Nowadays you hear alot of artists attempting to change their muscial direction, either to appeal to a new demographic or simply because they believe in the saying “Variety is the spice of life”. Re-invention of an artist isn’t a particularly new thing, just ask Madonna. She managed to change her every image and musical direction just before it got boring, and it helped her garner worldwide fame. She kept the public wondering what she was going to do, what she was going to be, and what she was going to sing about next.
Well, as you know, when JLS were doing the X Factor they were one of the favourites to win – the had the voices, they had harmonies and (most importantly) the public’s vote – but as you know, especially in today music business: the Voice is not everything.
To make it successful in the music business you need the looks, the personality, the clothes, the fanbase, the physiques, the right amount of swagger etc, etc. And I must admit JLS stood up and rode that wave very well. But you also need to shock, to stun, and to intrigue.
However, you cannot simply change your musical direction just because you think you can do what another, more successful artist is doing. JLS and the record company might have over-looked this Rule of Thumb. They aren’t so much joining Madonna, Kelis and the like, as the likes of Alphabeat, whose three most recent attempts at chart succes after their change of sound left them stranded at #20, #167, and #104 respectively.
Moving back to JLS, and forward a few months, they have now become nearly every teenaged girl’s ideal dream; they’ve had chart success with ‘Beat Again’, ‘Everybody In Love’, and ‘One Shot’, all of which were perfectly good singles in their own right, but they did nothing for the more sane part of the nation, which included myself.
And now, we have the lead single from their new album, which is surprising as only three singles were released from their successful eponymous début, which, when considering La Roux, Alexandra Burke, Paloma Faith, Florence + The Machine, and Pixie Lott all had four or more from their débuts, is a bit odd to say the least… the same thing happened to Cheryl.
This song pretty much nose-dives my stream of respect for them straight into the ground. (Let’s use a bird as a metaphor shall we? They nose-dive.) They then smooshed poor Birdie further into the ground with their feet, jumped on it a bit, spat on it, performed a mimed dance routine on it, set it on fire and then let their record label’s dog eat up the remains, and at the same time, a casual passer-by has recorded the whole thing and put it on YouTube.
But seriously, I cannot begin the find the words that lurk somewhere in my grey matter to begin to fathom this apocolyptically tragic song. When they performed it ‘Live’, (COUGH COUGH ‘Mimed’… ooh but shush) on Britain’s Got Talent, it felt like Eurovision all over again… only it was against America this time – Alica Keys: absolutely fantastic, Miley Cyrus: gave a great performance, Usher: also very good and sang live. But then, just when we expected soemthing from this side of the pond the match that standards that Pixie Lott set, we got a bunch of brainless puppets of Sony Music miming, wearing a few rags that the Haus Of GaGa was probably eye-ing up.
I reckon this is the perfect example of Credit Crunch music – taking a sample of a piece of music that’s pretty much a national treasure (to save having to write a completely new chorus), combine it with some beats (because thats what’s ‘big’ now) shove some lyrics in, including the now ever-clichéd ‘shawty’ (because it’s popular in America apparently) and also some slightly controversial ones about getting “up on me” because “I could be the dancefloor” (ALERT!… someone’s swagger has just been jacked).
And if that wasn’t enough tragedy, that video is horribly cringe-worthy, unoriginal, tried-and-tested, and most annoyingly, predictable dross. I actually did fall asleep. No word of a lie. 😐
What on earth have music critics been taking sniffs of lately? Digital Spy gave it 4/5, BBC ChartBlog gave it a criminal 5/5 stars. I’m sorry but didn’t JLS come SECOND in the biggest singing competetion in the World? So don’t even get me started on that God-awful over-use of auto-tune. Not a single note comes solely from the human voice-box. It’s a steamy hot mess.
The most annoying thing is, that it’s obviously going to chart well – currently A-Listed by the most popular radio in the country, numerous slots on music channels and lots of promotion (including BGT). It sickens me that JLS and their production team probably know it’s crap, but as long as they keep lifting their shirts up the public will buy it, because it’s got their name on it. I wouldn’t be too surprised to find that JLS and their production team are laughing behind cloosed doors about this release. They are the epitome of ‘manufactured pop stars’, whatever happened to the soulful JLS from the X Factor? Wh do they think they need to jump on the dance-pop bandwagon just to ‘re-invent’ themselves?
Clearly recent attempts from Lee Ryan, Christina Aguilera, Alphabeat, Gabriella Cilmi, and Goldfrapp (on her return to dance-pop) have proven it’s not as easy as Lady GaGa makes it look.
Rating: 0.5 STARS
Download: July 5th, 2010.