Single Review: Katy B – ‘Katy On A Mission’

Looks like this dubstep thing is something we’re going to have to get used to, hmm?

Dubstep is undoubtedly one of those genres that’s going to take a while for everyone to digest, and it’s still very much in the ‘Acquired Taste’ stage of it’s ploy to infiltrate into the nation’s minds. And whilst I’m in the ever-decreasing sector of people who aren’t particularly sold on the mainstream form of the genre (to me it’s a pretty dire form of Drum ‘n’ Bass), you can assure I’m going to be unbiased on this review, but it doesn’t stop me from being opinionated.

Electronic music is dominating the charts right now; British music does have it’s phases, just like wonky-pop had a bright spurt during 2006-2007, and before that everything was very much dog-eat-dog; the last real time any genre could occupy the top spot without something swinging in the song’s favour, for instance: being a charity single. But since mid-2008, electropop has seen a rise in popularity, with more electronic artists arriving the ‘grace’ the airwaves. Of course, this comes with a good and a bad side-effects – the good being that artists like Pendulum are being given the recognition they deserve, and the bad news is you tend to find a lot of artists, new and established, hitching a ride of other people’s success and expecting to score a hit, rather than sticking to their own guns and what they do best, for fear of not ‘appealing’ anymore.

It’s fair to say Katy B has picked the right time to become prominent because, with the mainstream pop-lover’s ear being more open to it now that it ever has been, she’s holding all the cards, and she knows your hand too. Of course, there will be the dubstep purists who think this is an awful attempt at going commercial with their beloved genre, but I can easily see why they‘re miffed: as a commercial song it’s rubbish.

‘Katy On A Mission’ has a decent opening few lines, nothing too offensive, but nothing revolutionary either. She starts to ‘sing’, but it’s more like the sprechgesang utilised by the likes of Lily Allen, but not exuding the “I’m dumb” aura as much; but we all know Lily has an unprecedented knack for witty song-writing, and this is something Katy B does not share, singing about her ditching her boyfriend in the first verse and spends the rest of the song describing the effect of the music on her. During the chorus, she shows us her inability to sing one note over-time, and the song has no sense of structure apart from the lyrics. As a pop single, it’s complete mess.

After the dubiously boring first verse, everything flops harder than a Goliath. The chorus sounds no different to the verses, there’s an annoying bass that stop and starts, unsure whether it wants to be heard or not, and absolutely no effort on the “Hey, here’s a catchy riff” department. Not even the vocal melody does anything… a few trills and vocal turns, but they just annoy. I find myself listening to the song over and over again, not because I like it, but because I can’t remember any of it, a small synth riff would’ve done the job, Katy… Actually no it wouldn’t, you’d need to beef things up a bit, and add about three big synths hooks.

The video is typical budget fun: everyone’s partying and adoring Katy B even though they don’t know her so it must be the music that makes them jump and raise their hands or it could in fact be that they’re in a club and by definition of being in a club you must jump about a raise your hands in the air because at the end of the night, you won’t remember a thing or be able to hear anything.



Did you snore? I snored.

There are reasons why dubstep has never broken through to the mainstream, and that is because there are some genres that just don’t work commercially. Drum and bass is a perfect example, (because Pendulum and The Prodigy tend to chart only when they’re music has a huge, memorable riff) as is a lot of house music, grime, techno, dubstep and sometimes even grunge finds it hard to be heard over the pop acts of today.

My problem with this song is it does nothing, absolutely nothing. I don’t get why it’s at #5 in the charts; I don’t get why Radio 1 are playlisting it; I don’t get why everyone who’s heard it thinks Katy B is the second coming; it just makes no sense, and I have a huge range of musical genres: from Eminem to Paramore, and from Mika to Pendulum, I’m not exactly narrow-minded but this… this is just baffling. I fail to see it’s mainstream appeal – it’s not exactly a commercial, watered-down dubstep track, it’s pretty much a proper dubstep record.

Within the song, you’d find more activity in a graveyard; Katy B’s auto-tuned, vocoded vocals just annoy because they slice through the minimal production, and the song has no hook; no sense it even wants you to remember it.

My overall verdict? Well, it hasn’t been the hardest review do date for being so unbelievably good I fail to find words, it’s the hardest review to date because I’m not even sure I’m listening to the right song.

I’ve come to the conclusion that ‘Katy On A Mission’ is only the second best 2010 single to feature the words ‘On A Mission’ in it’s title.

Good gracious I feel like Basil Fawlty. Frustrated is an understatement. Feel free to pick at my review, I’m going to bed.

Rating: 1.5 STARS

Download: August 23, 2010 (OUT NOW)

Featured Album: TBA

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  1. RandomEnigma

    Hmmm, it’s not a mainstream pop record but it is quite a good rave record. I don’t get why everyone’s singing Katy B’s praises either but it’s alright.

    I want grunge back in the charts. The Pretty Reckless are the only current artist/band bringin’ the grunge!

    1. Dara Hickey

      YES! I’m so happy you picked on that little drop-in in my review!

      The Pretty Reckless barely scraped the Top 40 yet mainstream drivel like ‘Dynamite’ reaches #1. Ugh.

      And i just don’t get it. Maybe i’m getting old-fashioned but considering the pop mainstream, this doesn’t really fit into it at all. So why it’s gone Top 5 is beyond me.

  2. Gerard McGarry

    You asked me to have a listen to it on the Chartwatch post – so I did. Several times. I actually like this, though it’s not a genre I have any real interest in.

    I see why there’s a euphoric buzz around it though, and it’s more to do with the lyrics than the instrumentation. They’re actually quite trippy and transcendental. I wouldn’t go so far as to say they’re profound, but they’re definitely about getting lost in music and – cringe – being at one with it.

    We need to post more about The Pretty Reckless. Whatever you personally think of Taylor Momsen, this band is reviving dirty, old-school grunge, but they’re walking around pretending like they invented it!

  3. Dara Hickey

    Oh believe me, if I had time, I would’ve posted about The Pretty Reckless’ ‘Miss Nothing’ as it is a stonkingly good song, but I’ mbarely keeping ahead of this weeks reviews, but if they release another single I’ll be sure to give it special consideration :L.

    Who knows? Maybe if I have a lot of spare time this weekend (from what I have planned it doesn’t look likely) I may be able to rope together a late review.

    1. Gerard McGarry

      Or, you could argue that Ditta’s comment is a joke. I mean, if you’ve got a problem with a review, the intelligent thing to do is to come along and argue your case. Because really, who signs up to a site to leave such a useless trollish comment?

        1. Gerard McGarry

          LOL, I’m not upset! Just interested to hear where you think OddOne got it wrong.

          It’s funny, because I’d read the review before I’d ever listened to the tune, then when I heard it I realised I like it. But I can see his points – it’s really just a matter of personal preference that you and I obviously like the song and he doesn’t.

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