Single Review: JLS ft. Dev – ‘She Makes Me Wanna’

“It’s not as bad as ‘The Club Is Alive’, but to suggest it doesn’t try to be is just foolish”


Digital Release: July 24, 2011

Physical Release: July 25, 2011

Cheap music adopts a new, lower-than-ever definition in the wake of ‘She Makes Me Wanna’, the product of a recording session with producer RedOne after JLS successfully bid and won at Alicia Keys’ Black Charity Ball. It’s musical grounds barely make it a passable chunk of vapid album filler, let alone the second lead single for the manufactured puppets’ third album. Because of this, and because anyone who’s anyone knows the innovation of RedOne is repeatedly scraping the same barrel as Rebecca Black, you know it’s going to sound like a few other songs out there, but I don’t think anyone quite expected it to sound quite as similar to many of this year’s and yesteryear’s hit as it actually does.

We can follow this trail of plagiarism as it leads from ‘She Makes Me Wanna’, to ‘Eyes Wide Shut’, to ‘Yeah 3x’, to ‘I’m Not Alone’ and, in a pedant’s world, one would end the list with DJ Sammy’s electro-house cover of ‘Heaven’, originally by Bryan Adams. It’s such a blatant plagiarism of sound that, in the wake of everything remotely attached to JLS having the great capacity to sound certifiably bargain-basement, you actually feel thankful that they sound like something other than JLS for a while. That is until you notice they only manage to last thirty-something seconds before “tha flowr” is mentioned, and even then Aston has the misplaced audacity to ask us “direct me to the flowr” like he now lacks the ability to find it himself. And then of course there’s the voices. They all sound more anonymous than when the public were first introduced to them as a mediocre harmony group; when they could manifest a fair tune in faux-soulfulness, but this squawking sounds more like someone is strangling R2-D2.

And who would’ve thought, given the overall stench of rotting cheapness, that it would be too much to ask that between the four boys, clearly going wildly over this one girl, that one of them, at least, could actually specify what ‘she’ makes them want to do other than repeatedly say “Oh” and leaving us hanging?

However, naturally, ‘She Makes Me Wanna’ comes pre-packaged with all your summer anthem essentials. A heavy beat, synth stabs, auto-tune, a rent-a-rapper, and a breakdown where everyone can jump and clap along whilst working their tan on beaches across the globe as JLS’ lyrical clichés come thick and fast – “London to Jamaica/L.A. to Africa”, they sing, without so much as a shred of connection to previous lyrics.

It’s not as bad as ‘The Club Is Alive’, but to suggest it doesn’t try to be is just foolish. JLS have become a product of the times and don’t intend on creating their own sound – they never did. As long as their music sells and they’re in the money they’ll be happy, and so will the Fat Cats holding their contracts. This of course, will serve them well until any one of the members decides to leave.


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  1. Gerard McGarry

    I’m completely split on the subject of JLS. Don’t forget, these guys are fantastic performers – watch their televised hookups with Alexandra Burke (on X Factor) and Diversity (on Britain’s Got Talent). The guys have got incredible mojo and they deserve respect for that.

    But as for She Makes Me Wanna? Well, let’s just say even the wonderful Dev comes out of this one looking slightly half-assed. The single itself sounds exactly like Eyes Wide Shut, though whether that’s self-plaigarism or evidence of a ‘signature sound’ is down to the individual listener. (I’d be inclined to side with you on this one, OddOne!)

    Another valid point – RedOne used to be a stamp of quality at one point, but it feels like the formula is stretched thin now. It’s reminiscent of Tinie Tempah collaborating with anybody rather than choosing his duets wisely.

  2. Dara Hickey

    An excellent point you raised there, Gerard, about RedOne. He was very, dare I say it, ‘snobbish’ about who he worked with, and this is a direct quote from the man himself (I’m not sure when the interview was held though):

    “I’m not doing any of what I call “fast food writing” – where people demand a single, a single, a single. No. If you want me to invest my time in you, you need to invest yourself in me, as an artist.”

    Now, either he’s incredibly stupid and hasn’t realised that this is exactly what he does or this is an old interview from back when he was actually good – Jennifer Lopez, JLS, Enrique Iglesias, Pixie Lott, Lindsay Lohan, Kelly Rowland and a plethora of others has all asked for his production expertise and all have got it, but as you say, the stamp of quality of fast wearing off as his recycled beats are in the shadow of his earlier work with GaGa, Mika, and Kat DeLuna.

    And I’m also in agreement that JLS were good live performers. I haven’t seen them lately – not since their abysmally mimed performance of ‘The Club Is Alive’ on The X Factor, actually, and have no motivation to change that as if I don’t feel music like this can be made better by live performances. I miss the JLS that were actually a good harmony group.

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