Single Review: The Ting Tings – ‘Hit Me Down, Sonny’

“Does everything possible to fortify The Ting Tings image. Unfortunately for them, it’s just not a very good one”


Digital Release: April 23, 2012

Physical Release: N/A

Not a lot of people have a lot of time for The Ting Tings. They’re one of those bands that drift in and out of conscious to the sound of tuneless rebel chants and distorted guitar riffs whenever you ponder the tunes of yesteryear. The worst part of that of course, is that a lot of their material lends itself well to, and seems content with, being awkwardly relegated to the blurry grey matter of unfocused minds who have nothing better to do than complain about things that can’t be changed. They’re the sort of band who like to kick up a fuss for the sake of kicking up a fuss; who make noise for the sake of making noise and think it’ll align them with other predominantly hipster-fied and stubbornly anti-establishmentarian indie rockers striving to be slapped with a “Badass” label. They’re also the kind of band that deliberately piss people off even when they’re not actually doing anything, and piss people off even more when they’re stringing together a mess of obstinately irrelevant lyrics and a cacophony of dissonant racketeering sufficing for some musical embedment for Katie White’s rowdy cries, which, with even more zeal than on ever on ‘Hit Me Down, Sonny’, fall with painful indecision either side of a fence, one side labelled “Hip Hop Cheerleader Repeatedly Stubbing Her Toe” and the other labelled “Drunk White Girl With Tourette’s Dancing To Herself But Falling Into Everyone”.

Of course, by the time their second album, ‘Sounds from Nowheresville’, finally came about, even fans were pissed off with them, and even the slightly redeeming qualities of the album didn’t satisfy the wait. Some may argue that ‘Hit Me Down, Sonny’ is one of the few moments on ‘Sounds from Nowheresville’ that recalls the raw, unfiltered march-time energy of ‘We Started Nothing’. This may be true, but a lot of their first album was just aimlessly wandering to and from not wanting to sound like anything else and wanting desperately to sound like The White Stripes. And so it stands to reason ‘Hit Me Down, Sonny’ owes a lot of it’s ability to sound simultaneously lead-heavy (making it a chore to listen to) and vacuous (meaning there’s genuinely nothing to take from this song other than White’s incongruous and fruitless mutterings) to the bones of their first album. And it’s in this lapse of originality and progression that the whole thing is simply left to stagnate. Instead of sounding like there’s any traceable direction here, ‘Hit Me Down, Sonny’s useless conglomeration of randomised percussion sounds less like a well ‘ard yoof taking to the streets to finish a pub brawl (you realise the futility of White’s efforts by the second line – “Make out like Speedy Gonzales”) than it sounds like what all bands sound like when they don’t know what to sound like. The Ting Tings have concentrated on as many ideas as they could think of and hoped a lot of what came from segregated hour-long sessions in a studio to fall into place. Fallen these ideas have, but certainly not into place. And even after White’s built up a crowd of maybe two of three for her big blow-the-lights-out chorus towards the end, she fizzles out spectacularly, resorting to more meaningless shout-singing on every first beat “Did you ever think you’d see me like this? Like this? Like this? Hey! Etc. etc… yawn”. A monumental failure then, whose militant beat and wailing do everything possible to fortify The Ting Tings image. Unfortunately for them, it’s just not a very good one.

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