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Music

RJD2 - "The Sheboygan Left" (Singles Going Steady)

RJD2 seems to be throwing so many things at the wall just to see what sticks. Fortunately, almost everything here does.

Chris Ingalls: Using a brittle, stuttering funk beat as its base, the song moves around through a variety of different styles and motifs, but there’s a pulse that runs through the whole thing that makes it utterly danceable. RJD2 seems to be throwing so many things at the wall just to see what sticks. Fortunately, almost everything here does. Solid. [9/10]

Emmanuel Elone: I really wanted to like this song. The funky groove was there, some nice synths were laid down, and the keys and trumpets worked well also. However, the song took a full minute to transition from the intro, and I was kind of disappointed that there were no vocals on it. Also, the bridge and climax was not nearly as impressive as it could have been. The drums, backing vocals and horns weren't that great, and it fell a bit flat for me overall. If the runtime was shortened from almost five minutes to maybe three and a half, and if someone sang over this, I would have enjoyed it much more. As it stands, it's not bad, but it gives the listener false expectations that it never plans to meet. [4/10]

Pryor Stroud: Gifted with new-school hip-hop charisma and tutored in progressive funk uplift, RJD2 is an instrumentalist who, by the skin of his teeth, refrains from arming every track he writes with a four-octave vocal eruption. "The Sheboygan Left" has maybe three or four encrypted-soul expanses that, while wordless, could easily cradle diaphragm-racking vocal detonations, particularly the mountaintop brass section that arouses, anchors, and eventually climaxes the track. Yet these expanses never feel incomplete: the absence of a signer doesn't cripple with song with a vacancy that should be filled, but rather gives RJD2 the space to send his gunpowder dynamics to unprecedented heights. [7/10]

Dami Solebo: Nicely layered track that doesn’t need expansive lyrics to bring complement. The transition in the middle is a little odd, but the end of the song is substantial. [7/10]

Stephen Wyatt: Carrying J. Dilla's flag while continuing his crusade, RJD2 creates a bombastic track with an expanded palette of samples calling to mind James Brown's famous horn section, the J.B.'s. Spinning perfect soul fire that puts to rest his past failings, RJD2's momentum changes greatly in anticipation of his upcoming album, Dame Fortune. [6/10]

Chad Miller: The chorus was meant to play at the end of a Pixar movie, and everything else sounds like video game music. There's a lot going on, but it's grounded by its optimistic intent. [7/10]

John Bergstrom: It kind of has that ‘70s Miles Davis vibe, but a little stranger and, on the chorus, a little prettier. So it’s interesting but not necessarily something you'd feel the need to listen to more than once or twice. [6/10]

RJD2's new album Dame Fortune releases March 25th.

SCORE: 6.57

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