Single Review: Wretch 32 ft. Josh Kumra – ‘Don’t Go’

“Little more than an inconsequential moan about one’s misfortune on the love front, with a pretty chorus melody”


Digital Release: August 14, 2011

Physical Release: N/A

Ballads aren’t selling very well these days. Conventional ballads; the big blub-fests that make us want to crawl into a corner and mope unashamedly by ourselves whilst we pretend to have a connection to the lyrics, have been experiencing a popularity decline since 2008, with only brief moments breaking this new tradition in the intervening three years. It seems that in this day and age where everyone just wants a good party, ballads will only sell well on three conditions. The first being if Adele is involved somewhere, the second being a ballad ‘discovered’ and ‘championed’ by Radio 1 (Ed Sheeran’s ‘The A Team’, Christina Perri’s ‘Jar Of Hearts’) and the third being the ilk that ‘Don’t Go’ springs up from. Said ilk being an alternative variation of a relatively underground genre like grime, hip hop or garage, where some reputable rapper-type goes all confessional and retrospective while some unknown crooner wheezes out an emotional chorus, thus commercialising what would otherwise be three tuneless minutes of heavily depressive, love-drunk murmurings amidst a miserably minimalist production.

‘Don’t Go’ conforms to that mould in all senses, with a cry from formulaic tendencies obvious in Kumra’s randomised appearances and one Jermaine Scott’s poor rapping technique; a slurred script of obtusely felt lyrics delivered in a disjointed rhythm. And even though some of his lyrics struggle gallantly to instil the sense of angst-driven stirrings of a troubled soul, others like “Puppy love, I’m like give a dog a bone” fail spectacularly and stick out as laughable attempts at slick lyricism. 

On the production front, ‘Don’t Go’s faux-á capella creates a very laid-back, chilled out vibe and with the heavy drums at work when Kumra takes the reigns for the chorus, a thread of musical cohesion presents itself from out of the lovelorn rumblings of the trundling verses. But the soulless interjections of Scott’s muttered dialogue clash with Kumra’s reedy tones even in the chorus – whose own lyrics aren’t really up to scratch – and render an attempt at empathy little more than an inconsequential moan about one’s misfortune on the love front, with a pretty chorus melody. The final result being a precious piece of wimpy love poetry saturated in it’s own colourless passiveness.

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