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This week’s new single releases (30th June 2013) Part 1

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

Andrea Begley – ‘My Immortal’
After Leah McFall hit the charts with some of her covers, it’s time for the winner to also arrive in the top 40. A slow-paced, stripped back beautiful cover of the Evanescence classic, it’s not a huge departure from what Amy Lee has done though the laid-back nature of the piece suits the emotive lyrics much more. A pleasure to hear, if not a remarkable difference, and a much shorter interpretation. (7/10)
Watch the video.

Chase & Status feat. Louis M^ttrs – ‘Lost & Not Found’
The new single from ‘Chase & Status’ is a more subdued affair than we’re used to from the producers, mostly known for their crowd-pleasing stadium-filling anthems. Taking a more introspective tune onto the digital shelves they’ve created something that lacks the bang of ‘End Credits’, one of their more downbeat numbers. It’s an enjoyable, warming five minutes, with a chorus that takes a few spins to settle in but when it does it has its moments, though the fast-paced drum track feels at odds with the slower vocals of M^ttrs. But ultimately it lacks that killer well-produced hook that they are known for. (6/10)
Watch the video.

Cimorelli – ‘Made In America’ (EP)
This fourth EP from Cimorelli kicks off with the titular track. Somewhere in the USA there is a factory where lyrics to this sort of song are manufactured, packaged and given to artists to sing, and here is one of their outputs. ‘Made In America’ is a summery, very poppy tune with a very jingoistic nature and a lack of real energy in grabbing you. Considering the six sisters are from across the pond themselves the lyrics feel like every Yankee stereotype thrust into four minutes by someone who has researched the country on Wikipedia, the equivalent of me starting a pop career and having a rap about bowler hats, drinking tea and queuing. The words might be half-hearted but there’s something about its innocence and poppy-nature that makes it listenable, plus the cheesy rap takes us back to the 1990s. Watch the video.

‘Wings’ is a slower ballad set to a series of hand-claps and feels like a much more credible Saturdays-like track and feels more like a lead single (watch the video). ‘The Way We Live’ is more rap-led and more pop-urban, sounding quite like a Bridgit Mendler hit and continues the uptempo-pop feel of the first track (watch the video). ‘Whatcha Think About Us’ neatly rounds off the EP with a less-focused retro-sounding pop hit that cements the four-track collection as a fun, poppy, summery selection with three supporting singles arguably stronger than the lead track (watch the video). (7.5/10)

Doom Man – ‘See Me Strive’
Doom Man’s ‘See My Strive’ is a slow-paced rap that name-checks many huge rappers in a heard-it-before ode to haters, money troubles and respect. It certainly has the style and attitude of a high-flying rap track, even including a radio-friendly chorus sung by a female collaborator, but it just feels like a parody, the rap-equivalent of Rebecca Black’s ‘Friday’, in that it feels forcibly manufactured, and it’s difficult to take seriously. Both rappers have the skills, so to speak, it just feels too derivative and clichéd. (4/10)
Watch the video.

Enter Shikari – ‘Radiate’
It’s business as usual from Enter Shikari, at least at the start of the record but, unlike their more recent songs, it feels like there’s actually lyrics worth listening to and ones that are understandable. ‘Radiate’ is at its strongest in its quieter, more inflective moments, or in the build-up to the chorus. Lead singer Rou Reynolds can pull off a crowd-pleasing chorus so it’s a shame that he keeps falling back into disappointing screamo at key points. More commercial-focussed than I’d expect from the British band, this is possibly the best single I’ve heard from them musically, with plenty of variety, some well-produced instrumental moments, and a much more listenable set of elements, though it lacks a hugely memorable hook once the track has faded away. (6/10)
Watch the video.

Herb Albert – ‘Puttin’ On The Ritz’
Written way back in 1929, here is a modern interpretation of the Irving Berlin classic. I’m not sure the history behind this release, but possible connections to the sound of the recent ‘The Great Gatsby’ film are possible. It’s a very minimal, dance-focussed version of the seminal song, with a hip backing and a much more concentrated look at the music rather than the words. Your love of the song will depend on your like of the 1920’s sound or the ability to street-dance along to it. A refreshing take on a classic that will introduce it to a whole new generation, but not quite as revolutionary as it could be, for instance the restructure of ‘Mambo No. 5’ from many moons ago or last decade’s ‘Singin’ In The Rain’ re-imaginging. (6.5/10)
Watch the video.

Icono Pop feat. Charli XCX – ‘I Love It’
Having not really achieved massive success yet even with the inspired ‘You (Ha Ha Ha)’ Charli XCX teams up with Swedish duo Icono Pop for this uptempo, insanely catchy pop hit with attitude and finally gets recognition. Not outstaying its welcome at under three minutes, this takes us back to the 1990’s of short, succinct pop hits, though with added expletives. Like ‘Get Lucky’ before it, expect this to appear everywhere on adverts, trails and credit sequences. Yes, it might not make any sense and might be very Eurovision in style but it’s an incredibly catchy slice of Europop. (8/10)
Watch the video.

Indiana – ‘Smoking Gun’
‘Smoking Gun’ is a slow, sultry downbeat track with some very evocative, almost filmic music. With some very ominous use of bass and Indiana’s foreboding vocals, this lacks any overtly commercial moments, but there’s something involving and engaging about the atmospheric production. The venomous lyrics fit the soundscape perfectly and though a major memorable hook is missing, the free nature of the song still grabs you during its run. (6.5/10)
Watch the video.

Jack Johnson – ‘I Got You’
The first single from his upcoming ‘From Here to Now to You’ album doesn’t really break any new ground. If you enjoy Jack Johnson’s familiar brand of whistling, laid-back beach-based pop hits then you’ll not have any complaints here, but if I hadn’t started with the album information of the track you wouldn’t know this was brand new. Fun for fans, tired for everyone else; it’s a gentle, time-passing track that doesn’t rock the boat. (5/10)
Watch the video.

Jake Bugg – Broken
Seven single releases from an album may seem a little bit like overkill and you’d probably be right and I’m not really sure if Bugg has ever captured the magic of ‘Lightning Bolt’, certainly not in this slow, sombre number. It passes by nicely as background music with a fun sense of rhythm, though it doesn’t really leave much of an impression, a bit like sitting on a broken sofa. I think new material is in order rather than a continued succession of half-hearted singles. (3/10)
Watch the video.

Jay Brown – ‘Keep Talking’
Now this is more like it. With a no-nonsense straight-into-it approach, the simple guitar backing mixed with the Ladyhawke-esque vocals make this a building, catchy pop-indie hit. Considering its short running time it manages to cram plenty in and its pop vibes really hit home. It’s nothing hugely special in style, but it’s one of those times when the sum of the song’s parts are greater than the whole and this could well be a surprise indie hit of the summer. (7/10)
Watch the video.

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