This week’s new single releases – 21 April (part 1)
There’s so many notable new singles out this week that Phil Lickley has split his single reviews into two parts. Here’s part one:
Agnetha Fältskog – ‘When You Really Loved Someone’
The former Abba singer releases this new solo effort. With swelling strings and an emotional chorus, this is a very strong comeback single. Though it struggles to shake off the feeling of being a Eurovision track in style, the interesting synth work balanced with Fältskog’s warm vocals makes for a very listenable tune. Nicely written and successfully building from a standard ballad to something much more exciting, this bodes well for her new album.
Amelia Lily – ‘Party Over’
Lily’s third single once more showcases her strong voice but again it’s buried in an overly-familiar-sounding drum-and-bass backing. The opening chorus and breakdown are a great way to kick off but it doesn’t really showcase anything more exciting after that. It’s a thumping club track, admittedly, and its tempo suits it, but the verses are lacking something. Not as enjoyable as her first two efforts, it’s still worth a listen though too average.
Blue – ‘Hurt Lovers’
Taken from their upcoming fourth album Roulette, ‘Hurt Lovers’ discards their poppier sound for a ballad to signal their return. It’s a successful comeback thanks to its piano and simple, but quickly memorable, chorus but I’m not sure it’s the huge number they need to get back into the public consciousness. It’s a grower, though with each member just about getting enough time to showcase their voice on the track.
Calvin Harris feat. Ellie Goulding – ‘I Need Your Love’
Goulding proves once more that her best work is made when she features on another artist’s track. Starting with her light and addictive vocals, it’s her contribution that’s the strongest element. Elsewhere Harris continues to prove that musically he was more interesting on his first album, here resorting to more generic beats. The chorus is as great as he’s ever done and the verses just about hold your attention until it returns, with the style-change near the end and more from Goulding lifts it up more. A better track from Harris than we have had recently, though he lacks the spark of his early days.
Clean Bandit – ‘Mozart’s House’
Re-released from a couple of years ago, ‘Mozart’s House’ is a messy, confusing track, mixing in a really heavy, distracting beat, some quick, perky rap sections and samples from Mozart. It shouldn’t work – and at times it doesn’t – but there’s something strangely compelling about it. The first minute is possibly the worst section of the song but once you’ve got past this Clean Bandit’s track starts to reveal its magic. It’ll be a divisive track and the bass beat in the background is far too jarring with the rest of the song, but you can’t label it as boring or unexperimental and it’ll really grow on you with its mixture of styles, produced in a fresh way, sort of like a house-focussed ‘The Avalanches’.
Daft Punk feat. Pharrell Williams – ‘Get Lucky’
I’ve been waiting a long time for a new Daft Punk song and finally here we are. Taken from their upcoming Random Access Memories album ‘Get Lucky’ has seen many versions circulating the internet recently. Though a great mix of the vocoder samples turned into a song proved to be false – it was a great version that sounded very ‘Human After All’, my favourite DP era – we can finally hear the proper version.
Much funkier, slower and more populist than I’d expect from the duo, it’s still a great track even if it’s quite a departure for the group, sounding much more radio-friendly than we usually get from the French pair. Pharrell gets to show off some silky funky vocals over a memorable bassline, and a very addictive and singable chorus, plus enough time to throw in some electronic vocals as well. It doesn’t really have the initial power of ‘Robot Rock’, their last lead single, but it’s a fresh, funky number that harks back to the era of disco and shows off a different string to their electronic bow, a theme that has continued with their changing sound over their albums.
Don Broco – ‘Whole Truth’
Bedford-based Don Broco’s new single ‘Whole Truth’ is a song that pretty much passed me by as I listened to it, lacking any really killer hook that grabbed me. The fast-sung verses and guitar work boost the track and it has an indie-pop vibe to it and the chorus slowly reveals its hand with each listen. Though it doesn’t really have a musical USP it’s still a fun enough listen and worth checking out if you like soft-rock.
Foals – ‘Late Night’ (Video: NSFW)
The third single from their third album, ‘Late Night’ is a gloomy, sombre, plodding number. Production-wise, there is a certain sense of atmosphere to the proceedings and the song is not unlistenable, it’s just pretty much on one level. Improving as it reaches its climax, it doesn’t justify its five minutes running time. It has its moments, such as the chorus and the guitar solo, but it’s masked by a sense of similarity and requires a controversial video to garner more interest.
Jake Bugg – ‘Country Song’
Owing Bob Dylan for his taking his sound, Jake Bugg’s ‘Country Song’ is a slow, acoustic-led ballad that just manages to crawl over the two minute mark. After the brilliance of a song like ‘Lightning Bolt’ this sombre, downbeat song is a disappointment, and it feels stretched even with its short running time.
Laura Marling – ‘Master Hunter’
Treading a similar sound to Bugg but with more instrumentation, Laura Marling releases ‘Master Hunter’ and proceeds to find her voice masked by every instrument known to man. Marling’s new albums lead single is a free-flowing track. If you enjoy something a bit more experimental then this is for you but with drawly vocals that don’t necessarily stick with the music behind them, it is not a pleasurable listen to me, though it has more to say for itself than Bugg’s song with some moments of enjoyment in the bridge.