This Week’s New Single Releases (13th October 2013)

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My round up of the new singles available for digital download this week.

The Aston Shuffle – ‘Can’t Stop Now’
Australian house duo The Aston Shuffle release their pop-house number ‘Can’t Stop Now’ which at least puts a slight twist on the familiar and overused formula of 2013 with an enjoyable lead male vocal and thumping choral breakdown. It may take a little time to get going, that itself a nod of irony in the title, and it’s not that remarkably different from what we’ve been getting from Avicii, Calvin Harris et al for years, but it’s a crossover number that holds itself together for three and a half minutes, bridging the gap between radio hit and club stomper, mainly thanks to its catchy synth rip. (6.5/10)
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Bipolar Sunshine – ‘Love More Worry Less’
Adio Marchant breaks loose from ‘KiD BRiTiSH’ to release this low-key indie number with shades of gospel choir in its style and structure. Lyrically strong and uplifting, it’s just a shame it’s wrapped up in a less than exciting way with Marchant sounding a little bored. The message is great and there are sparks of interest, such as the strings that permeate through the piece, but it feels like a well-written lyrics sheet slapped to music for the hell of it. It improves as it slowly meanders towards its middle section and conclusion though. (5.5/10)
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Bring Me The Horizon – ‘Can You Feel My Heart’
The third cut from their ‘Sempiternal’ album, the Sheffield metal band Bring Me The Horizon at least keep things on message for their love-ballad-titled-song that’s anything but a love ballad. The simple but catchy chorus over a synth riff that sounds like an old printer having issues, works well with the shouty verses and gives the band a new direction to aim for. It’s surprisingly good considering it revels in its clichés, but the ending third proves they sound better when the lead singer stops shouting about his mother down the microphone. Give it time to get over the shaky start and you’ll find a neatly constructed pop-metal number screaming, at times literally, to get out. (6/10)
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Cher – ‘Woman’s World’
Taken from her 26th – yes, 26th – studio album, lead single ‘Woman’s World’ takes what we expect from a post-Sonny Cher – the autotune of Believe, and the fag-packet lyrics of Stronger – and combines them with a modern dance tune and a video which feels like Lady GaGa-lite. It’s difficult to believe that it’s an incredible fifteen years since ‘Believe’ came out – she looks no older – but this is a solid big comeback, with an addictive lyrical tempo and music, even if it feels like the producer has been reading the Dummies guide to club music production. It’s not particularly fresh but she’s created a really memorable, powerful number that suits her voice and style perfectly (7.5/10).
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Don Broco – ‘You Wanna Know’
Single number six and Bedford-based rockers Don Broco knock out ‘You Wanna Know’, a soft-rock number led by a compellingly-voiced front man. A song that manages to embrace a rock-style without finding themselves wallowing in the darker, less anti-commercial side, the chorus quickly grabbing you with its singable, repeatable ‘why you gotta be like that?’ hook. Not outstaying its welcome, this is a great slice of commercial rock. (7/10)
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Eliza Doolittle – ‘Let It Rain’
The second single from her similarly numbered album ‘In Your Hands’ picks up from the brilliant ‘Big When I Was Little’ but knocks it out of the park with the stadium-loud number. Taking a huge start – that the rest of the song never really quite lives up to, though, but only just – and then generating a foot-tapping pop number with a catchy, positive chorus and a string-led bridge that brings you into it, and then a drama-building break-down, this is definitely one of the best songs of the year so far. (8.5/10)
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James Blake feat. Chance The Rapper – ‘Life Round Here’
Built over a repetitive classical-music sounding piano riff with Blake and rapper Chance randomly speaking, singing and rapping over the top, ‘Life Round Here’ is a track that’s difficult to like. The evolving piano riff has its moments and Chance’s rap grows with each listen, but it feels like a confused track that’s a little too experimental for its own good.  It’ll have its fans but to me it’s too floaty, distant and lacking in that killer moment. (4/10)
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Justin Bieber – ‘Heartbreaker’
In the first of ten new singles released every Monday until Christmas, ‘Heartbreaker’ sees Justin turn even more Timberlake than Bieber in this slow, ponderous RnB number with multiple vocal tracks and a repetitive guitar and drum machine pattern. It’s cool to dislike Bieber but I actually quite enjoyed some of his earlier poppier numbers, whereas this is too slow and, ultimately, boring and the style doesn’t suit him, and by the time we get to the spoken monologue I think he’s given up any hope of resurrecting the track, as much as we have any hopes of gaining an interest in hearing the rest. Not sure it’ll be enough to break the hearts of his Beliebers though. (3/10)
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Iggy Azalea feat. T.I. – ‘Change Your Life’
I have a love and hate affair with the discography of Iggy Azalea. Mostly I’ve not been keen on her releases – ‘Work’ was better than ‘Bounce’ – but ‘Change Your Life’, which to be fair doesn’t drift too far from her familiar sound, is easily her best single with a solid opening and an entertaining and memorable chorus. The fast tempo, Nicki Minaj (but better) style verse-structure, and a well-matched rap from T.I. that sounds like his best since his ‘My Love’ collaboration with Justin Timberlake, all combine to make this a fun new single, and the drum-strong third verse carries it further. It’s not for everyone, but it’s a vast improvement on her last two hits. (7.5/10)
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Lawson – ‘Juliet’
Continuing down their path of sounding like a weird morphing between the vocal sounds of Olly Murs and Fall Out Boy, Lawson release their best single yet, after a succession of very good numbers. With a slight Police-vibe and the weirdest pronunciation of allegations I’ve heard (“hallegations”) this is a bouncy, catchy number that screams out pop hit. Building throughout to a powerful drum-based concluding thirty seconds this will hopefully cement Lawson as one of the most important new bands around at the moment with a keen ear for a pop sound with some interesting additions to that musical recipe. (8/10)
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Lissie – ‘Sleepwalking’
Up there with Chvrches as one of my acts of the year, ‘Sleepwalking’ is another stronker of a pop hit from Lissie. Though it might lack the energy and big hook of ‘Further Away (Romance Police)’ her voice – inspired by Fleetwood Mac – and ear for a complimentary verse and chorus will hopefully give her a fulfilling music career. With a less obvious chorus than her last release and a gentler overall feel, this will take longer to win people over, but it’s magic in its laid-back nature and smooth feel. (7/10)
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Matt Cardle – ‘When You Were My Girl’
Continuing to prove that Matt Cardle is the underrated gem of the X Factor winner’s lounge, third-album second-single ‘When You Were My Girl’ is another enjoyable number, though not as huge as his second album single. His new cut feels like he heard ‘Get Lucky’ on the radio and thought ‘I Can do Kool and the Gang too!’ and the funky rhythm, hand claps and backing vocals add some oomph to proceedings. With an ending riffing off Robbie’s ‘Radio’ bringing the song to a close at the three minute mark, it comes across as another listenable number from Cardle showcasing him as a serious artist, but lacks the killer moments of his last single with Mel C or ‘Run For Your Life’. (6.5/10)
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Nyzzy Nyce – ‘Nights Like This’
American rapper with a sense of spelling as bad as anything Slade ever came up with, ‘Nights Like This’ feels like a poppier Wiley number with a cheerful title hook that keeps the track flowing, even if it feels a little overused. DeAngelo Samuel’s vocals sound too similar to his genre mates to really stand out from the crowd but it feels more distinct than, say, what Wiley and his crew have recently released. The more commercial sound suits him and I think you’ll be singing back the chorus later when you’ve pressed stop. (6.5/10)
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Paris Hilton feat. Lil Wayne – ‘Good Time’
In my head I can’t think of any two worst artists to collaborate (perhaps Morrissey and Richard Hawley?) and upon listening to this lead single of her second (not a typo) album I’m convinced I was right. Bland lyrics over a bland club tune, I can’t even say it’s so bad it’s good as it’s just, well, bland. I’m sure it’ll fit into a dance set at a club – if the DJ has run out of other material – but it’s so clichéd it’s unbelievable. I thought even Lil Wayne had more taste than this but he has no excuses with his own bland rap. Bland, bland, clichéd, bland. Are you having a good time? Not particularly Paris. (2.5/10)
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Prefab Sprout – ‘The Best Jewel Thief In The World’
The chief contenders for the weirdest-titled band in the world return after a four year absence with this recognisable hit, that doesn’t feel a million miles away from “Hot dog, jumping frog” The King of Rock ‘N’ Roll, though it lacks any of that song’s memorability, coming across as quite a low-key one-note number that feels like they’re just throwing words out at you without any structure. Fans of the band will enjoy it as it fits neatly into their considerable discography but it’s not a particularly exciting comeback. (4/10)
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Pusha T feat. Chris Brown – ‘Sweet Serenade’
The third single from his latest album, with rapping over a choral-sounding sample, is a regular affair with a very minimal production and style and a heavily processed Brown-chorus. As atmosphere goes it nails the sound but it’s not a particularly exciting piece of audio and even the song feels like it ends quickly to get over it. Not their best work. (3/10)
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Wilkinson – ‘After Glow’
Here’s my trickiest review of the week as it’s difficult not to get involved in the clever concept of the video. Forgetting that for the moment, ‘After Glow’ is a pretty generic club song that is joyful enough with an addictive tempo and feel, but it’s nothing that isn’t regularly surfacing in the charts. But it’s worth a listen and the video certainly draws you into the song with its connections. (6/10)
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