Monday 2 February 2015


Call it a flip, call it a remix, call it a re-rub, rub-a-fuckin-dub-reworking – whatever: It's a different angle on an existing song. And in this instance Blackbird Blackbird has improved upon the original. The Weeknd teamed up with maybe-heir-to-Mariah's-throne (if that exists) Ariana Grande for the sexual epic, 'Love Me Harder' – the video is a pretty standard allusion to orgasms, a sleek drawn-out euphemism. Hm. We see this everywhere. New mouths sing about old things.

But it's ok, everyone does it. It's just great that people want to remix songs like this, people who can see the promise and potential in the words and vocals and take these energies, this human spirit, and place them in a new setting, a new musical vessel from which they can shine a different light.

As such, San Francisco-based producer Blackbird Blackbird's version of 'Love Me Harder' features pitch-shifted vocals, sometimes low and rich, sometimes high and chipmunk-like, sometimes fluctuating dynamically between the two, set in a gently swaying fantasy world of feeling. Fragmented beats mark out the sensual journey, rolling melodic snares and rattling hi-hats playing above gloopy heart-boom kicks. Soft electric piano chords mutate into fizzing tremolo synths, winding and wiggling through your mind and conjuring a hazy, narcotic lust – A far cry from the crescendoing fireworks of the original.

Attentive breaks in the beat appear throughout, making the track gloriously slow and considerate, allowing you to better hear delicate music box twinklings. It's an honest reworking, more true yet with more fantastical elements throughout (take the chipmunk vocals, for instance), a variation on the idealistic elements at work in 'Love Me Harder'. And there also seems to be a sample of a dog whining, which basically feels like the perfect epithet for longing lust.

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