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Single Releases (2nd June 2013) – Part 1

Part 1 of Phil Lickley’s roundup of the week’s top new single releases.

Afrojack feat.  Chris Brown – As Your Friend

And we kick off this week with another entry into ‘Now! That’s What I Call Clichéd 2013’ with another autotune-filled, synth-heavy dance track with Chris Brown sounding so bored on the song that he couldn’t even be bothered to appear in the video. Repetitive to the point of boredom and so similar to other recent dance ‘hits’ I won £50 by putting a bet on about what would appear within the four minutes. With the default setting of Afrojack’s ProTunes set up and set to ‘demo’ mode it even manages to throw in the most lowbrow exclamation near the end as well. Nobody expects that sort of cruelty to cats, if you catch my drift. (2/10)

Barenaked Ladies – Boomerang

The first single from their 2013 album ‘Grinning Streak’, ‘Boomerang – like the earlier release by Nicole Scherzinger – uses an obvious metaphor to build a song. Sounding like a song by ‘The Script’ or ‘Athlete’ crossed with a downbeat version of ‘Shine’ by ‘Take That’, it’s much more straight forward than I’d expect from the ladies, as well as being surprisingly brief. It’s a pleasant enough piece of music carried by his listenable voice and memorable, singable chorus. Not a particularly remarkable comeback (see, I can do the metaphors too) but an enjoyable enough, summery, sub-three-minutes. (6/10)

Bastille – Laura Palmer (EP)

Named after a character from ‘Twin Peaks’, this ‘Pompeii’ follow-up starts with a less catchy, but similar opener. The chorus has all the hallmarks of a strong, memorable Bastille hit, but it has very similar echoes and match points to their big launch hit, feeling a little clone-like at times. But, if you enjoyed their ode to exploding volcanos, you’ll very much enjoy the dramatic drum beats and bass of this hit, plus the atmospheric, spooky strings, mixed in with a strong, singable vibe. Not a huge departure in style, but still thoroughly listenable. The rest of the EP is made up of remixes, with one extra track “Thinkin ‘Bout You” (feat. O.N.E.). (7/10)

French Montana – Ain’t Worried About Nothin’

Either I’m getting out of touch with modern music or I half expect these tracks to be the product of Sacha Baron Cohen or some similar comedian, parodying the genre. But, no, this is supposed to be a serious track. It has swagger and a relatively catchy beat, but unfortunately it’s like the ‘Goldie Lookie’ Chain’ of hip-hop that substitutes some well-written lyrics for words written on the back of a cigarette packet and a repeat racial slang word. Terrible. (1/10)

Frightened Rabbit – Late March, Death March (EP)

I’m still waiting for ‘Frightened Rabbit’ to do a follow-up as strong as the frankly brilliant ‘The Woodpile’ from earlier in the year. ‘Late March, Death March’ doesn’t quite cut the mustard. It has an enjoyable vibe to it with a foot-tapping chorus, whistling backdrop and smooth flow of lyrics, but its overly sonic-feel blurs too much into one long noise, lacking enough distinction of areas, though the chorus does hook you in after a couple of listens. The EP is rounded off with ‘Architect’, a subtle, stripped-back collaboration with ‘Manchester Orchestra’ that is refreshingly different in sound, a couple of live tracks and an alternative version of the title track. (6/10)

Fuse ODG feat. Wyclef Jean – Antenna

Having taken the clubs by storm with ‘Azonto’, this follow-up isn’t a million miles away in sound, and is less appealing than that incredible debut, but it’s a sunny, relentless hit that screams out for dancing, bringing his Afro-pop to more prominence. Even Wyclef Jean adapts his style for the record, though his presence is quite understated. ‘Antenna’ does run out of enough ideas and freshness by the time it hits three minutes and, at points, represents a more credible version of the ‘Cha Cha Slide’, but it’s a warm, catchy number that will find a popular home in the clubs of the UK. (6/10)

Jessie J Feat. Big Sean & Dizzee Rascal – Wild

Taken, I assume, from her upcoming second album, she certainly takes her time walking into the music video. Sadly she is taking the same route a lot of female singers take on their second album, stripping off their clothes and going too clubby. Jessie J’s parts in the song are strong, and singable, but the rap by Big Sean is hardly BOB, feeling shoe-horned into the song. Dizzee Rascal doesn’t fare much better. Feeling too bitty as a song, without enough focus, this is her weakest single so far. The chorus is up there with her biggest and certainly singable with her famous attitude easily present, but the effect is diluted by two pointless and tired raps, and a lack of the production brilliance on, say, ‘Dominio’ or ‘Do It Like A Dude’. A shame. (5/10)

Ke$ha feat. Will.I.Am – Crazy Kids

From the artist line-up, the only craziness that stands out is the use of punctuation or monetary signs in the wrong places, or the craziness for someone to buy this. No matter what you think of Ke$ha’s abilities as a singer, you can always rely on her to produce some killer hooks, but the whistle-including-bridge-aside they’re lacking here, especially in the repetitive and tedious chorus. Will.I.Am’s contribution is as predictable as ever with lyrics childish even by his standards, and if he was on production duties here then he’s created a confusing, shotgun-approach mess. Another disappointing release from an artist I expected more from. (5/10)

Kodaline – Love Like This

The Irish group’s third single is certainly a joyous and uptempo affair and not enough songs have mouth organ on them. It’s not this week’s most remarkable track but certainly has had more love put into it than the more commercial entries earlier. A fun enough listen, not massively memorable and a little messy in parts, but it passes the time out in the sun. (5/10)

Lune – Leave The World Behind

Sounding like a much more listenable Ellie Goulding, the string-heavy ‘Leave The World Behind’ is a touching, atmospheric piece of music that builds up a smooth soundscape even if it plays all its cards within the first half of the song. Nice while it lasts; hardly earthshattering but a different, and better, version of the ‘Swedish House Mafia’ version. (6/10)

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