Single Review: Eliza Doolittle – ‘Mr. Medicine’

How about a quick “Fill Us In” about my thoughts on Eliza before we start, yes?

Okay, so this release marks the fourth from Eliza’s eponymous début album. It’s not the fourth individual single to be released though. She released ‘Skinny Genes’ twice. She loves innuendos. ‘Pack Up’ was her best single. ‘Rollerblades’ was my favourite single. I’ve always found her rather inoffensive even when she’s trying to be offensive – even her album cover suggests this: erupting volcanoes, green eyes, lightning, a gambling die, a pair of lips and a roaring lion represent the darker underbelly of her music which, more often than not, is easily ignored or just weak faint or hard to detect over all the twinkling and chiming.

Now that we’re all filled in: ‘Mr. Medicine’ is no change of musical nor lyrical direction for Eliza; that “direction” would be the one with the feverishly cheery, toe-tapping melodies that’ll be echoing off the walls of your skull for days after just one listen. There’s still enough innuendos to make even Nigella Lawson blush and a chorus catchier than the common cold.

When listening to ‘Mr. Medicine’, Eliza’s voice still shine high and clear, with the occasional emotive crack and intermittently accompanied by a sweetly ringing harmony. The music’s as pleasing as ever as well – nothing to strong for the ears and, like most of Eliza Doolittle’s audio concoctions, it’ll mostly likely make it’s way onto anyone’s easy-listening playlist. The song exists in it’s own little world of oxytocin-addled bliss, happily skipping along to it’s own melody and throwing a disarming glance of charm to all it passes.

But it’s when thing’s get real that this song begins to stumble.

Take this verse: “If you need evidence/Then I’ll write you a letter/I’ll lick the stamp and post it/Just so that you can notice”. Aside from the glaring innuendo in line three, it serves as a very desperate rhyme and comes across as a very contrived sentiment that barely scratches the emotive surfaces that the melodies gouge deep into.

Not that all this can’t be overlooked; one of the most pleasing and possibly even, to some extent, exciting things about this song is that it sounds as carefree as many of Eliza’s past single have tried to be. It succeeds at being this laid-back instrumental with laid-back vocals and laid-back production. By which I mean, you can easily listen to it without paying so much attention to how the lyrics can easily annoy and instead concentrate on the melody provided by Eliza’s expressive, near-angelic voice.

Here’s the video: Aww…

And that, ladies and gentlemen, was Eliza Caird, a.k.a. – Eliza Doolittle, performing her new single ‘Mr. Medicine’, whilst taking on the role of a party pooper.

‘Mr. Medicine’ is probably one of then few songs on Eliza’s début album that sounds as fresh as when you first heard it, after a good few listens. It’s not genius, lyrically, nor musically, for that matter. But it is, along with ‘Pack Up’, a rare success for her as she perfectly hit’s the mark with regards to her intended sound and market. No foolish lyricism can detract from the cheery pop ditty ‘Mr. Medicine’ presents itself quite contently in.

Rating: 3.5 STARS

Download: March 21, 2011 (OUT NOW)

Featured Album: ‘Eliza Doolittle’

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