Single Reviews – 4 November
Philip Lickley takes us through the pick of the coming weeks single releases…
Christina Aguilera – ’Your Body’
Buy: Your Body
The first cut from Aguilera’s upcoming seventh album is a let-down after her previously strong hits such as ‘Candyman’, ‘Not Myself Tonight’ and her guest vocals on Maroon 5’s hits. The backing synth and production-led skips have their moments and her voice is as strong as ever but the bridge and chorus are bland and lack the power or memorability of her previous hits. With clichéd lyrics and only some vocal oh-oh-ohs to redeem it, I was expecting a more enjoyable return than this.
Honey Ryder – ’Worlds Away’
Buy: Worlds Away
Now this is more like it. Stripped back and straight-forward, the lyrics are well-written and the simple guitar and drum track build up the emotion. It’s a shame that the chorus doesn’t particularly set the track alight after the building verses that suggest something more powerful is coming and are far more interesting in their own right, and it lacks a major hook but it’s an enjoyable piece to listen to and follow the words of, it just feels like they missed a trick with it.
Joss Stone – Pillow Talk
Buy: Pillow Talk
A cover of a 1973 song by Sylvia with a more soulful makeover that befits Stone’s albums of reworks, ‘Pillow Talk’ is a song you wouldn’t identify immediately with Stone – with her voice sounding refreshingly different. However, it’s not a particular exciting song to release as a single, lacking the power of her previous release ‘While You’re Out Looking For Sugar’. A nice slice of background music to relax to but away from its place in the album it will struggle to make itself known, and more importantly is not as good nor different enough to the original.
Misha B – ’Do You Think of Me’
Buy: Do You Think Of Me
Second single from Misha ‘The X Factor’ B is an improvement after her generic debut. Sure, the emotional lyrics portrayed would be better put over an acoustic backing rather than thrust over a clichéd club tune, but it’s got a good beat and the choral effects as the track reaches its final act boosts the track. That said it’s a confused song and should have picked the quiet reflection of a failed relationship in a darkened room or the dancefloor and not a half-way house. A good song damaged to by its boring production.
Rita Ora – ’Shine Ya Light’
Buy: Shine Ya Light
The third single from Rita Ora’s debut album ‘Shine Ya Light’ has a pleasant enough reggae feel but sounds too much like a sub-par version of Katy Perry’s ‘Firework’. By the end of it the chorus has proved it can be catchy, mostly down to its repetitiveness, but it’s a disappointment of a track after ‘RIP’ and the much more memorable ‘How We Do’.
Scouting For Girls – ’Without You (Naked)’
Buy: Without You
As catchy as any material they’ve ever done ‘Without You (Naked)’ is a strong second single even if the well-written lyrics that make up the verses is contradicted by the immature line of ‘I Want You Back Naked’. Sniggering behind your hand and schoolboy humour aside, the build-up to the chorus and the interesting piano line, combined with the subject matter and subtle use of strings, make this another strong pop single from the SFG boys even if it does eventually wallow in their clichéd, often parodied, style.
Steps – ’Light Up The World’
Buy: Light Up The World
The lead single from their same-titled return Christmas album, ‘Light Up The World’ to some extent abandons their familiar sound for a slower ballad that is more smoothly produced but different sounding from their classic slower songs. With a balanced mix of their vocals, it’s not a bad return and an enjoyable themed song, but it’s not a patch on their earlier material and lacks that special Christmas magic that would make it an even better song. Oh, and being released nearer the festive period would have helped, though it’s not as Christmassy sounding as you’d think. With a chorus that grows and a fun breakdown from the Steps boys it could have been better and worse than this. An average track but Steps fans will find something to enjoy. A Yuletide grower.
Sub Focus feat. Alpines – ’Tidal Wave’
Buy: Tidal Wave
The third single from his as-yet-untitled second album, Nick “Sub Focus” Douwma releases ‘Tidal Wave’, a gruff electronic track with the smooth female vocals of Alpines over the top. With elements of dubstep and a genuinely entertaining instrumental line, it’s not a song that will grab you but it has a collection of exciting elements that you’ll enjoy. A track that lifts its head above the parapets on a weak week of releases.
The Wanted – ’I Found You’
Buy: I Found You
The lead single from their third album (third, already??) is a great change of sound for the band, far better than JLS’ shift for instance. With a grimy backing and an impressive sounding falsetto chorus, it’s still firmly rooted in boy band territory but is more interesting than they’ve sounded in a while. With a neat sounding stripped-back breakdown, this is an unexpectedly fun return from The Wanted.
Wiley feat. Skepta, JME & Ms D – ’Can You Hear Me? (ayayaya)’
Buy: Can You Hear Me? (ayayaya) (ft. Skepta, JME & Ms D)
As expected it’s another mix of rapping and female-led vocals on the chorus, just like he’s done for every other release ever. It does have its catchy elements and is up there with his other singles but we’ve heard it all before on his other songs, and some of the lyrics are leading into parody even cringingly name-checking his recent number one. The mix of vocals adding some variety to the record but it loses its focus as it hits the three-minute mark. If you enjoyed ‘Heatwave’ then you’ll like this adapted carbon-copy.