This week’s single releases – 26 May (part 1)

This week’s single releases – 26 May (Part 1)

Part 1 of Phil Lickley’s weekly roundup of new single releases.

2 Chainz feat. Wiz Khalifa – ‘We Own It (Fast and Furious)’
[rating:3.5/5] Taken from the latest Fast and Furious film, ‘We Own It’ is a dark gritty rap that sounds more Jay-Z than Jay-Z himself. It loses some of its built up momentum in the chorus with very little gear-shift in sound and a tired-sounding, autotuned Khalifa, though the simple rhyming structure does hook into you and it proves its worth by the second run through. 2 Chainz’ rap sections are much more interesting and, when combined with a smooth filmic string track make it a stand out film score, much like a rap-version of Godzilla’s ‘Deeper Underground’.
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Carly Rae Jepsen – ‘Tonight I’m Getting Over You’
[rating:3/5] Call her maybe? Jepsen is back with this latest single and it’s a much more grown-up sound with an initially stripped-back feel that subsides for a more throbbing club-bass and dance section, the time when the track is at its least convincing. It lacks the immediate summery feel of her breakthrough hit from the last year with verses that meander too much and a chorus that’s far too repetitive, and it lacks any distinctive musical hook, but it feels more emotive and well-written than the Calvin Harris-esque tracks that have inspired it.
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Chicane & Ferry Corsten feat. Christian Burns – ‘One Thousand Suns’
[rating:3/5] ‘One Thousand Suns’ is a downbeat-sounding but club-lined track that wins you over with its atmospheric layering and genuine, sombre sounding vocals, but it ultimately feels like the vocals of one song layered over the music of another. With shades of U2’s ‘With or Without You’ it feels like a touching, emotive pop ballad trapped in a weekend trip to Ibiza, but is still a compelling listen in its present form.
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Emmelie de Forest – ‘Only Teardrops’
[rating:3.5/5] The winning song from this year’s Eurovision was a deserving winner amongst a pool of unusually good songs. A Celtic-sounding pop hit, it’s the regular use of the penny whistle that really makes it stand out. A rare song that should do well even without the support of winning the competition, her Kelly Clarkson-sounding vocals and the atmospheric instruments come together to make a really strong, well-written European hit.
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Jennifer Lopez feat. Pitbull – ‘Live It Up’
[rating:2.5/5] Pitbull continues to descend into a parody of himself with the same opening and style to this song as he’s done for every one of his hits since he began. His opening rap is familiar and similar but annoyingly just as strong and catchy as ever and his mixture of references works, but when it switches over to Lopez’ chorus it loses a bit of traction as the chorus lacks the power of their previous collaborations and the musical elements sound like a poor knock off of Harris’ ‘We Found Love’. Eventually the track whips out every cliché of the genre and sounds like a cross between a Black Lace record and something even Will.I.Am would be embarrassed to release (and it has a similar sound to his ‘The Hardest Ever’ tune), and some pre-recorded hooks from Dance eJay, bookended by some popping cork sound effects, but I wouldn’t be cracking open the Champagne whilst listening to this. Enjoy the first one minute but then skip the rest.
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Josephine – ‘Last Minute’
[rating:3.5/5] After the beautiful ‘Portrait’ from earlier in the year, follow-up ‘Last Minute’ is very much in the similar vein, and fans of her previous release will be at home here. Josephine’s new single doesn’t have the same memorable chorus to fall back on here but her voice combined with the musical backing are alluring and, though not as marked as ‘Portrait’, make for a laid-back, relaxing listen. Not as grabbing as her last song but well worth a listen with a chorus that does start to show its hand after a few airings and some soaring musical licks and vocal notes. It bodes well for a purchase of her album.
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Lana Del Rey – ‘Young and Beautiful’
[rating:2.5/5] After a few mis-fires from Del Rey after a strong clutch of singles from her debut album, she feels nearly back on form with this cut from ‘The Great Gatsby’ OST. That said, ‘Young and Beautiful’ doesn’t really do anything that we’ve not heard in her other records, with a very similar downbeat and gloomy production-led feel. It lacks the power and well-written choral hooks that dominated her LP and meanders along, with the death knells of the orchestra the main element adding depth to the record. The track has its moments and the evocation of the musical era is there, but it’s just lacking in any really stand-out moments. It feels like the dramatic build up to a large, bombastic, movie chorus that never actually arrives. I hope her album wasn’t a flash in the pan, as I like her musical style.
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Leanne Mitchell – ‘Pride’
[rating:3.5/5] The third single from Leanne “The Voice Series One Winner” Mitchell showcases her powerful voice and the retro, soulful feeling really suits the style of the track. With great use of multiple vocals, soaring notes and a retro-sounding backing, it’s perhaps not the most unique sound ever created but feels like a modern Heather Small track, which is always a good thing. Powerful without descending into Mariah Carey-esque wailing, this deserves to do well and feels more credible than what has been churned out from the ITV rival.
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Little Bear – ‘I’d Let You Win (EP)’
[rating:3/5] The title track of their 4-song EP is a cut-back atmospheric piece of audio that slowly trundles through your mind. With a distinctive sound made from the use of hand-drums and cymbals, it’s very good at evoking a mysterious, eerie sound. If you want your music to have more than just a soundscape with some sombre vocals laid over the top then you’ll need to look elsewhere, but as hauntingly beautiful tracks go, this is one of the best.
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Ms Mr – ‘Hurricane’
[rating:2.5/5] Taking a year to reach these shores – and avoiding an obvious joke – ‘Hurricane’ is another sombre track like above, but one that doesn’t grab you quite as much. So slow and pondering it’s difficult to really get involved with the song. Musically it has its moments and the chorus does lift it up, but it doesn’t particularly excite me.
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