Rudimental – “Sun Comes Up” feat. James Arthur (Singles Going Steady)

Arthur's laid-back vocal style here is what drives the song from forgettable territory into "I wouldn't turn it off if I heard it on the radio."

Mike Schiller: This is a fine way to continue on with the ridiculous success of James Arthur’s own “Say You Won’t Let Go”, though it’s not nearly as catchy as that massive pop hit. The “Stripped Version” linked here is most certainly the preferred way to listen to the song, concentrating on Arthur’s appealing voice rather than Rudimental’s beats and synth work — Arthur’s laid-back vocal style here is what drives the song from forgettable territory into “I wouldn’t turn it off if I heard it on the radio.” Simple, relaxed, and direct is a valid approach even if its results aren’t particularly memorable. [6/10]

Chris Ingalls: The unplugged vibe is nice and provides welcome warmth and an organic simplicity that you don’t hear enough in mainstream pop. James Arthur’s voice has a quality that’s both soothing and urgent, but there’s a bit too much dramatic “oversinging” going on as well. Mostly enjoyable but overstays its welcome a wee bit, even after a little more than three minutes. [7/10]

Steve Horowitz: James Arthur has a terrific way of expressing himself. While the song’s concerns are vague, he makes the listener feel as if one understands the trials and tribulations the singer has experienced. The other performers understand how to properly compliment his voice by adding just the right accents — whether percussive, rhythmic, or harmonic. There is nothing new here, but that’s kind of the point. Life and healing go on. Arthur reaffirms one’s faith in the sun that continues to rise every morning. All hail new beginnings! [8/10]

Ian Rushbury: “Sun Comes Up” is a pleasant tune, sung quite well. It trots along at mid-tempo and time passes. When it stops, if you can remember any of it, apart from the minimal hookline in the chorus, then you’re a better man than I. Unremarkable, but unremarkable in a way that’ll probably get a zillion hits on YouTube, 30 minutes after release. [4/10]

Adriane Pontecorvo: On the one hand, James Arthur has a good voice, and Rudimental’s acoustic version of “Sun Comes Up” is soulful and heartfelt. On the other hand, there’s nothing new happening here, and both versions of the song sound like a song you’d get confused with every other song on mainstream radio in the mid-to-late 2000s. This is an enjoyable track to bop along to, but it’s forgettable even in this marginally more striking, stripped down form. [5/10]

Tristan Kneschke: Rudimental’s catalogue is heavily informed by drum n’ bass, a style that originated in their native England. Propelled by a variety of vocal talent, their work ranges from high-octane breakbeats (“Not Giving In”, “Waiting All Night”) to slow soulful jams (“Free”, “Common Emotion”). But your reaction to “Sun Comes Up”, mumbled by pouty pretty boy James Arthur, will depend on whether you consider Ed Sheeran’s “Shape of You” the sonic equivalent of waterboarding (Rudimental has already worked with Sheeran twice). It’s a problem when backup singers are the best element of a track. Perfect for your kid sister’s sweet 16. [3/10]

Paul Carr: What begins as a pleasant enough seaside strum with acoustic guitars and an inoffensive calypso beat soon gets smothered with a bland modern pop sheen that sucks any originality out of it. Arthur’s voice, while functional, lacks real character and the occasional yelps and shrieks in the background sound like a man who has accidentally brought up his zipper a little too quickly. It’s a light summer tune devoid of any real substance which only manages to resonate with the resounding thud of inanity. [4/10]

A Noah Harrison: When the video begins, James Arthur perplexingly sings into a microphone somehow rigged in the middle of a prairie at dusk, surrounded by a group of attractive, silhouetted backup singers we’re not meant to care about, and everyone bobs their head a little ‘cause they’re all feeling it — that meeting of light Auto-Tuned vox and light acoustic strummage, and I’ll be honest I’m not familiar with Rudimental, but RateYourMusic lists them as “drum and bass”, “liquid funk (?)” and “deep house,” and none of those this is — not even close, so this supposed Rudimental song featuring James Arthur might as well be credited in reverse, and that’s not to glamorize Arthur, whose voice sounds affected and occasionally enters that kind of strained, impassioned, diet-grunge mode, and though it’s hard to deny the hook, goddamn, songs like these are why they came up with “adult contemporary”. [2/10]

Chris Thiessen: A catchy upbeat summer collaboration from the drum and bass group and the deeper-voiced, mumblier version of Ed Sheeran. The stripped version, however, lacks some of the energy of the studio cut which benefits from a fuller array of synths, steel drums, and marimba. [6/10]

SCORE: 5.00