Single Review: Melanie C – ‘Rock Me’

“She sounds overcome with boredom, her vocals reeking of mis-conceived apathy at times”

2 STARS

Digital Release: June 26, 2011

Physical Release: N/A

It’s hard to believe that Melanie C has been working as a female solo artist for nearly twelve years following the disbandment of The Spice Girls and her time as Sporty Spice. She should consider herself lucky, you might say – very few artists, particularly those rising today, could ever wish to last more than five. And in those twelve years Melanie’s spawned four albums and two number #1 hits, but after a considerable hiatus, she’s ready to return to the European charts with new single ‘Rock Me’. But, in her absence, it’s not just her fanbase that may have eroded with time; the appeal of her music as well as it’s freshness could well be compromised here.

‘Rock Me’ opens chorus-first and explodes into a club ready wall of crunching synths and thumping beats. But it’s catchiness proves divisive as it verges on plain irritating and Melanie’s voice often sound copy and pasted over the production, sticking out and grating unpleasantly on the ear. 

On the lyrics front, there’s very little to suggest she’s progressed much from her début album’s singles like ‘I Turn To You’ or ‘Northern Star’, only they’ve been given a 2011 revamp and instead of comparing a lover to a light in the darkest times, she’s singing about wanting to be moved by the music, which in today’s market (and the last decade’s) is just about the biggest cliché there is, and that’s before you factor in how, during the verses, she sounds overcome with boredom, her vocals reeking of mis-conceived apathy at times.

On first glance, ‘Rock Me’ is quite the motivational dance/pop crossover with done-to-death lyrics and a production that fails to get past ‘alright’ status (and is, alas, often skimped in the verses and overloaded in the chorus), but in acts as testament to how hard it can be for even an ex-Spice Girl – who were arguably the biggest girl-group on the planet at one point – to resurface in today’s market. After just moderate solo success and a hiatus, a comeback with such a lacklustre pop-trash single was a risky move, and one that hasn’t paid off.

 

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