Single Review: Misha B – ‘Home Run’

“Her hastily-formed amalgam-pop sounds less like somebody confident of their own footing and more like somebody who still hasn’t found it”

2 STARS

Digital Release: July 15, 2012

Physical Release: N/A

Since Lady GaGa, for all her flaws, changed the face of modern pop music with all her high-culture name-dropping and clothes as art forms, many of pop’s previously stale female artists suddenly received a didactic image reboot – everyone from Beyoncé to Rihanna re-invented themselves upon the arrival of the more eye-catching GaGa, who paved the way for acts like Nicki Minaj to break into the mainstream. And it’s for that reason alone we have to thank for the persistence of comparatively small-time Misha B. For everything that Misha is, she would not have signed a record deal if she couldn’t promise to deliver a song like ‘Home Run’ with all the audacious bravado (however misplaced) that is required to make a song like this work in the music industry. ‘Home Run’ is one of those songs that doesn’t know what it wants to be, so it tries everything – R&B, pop, hip-hop, and even some hideous form of nondenominational gospel that makes her sound like she’s chewing on a tennis ball. And therein lies the biggest criticism about Misha B – what we see when we look at her and what we hear when we listen to her music is not something new or innovative at all, but someone happily conformist, who at the most makes a blind beeline for the extremes of popular tolerance but forgets to bring back the jewels that such extremities could bestow her with.

There’s no doubt about it – Misha turned a lot of heads when she stepped onto the X Factor stage, if not for the frankly alarming hair, then for her personality and her voice; a voice that to some sounded like ten years of Motown brilliance packaged in a single voice-box and to others sounded like an overwrought desperation to inject soul where there simply wasn’t any. But as far as is possible to tell, Misha B only wants one thing from her music – to be Misha B, and yet she fails at even that. Where we’re meant to believe Misha B is the freshest new idea in all that is pop – a luminous light bulb of pure unchartered talent territory suspended over the balding head of a label executive with pound signs rolling into his eyes – there is in fact a plethora of ways to link Misha B to almost any other popstar going. She could easily be shoehorned into a less interesting Nicki Minaj; a not-very-good Beyoncé; a poor imitation of Missy Elliott; or even an adult-orientated Cher Lloyd.

So despite Misha’s eager attempts, she still only registers as the missing link between the brazenly theatrical Nicki Minaj and the Queen of Hip-Hop, Missy Elliott, but never really scales the lofty heights that both those glorified music entities occupy, and instead looks on from the constraints that she puts herself in on ‘Home Run’. Because at least when her music industry reference points decided they wanted to sound like everyone else (see: the majority of either of Nicki Minaj’s LPs), they were still quite a lot better than everyone else. Misha instead is left as a momentary bright idea ready to quickly dim to nothing more than another ingénue chucking everything she can at a song whose polymelodic stuttering makes it impossible to hit – the energy’s there for sure, but it’s only highlights the poorly-aimed dissipation of her efforts – all under the gratuitously offensive assumption that she’s already heiress to some deserved crown of the UK chart when in fact her hastily-formed amalgam-pop sounds less like somebody confident of their own footing and more like somebody who still hasn’t found it.

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7 Comments

  1. Breath of Fresh Air

    Home Run very successfully combines dance pop, rap, reggae-fusion, drum & bass beat, perfectly complementing Misha B’s brazen, soulful vocal delivery. “The comparisons to Nicki Minaj, as the most visible female rapper at the moment, are expected, but Misha B takes the ‘Starships’ formula or half-pop/half-rap and runs with it. This isn’t a pop song with a rap tacked on top, nor is it a rap track with a dance-beat attached – ‘Home Run’ is a sensational example of how the two worlds can come together seamlessly.” Speaking about the song, Misha said: “‘Home Run’ is about that special someone who gets you so excited, so hyped that you lose control! When I perform it, I feel that same energy on stage – it makes you wanna dance!” and that it does.

    1. Gerard McGarry

      I’ve got to say, I quite enjoyed Home Run the first time I heard it. As X Factor winners’ singles go, Misha’s is probably a step above the rest of the pack.

      But I get what Dara’s saying here also – Misha’s being pitched to the public as a somewhere between Nicki Minaj and a plethora of other acts. That’s playing to what’s popular in the charts rather than playing to Misha’s strengths – she should be an edgy British urban rapper, rather than pushing out something literally any of the acts Dara mentions could have produced.

      Sadly I’m used to these feelings of being underwhelmed by X Factor acts who get swept up in the “rush a CD out quick” rather than the “develop me as an artist and build on my fanbase” route.

    2. Dara Hickey

      @ A Breath of Fresh Air:

      I didn’t ask you to score my review. And would you care to cite that quote praising ‘Home Run’?

      I would also like to know with what objective measures of quality did you find my review to be “poor”? All my points are justified, honest and expressed clearly. You might not agree with my viewpoint, but I can assure you the way I write is certainly not “poor”.

      And anyone can copy and paste quotes from Wikipedia – I myself have read the very same article, but for someone who earlier said that ‘Home Run’ was what came of a ballad about her ex, it doesn’t really make much sense to turn it into a song about nothing in particular.

  2. ThatOne

    It IS a poor review, straight from the knee-jerk “let’s kick Misha B” posse. Home Run is a great single. Period. No-one from Misha B’s people has referred to Nicki Minaj when discussing Misha B; that’s an idea launched by other poor reviewers.

    I’m only 63, and I really get Misha B.  Maybe some of the anti-Misha B brigade are older, wiser and more experienced than me.  Misha B is a great kid, a bit of a pain like many youngsters over-flowing with ideas and energy can be, but no-one who has worked with her has a bad word to say about her.  A little work would improve the quality of opinions: take your time, feed your computer output through a good hi-fi system, and listen to all the Misha B videos on YouTube. Start with “No Church in The Wild”.  Truly great music from a girl who really can sing any form of popular music, even the inappropriate choices she was forced to make by the XF formula.

    Popular music is no place for knee-jerk bias.  Condemning Rebecca and Misha B for having used a pretty tawdry talent show to hit a national audience is pointless and dumb.  They are great singers, nobody’s fools, with massive promise. Rebecca’s second album will build on the first, unless she becomes a plumber, and, based on the pointers she has given, Misha B is going to spoil us something rotten with her first album.  Meanwhile the cockroaches will scuttle more and more desperately, and, frankly my dear, I won’t give a damn.

    1. Dara Hickey

      “My dear”, that’s still not an objective measure of the quality of my review. It’s is expressed perfectly well and clear enough that you can draw a personal dislike to it, so it must be well-written. I am not asking you to subjectivity determine whether you agree with it, but the review stands for itself. It is my opinion and it will not be changed unless there is better material from Misha. I have no personal vendetta against Misha – why would I? I just feel such a voice is squandered on tasteless trend-chasing.

      No-one from Misha’s record label mentions Nicki Minaj for the same reason I post in my review: they want her to be original and fresh and stating her to be like other artists is a shot in the foot. It only takes a very minimal amount of effort to draw the comparisons. 

      And whilst Misha B may sing at the beginning of ‘Home Run’, I do not find her voice particularly interesting to listen to. It sounds bland and oversung, much like Paloma Faith’s new album.

      And don’t put words in my mouth either – where exactly did I “condemn” Rebecca Ferguson? I actually rather like her.

      If it is such a poor review, stop reading mine and write your own.

  3. ThatOne

    stop digging…

    So I wrote a complete and patient response to your last post.  Then I realised that whatever I may write that is not blindly favourable to your work would only inspire you to write another misguided piece; I scrapped it.

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