D∆WN (Dawn Richard) – “Wake Up” (Singles Going Steady)

Cleaving electronic diva-pop to the drop-obsessed schizophrenia of contemporary EDM, "Wake Up" is a feverishly high-energy R&B convulsion.

Pryor Stroud: Cleaving electronic diva-pop to the drop-obsessed schizophrenia of contemporary EDM, “Wake Up” is a feverishly high-energy R&B convulsion that depicts Dawn Richard thrashing around in her sheets, pining for her lover, and seizing up from pure, world-consuming lust. The production is oversaturated with colliding sounds: synthesizers that stutter, bounce, and endlessly reverberate, ricocheting 808s, and clipped-up vocal samples that seem to have no purpose other than to take up space. “Don’t wake me up / I’ve been dreaming of you,” Richard sings, and while this plea is just a pop platitude that we’ve heard innumerable times before, it seems believably desperate here: in Richard’s dream stupor, she is with her lover, wrapped up in his arms, his chest to her back, but at any second he could slip out of sight and leave her gasping awake in the midst of a nightmare. [5/10]

Emmanuel Elone: If one thing is evident on “Wake Up”, it’s Dawn Richard’s inability to sing. Since her vocals clearly aren’t up to par with the heavy dubstep beat, she heaps on reverb and autotune in the hopes that they will serve as a crutch, which they don’t. Instead, she sounds like any number of singers who have little talent yet aspire to be the next big artist. Also, the beat is nearly as obnoxious as the vocals, with big Skrillex-esque drops that only serve to annoy the listener. On nearly every level, “Wake Up” is just not good, and it won’t be long before this song is forgotten by most. [3/10]

Chris Ingalls: Massively overprocessed vocals usher in the song before a stuttering dance beat crashes in. There’s an effective club ambiance here, and the producer(s) have definitely set a nice mood — it’s very shimmery and futuristic — but it’s sort of like a sonic Altoid, nice and refreshing but not necessarily something you’re likely to be talking about later in the day. [5/10]

Chad Miller: The chorus seems pretty excessive with the heavily processed vocals, the sliced melody, and the overall percussiveness thrown at you. The pitch shifting was nice, and the verse was effectively reigned in a little, but these things alone don’t fix the barrage of sounds you must face in the chorus. [5/10]

John Bergstrom: There’s just way too much stuttering. [4/10]

SCORE: 4.40