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Liam Payne has money on his mind. After releasing his debut EP First Time last year, he spent much of 2019 in the studio — or as his new single “Stack It Up” puts it, he’s been “working for it.”
“So if you wanna stack it up, man, you gotta work for it / Ain’t nobody gonna be doing it for ya,” he sings on the slick track, propelled by a charming organ riff and the sing-rap style his pal Ed Sheeran has filled stadiums perfecting. It makes sense to learn that Sheeran helped craft the track along with Fred Gibson and Steve Mac, who also helped Liam launch his solo arc in 2017 with “Strip That Down.”
It’s not easy to convincingly pull off what Sheeran can do, and with a lesser vocal talent, the overall Sheeran-ness of “Stack It Up” might cause it to crumble. But Payne’s got the chops, bounding from low croon to higher-register sultry swagger with ease. Those fluctuations are perhaps fitting for a capitalist anthem to getting paid (and working to make sure you keep getting paid).
“Stack It Up” is a swift 2:46 in length, but it still manages to lend 30 seconds to a boastful verse from A Boogie Wit Da Hoodie that also gives some life advice based on experience: “And if I ain’t have money, I woulda been lost her / The loudest ones was the brokest, I was a shit talker.” It’s the latest in A Boogie’s good year of pop appearances; he’s also surfaced on songs by Ally Brooke, Dinah Jane, Khalid, and more.
On social media, Payne said “Stack It Up” is “about working hard, being inspired and achieving your dreams.” It’s also very much about getting that money. Press play on the very arcade-centric video while you’re chasing paper above.