Regular contributor Philip Lickley takes us through the pick of this weeks single releases…
Single Reviews – 20 January
Featuring new releases from Justin Timberlake, Jessie Ware, Amelia Lily and more. Share your own verdicts on this weeks new singles in the comments section at the bottom.
Al Lewis – ‘Make A Little Room’
Buy: Make a Little Room
‘Make A Little Room’ is a quaint, gentle ballad that bumbles along nicely in its acoustic casualness, with a pleasant, relaxing voice from Lewis to carry the song and a well-done two-part vocal harmony for the chorus. It’s not a ground breaking track and it doesn’t particularly travel anywhere exciting and won’t stay with you much afterwards, but it’s a pleasing little ditty while it’s on that is sweet in its sentiment and well delivered with its production.
Amelia Lily – ‘Shut Up (And Give Me Whatever You Got)’
Buy: Shut Up (And Give Me Whatever You Got)
Following ‘You Bring Me Joy’ must be tricky after such a great debut and sadly she hasn’t quite stepped up – although this is a song that grows on you. Though the power of her voice is undoubtable it’s held back here by an uninspiring, clichéd song. The song kicks off sharply and builds up a structure, but the vocals struggle to form a team with the exaggerated, over the top music track. Its catchiness does show its face after a few listens and the sentiment of the title rings out in the chorus, but the verses don’t hit the mark. You don’t quite want Lily to shut up, but I feel she hasn’t quite given us everything she’s got here.
Conor Maynard feat. Wiley – ‘Animal’
Maynard returns with ‘Animal’, a mid-paced song sung over an awkward sound of electronica and twanging of digital elastic bands; for all its weirdness, though, it kind of works. The lyrics aren’t particularly revolutionary and Wiley, once more, phones-in his rap, and the transition between the sections seem forced, but it’s a relatively fun pop tune with a catchy drum beat at times. It has its moments but fails to carve out an identity.
Izzy Marie Hill – ‘Chuck Norris’
Buy: Chuck Norris
Sounding very much like a female Jason Mraz from the summery-sound of the music to her vocals, this is actually a fun, smooth track with a chorus that quickly grabs you thanks to its structure and down-to-earth lyrics. The video (below) may be a little on the cheap side but the song isn’t. A tight, three-minute happy tune; it’s just a shame that its warm sentiments feel alien to the snow outside.
Jessie Ware – ‘Sweet Talk’
Buy: Sweet Talk
The sixth single from her album, ‘Sweet Talk’ is quite a bland track that never seems to escape its one-note feel with a backing track that rarely varies and feels uncomfortable to listen to – sounding like it was generated by some cheap PC software. Ware’s vocals on top are better but she sounds bored rather than sultry. With a lack of focus and a verse that ambles along, it questions why she’s released so many singles from the album. The opening line of the chorus lifts it up a little but after that it’s back to business as usual.
Justin Timberlake feat. Jay-Z – ‘Suit & Tie’
Buy: Suit & Tie featuring JAY Z
Six years after the release of his last album, a new release by Timberlake has been teased for a couple of weeks. I’ve always been impressed by his releases and ear for a good tune and even if Timbaland has become too clichéd a producer there was still some dark there. Sadly I think the absence from music as he pursues an acting career has done some damage. ‘Suit and Tie’ from his upcoming third album is the poorest single of his so far, with an uncomfortable opening that sounds like they’ve played it at the wrong tempo. Things get better when it shifts into the main song but for all the trumpets and enjoyable-enough chorus, it’s no ‘SexyBack’ or ‘Rock Your Body’. Even a rap by Jay-Z fails to light the spark. It has its moments but there’s something not right about the tempo, it outstays its welcome, and it just doesn’t hit me. At least it doesn’t sound like a typical Timbaland production with a much more interesting retro sound, but it still doesn’t float my boat. Shame.
Mallory Knox – ‘Lighthouse’
A band named after a character from movie ‘Natural Born Killers, ‘Lighthouse’ is a soft rock tune with the usual suspects of driving guitars and angsty lyrics. The chorus kicks off well and balances nicely between catchiness and moderate head-banging, and it’s not as shouty as you’d expect from the genre. With a neatly segued in bridge it has some strong elements. It’s not the greatest tune this week but one of the more enjoyable with stronger lyrics than you’d usually find in this category. Well worth a listen and download.