Single Review: Paloma Faith ft. Ghostface Killah – ‘New York 2010’



The music business his harshly fragile in the current economic climate. Back in the day you’d probably be allowed two flops albums with eight flops singles from both and then you’d be dropped; the current climate is less forgiving. Look at Mini Viva: two flop singles and not even an album to show for it and their up for the chop, Girls Can’t Catch had two singles that charted reasonably well – better than either of Mini Viva’s flops – but they were still dropped. And in a nation where album sales are plummeting, acts like Leona Lewis and Christina Aguilera’s recent musical efforts could be considered flops. And now, my favourite soul singer Paloma Faith is facing the chop.

You see, Paloma’s also had two flop singles, and as with Girls Can’t Catch and Mini Viva, neither deserved to be flops; ‘Do You Want The Truth Or Something Beautiful’ was a stunning ballad, and ‘Upside Down’ was a quirky piece of disco-hall pop perfect for radio. Despite the flops, her album went Top 10, but her record label claim she has only just hit a breakeven with her album sales. Because of that, they now want her to re-release ‘New York’, and they’ve made her latch on a rapper… because that’s what sells apparently… must have nothing to do with the fact the song is good.

Let’s look at this properly – Alexandra’s ‘All Night Long’: did it need Pitbull? No. ‘California Gurls’: did that need Snoop Dogg? Again, no. Did the songs sell because of the rapper? No. So, Paloma’s record label must seriously be misjudging the market if they think people by records for a silly little rap during the middle of the song.

Here’s another thing to note about song that do contain pointless raps: they’re typically happy, upbeat electropop songs for the dancefloor, so why do Epic Records think taking a beautiful, soulful ballad and shoving in a deep-voiced, soulless rapper in is going to boost sales in beyond me.

No let’s look at it like this: ‘New York’ is Paloma’s most successful single to date. Her most successful single. Run that through your head a few times and then ask yourself – “Why are they re-releasing the song that put her in the public eye, which just so happens to be the song on which her album went Top 10 with?”. Peculiar thought right? Why not just re-release ‘Do You Want The Truth Or Something Beautiful’ or ‘Upside Down’? Or, better yet, release ‘Play On’ or ‘Stargazer’!?

But to put the prejudice of how Paloma’s beautiful middle eight is now going to contrast the actual song on the same level of contrast the image of Michael Jackson 1970 and Michael Jackson 2000 was, let’s actually consider it a song in it’s own right, like the original never existed and Paloma Faith was no stranger to the obligatory-but-pointless raps in most songs these days.

Well, the song starts with a beautiful introduction, interrupted by a stupid (and quite frankly a huge) nobhead who ruins the delicate melody. Upon the first verse we hear Paloma’s voice appearing regretting and mournful, meshing exquisitely with the rest of the production. The lyrics are brilliant, on so many levels, it comes across as a beautifully mature song, you’d never have thought she’d come from Hackney in east London. Paloma likens the city of New York to a seductive temptress, who “took his heart away from mine”. She repeats the hook after every verse – “He left me for/Another lady”. You can’t help but feel this song is just far too sophisticated in lyrical content, instrumentation, and emotion to require a ridiculous rap from a nobody rapper.

So then, at 2:13, the song gets ruined by Mr. Killah. The rap’s only redeeming property being that it only lasts twenty seconds, it trundles along, unwelcome, like a rubbish dump just landed on your vintage chardonnay.

Unfortunately, there’s no video.

It appears to me that, whilst the song is supposedly new, I sounds like the original song was cut, and Ghostface Killah just rapped a little bit, and some over-paid knob-twiddler put the whole thing together. It’s pretty much the old song, but it’s been extended a bit with a rap.

Just as well radio aren’t playing it: they’re playing the original version instead.

Rating: 2.5 STARS

Download: August 2, 2010

Featured Album: N/A

END NOTE: The original gets five stars, this ‘new’ version is in the shadow of any Paloma Faith song to date; single, album track, or non-album track.

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