Regular contributor Philip Lickley takes us through this weeks top single releases. If you would like to contribute to All-Noise, get in touch on [email protected]
Single Reviews – 13 January
50 Cent feat. Eminem and Adam Levine – ‘My Life’
Buy: My Life [Explicit]
Like many of his contributions to hits of this genre, it’s the Maroon 5 lead singer that makes the track and gives it his hook. Outside of his short but sweet chorus 50 Cent’s rap verse is fun but as clichéd as ever – but the usually excellent Eminem struggles with a tedious, never-ending contribution. It’s not an unsuccessful return for 50 Cent but it’s uninspired and too similar to many other tracks we’ve heard down the years, though the beat is particularly enjoyable. Written three years ago it’s also taken three months to reach these shores, and I’m not sure it was worth the wait though it does grow with each listen.
A$AP Rocky feat. Skrillex and Birdy Nam Nam – ‘Wild For The Night’
Buy: Wild For The Night [Explicit]
Speaking of sticking firmly in the world of cliché, here is a song that you can imagine from just looking at the contributors. Rapped over a typical Skrillex beat, it moves from an overly deep verse to a fast-paced rap and back again, whilst the sounds of Laser Quest play out at key moments. With a lack of hook or any structure, it just feels like a mess of production. It has its moments and fits nicely into the genre in all its controversial glory, but it’s not enough to hold it together and feels more like a demo of ideas rather than a finalised song.
Biffy Clyro – ‘Black Chandelier’
Buy: Black Chandelier
Scottish band Biffy Clyro return with a new album and a new single after a three year hiatus. With a very similar sound to their previous hits but lacking the immediacy of big hits ‘The Captain’ and ‘Many Of Horror’, it’s not their strongest lead single but fans of the band will enjoy what is served up. The chorus doesn’t have the memorability of their bigger tunes but it has its moments of simple catchiness and is definitely worth a listen. A middling if unremarkable chorus sets a nice mood and some powerful guitar work and mid-way break down kick it up a few points.
David Bowie – ‘Where Are We Now?’
Buy: Where Are We Now?
Released on his 66th birthday this week to much acclaim and hitting the headlines as much about it breaking chart rules to his hermit-like attitude to public life, ‘Where Are We Now?’ was a surprise appearance and a welcome re-appearance. Unfortunately the track lacks the classic Bowie magic, sounding withdrawn and drawly. It does improve with each listen and it becomes a touching, emotive song with its chorus and some verses, but for every great section with some heart-tugging strings, there is a feeling of the singer struggling to pull off the words and keep it from being a dirge. My thoughts on the song shift with each listen: it works but doesn’t work in equal measure but is a pretty good return track for the classic singer-songwriter.
Little Green Cars – ‘Harper Lee’
Buy: Harper Lee
For this single release I can only find a live version, linked below. From this version the moulding together of the four voices works really well and this stripped back sound suits it. With some well-written lyrics and a smooth overall feel, this is an enjoyable track and if this equates well to a studio recording, definitely worth picking up. With twinges of country the balance of the vocal oohs and the drum beat really work and it’s just a shame there’s no availability of the version released this week before purchase.
Lucy May – ‘Paper Heart’
Buy: Paper Heart
A stripped back ballad, this is the best song I’ve heard from this week’s releases. Immediately catchy thanks to its strong music and rhyming, this is well composed and produced with enough soaring strings to bring the lyrics to life. The two-part chorus might be pretty simple in its first half, but it really grabs you and the two-tiered competing vocals as the song reaches its conclusion really add to it. A strong debut single.
Peace – ‘Wraith’
Built around a strong, if repetitive, guitar riff, ‘Wraith’ sees the indie rock of the mid-noughties come back. With a poppy, catchy chorus, this is an enjoyable guitar-based track with plenty of vocal and musical hooks through its three minute running time, a track that does what it needs to do and then doesn’t outstay its welcome. It does lose its way a little at the mid-point but redeems itself to become one of the better singles this week.