Pop Perspective: Nick Jonas & Tove Lo’s “Close” Rated And Reviewed
At Idolator, the editors share a passion for high-quality pop. Occasionally, our tastes align. Other times, not so much! So, in the spirit of debate (and online drama), we’ve developed a recurring feature called Pop Perspective. Basically, all of the editors dissect a particularly noteworthy pop happening, and give it a rating out of 10.
That way you’re getting a full spectrum of views and we can all vent. (It’s cheaper than therapy!) The latest pop event to be dragged under the Idolator microscope is Nick Jonas and Tove Lo’s “Close,” which is the first taste of the heartthrob’s new LP Last Year Was Complicated. Is the slinky duet another gem like “Jealous” or have they slightly missed the mark? See our thoughts below.
Robbie Daw — 6/10
“Levels” seemed to knock Nick Jonas off track from the hit streak he was having with “Jealous” and “Chains,” so it makes sense that things would get brought down a notch for the lead single from his upcoming album. “Close” is nice, and Tove Lo is a decent addition here, but it isn’t a song I’d peg as a single. If anything, it plays like a soft album closer or bonus track. Points for a mesmerizing ballad overall, but it just feels a bit too safe.
Carl Williott — 6.5/10
I can’t help but compare Nick to Zayn Malik right now, since they both have new drops today and they’re both solo dudes shedding their virginal boy band images. Nick’s metamorphosis into sexpot has felt more orchestrated than Zayn’s, but here he wisely goes the understated route, a counterpoint showing you don’t always have to sing about fucking to sing about fucking.
The filtered steel drums here are a cool little post-Purpose touch, but Nick’s vocals can’t quite carry a stretched-out arrangement like this the way Justin Bieber or Zayn’s can. But that’s where Tove saves it, her harmonies elevating a potentially thin midtempo cut into something more memorable, just like she did with Coldplay’s “Fun.”
Mike Wass — 7.5/10
While I disagree with Carl’s analysis of Nick’s voice, I do think the second coming of Bieber (and the emergence of Zayn, to a lesser extent) inspired him to switch up his sound. Instead of trying to beat them at their sweaty, urban-pop game, he explores more subtle terrain on “Close” — a sleek and sexy mid-tempo anthem that articulates the power of attraction without being explicit. Which isn’t as easy as it sounds.
Everyone rises to the occasion here. Songwriters du jour Julia Michaels and Justin Tranter display the restraint and insight that made their work on Selena Gomez’s Revival so great. Mattman & Robin effortlessly dial it down from the power-pop of DNCE or Gwen Stefani, while Tove Lo imbues the song with a little menace. And then there’s Nick holding the whole thing together with his smooth vocal and wide-eyed conviction. I don’t know if it’s a hit, but I like it a lot.
AVERAGE SCORE: 6.7/10