If Kendrick and SZA could convert critical goodwill into a source of energy they’d power a major city for approximately seven thousand years. Lamar and SZA are still indie darlings even since they’ve gone on to champion their genre of literate R&B.
The last time these two collaborated, it was on SZA’s ‘Doves in the Wind’, a story of sexual liberation rendered in the most graphic language imaginable. That’s been toned down just a tad on ‘All The Stars’, a song written for a Marvel movie no less.
The super-personal, bizarro musings of these two are a poor fit for tent-pole summer blockbusters. The only way they can make it fit is by sanding down their rougher points to a cheaper, smoother veneer.
Kendrick’s fierce flow has been notably slowed and staggered, sounding like a demo from DAMN. played at half speed. SZA too has been burnished up to the point she sounds a bit like Ellie Goulding which is pretty unsettling for those familiar with SZA’s work and ethos.
Despite these criticisms, this is an enjoyable pop tune. ‘All The Stars’ is a smooth, assured listen. Humming keyboards and drum machines fit the pop-friendly mould of 808s & Heartbreak.
Despite their throwaway contributions to some mainstream hits, neither SZA nor Lamar have ever gone for the pop jugular. This is the first time they have made a song specifically geared towards the pallet of the listener. While some of their finer points have been lost, the end result is a pleasing radio-ready sound.