This weeks single reviews – 9 December
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This weeks new singles run-through from Philip Lickley. If you would like to contribute to All-Noise, get in touch on [email protected]
Single Reviews – 9 December
As we approach the end of the year what singles are out for download this week?
Alt-J – ‘Matilda’[rating:2/5] Buy: Matilda
Alt-J release one of their earlier pre-fame singles. ‘Matilda’ is pretty much business as usual with gloomy, low-key vocals sung over a twangy-guitar and synth backing. There does seem to be a feeling of diminishing returns since the excellent ‘Breezeblocks’ and ‘Tesselate’ but there’s still something to enjoy in the well composed soundscape and atmospheric sound and if you enjoyed their previous sound it’s evidenced here, it’s just not particularly grabbing.
Arlissa feat. Nas – ‘Hard To Love Somebody’[rating:3/5] Buy: Hard To Love Somebody
Arlissa’s debut track sees her team up with rapper Nas on ‘Hard To Love Somebody’. It’s an uptempo catchy number even if it feels more like Nas feat. Arlissa. Arlissa’s voice is strong and loveable and the fast-paced chorus over a perky synth backing is complimented well by Nas’ straight up rap and Steve Fitzmaurice’s sunny production values. Immediately grabbing, this is a strong enough debut and manages to avoid most of the clichés you’d expect from such a collaboration, even if some lyrics – like the ones referencing crisps – are perhaps a little too corny.
Carly Rae-Jepsen – ‘This Kiss’[rating:2.5/5] Buy: This Kiss
A considerable time after her cheesily memorable debut – and then, of course, her Owl City collaboration – here is Rae-Jepsen with ‘This Kiss’. Much clubbier than her chart-hitting debut, it’s RedFoo-written electronic origins are present with more AutoTune than you’d expect, which becomes quite distracting at key points. The electronic backing is refreshing but the song lacks the spark of her first big hit and feels less fresh and appealing. It’s not a bad example of pop but the chorus is just a little bland and it sounds like she’s singing along to cues from the keyboard. A fun enough single but the weakest of her three releases so far.
Clean Bandit – ‘A&E’[rating:3/5] Buy: A+E
Possibly the most eclectic single you’ll hear this month, it mixes a classical-score opening, that weaves its way through the rest of the song, with Caribbean undertones and more electronic elements. It’s difficult to classify what the song is about and indeed work out whether the elements work together as it does feel more piecemeal than one cohesive piece, but it’s certainly an interesting and intriguing listen that firmly refuses to sit in one box.
Daley feat. Jessie J – ‘Remember Me’[rating:3.5/5] Buy: Remember Me
Having seen Daley at a local music festival a while ago I was impressed by his talent and looked forward to his first release, which is finally out this week having already lent vocals to a Gorillaz single. Now teaming up with Jessie J on a BlueBoy-sampling track, it’s a funky affair thanks to its bassy backing and it has its key moments but it isn’t as strong a debut as I’d hope with Jessie J underused. That said, the chorus is a grower and it starts to show its appeal with future listens, and the ‘geng’ bridge is a welcome non-sequitur. It’s perhaps a little loose for my liking but it’s a builder and is exceptionally funky.
Enrique Iglesias feat. Daddy Yankee – ‘Finally Found You’[rating:2.5/5] Buy: Finally Found You
Many years after he brought us the club favourite ‘Gasolina’, Daddy Yankee is appearing on Iglesias first cut from his upcoming eleventh album. Here Iglesias becomes another victim to the trend of clubbing everything up and thrusting AutoTune on his vocals, and it doesn’t do his vocals any justice. An artist who has often brought us some big hits, this is a little bland comparatively though the chorus does eventually hit you. Thankfully Yankee’s rap, even if it’s pretty derivative, does lift the track a little out of its trench but it’s too little too late on this run-of-the-mill release with only its beat to really make it noteworthy.
Katie Melua – ‘Forgetting All My Troubles’[rating:2.5/5] Buy: Forgetting All My Troubles
The sixth release from Melua’s ‘Secret Symphony’ album is pretty similar to what has been released previously, with a smooth backing tune and smooth vocals from Katie. It’s not a particular strong single – its home is much more on the album – but it’s a pleasant three-minute distraction if you like your music gentle, ethereal and soothing. It just doesn’t have the hook or power to make it a full release.
The Killers feat. Ryan Pardey – ‘I Feel It In my Bones’[rating:3.5/5]
The seventh Christmas song from the Killers in as many years, raising money once more for AIDS charities, proves to be an annual tradition I look forward to and it’s a great achievement so far and I hope one day for a physical release for all the songs. So where does it stand in the ranking of the seven? Well it’s no ‘Great Big Sled’ or ‘Joseph, Better You Than Me’ but it’s one of their stronger ones, coming as a sequel to ‘Don’t Shoot Me Santa’. With a simple, but catchy chorus, it’s a dark-sounding single but feels Christmassy enough to get away it, with some great ad-libs in it from the evil Santa, with his ‘ho ho ho’ line in particular lending a creepy sound to proceedings. It takes a few listens to grab you but it’s guitar riff, well-written lyrics and bridge to the chorus all build together to make another festive entry from the Las Vegas lads worth listening to, and it’s for charity.
The Rolling Stones – ‘Doom And Gloom (Benny Benassi Remix)’[rating:3/5] Buy: Doom And Gloom (Benny Benassi Remix)
Having released the original radio edit version a couple of months ago, here we get a second release with Benny Benassi on remixing duties and it’s pretty much what you’d expect – even if it’s perhaps not as clubby as you’d expect at times. Speeding up Jagger’s vocals and placing it over a building dance tune works surprisingly well and the guitars of the original are kept pleasingly in place for a fair bit. It’s not as listenable as the original with the lyrics appearing few and far between but the adaptation is worth hearing if you like the genre and it gels nicely.
Sean Paul feat. Kelly Rowland – ‘How Deep Is Your Love’[rating:3/5] Buy: How Deep Is Your Love (Feat. Kelly Rowland)
Not to be confused with the Bee Gees / Take That song of the same name, this Sean Paul track is the fifth release from his latest album and is pretty typical of his sound with verses full of lyrics you can’t quite understand and a slower chorus from Rowland, all over a neat Caribbean backing. It’s not a bad track and it’s nice to have something so summery at this time of the year, it’s just a little too middle of the road even if Rowland’s own verse changes things up a little.
Tracey Thorn – ‘Joy’[rating:2.5/5] Buy: Joy
The opening track from her ‘Tinsel and Lights’ album, ‘Joy’ is a stripped back Christmas track with the backing being mainly piano with a little bit of bass. With a sound that perhaps doesn’t portray the feeling of joy that the lyrics try and make you feel, and a chorus that’s too repetitive for its own good, it’s a nice, calming, non-sensational festive track. It’s an enjoyable track that captures some of the moods of the festive season but it’s not a particular favourite of mine.
Willy Moon – ‘Yeah Yeah’[rating:2.5/5] Buy: Yeah Yeah
As heard in an iPod advert, ‘Yeah Yeah’ is a short, fast-paced funky track that sounds a little eighties at times. With the hook coming from the synthesized crowd sounds, it is a well flowing song with some snazzy elements but it feels a little empty and formulaic and lacks a strong chorus or element to grab on to. It has its interesting production elements that work well with the words but it’s just a little flat especially after a very promising opening.