This week’s single releases – 3 March
Phil Lickley’s run-through of the top new singles out this week…
Bridgit Mendler – ‘Ready Or Not’
Buy: Ready or Not
The debut single from Disney actress and American singer-songwriter Bridgit Mendler, ‘Ready Or Not’ is a bouncy, poppy song that mixes up a catchy tune with some pretty cheesy lyrics (“You be my William, I’ll be your Kate”) and a chorus that sounds like it was written in about a minute. It’s an upbeat, summery hit but it’s a little on the shallow side. Sounding like Ke$ha but without the reliance on autotune, it could be an earworm thanks to its pop-production values, slight Jamaican vibe at times, and a little bit of attitude.
Charlotte Church – ‘Two EP’
Church releases her second EP, of which the main single is ‘Glitterbombed’. The first track is a weird, soaring, electronic affair that mixes a distinctly sonic and synth feel with her vocals distant and distorted. It lacks any major hook to grab on but is interestingly produced, which keeps you hooked, and is certainly a change in direction. With shades of Enya it’s a rather creative piece from an artist more familiar with her pop work, but her classical origins certainly show their marks here. Difficult to categorise but certainly attention-grabbing and holding the listener’s interest for its five minutes running time, it’s a thumbs up from me for creativity. The other four tracks that make up the EP mirror the sound of ‘Glitterbombed’ with strong ELO, Enya and experimental vibes.
David Bowie – ‘The Stars (Are Out Tonight)’
Buy: The Stars (Are Out Tonight)
Bowie’s recent comeback song ‘Where Are We Now?’ was certainly a weird song to classify: horrible on first listen but a grower. Follow-up ‘The Stars (Are Out Tonight)’ has a more uptempo feel to it with stronger guitars though lacks the obvious chorus hook until near the end of the song. More instantly appealing than its predecessor, it feels relentless in its delivery and Bowie feels like he’s fighting against the power of the music, which doesn’t quite fit, but there’s something absorbing about it with each listen. It’s not a Bowie classic but it’s enjoyable and captures some of his old magic and it’s full of energy, especially when it comes to the “duet”-style vocals, though it feels too overpowering in equal measure.
Justin Timberlake – ‘Mirrors’
After the disappointing ‘Suit and Tie’, JT has re-captured some of his magic in ‘Mirrors’. With its strong hand-clapping hook and powerful vocals, it reminds me more of his debut album though it’s difficult for him to keep the momentum up for the eight minutes of attention the song demands, with the last two minutes feeling rather superfluous and like a parody of the “Oompa Loompa” song, though it does throw extra elements in through its running time . With some neatly soaring strings and production work that doesn’t sound like a typical Timbaland production, plus a well-worked in acapella-esque section, it’s a stronger single than his last one. Not his greatest single, but a vast improvement.
The 1975 – ‘Music For Cars EP’
Buy: Music For Cars EP
Another five-track EP released this week, this time from Mancunian rockers The 1975. Opening with ‘Head.Car.Bending’ it’s a heavily synthesized, alternative electronic track that sounds like JLS if they discovered a drum machine and synth package. Less involving than the similar aimed Church EP from earlier but with a similar ear for creativity, it’s a little too eccentric for my tastes but I admire the sound. The EP ends on ‘Chocolate’, the track with the video (see below), and this is a more enjoyable track and traditionally sounding indie-rock tune with a bouncy, fun rhythm and great riff that ticks the boxes. Musically accomplished with a warm chorus that hooks you in and builds to a strong ending. I’d suggest just downloading ‘Chocolate’ unless you prefer the more experimental and free-flowing style of the opener that is mirrored in the middle three tracks.
Swim Deep – ‘The Sea’
Buy: The Sea
A smooth, soft indie-rock track, ‘The Sea’ boasts a New Radicals sound with a well-created production backing based around, what sounds to be, the words ‘you are’. It’s not particularly remarkable but it’s a nice way to spend almost four minutes. A gentle, calming song with enough to keep you interested, it’s worth a listen and is a grower thanks to its smooth, flowing sound.