Crush is one of those artists that I want to love. Watching him on variety shows like I Live Alone reveals a quirky, oddly charismatic personality that doesn’t always translate to his music. In the world of solo r&b acts, he’s got that extra little something that makes him stand out. But as his popularity has grown, his releases have started to lose me. It’s not a matter of being a total change in style (he composes or co-composes all of his stuff, after all), but more that this particular sound has become so prevalent in the past two years. It takes a truly memorable song to stand out.
Outside is that memorable song… in pieces. My thoughts toward it can be divided between the verses and chorus, which contrast greatly. The verses represent the side of Crush’s music that just doesn’t connect with me. They’re groove-based to the point of feeling freeform. Lucky for Crush, his vocals are idiosyncratic enough to draw attention on their own. Otherwise, there’s little to grab onto beyond the light funk of the instrumental. This improvisational feel fits right within his wheelhouse, but runs the risk of coming across as self-indulgent rather than inclusive.
Outside‘s chorus streamlines things with its simple refrain. It’s certainly not one of Crush’s stickiest hooks, but I appreciate how the tempo rises to give the track the oomph it’s been missing. The soulful backing vocals are a nice touch, helping to bolster the strength of the arrangement. It’s just a shame that this focus doesn’t extend to the entire track, which continues to meander towards its conclusion with a languid sense of wanderlust.