Mark Pritchard – Beautiful People (feat. Thom Yorke) (Singles Going Steady)

"Beautiful People" is a perfect amalgamation of Yorke's amazing, understated vocals and Pritchard's soft, light production.

Chris Ingalls: The music bed that runs through the track is gorgeous and haunting, building with layers of keyboards and samples, and the sparse percussion that pulses alongside everything keeps things warm and comforting. Although it’s hard to use “warm and comforting” to describe Yorke’s singing (or the fuzzy production that partially obscures it). But that’s par for the course, as Yorke’s difficult, inscrutable nature is what we’ve come to expect from him. Now where’s that new Radiohead album? [8/10]

Emmanuel Elone: “Beautiful People” is a perfect amalgamation of Yorke’s amazing, understated vocals and Pritchard’s soft, light production. The organic sounding instrumentation and delicate melodies that Pritchard layers into the beat is wonderful, and the Radiohead frontman uses his vocals to create a competing melody that accentuates the beauty of the production. The lyrics are also quite stunning, with some somber, haunting lines thrown in for added effect. For sure, “Beautiful People” is a bit too sleepy, but its emotion and musical harmonies cover up that defect somewhat. And if this is the kind of music that Thom Yorke and Radiohead have to offer on their new album coming out soon, then Radiohead fans like myself have nothing to worry about. [7/10]

Jordan Blum: Obviously, it reminds me of Radiohead’s last record, The King of Limbs. Like that record, this track is an interesting experiment, but overall it’s a bit too repetitive to keep my interest. I really like the instrumentation (especially the repeating flute pattern), but there’s too little here to warrant its duration. If there was more variety and depth to it, it’d be a fantastically moody and beautiful piece. [6/10]

Pryor Stroud: It is something of a commonplace to describe ambient music as atmospheric; this is because, by definition, ambience attempts to contour a particular atmosphere, to isolate its mood and amplify its details, assigning shape, color, and form to what may have eluded expression before. Despite this fact, “atmospheric” may be the best adjective available to describe “Beautiful People”, Mark Pritchard’s latest psycho-electronic collaboration with Radiohead’s Thom Yorke. Which is to say, the track is less a musical composition than an atmosphere as such. It concisely enunciates skylines and cumulonimbus dispersions — the breaking-apart and coming-together of thunderclouds — through a single, metastasizing synth-omen, and Thom Yorke’s indecipherable lyric only adds to the looming threat these clouds pose. Listening, one is reminded of Brian Eno’s statement that the function of ambient music is “to accommodate many levels of listening attention without enforcing one in particular”, except, here, that statement is gutted: the undergirding synth motif enforces some sort of bleak reality paralyzed in a perpetual pre-maelstrom stasis, and you are left wondering — with no help from Yorke’s words — what this atmosphere plans to inflict on the earth you tread. [8/10]

Chad Miller: Musically repetitive, but it doesn’t really detract from the art due to the strength of the music and Yorke’s vocal performance. The woodwind rift sounds really good with the effects placed on the vocals, keeping up a mystic atmosphere the whole time. [8/10]

Mark Pritchard’s new album Under the Sun releases on 13 May 2016 via Warp Records.

SCORE: 7.40