Pryor Stroud: Departing from her Joni Mitchell-influenced acoustic folk persona, Beth Orton adopts the synth-centric instrumentation and airy melodic sensibility of ’80s pop on “1973”, and the result is something close to bliss: a coruscating, light-as-air, psychedelia-tinged nostalgia trip that updates Orton’s sound without compromising her immaculate storytelling prowess. “Swimming in your mind / Swimming in my mind / Swimming in my mind with electric sky,” she sings, offering a perfect lyric embodiment of the song as a whole — which to say, listening to “1973” is like performing a freestyle stroke through the divergent rivers of your memory and remembering, in effect, all the former lovers whose memories you used to swim through as well. [8/10]
Emmanuel Elone: Beth Orton’s music has been part of soundtracks to TV shows like Dawson’s Creek and Grey’s Anatomy, and it’s easy to see why. “1973” is a delicate piece of folktronica that is easy on the ears, and Orton’s vocals are as soft as a baby’s bottom. This is a compliment, but it also ends up being a detriment to the song as well, since there isn’t much in it that’s captivating or particularly memorable. Like most TV show soundtracks, “1973” makes for great background or mood music, but not necessarily a song that I want to hear just on its own. [6/10]
Chris Ingalls: Orton continues forging the same path she’s been on for decades: marrying singer/songwriter folk with an electronic edge. This particular song has a sharp dance beat but also works well as a well-crafted pop song. Sort of like the Cars with a guest female vocalist. [7/10]
Chad Miller: Has a decently fun, retro melody. I’m not crazy about what happens in between the singing though.The instrumental interlude seems like a momentum killer, even though it’s really short. The chorus is really enjoyable though with its techno music on overdrive, and the outro is pretty exciting as well with its dissonant build up into the revitalized chorus. [7/10]
Beth Orton’s Kidsticks releases May 27th via Anti- Records.