Cut Through the Noise: Khalid, Normani, Tinashe and The Chainsmokers (Week of Feb. 23)

Isaac Wert

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Illustration by Isaac Wert

Welcome to “Cut Through the Noise,” an Entertainment column from the St. Louis Park Echo covering new music releases. Every week, a different Echo staffer takes on the role as writer, reviewing recent single releases from a variety of artists.


“Love Lies” – Khalid and Normani: ★★★☆☆

Fair use from Sony Music Entertainment

On the soundtrack for the upcoming film “Love, Simon,” Khalid Robinson and Normani Kordei (of Fifth Harmony) unite for their long-awaited duet, “Love Lies.” The track is a modern R&B song with hip hop influences, reminiscent of Robinson’s previous work. Enveloping its barely-catchy melodies in snares and hi-hats, “Love Lies” leans too far on 2018 music trends without bringing anything new to the table. Kordei’s verse, one of her first solo endeavors, isn’t really memorable or noteworthy. She merely serves as a compliment for Khalid’s hypnotic voice, not providing anything to the track that couldn’t be easily replicated by another featured artist. “Love Lies” is destined to be that one song you always skip in your playlists, even though you still keep it in your library; it’s not bad for any obvious reason, but it’s nothing special.


“Faded Love (feat. Future)” – Tinashe: ★★★☆☆

Fair use from RCA Records

Tinashe Kachingwe, who’s continually struggled to find her feet in the mainstream music scene, takes another stab at contemporary R&B with her new song, “Faded Love,” which features Nayvadius Wilburn, known professionally as Future. The song’s hook is quite catchy, and its tropical-trap beat is very current, but Future’s rap, as with most rap features these days, doesn’t add much to the song. Do I think this song will propel Kachingwe to her long-awaited stardom? No chance, but with each new release, Kachingwe is honing in on her sound and artistry, and I still hold out hope for her success in the long run. But for now, “Faded Love” is a good jam to hold listeners over as we wait for her second studio album.


“You Owe Me” – Chainsmokers: ★☆☆☆☆

Fair use from Columbia Records

Just when you thought they couldn’t get any worse, the Chainsmokers release “You Owe Me,” a blatantly and objectively bad song that highlights the bro-DJs’ most unlikable traits, even more so than their previous release, the nauseating “Sick Boy.” “You Owe Me” sounds like a rejected Twenty One Pilots song, and its manufactured chorus is not nearly as well executed as that of “Closer,” their biggest hit so far (and probably ever). The song (just barely) climaxes with a faceless electronic drop so boringly familiar I couldn’t help but roll my eyes.

Dear Chainsmokers: “You Owe Me” the three minutes and ten seconds I wasted on this garbage. Let me know when you release something half as good as “Roses.”

Until then, I guess I’ll go back to listening to Justin Timberlake’s new album… just kidding.