Singles Club: Lil Yachty takes a cruise with T-Pain and Lorenzo Senni crushes the competition

Each week on the FACT Singles Club, a selection of our writers work their way through the new music of the week gone by.

It’s Lil Yachty Week in Singles Club as the boaty one hits the deck twice over, teaming up with Charli XCX as well as the Auto-Tune maestro himself, T-Pain.

Meanwhile Drake piggy-backs on UK steez again with a remix of Dave’s ‘Wanna Know’, Run The Jewels limber up for their third album, and Warp’s new signing Lorenzo Senni crushes the competition with his pointillist trance.

Drake & Dave – ‘Wanna Know’

Tayyab Amin: This makes so much sense, yet the OVO Sound radio watermark manages to have more presence on this track than Drake does. Just keep the original in your playlists. (5)

Daniel Montesinos-Donaghy: I’ve personally reached Peak Drake this year, at least ever since Views made the least interesting part of Aubrey Graham’s musical personality a world-beating monster. The onslaught of music feels like it’s never stopping, and now we have his remix of Dave’s ‘Wanna Know’, a move that will bolster theories that he’s either taking advantage of UK music or reaching out and showing love. Your call. It’s okay, a step down from the slyly musical original (the guitar solo!) and a frankly lazy co-sign from the biggest man in music with some canned talk about “UK tings” that could easily come from a Drizzy meme generator. Maybe this is better than I’m giving it. Maybe I’m just burnt the fuck out on this guy, and that sucks. (5)

Morgan Lee: Not quite sure why this exists – Drake doesn’t exactly add much – but all power to him for putting a few million more ears on Santan Dave’s killer original. (8)

Chris Kelly: Dave – the owner of the least exciting moniker in rap – gets the blessing-and-a-curse Drake co-sign: sure, you’ll get a little burst of interest (expect plenty of “Drake-approved rapper Dave…” headlines) but don’t expect much from Mr. Graham and the OVO crew – just ask King Louie, Makonnen, et al. As for the song itself, the original is a pleasant enough reimagining of Atlanta rap by a London talent, and as with all Drake swagger-jacker remixes, the original is plenty, unless you’re particularly fond of Drake doing regional patois. (4)


Lorenzo Senni – ‘Win In The Flat World’

Daniel Montesinos-Donaghy: Trickle-down guitar melts into zip-synth hyperspeed video game sonics and a machine learns how to love another machine as keyboards clank together with romantic plinking. God bless this song. (8)

Tayyab Amin: Has anyone else noticed that curious phenomenon where something has its own sound and then Warp picks it up and it just sounds like Warp? You could see ‘Win In The Flat World’ as the sort of message you’d get at the end of some virtual level; I actually hit play on this track before reading the title and immediately related the music to a video game soundtrack. It moves at the breakneck pace of a racer or a speed-run platformer, each FX-like blare another hoop jumped through. That could just be my generational understanding of Senni’s trance signifiers, though; fellow trance enthusiast Evian Christ recounts the days of listening to Photek and Sash while playing Wipeout in a recent essay on rave by Nora Khan. The track’s structure is interesting – a breakdown sits in the middle separating two entirely different moods, one frenzied, one serene; there’s no clear climax and the end is more like an epilogue. And yet, this has to be the most accessible Senni track to date. (8)

Chris Kelly: Senni returns with some chiptune trance built from delicate arpeggios and Casio orchestra strikes. Perhaps the title nods to the flattening of trance tropes he continues to do, reimagining the genre’s outsized epics into ships-in-a-bottle. (6)

Morgan Lee: The dream of Senni’s patented “pointillistic trance” is finally realized. Despite the title sounding like it should be a play on Hole’s ‘Credit in the Straight World’, ‘Win in the Flat World’ is like being transported via VR to a club in Japan in 1998 and dumped in the bathrooms rather than onto the dancefloor. Rave voyeurism has never sounded so oddly inclusive. (10)


Reckonwrong – ‘The Passions of Pez’

Daniel Montesinos-Donaghy: Imagine what everyone loves about Mark E. Smith but with elasticated basslines and the slightest hint of a soul. Impressive. (7)

Tayyab Amin: I was fully under the impression this breh made off-key house/techno and now he’s coming through with these David Byrne movements. You could say I… reckoned wrong. These stylistic manoeuvres, this creative freedom – look at what you’ve gone and started, Jam City! It’s taken a few goes, but I’m quite into it. It’s refreshing to find music so intriguing, loose and fun, winking at you in that Eric Copeland type of way. I’m really into the video too – do Levi’s have A&Rs? (8)

Morgan Lee: You know when you go to karaoke and they have “canned” versions of mainstream pop songs, performed by some pride-starved ex-musician on an Atari ST with a rack of crap sound modules? That’s basically ‘The Passions of Pez’, and it’s lovingly provided with a pickled 3am vocal from Reckonwrong himself. (4)

Chris Kelly: Not to totally judge a book by its cover, but I have trouble taking a label called ‘Whities’ seriously. This track isn’t helping: it sounds like Yeasayer’s vaguely “exotic” beatcraft with vocal processing that makes me laugh at it, not with it. (2)


Run The Jewels – ‘Talk To Me’

Morgan Lee: Run The Jewels are easier to admire than they are to enjoy. ‘Talk To Me’ is more excellently produced, confidently rapped fire from the duo, but as good as it is, I don’t know if I ever need to hear it again. (6)

Daniel Montesinos-Donaghy: I hope nobody’s forgotten since RTJ became a recognisable brand that allowed Killer Mike to become a political spokesperson and El-P to open up a bagel joint that they make low-stakes, ultra-aggressive, talk-shit music, and thank the gods RTJ have kept that running. Excited for what’s next. (7)

Chris Kelly: Three Run the Jewels albums in and I’m still hoping for El-P to swallow his pride and just produce another Killer Mike record. Mike finds the pocket and fans the flames; El’s verse starves the fire of oxygen and the turntablism snuffs the embers. (4)

Tayyab Amin: “I told y’all on RTJ1, then I told you again on RTJ2, and you still ain’t believe me, so here we go, RTJ3!” So professes Killer Mike’s outro, perhaps inadvertently summing up how I feel about RTJ: reliably rapping the same things to the same people, but also actually going in on the track in an “I’m feeling a high eight to a low nine on this one, but– [Cal Chuchesta skit]” sort of way. Lyrically, they’re dextrous and forceful and somehow they make it look so easy. (7)


Charli XCX and Lil Yachty – ‘After The Afterparty’

Chris Kelly: For some reason, Charli XCX isn’t the biggest pop star in the world, probably because she’s always played just in a left-of-center sandbox. But a song like ‘After the Afterparty’ has everything it needs to be a hit: Stargate’s pop machine mastery, SOPHIE’s PC Music affectations, a barely there touch of Lil Yachty in the T-Pain role, sonic emojis and playful lyrics like “glitter in my underwear like it was Studio 54.” It’s the Radio Disney version of the ‘Ignition’ remix. (7)

Morgan Lee: Rebecca Black read The KLF’s The Manual and this happened. Think of the children. (1)

Tayyab Amin: I never expected to see shades of Bloodborne in a Charli XCX video but that’s hardly the biggest curveball 2016’s brought us. Some things remain a comfortable constant in this godforsaken year, however, such as the classic Charli XCX sung-but-somehow-still-barked chorus. Even on low volume it sounds like she’s trying to do Don’t Flop clashes in the middle of her High School Musical bops – she just needs to get that Blackpool teen grime scene connect now. She’s flexing on the verses though, and I can only condone the fact that Yachty season’s in full swing. “Tomorrow I’ll be lazy, but I’ll spend it with you, baby” – what a sweetheart! (6)

Daniel Montesinos-Donaghy: The obvious model here is Miley’s ‘We Can’t Stop’, another crayon-tone ode to slightly chintzy millennial party habits without a sense of danger, but Charli is coasting on a slightly subversive PC Music tip from this year’s solid Vroom Vroom EP. The thing is that ‘Afterparty’ and its uncomplicated display could be as subversive/full of shit as anything PC Music have put out this year regarding Thinky Pop Intelligence, or still just be a fun, if somewhat forgettable song. Perhaps PC Music have poisoned everything in left-of-centre pop for everyone now. Poor Yachty, though – we’re trying to make him A Thing this week and it’s not really happening. (6)


T-Pain feat. Lil Yachty – ‘Dan Bilzerian’

Tayyab Amin: T-Pain’s 2015 mixtape packed some impressive tracks, but this single’s the first time I’ve really heard him try to jump on current waves (neatly summed up in this very nifty, low-key banging Vine – RIP). He slides in comfortably, though once Yachty’s jumped in the conservative nature of T-Pain’s flow becomes evident. And if you’re T-Pain and you’re not doing the most with the melodies on a joint like this, alongside the new guard you’ve influenced, what’s up with that? (6)

Morgan Lee: In contrast to Charli XCX’s car crash ‘After the Afterparty’, ‘Dan Bilzerian’ shows that whoever it was in T-Pain’s team that leafed through The Manual actually understood what they needed to do. This is just as simple and certainly as daft, but the difference is it’s actually fun. Just stay away from the real Dan Bilzerian’s social feeds at all costs – there’s a four letter word for people like him and it rhymes with cunt. (7)

Daniel Montesinos-Donaghy: Fellow Autocroon optimists T-Pain and Lil Yachty should be able to find a sweet spot of major-key joy together, but a mix of AM radio piano jabs and Rich As Fuck boasts barely cohere for one T-Pain verse, let alone an entire song. (4)

Chris Kelly: I compared Yachty to T-Pain before I knew this song existed, but it obviously makes a ton of sense: Yachty can probably name more songs by T-Pain than by Biggie or Pac. My main problem with this is naming it after a woman-assaulting, trust-funded, Trump-supporting piece of human garbage. It’s a real bummer which stunts the joy that a boat ride with T-Pain and Lil Yachty should entail. (6)


Final scores:

Lorenzo Senni – ‘Win In The Flat World’ (8)
Run The Jewels – ‘Talk To Me’ (6)
T-Pain feat Lil Yachty – ‘Dan Bilzerian’ (5.75)
Drake & Dave – ‘Wanna Know’ (5.5)
Reckonwrong – ‘The Passions of Pez’ (5.25)
Charli XCX and Lil Yachty – ‘After The Afterparty’ (5)



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