Single Review: One Night Only – ‘Say You Don’t Want It’

What is the point in that little blippy bit at the beginning of this song? Hmm… anyhoo, shall we crack on?

Songs that complain about stardom are built upon the foundations of a rather large void in their own logic. Many songs released recently – Amy MacDonald’s ‘This Pretty Face’, to name an example – whines about the mis-use of celebrity status and how you’re never more than passing fad if you find refuge sprawled across the tabloids, but as you’ve probably guessed, that song didn’t chart, despite how true it actually was. Why didn’t it chart? What makes song like Nickelback’s ‘Rockstar’ so much better when in fact it takes the same idea but makes a mockery of it?

Well, because it’s funny. It cleverly took the idea of tabloid-leeches and threw it into a bubble bath; it made something seemingly repulsive, something quite enjoyable. But what category does One Night Only’s lead single from their second, eponymous album fall into?

Well, neither, actually.

It falls into a category where, George Craig is singing to his lover to try and titillate her into joining him and his life of “big screens” and “the plastic-made dreams”. He’s basically boasting “look – this is what you could have”-style but he does it with a certain likeable savvy that you just don’t hear from the likes of Nickelback.

Singing in a breathy, icy (and a surprisingly obviously British) tone, he sings about someone who “Talk all the talk with a poet style/Tongue like electric, eyes like a child”, and who “Buys all your wives and the classic cars/Die on the front page, just like the stars”. No, forgive me but where do you here lyrics like that these days? It makes it even more puzzling to find to find he’s only 20 years of age, and yet he’s writing lyrics so artistically flamboyant that Oscar Wilde would’ve have some competition if he were alive today.

And I love how there’s two settings to George’s voice: the huskier, more reserved tones for the verse, and the manly, shouty voice for the stomping chorus, which comes alight with energy thanks to it’s brilliant lyrics and racing guitars. “Don’t you ask me if it’s love my dear/Love don’t really mean a thing ’round here”… there’s just something so sophisticated about it, not sophisticated like a nice cheese or a bottle of wine… more like… Sophie Ellis-Bextor washing her nude body in a champagne fountain. Very enticing stuff.

Whilst this song – in fact this band – are hardly going to pose a threat to Britain’s main, heavyweight indie/rock band of the moment, Muse, they’ve found their niche in the market which is more than I can say for Scouting For Girls (sorry guys, but the “kooky, harmless pop” niche was covered by Mika way before you, and now with Marina jumping on the band wagon I’d leave well alone).

The video also extends if not exemplifies this charm that One Night Only have going for them, with a Lady & The Tramp-themed video filmed about the streets of New York, it’s proves One Night Only aren’t just any old indie band hoping to make it big only to achieve moderate success: they’re a bunch of old heads on young shoulders, too.

I love how the video is being marketed as “featuring Emma Watson” like it’s going to boost sales and promotion. That was a LOL moment for me, the kind where it’s like “Okay then!” and you try to prevent exploding with laughter thingies, y’know? How about you, HEY?

In a current music climate where nearly half the songs in the Top 40 are about 2shawties” and having a good time, with some absolute lyrical atrocities from JLS, Tinie Tempah, and Tinchy Stryder et al, it’s nice to see a song that suggest some brains were present at the song’s birth, and people concentrated on the song itself rather than how they’ll look in the video once they pull their tops up.

Not aimed at anyone in particular I swear…

Rating: 4.0 STARS

Download: August 16, 2010 (OUT NOW)

Featured Album: ‘One Night Only’

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  1. RandomEnigma

    Okay, first the negatives. You made two fairly big mistakes in this review.

    The first one which isn’t too big is that you said the music video was filmed in London. It’s actually filmed in New York – you can tell by the yellow taxi cabs, Times Square and the fact that Emma goes to university there (I swear I’m not stalking her) *shifty eyes*

    The second mistake is that Oscar Wilde died in 1900. Forty years ago, George Craig would have been no competition to Oscar because Oscar was dead. Maybe 100 years instead. 😉

    Anyways onto the positives. Great reviews as always. Sometimes I’m too lazy too comment on them but I stand by my initial judgement of you being a fantastic writing talent. Your pieces are always opinionated, witty and informative (when you get your facts right lol) and you write like someone well beyond your years. Wow, I sound so old.

    I’m basically loving the song. I’m so glad you highlighted the lyric “Don’t you ask me if it love my dear/love don’t really cost a thing round here”. It’s my favourite part of the song – the way George’s voice sort of rises – it sounds completely epic and euphoric. I have a feeling this band will take themselves too seriously with the next album…or even the next single…and will lose their catchy pop smarts though! 🙁

    1. Dara Hickey

      Oh. My. Goodness! Where is my head at? I’m very sorry about those errors… I shall amend them now.

      And thank you for the feedback Randy, as always, it is greatly appreciated.

      P.S. It is a lovely line isn’t it? Poetic and hugely listenable. Eargasm if ever there was one. 😛

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