Blind single Hurts

This week’s new singles – 19 May (part 1)

Single Releases – 19 May (Part 1)

Part 1 of this week’s batch of hot new single releases, reviewed by Phil Lickley.

Crystal Fighters – ‘You & I’
[rating:3.5/5]
The third single from their ‘Cave Rave’ album showcases their summery Spanish roots. Fast paced and perky, it manages to sound both free and flowing whilst employing a memorable and listenable structure. With echoes of tribal African tunes flowing through it, it has alluring, eccentric undertones but enough commerciality to be successful. As the weather turns to something a little sunnier, this is perfect to flip onto your music player.
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David Guetta feat. Ne-Yo and Akon – ‘Play Hard’
[rating:3.5/5]
The tenth, yes, tenth single from his latest album, ‘Play Hard’ is one of his best and most standout singles in a while, but that’s mostly because it plays heavily on the Alice DeeJay classic ‘Better Off Alone’. Outside of the obvious sample, Akon’s rap is enjoyable and goes well with the beat, and the live-crowd feel adds an extra level to it, plus the dramatic film-like opening sets it up, but that may just be for the video. More interestingly produced than his recent cookie-cutter singles this is thoroughly enjoyable, but that’s mostly thanks to its cherry-picking of the best bits of his previous work and the integration of the sample into other fun elements.
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Elijah Blake feat. Common – ‘X.O.X.’
[rating:3/5]
Another song that derives much of its enjoyment from a familiar sample – this time the classic ‘Backstabbers’ – but adapting it into a slick rnb ballad with a smooth transition to a rap section. It’s a pleasant enough track to listen to and, like Guetta, they adapt the sample well, weaving it into the framework of a new song, but it’s questionable how well it would be received without the recognisable hook. Blake’s smooth vocals suit the song well and it feels more credible than a lot of recent similar hook-ups.
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Empire Of The Sun – ‘Alive’
[rating:3/5]
Five years since they had their breakout hits, Empire Of The Sun return with ‘Alive’ and their familiar sound is obvious here though with music and vocal effects masking the quieter, ethereal words. It’s not a huge departure for the electronic act so if you enjoyed ‘We Are The People’ then your enjoyment will transfer over to this. The chorus is catchy in its simplicity alongside the quiet chanting and, though it’s not a particularly thrilling song, it’s great for a relaxing chill out and the chorus will grab you with its understated nature.
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Gorgon City feat. Clean Bandit – ‘Intentions’
[rating:2/5]
A laid-back track with clubby undertones, ‘Intentions’ isn’t a particular exciting hit. Though its soundscape of sounds is well layered it ends up drowning in some random metaphors and a feeling that there’s very little to grab you as a piece of music, a little like lift music with lyrics. Gorgon City’s voice fits the music well but it lacks the imagination and freshness of Clean Bandit’s recent ‘Mozart’s House’, feeling a little stale and familiar. Fans of AlunaGeorge will enjoy what they hear, but you’d be better off with that act.
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Josh Groban – ‘I Believe (When I Fall In Love It Will Be Forever)’
[rating:3.5/5]
A cover of a 1972 Stevie Wonder song, ‘I Believe’ is a strong interpretation of the classic, with Groban’s operatic voice taking the lyrics to another level, with the movie-sounding strings suiting the feel. The chorus isn’t particularly amazing but as the song progresses and the strings build up with the choir backing, it becomes much grander and beautiful. It’s not as emotive as you’d think from the title but it’s a powerful, building song that fans of light-opera will enjoy.
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Hurts – ‘Blind’
[rating:3.5/5]
Though not as initially grabbing as their brilliant second album first cut ‘Miracle’, ‘Blind’ kicks off with a strong vocal hook and drum beat. It never quite lives up to the promising opening, but the chorus showcases Hurts’ ability to create a memorable hook mixing up lyrics and less structured vocals. It’s not as strong as some of their earlier hits but still worth a listen and download if you’ve enjoyed their other songs.
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KT Tunstall – ‘Feel It All’
[rating:1.5/5]
The first single from Tunstall in three years, ‘Feel It All’ lacks the catchiness of her earlier singles such as ‘(Still A) Weirdo’ and personal favourite ‘Saving My Face’. ‘Feel It All’ passed me by without really leaving a mark. The guitar work is nice and pleasant, but that’s as much enthusiasm as I can muster for them. Lyrically it’s a sad and introspective song, but it’s not wrapped up in anything particularly interesting to carry it through.
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Macklemore & Ryan Lewis – ‘Can’t Hold Us’
[rating:2.5/5]
Following up the smash hit ‘Thrift Shop’, ‘Can’t Hold Us’ is a faster-paced, more carnival-sounding release but also less unique and grabbing. The speed of the rap is addictive and the backing music is just as exciting as ‘Thrift Shop’ thanks to the brass sections, but it lacks the killer hook of their breakthrough hit and the rapped verses just merge too much into each other. Musically it works and it has its moments of enlightenment – such as the trumpet breakdown or the na-na-na section, and even the chorus which is a grower – but it’s too run of the mill to excite me and lacks the spark of their latest hit.
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Natalie Maines – ‘Without You’
[rating:2.5/5]
Lead singer of the Dixie Chicks, Maines releases ‘Without You’ a cover of an Eddie “Pearl Jam” Vedder song, taken from her first solo album. A refreshing change in direction for the country-singer, the song is a guitar heavy ballad with a sprinkling of attitude. With a sweet, listenable voice she carries the grungy song well and puts some subtle emotion into its lyrics. It’s a fun enough first single, but won’t really leave an impression.
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Post Author: Luke Glassford

Post written by Luke Glassford - founder, editor, writer and everything else at All-Noise.