Hello, I’m MusiCommentator, and boy bands are a big thing! That’s an obvious statement, I know, but I do not think some people understand how big they are. The ABC Network literally has a new show that is basically “The Voice” for boy bands. Rumor has it that the night that show premiered, God abandoned Earth.
But, let’s not get sacrilegious here. I mention the boy band thing because Louis Tomlinson, whose song I am going to review, was part of one of the biggest boy bands of all time: One Direction. I’m surprised these guys split up when they did because they could have milked the boy band cow until it was dry. These guys were internationally huge! Just last year, Forbes ranked them #2 on their global celebrity list for making the most money, only being beaten out by Taylor Swift! That is a big accomplishment. But, because their whiny boys in their twenties, they broke up the band, and now they are all taking their own solo routes.
Zayn Malik was the first the start his solo career, since he left 1D before they even broke up. His song “PILLOWTALK” was a huge single and helped sell his album well. After One Direction officially broke up, Niall Horan was the first to come out with a song. It was not too popular, but his more recent one, “Slow Hands”, has done a good job staying high on the Apple Charts at the moment. Harry Styles is the only other one so far to come out with a full length project and it is still rolling around in success. While I have not listened to the album yet (even if it is on my phone), I am a big fan of the single from it “Sign Of The Times”. Liam Payne was the penultimate member to make a solo debut with his song “Strip That Down”, and while it is awful pop garbage, it is different (and might I say somewhat matured) from the boy band style
Louis Tomlinson, however, was the last to show up to the party. Besides for a couple of songs he did with Steve Aoki, this is the first solo release he has had. It has done fairly well, but is in no means is it the most popular song out right now. If you were to ask me a year ago, I would not have cared to even listen to this song. However, in light of some of the other former 1D members actually making decent music and the fact that Bebe Rexha is featured on this song, I decided to give Louis Tomlinson’s song “Back To You” (featuring Bebe Rexha and Digital Farm Animals) a listen.
Firstly, I would like to talk about the instrumental to this song. I’m not sure what else Digital Farm Animals has worked on, and he might be a good producer in his other works, but he did not do a very good job on this. When the beat starts, it is just so lackluster that is makes me want to fall asleep. It is just so slow, and since he is popular enough to get a feature for his production work, I’d expect it to be a bit better. The rest is decent until it gets to the chorus. By the ambient snares and the general fullness of the beat breakdown for the chorus, I assume that he’s trying to get the “emotional club hit” vibe, but the melancholic piano throughout it–which works fine for the rest of the song–just brings down the chorus too much to make me not even want to bob my head to it.
But, beat work, while it is important, does not ultimately make a song good or bad. For that, let’s take a look at the lyrics.
“I know you say you know me, know me well
But these days I don’t even know myself, no
I always thought I’d be with someone else
I thought I would own the way I felt, yeah”
So, Bebe takes the first verse, and her vocals are fine. I like her unique voice on most tracks (even if I don’t like all of her tracks. I mainly just like her singles), and her voice works fine here. Her lyrics here are okay. It sets the scene about her being rattled up by a rocky relationship. This verse specifically shows that she is at a mental crossroads on what to do with this person in her life, and I can dig that.
“I call you but you never even answer
I tell myself I’m done with wicked games
But then I get so numb with all the laughter
That I forget about the pain”
The pre-chorus starts and the stereotypical lyrics are showing themselves. The second half of the pre-chorus is not that bad, but the first part is a pretty predictable set of lines. Nonetheless, it works here, so I’ll give it a pass right now. I know I did not like the beat for the chorus, but let’s see if the lyrics are good.
“Whoa, you stress me out, you kill me
You drag me down, you f*** me up
We’re on the ground, we’re screaming
I don’t know how to make it stop
I love it, I hate it, and I can’t take it
But I keep on coming back to you”
Okay, now this is some really stereotypical “broken relationship pop song” stuff. Even if I haven’t, I feel like I’ve heard all of these lines in different songs before. They are all just so cliché for a song like this. Still, Bebe Rexha’s voice does a good job carrying the melodies, which makes this song somewhat better so far.
But, let’s get to the main artist. Louis Tomlinson.
“I know my friends, they give me bad advice
Like move on, get you out my mind
But don’t you think I haven’t even tried?
You got me cornered and my hands are tied”
First of all, let me talk about his voice. All the other 1D members’ style matured. Zayn took the modern R&B road. Harry, even if his songs can still appeal to the teenage girls, are also enjoyable for those like me. Niall’s songs have gotten an indie vibe to them. And even Liam, whose one song he has put out so far is still radio bait, has a more matured voice and tone. Louis, however, is lacking in this growth department. His voice sounds exactly like he belongs back in a boy band. Sure, he was in a boy band before, so having a boy band voice makes some sense, but all of the other former band mates have moved on. Their styles now seem fresh and unique compared to their older work. Louis is just stagnant right now. Even the lyrics are boy band material. They sound like they came right out of a five-year old’s diary!
Though I am not going to analyze the chorus again, since I just did, I would like to point out that his voice sounds very synthesized in it. When he gets to the “I love it, I hate it, and I can’t take it/But I keep on coming back to you” part, I feel like I’m listening to a computer system sing, and if I wanted to hear that, I would listen to a new Lil Wayne track.
“And I guess you’ll never know
All the bulls*** that you put me through
And I guess you’ll never know, no”
I think I should have expected more lines like this. Just so bland and so predictable.
Honestly, now that I am looking back, I think the only two lines that were somewhat creative throughout this entire song were “But then I get so numb with all the laughter” and “Yeah, so you can cut me up and kiss me harder”, and those were both sung on this track by the singer I actually like.
Overall, this song was like a roller coaster, and I do not like roller coasters. And, if it was a roller coaster, it would probably be a log ride, because it is straight for a few seconds, then just drops down. Like I mentioned, the beat is below sub par. I was expecting more from Louis’s voice, but I was heavily disappointed. Bebe was the only one with a good voice on this track. And the lyrics…gosh, the lyrics! It’s just one big drawl of easily forseeable, cheesy, hackneyed adages. That is really sad, saying that there are five writers on this track. I would be glad to give this song a one, but Bebe’s voice and it’s marginally (I stress marginally) catchy beat make me compelled to give this song a 1.5 out of 5. Do you agree?
Thank you for reading my “Back To You” song review. If you liked this review, make sure to follow my website, like this post, and be sure to check in to read my future reviews. Also, if you have something you want to see me review, tell me in the comments. Until then, stay safe from the possible One Direction fans that might come at me and anyone who agrees with this article for having a different opinion! I know I will.