For better or for worse, I haven’t given up on Azealia Banks: Sure, her endlessly delayed debut LP Broke With Expensive Taste appears to be dying a slow death. Yes, there’s been a lot of artistic confusion and mismanaged expectations. (Can you buy “Yung Rapunxel” on iTunes? Does anyone know? What’s happening with “ATM Jam”? Also, is it any good?) And admittedly, she’s repeatedly humiliated herself, alienated her fans and given the appearance of being utterly loathsome on social media.
But there’s still something absolutely riveting about her, right? I should know better. But I still root for her.
So! Yesterday, Banks unveiled a new song, “Venus (Ibiza Edition),” which is a collaboration with uber-DJ Paul Oakenfold and Richard Beynon (likely for Oakenfold’s upcoming LP Pop Killer or a free giveaway, rather than anything for Banks’ evanescent album-to-be). Turns out that “Venus” is a monster house track that bears more in common with her Scissor Sisters collaboration (as Krystal Pepsi) “Shady Love” than with anything she’s done as a solo artist: It’s light and bright and mainstream.
If it were from any other artist, a song like “Venus” would just feel predictable in its house-pop stylings, but because it’s coming from Banks, who’s as self-important about her artistry as anyone, the conventionality of the track serves as its own middle finger to the status quo. Her come-hither murmuring in French is great, the hook is her most infectious since “212,” and refreshingly, this song is less about her rage and about something easier and less muscular than that. Even if there was a magnetic quality to the violence and vitriol of “Yung Rapunxel,” the unapologetic euphoria of this no-holds-barred house anthem feels like a more natural place for her.
In short, Azealia Banks: Please stop trying so hard to make a statement and just make more good music that will make me want to dance. This one works.
Azealia Banks x Paul Oakenfold x Richard Beynon — “Venus (Ibiza Edition)”
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