Single Review: X Factor Finalists 2010 – ‘”Heroes”‘

No, that is not a typo, I DO NOT MAKE TYPOS AS I AM BRILLAiNT.


Seriously though, the title is/should be written thus: “Heroes”, rather than just plain old boring Heroes. And that, is where we shall start this review.


Back in the day when music actually meant something other than pullin’ as many shawdies as you could whilst gettin’ freaky on the dancefloor sippin’ bubbly feelin’ so fly and rockin’ like no other with an immeasurable amount of swagger (see: ego), there were stories, or rather backgrounds to songs. Not in a musical sense, as some kind of backing to beef up production, but in a lyrical, third dimension kind of way. Some may say this is quite pretentious, but actually, it was a way of understanding the song in better context, and it was a way of seeing what the singer actually means by otherwise confusing lines like “I, I can remember/Standing by the wall” and why the song title features quotation marks in the first place. And if Simon Cowell had known why, something tells me he wouldn’t have chosen this song to release as the Official Charity Single for Help The Heroes.


Okay so, the quotation marks are put in place around the word “Heroes” because of a misguided concept that going to war would make you a hero. That’s it. The very irony of the song is that, by saying “We can be heroes/Just for one day”, David Bowie was mockingly responding to the warped idea that going to war will make you a hero, so if he and his beloved were to play “heroes”, they should simply go to war (“We could be them/Just for one day”). And this is not the kind of message you want to send out to impressionable young kids, is it?


That’s not all there is to note on. As dear, dear Tesco Mary sings her part, she mentions that she remembers “standing by the wall”. The wall? Not just a wall? Why is there a definite article rather than an indefinite one? Well, because that wall wasn’t just any wall: it was the Berlin Wall in Germany. So, piecing it together, ‘”Heroes”‘ is a meeting between two secret lovers behind the Berlin Wall as they ironically sing about the ideology that war will bring fame and glory to those who take part, through the use of their bittersweet lyrics. Hmm… Doesn’t really scream HELP THE HEROES does it? Particularly that Germany part…


But thousands upon thousands who buy this single aren’t really concerned with the oxymoronic suggestions the song actually poses for the cause it’s raising money for. So for those who aren’t bothered with the robustly connotative faux pas Simon Cowell has just made, here’s my thought on the actual cover itself.


The production is clearly the work of Ray Hedges, the (ahem) mastermind behind little Jaw McElderry pet’s ‘Ambitions’, who is also behind his new single, the stellar ‘Someone Wake Me Up’. The similarities with the drum beat and the additional tambourine, as well as the guitar hook is shocking. I’ll admit it is nice to hear the song, particularly those pulsing guitars, given a fresh reboot of 2010 life, but you can’t help but get the feeling that Brian Eno (the original producer of ‘”Heroes”‘) would’ve done it better, because he wouldn’t bother with Simon’s staple of the big string section or the dancier make-over. But I do enjoy the fact that the song doesn’t rush itself; it gradually crescendos and gets bigger, unfortunately peaking with a super-cheesy chorus of soldiers singing “We can be heroes”, over and over, which is just perfect because that’s pretty much as “Wrong end of the stick” as you can possibly get. NO SOLDIERS YOU WILL NOT BE HEROES.


On the vocals, Matt opens the song beautifully, his voice and the control he has over it is simply stunning, Rebecca also plays her part well, and even though TreyC Cohen fails to pronounce the “r” in her first mention of “heroes”, her raspier vocal mixes in well too. The other X Factor alumni contribute well, although I will complain about the hideously underused Aiden and Paije and the overused Cher. And where are Wagner, Diva Fever, F.Y.D. (you remember them, don’t you?), Belle Amie, Prince & Rogues, Nicolo Festa, John Adeleye, and Storm Lee Gardner? It seems that, along with the remaining competitors (except Wagner), the only act not left in the competition to have a been granted a solo section is TreyC (it was recorded before Paije left).


There doesn’t seem to be a video yet. But there’ll probably be one featuring the contestants and a big choir, and I’d love it if they kept Harry and Wagner little brawl in it.


Simon Cowell seems to have chosen this song to record and release just by the title alone. He hasn’t respected the song’s background, and the underlying message behind it and it’s lyrics. ‘”Heroes”‘ original concept appears to be thrown out the window in place for an attempt at making Simon look like a hero. The contestants perform if brilliantly, but you just know that in a few years, when the acts look back at ‘”Heroes”‘, they won’t see it as their #1, they’ll see it as Simon’s because at the end of they day, it is.



Rating: 3.0 STARS


Download: November 22, 2010 (OUT NOW)


Featured Album: N/A

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