Well, if Ed Sheeran and Justin Bieber don't care, why should I?
All jokes aside, Ed Sheeran's in-eclipsable year of 2017 will probably never be forgotten, while Justin Bieber's rise back to the world of pop seemed easier than it looked, and pairing those two together should, by all accounts, should actually work. Spoiler: it doesn't.
I've been listening to this song on repeat for the past week or so, and I've garnered all my thoughts and I'm going to lay it bare right here, on this invisible table. Let's talk about what worked, because I think it's easier.
The song, for the most part, really delivers a good-enough chorus that works well in its favour. I can see the song developing a trend in the future in which we will hear more dancehall tracks, but for the most part, the song incorporates the elements well enough.
I Don't Care also does have some good addition of textures, like a punchy bass that gets introduced after the first chorus, adding handclaps during the bridge, dollying up the song as much as possible to not make it feel flat. To the song's credit, the discovery of new instruments and production is cool, but the feeling doesn't last long enough for a lasting impression.
I'm trying to think of anything that's good or okay, and other than the Ed and Justin's almost-there chemistry, there really is none to talk about.
Sigh. Let's get into what I Don't Care didn't work.
First of all, who's idea was it to have both of them to collaborate together without a distinct sound standing between them? For the majority of the last-half of the song, it was hard to decipher who was who, and which artist was singing which line, and which artist was singing higher ranges and which wasn't. Ed Sheeran's delivery and Justin Bieber's suave vocals are just not enough to separate each other on the song. Because of their same-same delivery, the rest of the song just feels so stale and you don't really get a sense of progression.
Secondly, who's idea was it to have some light reggae elements on an electronic, dancehall song? Shellback? Max Martin? It was the most out-of-place thing since Halsey said she was an alternative artist. To make matters worse, the other elements around begin to drown out the production and sinks it during the chorus. Everything about this song doesn't sound cohesive, and it feels like the songwriters, artists and producers all had a different idea for what they wanted the song to be. Focus it up!
Lastly (because I'm just too tired to really name all of them), there's just a misuse of talent here. Instead of putting the artists upfront, the production decides to take the gauntlet and wear it, making the song stink in almost every department. Ed Sheeran's vocal delivery becomes muddied, and his talent for a knack of good songwriting disappears immediately as soon as his vocals come out. And you have Justin Bieber, who just seemed to be an afterthought on the verses and the bridge. Why? Two of the biggest artists in the world, put to a muddled track that can't even lift five feet off from the ground.
Let's be honest, maybe it's my lack of expectations, maybe it's because I'm tired of the pop world. But nope, after listening to it for almost 30 times back-to-back, this is my honest opinion. For 3-and-half-minutes, I'll give the song credit -- it felt much faster than that.
I Don't Care is rushed, full of diluted elements and production that sprays more than it hits. Justin Bieber and Ed Sheeran are okay, and the song is, as much as I have placed so many negative lids on it, is at bare minimum listenable. I might change my mind a week or two from now as the song explodes over the radio and everywhere else.
Benny Ong: Just your regular guy who likes soccer more than most people, and also a little downtime is pretty nice.