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This Week’s New Single Releases – 14 July Part 1

Part one of my round up of the new singles available for digital download this week.

Agnetha Faltskog – ‘Dance Your Pain Away’
Former Abba singer’s second new solo single, ‘Dance Your Pain Away’ is a much more uptempo, Europop number than its predecessor. Funky, danceable and well produced, this is a second spot-on hit for Faltskog, building on her quieter, but no less enjoyable, ballad and creating a poppy, ultimately memorable, hit for July, proving age is no barrier when it comes to creating tunes far more exciting than contemporary dance tracks. (8/10)
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A*M*E – ‘Heartless’
After her appearance on the number one, ‘Need You’, ‘A*M*E’ goes solo with this pop-dance hit. The synth riff and structure is as recognisable as ever, pulled as it is from the Cliché book of 2010s dance sound, but that said it’s actually a better example than we’ve been treated to previously. As a singer A*M*E has a powerful voice and the building nature of the song, and the use of secondary vocals repeating the vocal hook, add to it. It’s too familiar to really stand out from the crowd, but will fit neatly into the genre, and is more exciting than, say, what we’ve had from artists like Calvin Harris recently. (6.5/10)
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Avicii feat. Aloe Blacc – ‘Wake Me Up’
It’s been a while since Aloe Blacc has been around and his presence on this record makes it. Outside of his country-twanged verses, it’s business as usual for Avicii, with his ‘Levels’-esque, but not quite up to that song’, synth sequences. It’s only when Blacc sings that the record becomes anything like a twist on the familiar formula with a ‘Mumford and Sons’ kind of sound. The clubbier side of the track isn’t actually half bad – like the last track reviewed perfectly enjoyable if unremarkable, sounding at times like a bedroom DJ just discovering some of the tools available on Virtual DJ – but it’s the more thought-provoking aspect of Blacc’s contributions that stand out. (6.5/10)
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Avril Lavigne – ‘Here’s To Never Growing Up’
I’m really not sure Radiohead have a discography of songs that I’d really sing at the top of my lungs to fall in love, more likely I’d use them to sink into some sort of sombre, tequila-fuelled depression, but that aside has Lavigne not grown up on her new record? Her sound hasn’t really adapted, with her ballsy, attitude-filled sound still present so it’s very much business as usual, and some of the lyrics reflect the immaturity suggested in the chorus. The chant-led chorus has shades of Pink and seems destined to be a live-favourite or to be chanted by young teenage girls in their bedrooms. Immediately catchy, ‘Here’s To Never Growing Up’ is a return to form for Lavigne and this will fit well into her earlier hits. (7.5/10)
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Belinda Carlisle – ‘Sun’
Sounding like she’s been recently working with OMD, ‘Sun’ from Carlisle’s new greatest hits collection, is her first new single in a massive seventeen years. To roll out a cliché myself, it has been worth the wait, with this speedy, poppy synth-led track grabbing you pretty quickly with its simple pop structure proving quickly memorable. Carlisle’s voice comes across as strong as at her peak, and the powerful chorus really pulls you in. Production-wise, the right strings are pulled to make it a strong, tight recording, making it as hot as the sun. (8/10)
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Blondie feat. Beth Ditto – ‘A Rose By Any Name’
Taken from Blondie’s upcoming tenth album, they are back and teaming up with Beth Ditto from The Gossip. ‘A Rose By Any Name’ fuses the styles of the two bands into something I’d not expect from Blondie. Lacking the immediate huge appeal of ‘Maria’, ‘Good Boys’ and ‘Mother’ which have launched their previous ‘modern era’ albums, it’s no less interesting to listen to with some great other-worldly synth effects. The vocals of Harry and Ditto work well together and this should please fans of both bands. It’s certainly a grower and the chorus is pretty hooky, though it’s not quite bigger than the sum of its parts. (7/10)
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Breach – ‘Jack’
Quite possibly this week’s weirdest video, this simple electronic track doesn’t really have much to it, but fans of Fatboy Slim and classic Daft Punk will be in their element here. Wisely limiting its running time to three minutes to avoid outstaying its welcome, it does have some strong electronic elements running through it that work well together. Naturally the simple vocal hooks become quickly memorable through repetition and it’s enjoyable to listen to through its laid-back, sensual simplicity. (6.5/10)
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Chvrches – ‘Gun’
Their previous single ‘Recover’ is one of my favourite singles of the year so far, so ‘Gun’ has a lot to live up to. Taking its lead from the last song, there’s not much to separate it in style, with ‘Gun’ once more being a strong showcase for lead singer Lauren Mayberry’s beautiful and recognisable voice. It doesn’t have the vocal hook that was the centrepiece of ‘Recover’ but there’s something mesmerising about the song. If you enjoyed their previous hits then this continues the style nicely with a bridge and chorus that lift it up a little, though it lacks the spark of ‘Recover’. (6/10)
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Ciara feat. Nicki Minaj – ‘I’m Out’
Ciara goes all Beyonce on this urban-style track that features Nicki Minaj once more showing that, though talented, substitutes clever rapping with a stream of random obscenities. ‘I’m Out’ is a difficult song to categorise as the sound is pretty fresh and Ciara’s best song in a long time and there are plenty of hooks in it as it speeds towards its chorus, but equally feels quite repressive in their own portrayal of themselves. It’s quite an artificial track with too many elements fighting for attention and no co-ordinated sound, but they work well as a pairing, it’s just a shame that Minaj ruins her speedy raps with such nonsensical expletives. (6.5/10)
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