Features I by I 12.12.17

Singles Club: Eminem’s rap-rock fumble ‘Untouchable’ is unbearable

Each week on the FACT Singles Club, our writers rate and slate the biggest new tracks of the last seven days.

This week, Eminem goes for the political jugular on ‘Untouchable’, while Ma$e takes us back to the ‘90s with new track ‘Rap Rushmore’, featuring Puff Daddy and DJ Khaled.

Elsewhere, rap’s power couple Offset and Cardi B test out their chemistry on ‘Um Yea’, Charli XCX takes it down a notch for a new collaboration with Tove Lo and Camila Cabello gives her lungs a workout for ‘Never Be The Same’. There’s also an epic new stomper from SOPHIE called ‘Ponyboy.’ Here’s how the week’s hottest singles shape up.

Eminem – ‘Untouchable’

Scott Wilson: I’m not going to make the “unlistenable more like, lol” joke but I did think something was playing in another tab when I listened to this. I’m glad Eminem’s using his platform to spread a more positive message nowadays but it’s all for nothing if you can’t even make it to the end of the track. (2)

Miles Bowe: Every time I think this new Eminem album can’t get any worse, he finds some way to exceed my expectations. After hearing Em’s influence flourish in Kendrick Lamar, ‘Untouchable’ is an even bigger let down and his comeback continues to sound awkward and sloppy. ‘Walk On Water’ wasn’t great, sure, but I’ll take that song’s bloated melodrama over this badly produced, terribly performed rap fumble. (1)

April Clare Welsh: Eminem showed great promise with his anti-Trump takedown, but proceeded to let us all down with the cringe-inducing drama of ‘Walk On Water’. Although the Black Lives Matter sentiment on this track clearly comes from a very good place – and props to Eminem for rapping about white privilege so honestly – the song itself is, as Scott said, unlistenable. It’s like someone recorded a Rage Against The Machine B-Side with a hydrophone. (2)


Offset & Cardi B – ‘Um Yea’

Scott Wilson: I’m probably going to sound like one of those “member real hip-hop” bores here but I don’t like this very much for the same reason that I don’t like ‘Bodak Yellow’ and almost every Migos track: it’s a by-the-numbers instrumental that might as well have been taken off a supermarket shelf. (3)

Miles Bowe: I really hope ‘Um Yea’ leads to a full-length collaboration because I don’t ever want to stop hearing these two together. (8)

April Clare Welsh: Katie and Peter, John and Katy… some couples should make sweet music only in the bedroom, but on ‘Um Yea’ Offset and Cardi B prove why they’re love’s young dream and a dynamic duo not to be fucked with. Cardi may only stop by for a few bars, but she’s got enough boast to prove her standalone talent, while Offset continues to flex his booze-soaked flow. I can’t wait for the wedding pics. (8)


Ma$e feat. Puff Daddy and DJ Khaled – ‘Rap Rushmore’

April Clare Welsh: My heart literally bursts with joy at the sound of Ma$e’s Kool & The Gang sampling-classic ‘Feel So Good’, but the good news is he hasn’t strayed too far from the golden era path with this throwback-inspired single. I like how P Diddy and DJ Khaled are barely given any air-time while Ma$e stakes his claim to rap supremacy, their ad-libs sinking into the background as he occupies the whole song with his monotone assault, but mainly I love the artwork for this. A lot. (7)

Miles Bowe: Ma$e sounds completely reinvigorated after his friendly diss exchange with Cam’ron last month. Puff Daddy meanwhile has nothing to prove to anyone ever and sounds as comfortable and confident as always. DJ Khaled shows up and doesn’t get in the way at least. This is a pleasant surprise! (7)

Scott Wilson: I had very low expectations of this but y’know what? It’s quite good fun! DJ Khaled’s vocal sounds like it’s been recorded over Skype but at least his presence isn’t as intrusive as it usually is. (7)


Charli XCX feat. Tove Lo – ‘Out Of My Head’

Scott Wilson: I thought Charli XCX was meant to be holding back the onslaught of Spotify Algorithm Pop Music? This is inoffensive enough, but if it appears on my Discover Weekly then it’s probably getting skipped. (5)

Miles Bowe: I’ve gone back and forth with Charli XCX more than I’d like to over the last few years, because she’s a charismatic and likeable performer. Thankfully, this song leaves me going back. Tove Lo is a similarly underrated pop singer and the two make a solid combination on this somber, nimble track. (6)

April Clare Welsh: Charli XCX is probably my favorite pop star Of Them All, but I waaaay prefer her when she’s all being brash and bolshy and sing-speaky – this is a bit too slick and sanitized and Victoria Beckham-y for my tastes. There’s a whiff of Sweet Female Attitude to the song, which is definitely a good thing, and I’m down with the sentiment about taking drugs (responsibly) to forget someone, but it’s December 12 and I’m meant to be in carefree party mode. It doesn’t make me any less excited for the mixtape though. (6)


Camila Cabello – ‘Never Be The Same’

April Clare Welsh: I’m not a religious woman, but I give myself entirely to this song. What a fucking voice! The way she switches from deep and dramatic to sky-high falsetto is totally magical. The booming, grainy, synthy production is edgy enough for Drive, the massive tidal wave of a chorus is powerful enough to swallow everyone else in the charts, and the lyrics are gloriously naughty and un-pop: “Just like nicotine / Heroin, morphine / Suddenly, I’m a fiend / And you’re all I need.” Bring on the album. (9)

Miles Bowe: It’s still hard to accept that ‘Crying In The Club’ was scrapped from Camila Cabello’s upcoming debut album, but ‘Never Be The Same’ makes that sting a little less. Cabello’s heartfelt vocals constantly push the song into new directions over heavy and spacious drums. I’ll still probably be crying over ‘Crying’ once this album comes out, but this has me looking forward to it. (8)

Scott Wilson: What is it about Christmas time that brings out the dreary ballads? I really want to be 100% behind Camila Cabello’s solo career but nothing she’s done since she left Fifth Harmony has even come close to those highs. (3)


SOPHIE – ‘Ponyboy’

Miles Bowe: There are so many sides to SOPHIE’s music and I’ll always fall on her sweeter one where ‘Bipp’, ‘Like We Never Said Goodbye’ and the lovely, comeback single ‘It’s Okay To Cry’ reside. This sounds like an improvement of my least favorite tracks on PRODUCT like ‘L.O.V.E.’ and ‘Vyzee’, but I’m excited for how ‘Ponyboy’’s hyper-tension will play out on the full-length album that appears to be coming. That’s all I’ve wanted from SOPHIE since her first single and these two tracks show just how extreme (in both directions) it could get. I don’t know if I love this song — but damn, I love SOPHIE so much. (7)

Scott Wilson: This is harder and more subversive than 100% of the industrial techno that came out in 2017 yet manages to be catchier and more memorable than all the pop music I’ve had to sit through here this week. If anyone can make ear-destroying fetish-pop mainstream in 2018 and beyond, it’s SOPHIE. (10)

April Clare Welsh: Let SOPHIE be your fantasy! Let SOPHIE put the pony on all fours! Let SOPHIE crack down the whip! Let SOPHIE drag you to the edge of the world and back! Okay so, yeahhhhh, this is pretty Big and Bold and unashamedly kinky, isn’t it? In fact, I’d go so far as to say it’s the industrial-sized hardcore-shaped art-noise sex stomper we’ve been gagging for all year long. Fuck all the haters and bros! You may not have realized that you need this in your life, but you do. And now it’s here, let’s all squeeze on some latex, jump in a cage and dance ‘till we die. (9)


Final scores:
SOPHIE – ‘Ponyboy’ (8.7)
Ma$e feat. Puff Daddy and DJ Khaled – ‘Rap Rushmore’ (7)
Camila Cabello – ‘Never Be The Same’ (6.7)
Offset & Cardi B – ‘Um Yea’ (6.3)
Charli XCX feat. Tove Love – ‘Out Of My Head (5.7)
Eminem – ‘Untouchable’ (1.6)



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