Singles Reviews Diary 18 – 7th June 2010

Okay I’ve settled into my new home and rather later than usual, here are my thoughts on this week’s singles. There’s actually quite a lot of notable singles being released this week, mainly celebratory songs about England and the World Cup. I’m really in no form for listening and reviewing – but I must! Check out my dedication. Here they are:

Singles Reviews Diary 18 – 7th June 2010:

01. Andy Bell: Call On Me
My first thoughts. What a cheap video! Why is Andy Bell dancing around in a nightclub bathroom? Screw it, I don’t care! I’m in quite a snarky mood today.I do like the synthy instrumentation in this and Bell’s vocals are somehow endearing which probably led to him gaining a legion of fans during his Erasure days. However, I find this track cheesy and the chorus is pretty weak. I also don’t like how his voice is vocoded all deep in one area of the song. We don’t want to hear a budget version of Boom Boom Pow, thanks!2.5 STARS

02. Ash: Physical World
Ash releases another single. I’m only reviewing the billionth single from their A-Z Seriesout of sheer stubbornness. This is a fun, enjoyable song…like all the other ones were! Think poor man’s Green Day with the lyrical content that streams the same line as Eggnog Quigg’s 28,000 Friends only much more sophisticated. Overall…should keep Ash fans happy and non-Ash fans probably won’t change this if it comes on the radio. 3 STARS

STINKER OF THE WEEK!
03. Chico: It’s England Time
Chico, stop trying to extend your 15 minutes of fame by re-releasing your ONLY (novelty) #1 hit, changing one word to suit a current event, and do everyone a favour and return to the strip club where you belong. Thanks. 1 STAR

04. Crookers featuring Róisín Murphy: Royal T (Riva Starr Remixes)
German knob twiddlers (no dirty double entendre intended) and Irish dance diva team up.Róisín sounds faintly like Macy Gray on this rather hot and funky club track with ravey electronica, fast paced verses and powerhouse vocals. Crookers are fast becoming my favourite producers and Róisin Murphy is probably the only Irish international talent we have. Brilliant – no actually amazing! 5 STARS

05. The Dead Weather: Old Mary
The hardest working man in music – Jack White and his band of other people who are from other bands as well with The Dead Weather are back with another single Old Mary. You kind of know what to expect from a Jack White track? Garage rock with tinkling pianos, bumbling guitars and kooky vocals. There seems to be an ominous tone to the song with lyrical references to the Virgin Mary, creepy child vocals and the chorus hook being “Now to the moment of your last breath”. Cheery. It has me intrigued but not enough to buy or download the single. 3.5 STARS

06. Delphic: Counterpoint
Despite much hype in the mainstream, Delphic have failed to live up to critic’s predictions as their previous two singles Doubt and Halycon failed to make any noticeable dents in the chart. Re-releasing first single Counterpoint appears to be a good idea. Its instantly listenable thanks to its infectiously rushing synths, and earnest and angsty vocals from lead singer Richard Boardman. However, this doesn’t really have the pop smarts of other ‘alternative’ acts like Florence and Marina so it looks like Delphic will be forever a cult band. Oh well, I’ll always love them. 4 STARS

07. Field Music: Let’s Write A Book
I instantly love this song because it explores the subject matter of writing a book. Why don’t more bands write about these small things unlike the usual quota which appears to be about love, heartbreak or being too damn sexy for everyone in the room. I’ve heard Field Music before but I have to say I’m kind of disappointed I didn’t get to hear a stuffy old professor rapping over a beat. Oh well. Let’s Write A Book is a psychedelic and funky number that really takes you to some far-out places, man! I really love the synthy bit at the end – it sounds like it was taken straight from a Crash Bandicootgame. Damn that was a fine video game – they don’t make ‘em like they used to! 4 STARS

08. Gabriella Cilmi: Hearts Don’t Lie
My future wife one day Gabriella Cilmi really made a fantastic comeback a few months ago with her brilliant single On A Mission. She managed to reinvent herself as a sex symbol while actually going in a really interesting musical direction – compared to most popstars who churn the same junk out for years. Hearts Don’t Lie doesn’t match the brilliance of the aforementioned single mainly because the Bee-Gees influenced chorus annoys the heck out of me but there’s still plenty to love about the song. The groovy Donna Summer disco vibe and Cilmi’s seductive repetition of the lines “My heart keeps ticking, my heart keeps ticking, when you’re not around” are huge plus points that save this song from its dreadful chorus. Don’t worry my love, we’ll be together soon. *lights candle at Gabriella shrine and starts passionately kissing photo of Cilmi* 3.5 STARS

09. Giggs: Look What The Cat Dragged In
The rapper with the scary voice is back, this time B.o.B-less. Lyrically, this is pretty sexist and Giggs is not doing any favours in dissolving the stigma towards rappers. Still the shiny production and Giggs dulcet tones really work together. Think of this track as a British version of 50 Cent’s Candy Shop3 STARS

10. Glee Cast: Loser
Oh man! I forgot how amazing Beck’s Loser was? I actually forgot how amazing Beck were! And Glee do the band justice in this bluesy rap rock track. Puck is normally pretty good but Finn is surprisingly excellent on this, probably because he doesn’t need to sing on this. By the time we hit the nonchalant yet somewhat impassioned chorus, with typical but not overdone Glee backing vocals, I thank Ryan Murphy for introducing genuine classics to a whole new generation. 5 STARS

11. Glee Cast: Give Up The Funk (Tear The Roof Of The Sucker)
Okay, I know trying to make logic out of Glee is well…illogical…but should Quinn be doing such elaborate dance moves on stage? Wouldn’t that harm her baby?! Would she even be able to do those dance moves if it weren’t for in real life, she isn’t really pregnant at all but wearing a fake baby bump – just like Terri! Oh the irony! Anywho, wandering off! I really enjoyed this rendition of the Parliament song. It was – shall we say Gleeful with big Gleeful vocals and Mercedes crazy ad-libs. I particularly liked how they sped the vocals up towards the end and I laughed my ass off at Kurt’s uncharacteristically deep vocals. More please. 4 STARS

12. Glee Cast: Another One Bites The Dust
Glee don’t really divert from the original in their second Queen single of the series. Jonathan Groff who plays Jesse has a powerful set of pipes on him though and does Freddie Mercury justice though doesn’t replicate Mercury’s way of singing quite as well. 4 STARS

13. Glee Cast: Tell Me Something Good
Bleerrrggggh! I just projectile vomited everywhere. Seeing Will Schuester wiggle his ass in and out like that – I can see why Sue looked so damn uncomfortable. Despite Will being clearly in love with himself, he gave a powerful vocal performance of Rufus and Chaka Khan’s soulful hit. 4 STARS

14. Glee Cast: It’s A Man’s Man’s Man’s World
Quinn gets a rare chance to shine when she covers James Brown. Really Quinn’s voice is like a lesser Mercedes, there’s soul there but not enough power. She gives a solid vocal performance but you can hear her vocal limitations when she hits the high notes. Still the pregnant backing vocalists were great. 3.5 STARS

15. Glee Cast: Good Vibrations
Glee generally always end with some feel good closing numbers and this is no exception. A big funky party track, Mercedes mimics Loleatta Holloway and Puck and Finn stick to the rapping by imitating Marky Mark And The Funky Bunch. The backing vocals are infectious and Mercedes blows it out of the bag as usual. All really good songs in Glee this week, I’m happy to report. 4 STARS

16. Goldfrapp: Alive
After their comeback single Rocket peaked at a rather disappointing #47, can they achieve success with the second single from Head First. I sure hope so. Alive isn’t quite as catchy as Rocket but it’s just pure ‘80s magic from start to finish and a real grower. Alison’s vocals are beautiful and serene and I hope this does well – especially with it’s rather quirky video. 3.5 STARS

TRACK OF THE WEEK!
17. Jónsi: Animal Arithmetic
Icelandic singer Jónsi releases his debut album Go was released last month and he has now released the lead single Animal Arithmetic. Can I say wow! We need more male vocalists like Jónsi. I am vaguely reminded of Florence when I hear this song. It’s full of crashing cymbals and heavenly backing vocals with fast paced verses and chorus that has that building soundtrack feeling to it. I doubt old Jónsi will get much airplay but if you don’t hear this track then you are severely missing out. 5 STARS

18. Ke$ha: Your Love Is My Drug
From singing about brushing her teeth with “a bottle of Jack” to “dancing with no pants on”, it’s good to see Ke$ha go for a bit of clean Summer fun with the third single from her successful debut album Animal. After the terrible 3OH!3 assisted Blah Blah Blah, Ke$ha redeems herself big time with this guaranteed Summer smash. Starting of with buzzing, sunny synths, we’re quickly dragged into an infectious bridge and then a huge Dr. Luke produced chorus. Ke$ha also shows plenty of personality in her lyrics with humourous lines about “feeling like a lovesick crackhead” and finishing the song with a flirty “I like your beard”. Many haters and conspiracy theorists have accused her of subliminally promoting drug use but ignore them. Because Your Love Is My Drug is a super fun pop song that will have you bopping around the barbeque for the next three months. 4 STARS

19. Madcon: Glow
I never really liked Madcon’s debut single (and only hit) Beggin’ but this is different. This is a fantastic Eurodance track that’s probably best known for soundtracking the flashmob across Europe in Eurovision 2010. At almost 8 minutes long, this is way too long (unless you’re carrying out a massive dance workout) but a radio edit would suffice to make this feel less overlong. Tshawe and Yosef do seem like they’ve been raiding will.i.am.’s Auto-Tune cabinet but that’s the thing – this track seems so now!Which means that the Norwegian duo could easily break the US with more promotion and a good influx of songs. There already a more bearable will.i.am. and they’ve got the club sound that the US (and the rest of the World) will just go crazy for. Anyhow, I’m rambling. Glow is a euphoric club track that may just prompt another bout of flashmobbing across Europe. 4 STARS

20. Mumford & Sons: Roll Away Your Stone
The fourth single from Mumford & Son’s album Sigh No More has definite vibes of déjà vu. I found myself singing the chorus of Little Lion Man in my head when really I should have been singing along to the chorus of Roll Away Your Stone. Which makes me think…are Mumford & Sons one trick ponies? Time will tell. This is a passable single, not particularly offensive, not particularly exciting. 3 STARS

21. Pixie Lott: Turn It Up
On Mama Do and Cry Me Out, Pixie sounded like Duffy, on Boys And Girls, Pixie sounded like Sugababes and on the dreadful Gravity, Pixie sounded like Jordin Sparks. On Turn It Up, Pixie reminds me of Natasha Bedingfield. However, unlike with her previous four singles, Pixie has chosen the perfect time to release yet another generic single – Summer. With its groovy R&B synths, its airy bridge, those chavvy “turn it arrrps!” and its undersung chorus, Lott injects a much needed Summery feel into the charts. This is my favourite Pixie single because it’s just so carefree and fun and I think it will always remind me of Summer – just chilling in my garden drinking a refreshing ice cold drink, feeling the balmy air on my face. For once, Pixie’s music has actually struck a chord with me – even if she does sound like Natasha Bedingfield. 4 STARS

22. Reece: Party Till Lights Out
Ummm…excuse me, Reece. What are you doing that’s so different from Chipmunk, Tinchy, Fugative? Emmmm…nothing! Yet another rapper to climb out of the woodworks, ditch his grime roots and create another watered down club rap track, desperate for a dent in the charts! Boring! How much more can we stand? And I doubt Reece has any long term career in the industry. Did I mention that there’s a vocalist to sing out the chorus…yet he’s uncredited and I can’t find his name anywhere on the net which is a crying shame because he’s the one that gives this song an extra half point with his euphoric vocals. Gain some originality and then I might take some interest, Reece. 2.5 STARS

23. Sade: Babyfather
Another track to add to the Summer playlist, the super sexy and ageless Sade is back with a breezy mid-tempo, the second single from her/their(?) comeback album Soldier Of Love. It mightn’t be the most exciting track ever but Sade’s rich vocals shine through on this song and the song has a groovy relaxed feeling to it once you’re done dancing along to AlejandroYour Love Is My Drug and Turn It Up this Summer. 3.5 STARS

24. Shuttleworth featuring Mark E. Smith: England’s Heartbeat
A light folky track with some pretty nice vocals but it doesn’t really explore the celebratory, euphoric feel of the World Cup. It’s probably more of a grower track than an anthem you’ll shout along too. 3 STARS

25. Soundproof: Only By The Night
A rousing pop rock track from an up and coming Irish band. Lead vocalist Ste O’Donoghue has a powerful set of pipes on him and there’s some pretty talented instrumentation going on there. Right now though, the song feels a little too clichéd and samey. Still, a band to keep your eye on. 3 STARS

26.Stringfever featuring Stuart Pendred: Forever England
I think I’m going to be all exhausted after reviewing all these World Cup singles. So far we’ve heard big shout-along anthems or Africanised tracks – with Stringfever and Pendred we get the big serious patriotic World Cup song.Pendred provides some powerful opera vocals while Stringfever’s orchestration is grand and regal. It does sound a bit too sombre for my tastes but it should keep English people happy. 3 STARS

27. Tiësto featuring Tegan And Sara: Feel It In My Bones
Dutch trance maestro Tiësto has been involved with several different artists for his fourth studio album Kaledioscope. Having worked with Nelly Furtado on previous singleWho Wants To Be Alone, the DJ has teamed up with fellow Canadians – duo Tegan And Sara. The great thing about this track is we get Tiësto’s masterful production while Tegan and Sara provide catchy pop rock vocals. Another fantastic single from Tiësto – I still haven’t checked out the new album yet – I must go out and get it! It’s on my to-do list. 4 STARS

28. Tinie Tempah featuring Labrinth: Frisky
As I’ve said many times before, I never really liked Tinie Tempah’s UK #1 Pass Out and hearing Frisky, I’m getting serious cases of déjà vu, this sounds near identical to the aforementioned previous single. I do like that Tinie is bringing dubstep to the mainstream though and almost gave this 3 STARS until I heard the terrible lyric “Would you risk it for a chocolate buiscit?”. Which brought it down to 1 STAR…but then Labrinth’s anguished cries of “it’s what I’m feeling, baby!” and the fast paced outro brought it back up to 3 STARS. You’ve won this round, Tinie, but you better produce a better third single if I’m to continue with this generosity. 3 STARS

29. Tom Dice: Me And My Guitar
I think I’m pretty good at reviewing as many singles as possible – since I started these diaries eighteen weeks ago, I’ve reviewed practically every Glee single and Ash A-Z Series single too. But there’s no way I’m reviewing every Eurovision single that might make a dent in the chart this year. However, Tom Dice’s Belgian entry Me And My Guitar has been garnering a lot of attention lately and I think out of all the Eurovision stars this year – could have a successful international career outside of the competition. Because Me And My Guitar wouldn’t sound out of place on an album by Paolo Nutini, Jason Mraz or John Mayer. Sure, you could ask do we need another Paolo, Jason or John in the industry? Well, no not really. But Belgium was dead right in sending a very contemporary song to Eurovision – not having to rely on flashy gimmicks or over-the-top performances. They sent a song that was likely to do well in the charts. The song itself is a bit drippy but probably one of the best song’s in Eurovision this year – great for bringing out the inner romantic and Dice sings with this beautiful falsetto. I think this could be a guilty pleasure of many. 3 STARS

30. Tom Jones: Burning Hell
The Welsh legend covers John Lee Hooker’s classic bluesy Burning Hell very well. I love the original and Tom does the song justice, although he doesn’t divert much from the original. 4 STARS

31. Tom Jones: What Good Am I
Again, Jones does another cover – this time Bob Dylan. Jones is solid enough but it doesn’t have a patch on the original. 3 STARS

32.Uffie featuring Pharrell: A.D.D. (SUV)
Ke$ha’s biggest fan, Uffie, goes up against her with the release of her new Pharrell assisted single. What you get is a typical electropop track with a slight alternative sound – a bit reminiscent of Britney Spear’s Blackout or M.I.A.’s latest single XXXO. The song is really infectious and I like Uffie’s flow. It’s also great to hear Pharrell rapping again. I think this is going to be one of those under the radar pop hits. 4 STARS

33. We Are Scientists: Nice Guys
We Are Scientists are back with another passable but fun and bouncy indie pop rock track. Nothing particularly special but it makes good car journey music. Nice to drive and sing along to. 3 STARS

Oh, finally done! Comment, feedback, you know the drill. I’m exhausted after that! *collapses on keyboard and dies*

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2 Comments

  1. Gerard McGarry

    Can you believe this, but I’d never heard Beck’s Loser before the guys did it on Glee? Seriously. What a fantastic song. And it inspired me to check out Beck. Although it initially sounded like an old Kid Rock song. You know what I mean.

    Glad you’re liking the Pixie Lott single. I really am starting to warm to her, and this is one of the better ‘summer’ songs out at the moment.

    1. RandomEnigma

      You’re right. Loser does sound like the country meets rap meets rock more closely associated with Kid Rock. Beck is a very versatile artist though – I’m going to link you to Bad Blood and Timebomb which appeared in episodes of the second season of *dun dun dun* True Blood. Gosh, I’m tiring myself out with all the times I talk about that show on here.

      Yes, I really do like Pixie’s single a lot. It’s very carefree and fun and makes up for its dreadful predecessor Gravity. At 19 years of age, she has plenty of time to bloom as an artist.

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