre. This song suffers from the same fault ‘Hurt’ does when you summarise the positives and negatives; it just doesn’t have enough substance or any wow moments.
6/10 – A competent track, but not one I will be listening to again.