Single Reviews – 3 Feb
Another week begins, and another bunch of singles are released. Philip Lickley gives his verdict on the biggest new single releases this week….
Bellowhead – ‘Roll The Woodpile Down’
Buy: Roll The Woodpile Down
The second single from their fourth album is a very traditional sounding folky-shanty style tune with a catchy and traditional feel. Echoing the sound of a ceilidh, it’s immediately hooky thanks to its familiar sound. A fun, jaunty retro sounding tune that is a nice sing-along listen for fans of folk or otherwise.
Booty Luv – ‘Black Widow’
Buy: Black Widow
A few years after the big three singles that kicked off a promising duet career after Big Brovaz, Cherise and Nadia are back with ‘Black Widow’. With a more familiar dance sound than the refreshing style of their other hits, it’s still a great listen adapting their style to the current Calvin Harris-esque sound and it’s a successful come back. Perhaps a little keen on the spider metaphors, it has plenty of hooks to keep you coming back, though the last thirty seconds could be shaved off. Not as immediately engrossing as ‘Don’t Mess With My Man’ or ‘Boogie 2Nite’, it does spin its web and pulls you in… see, I can do the comparisons too!
Bullet For My Valentine – ‘Riot’
The second single from their ‘Temper Temper’ album, which spawned a great first hit, is not as good as the original. With a considerably too repetitive guitar and bass riff and a less enjoyable overall style, the production does tie nicely in with the theme of riot but there’s something about it that doesn’t quiet gel, with it feeling like they’re throwing a lot of elements into the song but none quite hitting the mark. The verses show promise but the chorus is too simple and lacks the power needed, and the over-powering instruments throughout the three-minutes put me off. Even the two f-bombs in the song seem forced.
Emeli Sande – ‘Clown’
The fifth cut from her album ‘Our Version of Events’, this was a ballad I didn’t enjoy when I originally heard the album, but now its magic shows itself. It’s straight-forward and slow but the simple chorus has an emotive sound to it that works. It doesn’t have the bombastic power of her big three songs but is up there in terms of musicality, writing and emotional power. There’s nothing funny about this clown song but the to-the-point production compliments her voice and the subject matter perfectly.
Flo Rida – ‘Let It Roll’
Buy: Let It Roll
Built around a 1970s sample, ‘Let It Roll’ fits neatly into that category of songs that live or die by its sample. Here Mr Dillard is on autopilot with his rap: Yes, it’s fast paced and fun to hear with some fast-paced rapping and a foot-tapping beat, but it’s the sample that really brings you into the song. A summery track to make your forget about the gloom outside, it’s too by-the-numbers and lacks anything that lifts it up a notch.
Hannah Boleyn – ‘When You’re Gone’
Buy: When You’re Gone
Mixing up the vocal sound of Adele and Lana Del Rey with elements of Amy Winehouse, ‘When You’re Gone’ is a great showcase for Hannah’s voice and the song drips with attitude. With a strong chorus and an almost as good verse, it builds from a pretty ordinary start to become something far more interesting until the beat brings you into the powerful chorus. A definite grower and a promising debut.
Lawson – ‘Learn To Love Again’
Buy: Learn To Love Again
Though it probably costs me a few man-points to admit, I’m enjoying each single by Lawson more and more. After the great ‘Standing In The Dark’ we get ‘Learn To Love Again’ that once more takes the boyband sound but makes it seem much more mature. Rockier than you’d expect, it features some neat falsetto touches and a deceptively welcome guitar line. It lacks the sing-a-long nature or emotional subtexts of its predecessor but the drum work and choral oohs add more to this well produced man-band single.
The Lonely Island feat. Adam Levine and Kendrick Lamar – ‘YOLO’
The Lonely Island are back with one of their best parody sings in a while. Replacing their more smuttier side with cartoony illusions of things that can go wrong, it feels more like a Weird Al track. But with a straight-faced chorus delivered by Levine and a spot on parody of the modern culture it ticks all the boxes. Lamar’s rap may be a mixed addition, but it’s a funny return to form for the Island.
Marina and the Diamonds – ‘How To Be A Heartbreaker’
Buy: How To Be A Heartbreaker
Having been included on the US version of her ‘Electra Heart’ album but so far unavailable on this side of the pond, we finally get to download ‘How To Be A Heartbreaker’ eight months later. Though not as immediately engaging as ‘Primadonna’ or ‘Heartbreaker’ it soon proves to be another classic release from Diamandis. With another catchy and danceable chorus and a well produced arrangement, plus a cheeky, sexy, ‘I think I do’ thrown into the mix, this is another brilliant release from one of the most under-rated new artists of the past few years. With its several hooks cementing in your head very quickly and sticking there, it’s only slight mis-fire is the tempo change two-thirds in, but it quickly picks the pace back up again.
Milo Greene – ‘1957’
‘1957’ is a laid back song that builds on a duet-style layered vocal. Well produced but a little too free-flowing for my tastes, I found myself struggling to pay attention to the song. A pleasant listen for three minutes but it doesn’t particularly pull me in, but I do find it growing on me with each listen. A nice bit of background music, it takes a while to become anything more.
Stereophonics – ‘Indian Summer’
Buy: Indian Summer
Three years since their last big single, ‘Indian Summer’ is a welcome return for a band with an impressive back catalogue. Jones returns with his voice as gruff as ever but the band sound much more mature than before. A touching, mid-paced story-telling tune, this perhaps lacks the killer hooks and riffs the band have previously specialised in – think ‘Dakota’ – but we do have a more fulfilling release here that balances some great instrumentation and well-written lyrics to form a low-key, but worthy, return single.