Motive - Single (2021)
Review By Kimberly Raschka Sailor
February 10, 2022
There's definitely a sophistication to Motive. If you like the opening, you'll like the middle and end, too; unfortunately, the song doesn't change much despite many opportunities to take creative risks and shake it up. This single quickly sets to cruise control; the music sounds nice, but just doesn't grow.
Still, this is a comfortable highway cruise. The Class Notes have a fine lead behind the wheel in Samantha Vara; she's got a cool, controlled instrument that just slides into a sweet spot and stays with you. But the rest of the piece shifts into this finger-tapping/light shoulder sway tempo, groove, and dynamic level without ever hitting the gas. When the meter does change for a few clicks near the end, it's wonderfully noticeable; it could have been more exciting much earlier.
Turns out the cosmic soundscape/trippy beats in Ariana Grande's original really fills the piece out in a way not felt from The Class Notes. I hear the attempts at vocal reinterpretations built into the arrangement, but the sultry sizzle isn't popping through by the vocals. I'd like to hear some distinctive and confident moments; the arrangement and studio work offers a great framework for much more horsepower.
With a full album in the review queue at RARB, we'll soon hear if a longer running time gives listeners what they need to connect to The Class Notes.