Macklemore & Ryan Lewis – “Dance Off” feat. Idris Elba (Singles Going Steady)

It's an enigma that the same Macklemore who made "Same Love", "Wings" and "White Priviledge II" could make such banal, in-bad-taste dancehall hip-hop.

Chris Ingalls: I wanted to like this solely on the basis of Idris Elba, but even he can’t save this cringe fest. He drops by at the beginning and in a few other spots, like Vincent Price in “Thriller”. But at least MJ had a decent song to show for it. It may move you and even inspire, yes, a dance off, but this is little more than a novelty song, stuffed with embarrassing pop culture cliches and serving merely as background music for a hip-hop dance competition or something the wedding reception DJ can throw on after the old folks leave. [4/10]

Emmanuel Elone: It’s an enigma that the same Macklemore who made “Same Love”, “Wings” and “White Priviledge II” could make such banal, in-bad-taste dancehall hip-hop. Idris Elba’s feature is awkward, and Macklemore turns up the cringe as he enters the verse and chorus. His lines aren’t funny, especially as he talks about a grandma grabbing his “banana”, though he thinks he is. Also, the instrumental is just as guady and uneasy to look at as well. In a sense, “Dance Off” is probably meant to be Macklemore’s sequel to “And We Danced”, but instead turned out to be one of the worst tracks that the Seattle rapper has ever made. [2/10]

Pryor Stroud: Shortly after surging into the spotlight with 2012’s hook-laden, indie-rap darling The Heist, Macklemore and his brother-in-arms producer Ryan Lewis became the inadvertent bêtes noires of hip-hop. Accused of flagrant appropriation, uncouth commercialism, and straightforward poor musicianship, they suffered a fate in rap culture akin to what happened to Nickelback in rock — namely, it became fashionable, mainstream taste, to dislike them. But “Dance Off” shows that perhaps we’ve all been too harsh: it’s a campy, pointedly comedic, alt-hop “Thriller” update that interpolates a brilliant, hoarse-voiced hype-man vocal sample. “Get on the floor / Get on the / Get on the floor”, the sample commands, and even though you know it’s unstylish to dance to Macklemore, it’s a command that’s hard to resist. [6/10]

John Bergstrom: “Downtown” was great but this smacks of desperation. Yeah, I get it, saying “Grandma” and “Grandpa” in a hip-hop track is funny, Haha. How could a song about dancing be so dull and inert? What do they call that? Irony? There’s a novel concept for you, Macklemore. The video goes with the song, dull, except for the mall sales people getting down. That’s pretty funny. [5/10]

Chad Miller: I thought this track would grow on me with repeated listens, but the opposite was true, especially when I looked at the lyrics. There really aren’t many (if any) good lines here, and there’s nothing special about how the track sounds. The inclusion of the grandparent lines left me particularly perplexed too. [5/10]

SCORE: 4.40