Single Reviews – 2 December
Philip Lickley’s weekly run-through of new single releases, this week featuring new stuff from Florence and The Machine, The Prodigy and Plan B, amongst others…
Angel – ‘Time After Time’
Buy: Time After Time
Angel returns with ‘Time After Time’ and it’s business as usual. With a starting backing that sounds like someone is playing on their phone and a spoken intro, always a questionable inclusion, it’s too clichéd a track about him asking his other half to forgive him for a string of affairs. Lyrical familiarity aside the song lacks any killer hooks and, though the title being sung is an interesting element, it’s not enough to combat the general blandness.
Ciara – ‘Sorry’
From her fifth album, Ciara makes a return after not having much exposure on this side of the pond for a while. ‘Sorry’ is a mid-tempo ballad that outstays its welcome at nearly five minutes. A little bit like moving wallpaper, its chorus is simple but effective but the song otherwise just meanders along and doesn’t really grab you by the collar. She has the voice but the song is just too average to really make an impact and even some production tricks can’t save it from mediocrity.
DJ Fresh – ‘Gold Dust’
Buy: Gold Dust
A re-release from two years ago, ‘Gold Dust’ will be immediately familiar to anyone who regularly goes to clubs or listens to that style of music. Having already heard the song, I at last know what she’s singing about with her weird pronunciation of ‘Gold Dust’. Fast-paced, ska and reggae-like and very catchy, this is just as strong now as it was two years ago. A re-release may smell a little of a cash-in but if it introduces this energetic track to a new audience then that’s good.
Eva Cassidy – ‘You Take My Breath Away’
Buy: You Take My Breath Away
Cassidy, who passed away in 1996, continues to get her legacy milked with more and more album and single releases. This latest one is an OK track, simply produced and enjoyable to hear, but it’s not a particularly strongly written track as memorable as some of her other hits. For fans of her work or for a nice, relaxing tune to rest to, then there’s much to enjoy here, but it’s nothing special and at nearly six minutes long just grows tiring.
Florence & The Machine – ‘Lover To Lover’
Buy: Lover To Lover
The fifth single from her second album doesn’t enjoy the same power as ‘Spectrum’ or ‘No Light, No Light’. Her voice is on top form as always and the song boasts a fun piano and an involving opening, and the chorus ticks along nicely, but it doesn’t particularly stand up with her bigger singles. Fans will enjoy it but I don’t see it having the impact of her recent number one.
Pitbull feat. TJR – ‘Don’t Stop The Party’
Buy: Don’t Stop The Party
Don’t be confused by the opening: it’s not his recent Men In Black 3 theme, even if it does its best to sound like it at the start. When it gets into it the jazzy piano and faster vocals, mixed in with elements of Spanish and some very Basement Jaxx production decisions make it, and it’s actually one of the most distinct Pitbull tracks even if it does snap back to his typical sounds and styles at key points. It’s as artificial and over-produced as you’d expect but it does have a certain fiesta and summery drive to it.
Plan B feat. Labrinth – ‘Playing With Fire’
Buy: Playing With Fire (feat. Labrinth) [Explicit]
The fourth single from Ben Drew’s ‘Ill Manors’ soundtrack is not as strong as the other cuts. With Labrinth sounding unrecognisable, the chorus is an interestingly produced and styled soundscape against Drew’s fast raps and satisfying rhymes, but it does feel like several individual elements that don’t quite blend together well enough. The chorus is the strongest part with some great dramatic piano and vocal effects and a pace kick-up with the title being sung but it feels too confused and randomly produced.
The Prodigy – ‘The Added Fat EP’
Buy: The Added Fat EP
Here five tracks from the seminal 1997 album ‘The Fat of the Land’ by the Prodigy are given a remix makeover, with ‘Smack My Bitch Up’ getting two bites of the cherry. How much you enjoy the remixes depends on how much you enjoyed the originals, but the mixes certainly add something extra to the originals and freshen them up for a 2012 audience with a heavier influence on dubstep. If you’re a fan of the Prodigy or even just want to hear what they’ve done to the tracks, this is well worth a purchase.