There's no questioning the track's construction: the sound design, progression and lyrical themes are as fun as can be, but for me there's no comparing the studio version with the live version. The key to "Helpline" is its raw, organic and human nature, but that gets lost in the almost stagnant studio mix. At times I have trouble making out the lyrics, and for some reason the mixing of elements seems muddy. Of course this is in comparison to the stripped back live version, which is more easily mixed.
Now I don't mean for this to come across as me knocking Mura Masa or anyone else involved on "Helpline," I just think it's better suited to a live performance. There are plenty of examples of this elsewhere, of which Haim is perhaps the best. I first came across them when they played Jimmy Kimmel Live! (here). I absolutely loved their live performance (in part because of Este's Bass Face), but when I listened to the album cuts I felt a little underwhelmed. Of course live and studio are not going to be exactly the same, live allows for more experimentation and playfulness whereas studio recordings serve a different purpose. Regardless, the vast disparity can be frustrating to some. I guess what I'm trying to say is that I still love "Helpline" and consider it one of my favourite productions of the year, I just see the live version as the more true to itself depiction. It's without a doubt the one track I'm most excited to see at WayHome. If you're like me, and need to have that live version on repeat, I've uploaded it for download via mediafire here.
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