Azealia Banks – Chasing Time – Review

Barry Quinn

Barry Quinn is an English Language and Literature graduate and a Creative Writer MA studier. He is an aspiring creative and professional writer and is currently in the process of writing his first novel. His writing blog can be viewed here: https://barrygjquinn.wordpress.com You can follow him on Twitter at: @mrbarryquinn

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Azealia Banks recently said that ‘Chasing Time’, the third single from the forever-delayed Broke with Expensive Taste, is ‘the one’. She premiered it at her recent string of shows and told a sweet tale of its inception. Apparently her album is full of ‘cool songs’, but none of which are particularly radio-friendly. At the request of her record label to create something more accessible, Banks went back into the studio and created this gem.

The live version was brilliant; the album version is stunning. It leaked online yesterday (22 September), so Banks seriously needs to get it on iTunes as soon as possible lest her promotional plan will be in ruins. With the right promotion, ‘Chasing Time’ could impact the charts. That said, ‘212’ is laced with swearing and that reached number 11, so she doesn’t necessarily need a radio-friendly song to make an impact. She just needs the right song. And ‘Chasing Time’ is it.

Whereas previous track ‘Heavy Metal and Reflective’ was hard, heavy and in-your-face with a beat that didn’t give up, ‘Chasing Time’ is a ditty 90s house track combining sultry beats, tripping synths and gorgeous vocals. Most of what Banks has previously released in the form of singles or promotional singles has consisted of rapping; here she blends singing and rapping effortlessly. Her silky vocals are just as compelling as her one-million-bars-a-second rapping style. She has a voice that begs to be listened to.

‘Nigga’ and ‘bitchy’ aside, ‘Closing Time’ consists of NO swearing (yes, you read that right). The song details wasting time on somebody and the decision to be alone. She sings, ‘I’m born to dance in the moonlight/I like spending my nights alone’ over a trippy-yet-smooth beat which demands the listener dance along with her. Like you could stop yourself.

Over the chorus she asks, ‘Am I chasing time?/Cause I wasted all mine on you’. This is likely a self-referential statement which a lot of her fans will have experienced at some point – Broke with Expensive Taste was originally touted for a 2013 release. Recent rumours have us believe it’ll be out in early 2015. So a lot of her fans will likely be thinking they’re wasting time on her.

She makes another self-referential statement during the bridge, saying: ‘My attitude is bitchy but you already knew that/and since we can’t get along/I think we should both move on’. Banks knows that she is controversial but that is all a part of her appeal now. She is bitchy – people need to accept that and move on. She isn’t going to change for anybody. And nor would we want her to.

Here her rapping is more refined than her previous efforts and you get a sense that she has genuinely listened to her record label to produce something that will get radio play. The true test of the song will come when it’s played in clubs – but partygoers will lap this one up. It has the potential to outgrow ‘212’, and that is saying something.

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