Single Review: Olly Murs ft. Rizzle Kicks – ‘Heart Skips A Beat’

“Even with all things said, ‘Heart Skips A Beat’ still remains the most modestly catchy song to grace UK airwaves in a long time”


Digital Release: August 21, 2011

Physical Release: August 22, 2011

Pop is a broad spectrum of broad sounds. There’s a place for everyone, should they bother to look hard enough to find their own place on it. There are a few though, that struggle to place themselves discretely and end up as a combination of numerous styles, to varying avail. Olly Murs jumped back into our lives from the nondescript depths of anonymity with an album of many different styles that saw his efforts to please everyone possible with his irritating grin and an awkward adult contemporary sound dispersed unequally throughout unnecessary musical theatrics as his frantic mission – to distance himself from the cynic’s paradise of The X Factor – became more and more contradictory with everything he said on the matter: claiming he would always respect his musical origins and expecting us to buy it; a foolish move considering his “musical origins” were about as musical and as original as a boiled egg. But something appears to have changed here, and were it not for the shameful inclusion of posh-boy pop-hop duo Rizzle Kicks, ‘Heart Skips A Beat’ would be a sterling début single to have at the ready as he prepares a second album’s worth of chart success.

Whilst not completely re-inventing himself, ‘Heart Skips A Beat’ sees Murs pilfer extracts from a plethora of genres and combine them all into an upbeat toe-tapping number that just about manages to contain it’s singer’s enthusiasm (and I do mean just about; things verge on grisly at the “Oh, oh-oh!” refrain) to the point where it’s not impossible to listen to it without imagining Murs doing some Mika-styled jazz-hands, poses and struts all throughout (I advise you steer clear of the video). In this musical equivalent of daylight robbery, he steals hints of 80’s ska, pop reggae, and a dignified nod to today’s own pop scene, but it all amounts to inoffensive radio fodder. Even as his approval-seeking endeavours attempt to cement some kind of musical validity, it’s authenticity is gradually etched away by the grandma-friendly jingle and politeness too fearful to venture much further than pleasantries. And whilst his borrowings of respectability save him from coming across as a man who’s momentarily lost the rest of his boyband, it’s his clumsier borrowings of cheapness that tend to speak louder. It seems like he’s trashed the generous bestowings of his musical influences and left the remnants to depreciate exponentially in his hands.

The lyrics of ‘Heart Skips A Beat’ aren’t particularly interesting either; he’s not got much else to dwell upon that hasn’t already been said a million times this year alone and with far more emotive credibility. And that’s before we consider the odious contribution from Brighton-born frat-rap goons Rizzle Kicks, whose needless presence on this track is prominent when their crimes against lyricism become as bad as their name, thinking that rhyming “see-saw” with “see SAW [the film] is passable.

But even with all things said, ‘Heart Skips A Beat’ still remains the most modestly catchy song to grace UK airwaves in a long time. Catchy in a way that hasn’t been seen for a good few years and even though it’s prospective (or immediate) insignificance is one that exists only in the minds of those who prefer meandering, trite indie banalities used to promote Apple products, it’s that insignificance in itself which is insignificant to the radio stations, the TV channels and the rest of the media, perpetuating this pseudo-significance of throwaway pop that on the increasingly infrequent occasion, is something really quite enjoyable.

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