Single Review: Tinie Tempah ft. Kelly Rowland – ‘Invincible’

It’s funny how some collaborations come about. It seems that amongst today’s seemingly randomised duets ready to explode into our ears with the talents of not one, but two (or even more) artists, commonly with hugely varying credentials, there are sometimes very abstract links between them which could be applied to explain how such a collaboration took place. Take Professor Green and Lily Allen’s hook-up ‘Just Be Good To Green’, which sampled ‘Just Be Good To Me’ by The SOS Band, which was re-worked in 1990 by Beats International to become ‘Dub Be Good To Me’, formed by the combination of the melodic ostinato from The SOS Band’s ‘Just Be Good To Me’ and the bassline from The Clash’s ‘Guns Of Brixton’. It is commonly believed that the lead singer of The Clash, Joe Strummer, has a God-daughter, and that that God-daughter is one Lily Allen.

See what I mean? Sometimes the artists themselves don’t even know there’s a link! So when Professor Green “got on Facebook” and began to talk to Lily about recording vocals for the (still very good) track, who knows whether either of them were aware of this tiny fact. Probs not, but at least establishing this link will give those conspiracy theorists who believe every other popstar is somehow connected to the Illuminati some more fuel to burn.

Anyway, onto ‘Invincible’ and it’s own odd linkage between it’s collaborators. Back when Tinie Tempah was a little tinier (sorry, couldn’t resist), he quite fancied the girls from Destiny’s Child, and also took quite a fancy to their sound. So when discussing his hook-up with the lovely Kelly Rowland here, he said he wanted to capture the sound and make it “similar to everything I grew up listening to from Kelly, Beyoncé and Michelle” (so much so that he got into a little feud between him and Parlophone Records over whether it should be released instead of ‘Wonderman’, a duet with Ellie Goulding).

Now this could spell disaster for Tinie. Yes, Destiny’s Child were big back in the day, but sampling ideas, sounds and concepts that take residence in the backs of people’s memories from the years 1990-2000 can be dangerous. He could fall at not so much the first hurdle, but maybe the turnstile on the way in because there’s always a possibility that sampling (not literally sampling a tune, just an idea) from the past could lead to the song sounding very dated, accidental or intentional.

When listening to ‘Invincible’, which serves as Tinie’s fourth single from his début LP ‘Disc-Overy’, and the follow-up to the massively successful singles ‘Pass Out’, ‘Frisky’, ‘Miami 2 Ibiza’, and ‘Written In The Stars’, it’s easy to see that Tinie does succeed at capturing that signature R&B/pop sound reminiscent of Destiny’s Child’s biggest hits whilst still retaining an element of 2010 – there’s a twinkling piano, icy synth riffs, hand claps, some wooshes and Kelly Rowland’s voice gliding over the top of the whole production.

However, one thing that jumps out is just how unengaging it is. Unlike Tinie’s past hits, ‘Invincible’ fails and grabbing your attention and keeping hold of it, letting it stray easily as if the song was deliberately designed to be back-ground music. That’s what it sounds like in comparison to Tinie’s three huge singles so far: a very tired R&B-come-electropop ballad.

The lyrics don’t do much for the song either, and they clearly have been taken straight out of the past – lyrics as clichéd as how Tinie and Kelly’s love will transcend “the highest mountains” and “the driest deserts” feel like they’ve been recycled straight out one of Tinie’s idols’ past hits.

Here’s the video: it’s got a Take That – ‘Never Forget’ theme.

Aww bless, he has come far hasn’t he?

As nice as it is to see Tinie take a more laid back approach to his rapping, and as nice as it is to see that Kelly could finally get into the public eye once again with song, it just doesn’t stick like his previous efforts. It may hail from the 90’s, but it sounds like he went a little overboard with the sound and I feel a may be agreeing with Parlophone on this one: he should’ve release ‘Wonderman’ instead.

Rating: 3.0 STARS

Download: December 27, 2010

Featured Album: ‘Disc-Overy’

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  1. Gerard McGarry

    Tinie Tempah. I shouldn’t have liked him, but I did. 

    Pass Out slowly grew on me and became a real audio treat as time went on. Frisky was in a similar vein, but didn’t quite get the saturation airplay of his debut single. Written In The Stars is one of my favourite tracks of 2010. A marriage of his urban style to an epic rock chorus, it’s pure perfection.

    Invincible doesn’t quite hit those heady marks of the first few singles. Stylistically, it just doesn’t feel like Tinie Tempah so it’s a bit of a disappointment. And now you’ve got us all wondering what the Ellie Goulding collaboration would sound like instead! Like you, I find this hook-up a little bit lukewarm and usually reach for the remote when it comes on TV.

    1. Dara Hickey

      I’m in exactly the same boat as you Gerard: I liked ‘Pass Out’ a fair bit, then I began to really like it and the same goes with ‘Frisky’, but ‘Written In The Stars’, for me, is his best yet, and one of the most rightfully earnt #1s in a long while. As for his Swedish House Mafia hook-up, well that was just too amazing for words.

      However, ‘Invincible’ is very forgettable, and you can clearly see he’s tried – the dark-sounding riff is nothing to be sniffed at, but the rest of the song just doesn’t stack up to his already very impressive back catalogue.

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