Single Review: The Ting Tings - 'Hang It Up'

“The Ting Tings have encapsulated much of the über-motivational rebellion that used to slip through their clenched fists”

4 STARS

Digital Release: January 1, 2012

Physical Release: N/A

Both Katie White and Jules de Martino started their careers by cropping themselves a little too prematurely for the eventual reception of their acceptance into the “big time”. Mutually jaded by the back-handed treatment of deals that fell through and one false start after another, the two found each other and practically made a sacred  pact that, for a price, they would peddle out riotous anti-establishment indie-pop stomps as vengeance to the music industry. That sounds like a stellar idea, or it would be, were a thousand other acts not doing the same thing, and doing it better. It was never an easy task to pinpoint exactly what angle of attack The Ting Tings were taking when it came to their music, and by the time début album ‘We Started Nothing’ dug it’s rebellious platform heels in the Top 40, the optimistic versatility they appeared to exude was nigh-on incredible, and certainly not easily defrauded. However, their car-crash ambitions to master every genre going calls to mind the phrase “Jack of all trades; master of none”. And that’s exactly what was left in wake for the listeners of the toils of their first album. They playfully dabbled in indie-fied frat-pop/dance numbers like ‘Great DJ’ and bratty bitch-slap pop like ‘Shut Up And Let Me Go’, but their shoddy craftsmanship failed to give the impression they knew how to make it all fit together. If anything connected the fervently genre-hopping duo, it was that their musical genesis sprouted from their hatred of all things the required small-print.

Their second coming was equally as equivocally challenging. It seemed they wanted to move over to a more electronic sound and then, before anyone could dare whack the label “sheep” on them, blustering pretended that they’d planned to do so before new-wave electropop became the most musically-orientated commodity since the sexual innuendo. Another not-so-subtle jibe at authority, it didn’t quite make all the floundering commotion their previous singles made, and nor did it scale the heights to do so, charting at a lukewarm #29 before high-tailing it out of the Top 40. After a few confusions including the ridiculous “buzz” single ‘We’re Not The Same’, they’re back with ‘Hang It Up’, having given electropop the cold, hipster shoulder.

‘Hang It Up’ deludes many listeners in much the same way The Ting Tings’ songs have always done. Most interestingly though, amidst the over-emphasised sociopathic declarations of “Everybody loves somebody to hate” (however accurate), is that for once they actually sound like they’re having the fun they always said they were. The Ting Tings v.1 were all about having fun and then shifting the blame, but often a lot of the fun went out the window because of it. Ignoring the misinformed waywardness that coloured in the period in which they tried to re-emerge from the woodwork, and they’ve come back trumps. ‘Hang It Up’, for once, feels like The Ting Tings have encapsulated much of the über-motivational rebellion that used to slip through their clenched fists on ‘We Started Nothing’, quite possibly because instead of trying to empathise everyone’s hatred to some authoritarian entity and being overtly friendly with their rally anthems, they’ve been comparatively selfish, and that simplistic change constitutes a sledgehammer effect on the way the song is received.

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