Azealia Banks’ Liquorice Whip

You guys are super-lucky today, because I’m on holidays and have had a lot of time on my hands. As such, it’s double update day!

One of my favourite things to happen in the last couple of months has been the surprise success of Azealia Banks’ 212. I love some filth and fury as much as the next person, but after enduring a year of having male friends and acquaintances tell me why Tyler the Creator and the Odd Futures gang were the most interesting thing to happen to the musical landscape since whatever else had been fashionable 12 months earlier, it’s really nice to hear an actual female voice pedalling some jazz about getting her plum eaten, ya know? In case you  missed it, it looks/sounds like this:

So, with a suddenly popular single that drops the c-bomb as part of its chorus, features some seriously catchy dance hooks and has a video that is inexplicably cool, the question is: where to from here? Cue the release of the official video for Liquorice.

I don’t know if you noticed, but there’s like four costume changes and a story-line. In other words, since the first single was so damn popular, someone has started pouring money in. Like, a lot of money. Unfortunately, it’s into a single that just isn’t as good.

Leaving aside for a minute the fact that the video is stupid (devil horns vs. a western shoot out…what?), musically Liquorice has tried to replicate what 212 already perfected. Both tracks pinch their samples from some pretty generic house tunes – Lazy Jay’s Float My Boat and Lone’s Pineapple Crush, for those of you playing along at home – and they both feature impressive word-smithery from Banks. However, where 212 makes you remember maybe why you went through that ‘house music phase’ a couple of years ago, if anything Liquorice makes you realise why you got out of it. There’s too much going on – the hectic drum sample, the grating synth and Banks’ jammed in chorus, all mash together to make a tune that, while listenable has none of the unexpected fun of 212.

Just because the money is going into pushing one kind of average single doesn’t mean that you can’t enjoy a decent Azealia Banks fix. There’s plenty of other tunes floating around YouTube – the rest of her 1991 EP is actually pretty good, and the Hudson Mohawk-produced Jumanji, from her forthcoming effort is, I suspect, destined to be remixed all summer. Hopefully, she’ll continue to produce lines like “bitch is fishier than chip shop” and we can all be happy.


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