“Fun, dancey, excitable, brassy, with a very weird video thrown in on the side.”
Tim: We’ve featured Rat City a couple of times before, but the last time was well over eighteen months ago so I’ll refresh your memory: it’s basically a rebranded Donkeyboy.
Tom: And the name’s just as bad!
Tim: Different sound, same people.
Tom: I actually said “huh, that’s good” out loud at the first chorus, which means I wasn’t expecting it to be good.
Tim: Nice, isn’t it? Fun, dancey, excitable, brassy, with a very weird video thrown in on the side.
Tom: I’m not entirely sure that reducing the female character to a large pair of lips on a lingerie-clad body is something that generally flies in the late 2010s. But given the whole thing looks like a fever dream anyway, perhaps it’s best to talk about the music.
Tim: Vocal that sounds right and good, and I particularly love what’s going on with that in the chorus – the call and repeat with the backing is the complete reverse of what you’d expect, yet it works brilliantly.
Tom: I was singing the chorus after one listen, and I didn’t mind. This isn’t bad at all.
Tim: Back in January we featured the very good Don’t Let Go by this exact same pairing; here’s a follow up.
Tim: Bits are better, and yet other bits are much worse, which is a dreadful shame.
Tom: “Ice and fire / higher, higher, higher.” That is… not a great opening lyric. And those aren’t great vocal distortion effects either, at any point during the song.
Tim: Well I’m not so bothered by the lyrics, because otherwise the verse and chorus are great – the melody just clicks, and the voice and production are exactly what I want. Post chorus, though, is sadly exactly what I don’t want, because oh, it’s just horrible.
Tom: Have they sampled a duck call? That’s just unpleasant.
Tim: It’s really, really not nice, and it ruins – utterly ruins – the rest of the song. We frequently complain about guest rappers turning up and vomiting all over the middle eight of otherwise good songs, but at least those can be skipped over, or leave quickly. Here, though, that sounds is part of the song, integrated deep, and yet it sounds horrible. DO NOT LIKE.
“Oh, it really is the four years later dubstep, isn’t it?”
Tom: “Rat City”?
Tim: Yes indeed – he’s the Norwegian producer, Lila’s also off Norway and is the vocalist, and the song has been written by, among several others, them off the still Norwegian Donkeyboy. And the lyrics? They’re English.
Tim: And I was taken by that pretty much as soon as she started singing, and entirely drawn in by that pre-chorus.
Tom: That fake-out at the end of the first verse didn’t encourage me, but once I figured out what it was doing: that’s one of the best builds I’ve heard in a while.
Tim: Then the main chorus hit, and it was still good, and then the post-chorus distorted vocal, and oh, it really is the four years later dubstep, isn’t it?
Tom: Or the 15-years-later Missy Elliot. Unsingable choruses have been around for a while, although they’re not this popular.
Tim: Started out fairly niche, and now it’s absolutely flipping everywhere, and I’m still not sure I like it.
Tom: I’m surprised how quickly I’ve got on board with this: I’m much more interested in the melody, composition and — frankly — how much of a banger it is. (And this is at least somewhere on the banger-scale, even if it’s not that high up.) If the synth patch they’re using also happens to be extracted from the vocals, apparently I don’t mind at all.
Tim: The rest of this is great, mind, no issues at all – stick some brass under it and it could go right back to 2008, or some more drums and head to 2003, or steel drums, or country guitars – but eeesh, just as I thought I was on board, it’s really gonna take a while for me to enjoy it. DARN IT.