The new singles for your perusal – featuring lots of totally uncalled-for name-calling.
SINGLE OF THE WEEK
Yasmin – ‘Finish Line’
Some people – grannies – moan that all pop music nowadays sounds the same, it’s all bang bang bang and you can’t make out the words. This proves them wrong. There’s a nice, filthy drum sound on this so crank it up because verily it is ace. ‘Finish Line’ is not auto-tuney, and not full of those bright David Guetta house sounds that people complain about and so it’s something of a bit of fresh air. The single is also a bit of a tear-jerker in the Rihanna “mould” and has an odd stentorian voice bellowing “FINISH LINE!” every so often just so you remember you’re not listening to the new LMFAO single by mistake, which would indeed be terrible. Good tunes, sharp production AND public service. What more do you want?
Austra – ‘Lose It’
It’s time to stop referring to this stuff as “’80s-influenced synthpop”. This is what pop music sounds like now. It involves keyboards. Get over it, medieval lute fans! Moving swiftly along, Austra wowed audiences at SXSW earlier in the spring, and ‘Lose It’ pulses forward without really grabbing your attention on first listen but give it time and its melodious charm will find its way into your head. There are hardly any lyrics to speak of, so the main attraction is the single’s haunting “lilt”.
Chris Brown featuring Benny Benassi – ‘Beautiful People’
I feel uneasy saying anything positive about girl-basher Chris Brown, whose rehabilitation into the pop fold has been troublingly swift and comprehensive. In many ways – and youth isn’t an excuse – he is a very bad man, and to make matters worse this collaboration with Benny Benassi of ‘Satisfaction’ fame (i.e. 2002 dance hit with its allegedly “sexy” video involving Nuts magazine type “babes” operating heavy machinery) is good enough to not only sustain Brown’s recent chart action but to make it sound deserved. The bastard.
Hurts – ‘Illuminated’/'Better Than Love’
Never the jolliest pop groups, Hurts nevertheless excel at windswept ballads of the Illuminated variety. But the “other a-side” – whatever that means in an age of downloads – is MUCH better. ‘Better Than Love’ wasn’t a huge hit on release at the beginning of 2010 and despite being an uptempo swirlaway pop anthem I’m not sure it will fare much better this time, but as classic British pop groups go Hurts are quite convincing. It’s a pity the public haven’t quite taken them to their hearts. They’re a funny lot, the public.
Sade – ‘Love Is Found’
Taken from their (“ALWAYS REMEMBER SADE IS A BAND, NOT A SINGER” says my Music Journo’s Amazing Book Of Top Tips Handbook) upcoming career retrospective, ‘Love Is Found’ continues the dark chocolate sound of last year’s Soldier Of Love album. This single lacks the pampered feel of Sade records of yore, but Adu could sing the collected works of The Pigeon Detectives and make them sound good. Well, maybe. When I was a young lad, my elder brother would stick Diamond Life in the CD player when we watched Coronation Street, and he’d press play whenever Ken Barlow appeared on screen. This meant even the mundane moments in Ken’s life (popping into The Kabin, applying for a job as a shopping trolley attendant at Bettabuys) were accompanied by the smokey sax and dulcet strains of the intro to ‘Smooth Operator’ – a louche, cocktail bar jazz soundtrack befitting the Weatherfield Lothario and all round love-pump’s daily business. “I’m not boring!”, that was his catchphrase. Ah, you had to make your own entertainment back then. Anyway. That’s my Sade story.
Nelly featuring Kelly Rowland – ‘Gone’
Nelly and Kelly play on the idea of being modern R’n'B’s most popular couple. The genre’s Sonny and Cher, its Shakey and Bonnie if you will. Back in 2002 they had a megasmash with ‘Dilemma’ so they’ve clearly thought “that worked well, let’s make another song with EXACTLY THE SAME TUNE which will slay the world in a similar fashion”. And that’s just what ‘Gone’ is. A single for people who are nostalgic for nine years ago. Gareth Gates will probably buy a copy or two. Ker-ching!
Clare Maguire – ‘The Shield and The Sword’
This is way too reminiscent of the awful awful awful awful AWFUL Florence Welch to be getting along with. There’s nothing especially wrong with the song, but sonically it is bombastic shouty bollocks. I’m sure it will sound just gurrrr-eat at festivals and will be just the thing to soundtrack trailers for ropey documentaries featuring Robson Green on ITV1. But a little bit of originality wouldn’t go amiss next time, and wouldn’t it be great if Maguire ditched this sound and made a fantastic, knee-quaking, groove-bound dance record? Wouldn’t it? Step to it, whoever is in charge of these decisions!
Alex Metric & Steve Angello featuring Ian Brown – ‘Open Your Eyes’
The spirit of Madchester hangs over this as Ian Brown lends his voice to an uplifting dancefloor stormer which harks back to ‘World In Motion’, the flapping of flares and the spirit of Italia ’90. Frankly I didn’t think old trout face Brown still had it in him, and maybe he doesn’t, in which case Metric and Angello deserve all the kudos. ‘Open Your Eyes’ is pleasant enough until the chorus hits and that chorus is ruddy good. So head-spinningly good in fact you too will get mixed up between dolphins and monkeys and think that this single is AMAZINGNESS ON A BAP for about 40 seconds before you come back to your senses. The world is mad, is it not?
ALSO RELEASING SINGLES IN THE HOPE THAT YOU’LL BUY THEM THIS WEEK: Zomby, Miles Kane, Ghostpoet, Cat’s Eyes, Josh T Pearson, Bruno Mars (the completely bloody terrible ‘Lazy Song’ which will probably be number one for a million years), Ed Sheeran, R.I.O, Maverick Sabre, Good Natured, and Joe Driscoll.