Credit must be given to New Hampshire producer Octo Octa for choosing a good place to start. Amerie’s “1 Thing” was the sort of universally-loved pop song that, once or twice a year, is embraced by everyone who hears it. “I’m Trying” is a minimal house track built from a clipped snippet of Amerie’s voice, paired with a spacious, vaguely island-inspired beat. Octo Octa keeps Amerie’s vocals from truly unfurling, using the sample as a pop Easter egg that colors the sparse production with a comforting warmth. While the track begins with soft, muted pulses it eventually builds, then breaks, then builds again, the slick synths sculpting dance floor zen. It’s always fun to see pop music re-contextualized, and “I’m Trying” is a superb example of how, even stripped of genre and recognizable melody, we love hearing a familiar voice on the dance floor. (Altered Zones)
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