[Review] Lay’s “Lit” is just about anything but

Lay has a storied past on this site, scoring a few of my more colorful reviews. To be honest, I have a soft spot for his music – even if I dislike most of it. More often than not, his songs feel committed to taking the worst possible turns whenever the opportunity presents itself. I can respect that kind of consistency, even if I don’t ever want to listen to it. New single Lit (莲) comes packaged with a gorgeous, cinematic music video that’s brilliantly over the top. I only wish that some of that budget and ambition made its way down to the song itself.

If I’m feeling polite, the best way to describe Lit is “minimalist.” If I’m being more honest, I’d call it “indulgent.” And from a strictly musical perspective, I’m just going to say that it’s not for me. I still remember the time when Lay was a vocalist – not the posturing swag-machine he is now. Lit isn’t so much a song as it is a declaration, laid over the barest of instrumentation. As an album introduction or performance piece, I suppose this works. But, there’s little to grab onto if you’re listening to the track apart from the music video.

I hesitate to call what Lay is doing here “rap.” It sounds more like a drunk phone message put to music. The flow is so oddly fractured — and interjected with so many grunts and mumbled asides — that it loses all continuity. By the time he’s declaring how “lit” he is (over and over and over again), the track has devolved into a parody of itself. Oddly, this is kind of enjoyable, but not in the way I’m sure he intended. The traditional instrumentation is a nice touch. I’m just disappointed that it’s tied to a lifeless trap beat and muffled distortion that makes the whole track feel suffocating. Lit scores a few extra points for its sheer WTFery, but I think the novelty will wear off quickly. Watch the video, though. It’s a lot of fun!

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IATFB says: It’s as if a shoddily-made shirt with “I <3 police brutality” screen printed on it became a song.

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