DJ Shadow feat. Little Dragon – Scale It Back
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Never judge a book by its cover as the old proverb goes and that’s certainly the case with this. Expecting it to be an unbeat track like something by Example or Calvin Harris, the presence of ‘DJ’ in the title misled me. ‘Scale It Back’ is in fact a very laid-back, synth-piano-led song that mixes the style of Moby with the sleepy vocals of Little Dragon and some intriguing, stuttering production effects to make this a sleepy, relaxing but enjoyable listen. Perfect as some background music, it perhaps will struggle to find a home elsewhere or indeed the airplay. A pleasant enough listen but nothing outstanding.
Leonard Cohen – Darkness
The master of misery, who makes Morrissey sound life affirming, returns with a song that doesn’t particularly deviate from his style, featuring husky, deep vocals and a sombre musical backing, with some help from a saxophone, a female backing singer and some synth sections that sounds like a Wurlitzer was brought in for the recording.
I’m sure for fans of Cohen this will be another slice of great mourn-pop but for me it’s just four-and-half-minutes of what is, I suppose, an interesting mix of instruments – with Cohen talking hoarsely over it, trying to sound more like Chris Rea than Chris Rea. More poetry to a music track than music really.
Lil’ Wayne ft Bruno Mars – Mirror
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Another one of those additional tracks added to an album after a re-release, it’s taken two months to reach these shores, but I’m glad it has as ‘Mirror’ is a very atmospheric track and, in many ways, a parallel to this week’s Leonard Cohen track. More spoken than rapped but with a sung chorus brought in to kick it up a little, the music is haunting and similar in style both musically and lyrically to Eminem’s personal records such as ‘When I’m Gone’.
Bruno Mars makes a guest appearance, sounding a little different to his own material which is a refreshing change, adding to a record that is very personal but also mixed well to something that’s touching to listen to. If you enjoy rappers spilling out their soul over a faux-orchestrated backing with references to family, Michael Jackson and regrets thrown in then you’ll enjoy this.
Pixie Lott- Kiss The Stars
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And finally time for something a little more uptempo, with this third release from Pixie Lott’s second album. Very much a continuation of those songs’ styles, from the more clubby party nature of the music to the suggestive lyrics, last seen in second cut ‘What Do You Take Me For?’, Pixie is still wandering down the path of other female artists of using sex to sell records. But, in many ways, you can’t complain with this track which is catchy and poppy to the extreme even when the chorus doesn’t quite live up to the bridge, which itself rolls out the suggestive clichés, creating a sexual version of Daft Punk’s ‘Technologic’.
It may not be original in the slightest and the lyrics hardly Shakespeare, but you can’t deny how it sticks in your head thanks to its cherry picking of the best bits of everything from Katy Perry to the Vengaboys to, er, the Carry On films, to make this party tune.