Single Reviews – 25 November
Philip Lickley’s weekly round-up of the coming weeks biggest single releases…
Bullet For My Valentine – ’Temper Temper’
Buy: Temper Temper
The first single from their same-titled fourth album ticks all the boxes of a rock song with a driving guitar backing, rough screaming vocals and a catchy drum roll. It might be bordering on the clichéd side but is actually much hookier and catchier than many of their previous singles, suggesting a certain amount of commerciality to this release. With a lengthy, fast-paced instrumental opening that merges into the rest of the song and a singable chorus, this takes their rockier side and pops it up a little for a wider audience and I for one welcome the change.
Ed Sheeran – ’Give Me Love’
Buy: Give Me Love
The sixth single from his debut album has its moments and is actually more enjoyable than some his more recent singles thanks to its interesting opening, post-chorus two-thirds-in and chant-style production values. Elsewhere it’s a little bit business as usual with the after-chorus elements being a little off-putting with Sheeran’s off-beat adlibs detracting from the release rather than adding to it. If they’d been omitted it would have been even stronger but this is actually my favourite song he’s released so far overall.
Kelly Clarkson – ’Catch My Breath’
Buy: Catch My Breath
The lead single from her upcoming ‘Greatest Hits – Chapter One’, surely a title best avoided after the disappearance of the Backstreet Boys after their similarly titled release, is not as immediately accessible as ‘Stronger’ but her new-found energy is present and the catchiness appears after a couple of listens to the chorus. Simplistic in its form and not particularly revolutionary, it is, though, a fun and memorable listen with a pleasing poppy sound and a great showcase of her voice, rounding off her career so far nicely.
Ke$ha – ’Die Young’
Buy: Die Young
Returning with the first single from her second album ‘Warrior’, ‘Die Young’ might use more autotune than you’d think is possible in one single but it has a very catchy electropop backing and chorus and feels very much like a continuation of her memorable chart and club friendly first album singles. With a rap-like delivery it might be as artificial as her voice and as manipulative to be liked as possible, but as a catchy slice of electropop it really works and is one of the strongest of her singles so far and an enjoyable first cut from an album.
The Lancashire Hotpots – ’The Beer Festival’
Buy: The Beer Festival (Single Edit)
Not the strongest cut from their latest album but not a disappointment either as one of my favourites on the album ‘A Hard Day’s Pint’. With a cut back approach to their comedy folk stylings, it might not be as outright funny as their original singles of ‘Chippy Tea’ and ‘He’s Turned Emo’ – or many of their other more recent songs that have not been given single status, but there is still much to enjoy with their witty rhyming and jaunty observations, as well as some classic, if not classy, innuendo involving German sausages and crepes. If you enjoy some quality comedy tunes that are also listenable with some well spotted observations and crisp production values alongside a progressive tune, then get this down you!
Massive Horse feat. Dick Valentine – ’The Shrinking Planet’
Buy: The Shrinking Planet [Explicit]
UK comedy band ‘Massive Horse’ team up with the frontman of ‘Electric Six’ on this eccentric electro-rock tune. Very much a British ‘The Lonely Island’, it’s actually more satisfyingly layered than their music and though the comedy is not as overt, the lyrics are well put together with some neat hooks based on famous action characters alongside the usual areas of the chorus and bridges. The rap delivery of the main band compliments the chorus by Valentine, but he also throws in a vocal rap too. It’s daft and crazy but has the music and appeal to back it up with a confident synth backing and surprisingly good production values.
McFly – ’Love Is Easy’
Buy: Love Is Easy
Very much an acoustic version of ‘Star Girl’ in parts, this stripped-back Jack Johnson like tune is taken from McFly’s second greatest hits album. As poppy as you’d expect from the boys it revels in its cheese but equally lacks the power of songs like their recent ‘Shine A Light’. A laid back, non-offensive track, it’s McFly once more at their pop-ballad strength and it’s not a half-bad tune, if a little derivative of ‘Star Girl’ and at times a little bland, but it does get some credits from a neat inclusion of ‘It’s A Wonderful Life’ and its pop-appeal wins you over by the end.
Noisettes – ’I Want You Back’
Buy: I Want You Back
The follow up to excellent double A-side ‘That Girl’ and ‘Winner’ sounds like they’ve adapted the ‘Doctor Who’ theme for their own benefit. Though not as good as those tracks, ‘I Want You Back’ is a perky and poppy track with a speedy chorus that makes up for the lacking verse. It’s worth downloading and hearing but not the progression I’d expect after the euphoric ‘Winner’. It does, though, feature some nice twanging guitar and a growing enjoyment and bodes well for the album.
One Direction – ’Little Things’
Buy: Little Things
The second single from their second album, ‘Little Things’ is a disappointment after the pop-fun of ‘Live While You’re Young’. Very raw-sounding with their vocals sitting over an acoustic guitar much lower in the mix, it’s a neat departure but it sounds cheesier than if they’d gone much poppier and there’s little to stand out in the verses – which outstay their welcome – and a lacklustre chorus. Not much to enjoy here, I’m afraid, with poor lyrics over an even more boring tune.
Pink – ’Try’
Taken from her sixth album, ‘Try’ is the second single and, though not as initially grabbing as ‘Blow Me (One More Kiss)’ it hits you by the end of its four minute run. Taking a smoother, more ballad-like approach, the lyrics are much more thought-inducing and well-written than the suggestive preceding single and is matched by a gentle, multi-layered production style with rock-based stabs. A grower and another strong single from Pink.
Prince – ’Rock And Roll Love Affair’
Buy: Rock & Roll Love Affair
The artist formerly known as whatever is back with a single that isn’t half bad with a jazzy feel and a nice mix of synth and brass. Its soulful feel doesn’t lend itself to any stand out moments and he lacks the power of his past, big hits, but it’s not a release that tarnishes his back catalogue. An OK release worth a listen to see what he’s up to now with a good mix of instruments but not a must-hear return.
Tulisa – ’Sight Of You’
Buy: Sight Of You
It seems that each of Tulisa’s singles gets a little bit worse with each release. After a strong debut this slower third single passes by with little impact with an average backing track and no real distinction between verse and chorus. With a backing that doesn’t seem to fit with the changes in the lyrics, it grates quickly as well as ending suddenly. In a strong week of releases this is definitely the turkey in time for Christmas.