Fred Again.. – Billie (In Loving Arms)

86%%Overall Score

• Ingenious sampling choice
• Upbeat instrumental
• Great homage to an evergreen hit

It was about time that Fred Again.. would become a subject to one of my articles. After the delayed realization and discovery of his earlier successes, I was enthusiastically ready to cover any of his latest single. And there couldn’t be any better time (although I am late to the party by… two weeks I suppose?). After the premier of “Billie (In Loving Arms)” on last Friday of August, the single has successfully raked over a million plays on Spotify alone. Talk about a hit in the making. Anyways, this written piece will reveal my happenstance with his vibrant assortment of productions and my further thoughts about his latest work.

It was earlier this rather drab year that algorithms did their trick and gave me a taste of Fred’s unbridled talents. “Marea (We’ve Lost Dancing)” wasn’t just a textbook song that I would listen and move over. Perhaps a lot of people reading this might already be reminiscing of the bittersweet feelings it evoked. Containing a sample of the alluring voice of Blessed Madonna having a tête-à-tête with the London native, the chiming and bright lead synth with the uplifting narrative soothed many a listeners harrowed by their recently restricted lives. Here’s what made it so touching: the heartfelt and almost personal choice of theme. The British producer keeps a brilliant tendency to record over random voices or snippets of other tracks, then sampling it in a meticulous yet creative makeovers. There’s this sense of DIY knack that the said alias emanates with his methodology; the simplistic yet groove-focused beats that center around their main protagonist: the recorded sample. It is this eccentricity which has helped Fred find a blasting success over the past few months.

Moving over to this review’s focus, the original that inspired the creation shares an even greater history. “Your Loving Arms”, sung by the German songstress Billie Ray Martin, has been declared a bona fide chartbuster long ago. Released over two decades back, the uplifting Eurodance classic became a favourite among UK and Italy denizens, later inducted faithfully into the “Greatest Dance Singles Of All Time“ by Mixmag. Fred took the main hook from here, pitched it playfully over a percussion heavy House beat that doesn’t boast high-end synths, but rather genuine sampling and an ear-catchy beat to go along with it. Throughout the arrangements, the ‘happy-go-lucky’ attitude propel the colourful rhythms, with a non-intrusive sub bassline holding the base. Background elements such as the vocal adlibs adds more to the charm, assisting the instrumental in remaining lively and not sparse. The uncomplicated yet satisfying experience imparts the positive sentiments expected, as one is left appreciating the nifty cadence afterwards.

In a world of over-produced and blaring electronic releases, “Billie (In Loving Arms)” comes off as an old-school yet refreshing encounter that speaks volumes about its creator’s passionate experimentations. My anticipations and hopes remain high for Fred’s future projects, as he seldom disappoints.

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