Sometimes dance music is pop music, whether we'd like to admit it or not. It's a minefield out there, dangerous enough that Jamie Jones felt the need to defend himself publicly for his latest single hitting the UK Top 40. But "Benediction," the newest missive from his Hot Natured project with label co-founder Lee Foss (and vocalist Ali Love), isn't a play for the charts or a sell-out move. In fact, it's not even that different from last year's "Forward Motion"—rather, it's a careful step in the same direction and a fantastic one at that. "Benediction" is a successful pop song because it tramples on the parts of "Forward Motion" that felt hesitant. Frankly, it deserves its success.
"Benediction" is every bit the archetypal Hot Creations track, distilled down to the barest elements: classic drum sounds, misty Italo synths and triumphant chords. The song is an ode to domestic bliss and holds itself in a captured ecstasy like the best songs of its ilk, a great way to end a set with a dignified bang. Best of all, Love's vocal is smooth and savvy; the way his voice contours around the beats, sliding seductively on "benediction for my heart and soul," is miles ahead of so much rote vocal house.
The EP comes packed with an instrumental—revealing the track's surprisingly icy skeleton, testifying to the warmth of Ali Love's voice—and a dub mix as well. The latter stutters and climaxes where the original is a slow-burner, something to keep a set percolating rather than wind it down. Things are rounded off with an unnecessary MK remix of "Forward Motion," which takes away most of its personality and replaces it with cheap Kinchen signifiers. Regardless, "Benediction" towers over the EP—a ubiquitous hit for all the right reasons.