Great Sounds Great; Bad Sounds Bad: Rasela ‘Summer Love’


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: 4.7]

Alex Braae: Initially this didn’t convince me, there wasn’t an awful lot going on in the slack guitar strum of the intro. By the first chorus though it was impossible to not be swept away with the sheer joy of this song.

Maybe it’s the recent poor weather, the combination of this track and the howling rain outside stand in such stark relief. But the irrepressible clicks combined with a pulsing wall of layered vocals warm up a cold room. [8]

Nick Braae: There is plenty to like in ‘Summer Love’ – the chord changes, the vocal contours and arrangements, and the guitar style. These features draw a line through earlier New Zealand hip-hop/soul (I’m reminded of Nesian Mystik) through 1990s R&B, all the way back to the 60s Brill building sound; there is nothing wrong with adding oneself to that musical lineage. And yet, I found myself disliking strongly the percussion and drum parts, which sounded mechanical, lifeless, and jarring against the vivacity of the rest of the track. I realise that this kind of sound and style is pretty contemporary, so perhaps my beef is with modern pop producers, in general, rather than Rasela, specifically. Still, my lasting sentiment from this song was disappointment and a sense of being underwhelmed. After listening to ‘Summer Love’, I went back to Dionne Warwick’s Then Came You’—one can draw a number of reasonable comparisons, not only musically, but also in terms of the general aesthetic (uplifting fun over profundity, perhaps). The latter song provided a sharp reminder to the former, however, that a strong groove (and, thus, a strong song) is predicated on subtlety and space, and not telegraphing every beat to the listener. [6]

Chloe Cairncross: Rasela has a beautiful voice but it’s put to waste in this painfully dull track. My apprehensions with the bland and predictable song title should have given it away. I’m reminded of tacky ‘90s girl bands, with parts hastily manufactured and forged together to provide the perfect amount of bubbly “pop”. It’s only 2:53 long but that’s two minutes fifty seconds longer than I would have liked. [2]

Stephen Clover: Damn man, who dropped the ball on getting this out!? Summer’s over — and it didn’t have that much left in the tank on the 3rd of Feb either. That aside, Rasela’s debut outing is pretty and appropriately light, breezy and inconsequential.. [5]

Luke Jacobs: Truth be told I had made up my mind as soon as I heard the first few bars, but then I realised that was unfair and after a few repeat listens, it is apparent that ‘Summer Love’ is very sharp and snappy sounding. Sadly for a song that is so short there is plenty of repetition that really adds nothing to the overall motion the bouncy rhythm sets up. It just feels like there is very little substance and that makes it difficult to see where it fits in the music scene. It’s not really flashy enough for the tweens, nor is it inoffensive enough for adult contemporary and it doesn’t feel gritty enough for urban radio stations either. Pop music in 2014 is a tough sell. It needs to stand out from the crowd and, unfortunately, this doesn’t. [5]

Nick Raven: Summer vibes in this track ‘Summer Love’. They’ve got that bit right. Old school soul music twisted with pop hooks and synth bass. It’s groovin’. I find her voice a little annoying after a while but it’s still a good song. I feel I want more. Its just too tame. They could’ve captured more feeling in here rather than just make a happy summer song to please the masses. There is potential to hit deep but it just doesn’t happen. Still, [6]

Gavin Coughlan: It’s hard to review a song when every fibre of my being is trying to get me to turn it off when I try to listen to it, but a mixture of mental discipline and gritty perseverance made the endeavour a success, and I have managed to make it through the song three times. It’s like someone tried to make a song designed to be the happiest music you could possibly imagine, but turning all the ecstatic dials up to eleven caused the exact opposite reaction, and as a result I just want to beat it over the head with a spade so it can’t hurt anyone else. [1]

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