Great Sounds Great; Bad Sounds Bad: David Dallas feat. Ruby Frost ‘The Wire’

David Dallas

Great Sounds Great; Bad Sounds Bad is a column which sees a panel of writers for The Corner review a range of local singles and grade them out of 10. Check out the song below, read through their opinions and let us know in the comments section your own thoughts and what you’d like to see reviewed next time around.

[YouTube / iTunes]

[Grade: 5.8]

Adam Burns: Unlike many of his peers, you feel David Dallas has both the track-record and ability to pilot an ambitious pop crossover, without conceding the things that make him such a compelling performer in the first place. This thing has already been certified gold locally and it’s Ruby Frost – while curtailing the second part of a wordy hook slightly – who gets a good chunk of airtime here without either blowing us away or toppling over. As someone who was infatuated with ‘Swimming Pools (Drank)’, I can’t hate on Fire & Ice’s wafting shiver, even if I lean more to the vintage horns of album closer ‘The Gate’ (also featuring Ruby Frost).

The Papatoetoe MC offers up an intriguing first verse – can’t separate “I’m trying things that seem fucking crazy to most / As Kiwi kids it ain’t in our nature to boast” and “In case we choke rather make out like we didn’t try / Than bare the shame that we built a plane that didn’t fly” for a winner. Although I feel this track really warrants a third stanza considering that Dallas finally emerges with a third of the song chewed up. [7]

Jon Turner: I quite like Ruby Frost’s part of this song – it reminds me of The Knife and showcases her vocal ability, establishing her as more then just ‘the judge off the X Factor.’ David Dallas’ verse seems completely unrelated to her part – they could be separated into two songs and arguably she would be better off for it. Once again Dallas has a boring rap scheme about his push for glory, the same subject matter he covers in ‘Take A Picture’, ‘My Mentality’ and ‘Runnin” to name just a few songs. The best thing he ever did is still his verse on the ‘Not Many’ remix. [5]

Gavin Coughlan: I’m not a fan of David Dallas’ whole schtick. It feels dull and watered down to me, so I wasn’t looking forward to reviewing this one. But the presence of Ruby Frost really lifts it above anything I have ever heard from him before. In fact, I really like her parts and really can’t stand his verses, she should have just distracted him, run off with the master tapes, deleted his segments and claimed the track as her own. [4]

Hayden Currie: This song is great. Best thing ever, if you’re into it. If not, whatever. These things are subjective. [10]

Luke Jacobs: I really don’t feel much for Ruby Frost but her supporting role in this song showcases her strength., She has a wistful voice and it works well as the backing track to Dallas’ rap.

Sadly, while Dallas gives a decent performance it does fall a bit flat and frankly he sounds a little bored which does not to give the song energy or help to fix its faults. This is compounded by the stop start nature of Frost’s parts in the song – it almost feels like two separate tracks which have been cut and mixed together. There is nothing wrong with that, exactly, but here it just doesn’t work. [5]

Chloe Cairncross: I really don’t know much about the ol’ hippity-hoppity that all the kids dig. But I do know that of all the live acts I have chanced to see, and of all the pulsing clubs I’ve been in, this track is like a half-deflated balloon. I was waiting for the bass to drop, or for something to kick-start, which never happened. Ruby Frost has a stellar voice but Dallas has produced a real flat-liner here. [4]

Nick Raven: I’ve always enjoyed David Dallas’ work. This is up there with his best. Ruby Frost compliments the track well, not being over the top or in your face.

There is balance here – it doesnt just pick you up and go all out like so many pop songs these days do. The song would do well to be longer perhaps? Superb production and good tune. I cant find any points to pick. [8]

Stephen Clover: I’d be kinda keen to hear this without David Dallas’ bits; perhaps a better emcee could do something worthwhile with it. [3]


  1. Maybe this version by Greg Churchill is more the go:

    Also check out his ‘Not Many’ remix since it was mentioned above.

  2. Robyn says:

    I was away on holiday so I didn’t get to join in with the reviews for this, so I’ll do it here. I like this song and it works really well as the opening track on Falling Into Place, but it seems an odd choice as a single. It’s a quiet and subtle song that seems more like an introduction to something else rather than a standalone song. It sounds rubbish in my car but amazing in my headphones. It’s a great musical recording but a shit single. [5]

    • Sammy says:

      Interesting that it’s doing so well though. It’s already gone gold in NZ and made it to the top of the NZ singles chart last month (currently sits at no. 2)

      • Robyn says:

        Can we call it a slow-burner? It’s been in the charts for 11 weeks, but peaked at #11 and has just been loitering around the middle of the chart. Like, it’s a great song, but it doesn’t have the attitude or energy of a “hit single”.

        But in this era of streaming, it’s impressive to have a gold record. One Direction fans get random 1D tracks up in the top five, gone the next week, ditto for two week-only top 40 singles the Arise Church managed. So a gold record – a sign that people are actually buying the track – is a good sign indeed.

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