Now, I’m not exactly the best person to give any kind of useful opinion on any type of ‘club’, ‘dance’ or ‘electronic’ music, so I think it speaks a lot for the song when I say that I absolutely love Labrinth’s new single ‘Earthquake’.
The song features long-time collaborator Tinie Tempah, returning the favour to Labrinth for producing his hit singles ‘Pass Out’, ‘Frisky’ and ‘Wonderman’, and his contribution fits in really well with the scheme of the track as a whole. Built from the ground up as an extremely modern and sleek electronic composition, ‘Earthquake’ features elements of dubstep in the main melody, although not so much that it alienates anyone listening (even a classic rock dud like me). The overall sound is an impressive feat of production, and would sound absolutely incredible through a subwoofer.
In terms of lyrical content and themes, ‘Earthquake’ is, if I’m honest, ‘just another club song’. But while the lyrics are obvious and cocky, they are still enjoyable: one of my favourite lines is “Hey Simon, we’re fucking them up/Turning them Syco, everybody rock”, which is a nod to Simon Cowell, co-founder of Labrinth’s new label Syco. Tempah also makes a cheeky reference to his number-one hit ‘Pass Out’ with the lyric “Disturbing London/Got the whole city panicking”, a song which everyone in Southampton loves for its well-known mention of the city.
Every song has its downfalls though, and ‘Earthquake’ has a few. Firstly, there’s a section in the middle of the song, just before Tempah’s rap, in which Labrinth sings the main lyrics of the song in a creepy, druid sort of way (which is all too unsubtley replicated in the music video, below). It slows the track down to literally zero, and seems really out of place, although some may credit the super-producer for his bravery in trying such a thing. The second oddity with ‘Earthquake’ concerns Tempah’s pre-rap contributions to the song. In the second chorus, Tempah shouts “Yeah” a couple of lines, which makes him sound like a pre-pubescent child and is frankly hilarious. He also does a super-long “Yeah” just before his rap, which threatens his street-cred further. The most cringeworthy part of the song also comes just before his rap, when he says “Hey yo Labrinth, this one’s feeling like a straight ten on the Richter scale, you know?”. Aside from the fact that we don’t actually even use the Richter scale anymore, the whole declaration is just plain laughable.
Overall though, Labrinth and Tinie Tempah have returned in style with ‘Earthquake’. It is the fastest-selling number-two single of the year, and is also the first single I’ve bought on iTunes in quite some time. If you like the track, make sure to check out the Benny Benassi and Noisia remixes too: the former if you want a generic club mix, the latter if you want some really heavy dubstep. A really strong single, and a massive return for Labrinth.