Khalid and Normani’s “Love Lies” impresses with its R&B beats and flirtatious lyrics. In three minutes of trading cutesy love lines, Khalid and Normani use their easy-going personalities as fuel for proving themselves worthy of loving and trusting each other.
This single is just one of the songs for the motion picture soundtrack “Love Simon”, a new romantic comedy. It is also the first time that Normani is producing music outside of platinum pop group, Fifth Harmony. Between her inexperience of producing alone and Khalid’s short time as an independent artist, I didn’t know what to expect. However, I was pleasantly surprised by what the two put together.
The beat is set up by the crackling of speakers and an electric guitar playing methodical, bluesy chords. Khalid then jumps in with snapping and synthesized drums to express how a beautiful woman caught his eye and earned his trust. His tempo and emotion echo his “Young, Dumb, and Broke” which earned him well-deserved respect as an artist.
As the first chorus develops he and Normani challenge each other to be vulnerable as they shift octaves and harmonize together. Their vocals beautifully dance around the melody and their breathy notes add an extra layer of intimacy. This connection becomes increasingly evident in Normani’s verses.
Normani exerts Christina Aguilera-like groans and growls in her middle register that provide earnestness and sincerity to her calls for love. Her moment of brilliance, however, comes right before the second chorus. As she sings “craving our synergy”, her delicate head voice thickens the sexual tension and sets up another back and forth with Khalid. Together, their passionate chemistry and mutual feelings of falling for one another dominate the remaining minute. As their voices fade off, soothing guitar chords close out the track while the tapping drums hush to pure silence.
While this single is definitely one of 2018’s best, it has two flaws. The first is the lack of diversity in the drum tempos. At certain points in the single, the drums seem to be pounded with energy. Ultimately though, they are bland and could use some variations. Had the two put a little extra into the chorus, the song would have benefitted significantly.
My second critique is minor, but it could have added an extra edge to the piece. It would be nice to hear a softer side to Khalid. Using his falsetto would have helped him match the emotion that Normani eloquently displays. Or, if he used a grunt here and there, his breathier notes would have had more value in their intimacy.
R&B I RCA Records