Perhaps the most, or only, interesting thing about the brainchild of pop colossi Ed Sheeran & Justin Bieber is the beat itself. Dancehall production may have been done to death, but the incessant punch of the rhythm here gives ‘I Don’t Care’ a distinct pulse.
Unfortunately that’s where the signs of life begin and end. ‘I Don’t Care’ isn’t really bad and you’d enjoy it after a few drinks dancing with someone you like. But then, isn’t that true of basically anything?
Bieber presents as less smug and punchable than the last time these two got together (the risible ‘Love Yourself’). That’s no hallmark of quality but the narrative is at least coherent: choosing to stay at a boring party because your S.O. is there. Fine. Not ‘Paranoid Android’ is it but we’ll take what we’re given.
What this sorely lacks is anything like a memorable melody. The hook here comes in the chorus and it’s not enough. Hate me, but I’m gonna say it. ‘Shape of You‘ had a better hook than this. In fact it had a better groove than this, and something like a progression. Come back ‘Shape of You’ I didn’t mean all those things I said.
It’s not like any of this matters. You and I both know this is going to be huge, you just can’t dampen star power like that. The first song of the summer but not the best nor ( we hope) the last.