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This Week’s New Single Releases (17th November 2013)

My round up of the new singles available for digital download this week.

Bastille – ‘Of The Night’
From the freshly released deluxe edition of their debut album, ‘Of Their Night’ starts off as a dark version of the dance classic ‘Rhythm Is A Dancer’, one of my personal favourites of all time growing up as I did in the early 1990s, but then it gets awkwardly mashed up with Cascada’s ‘Rhythm of the Night’. Sadly, after an atmospheric opening minute where they do something genuinely interesting with the Snap! song, giving it a brooding ‘The Omen’-esque riff, the hard-switch into an autotune-heavy second sample is very disappointing, even if their adaptation does grow with each listen. ‘Of the Night’ is an interesting concept but one that doesn’t entirely work and feels like a disappointment from a genuinely interesting band up to this point. If they must have done a cover, they should have just stuck with the opening sixty seconds. (5.5/10)
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Boyzone – ‘Love Will Save The Day’
To celebrate their twentieth anniversary, ‘Love Will Save The Day’ does feel like an appropriate celebration. With an appropriately jaunty rhythm and a catchy, choral effect, this sounds quite a change in sound from their boyband past, which is often a good thing. With a suggestion of Irish folk music whipped into the pop sound and a strong sense of them truly enjoying recording this piece, it feels like a strong return single for the man band. Poppy and fun. (7/10)
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The Computers – ‘C.R.U.E.L’
Sounding like a Smiths song if Morrissey would just cheer up, ‘C.R.U.E.L’ is a smooth indie number about love, natch. Lyrically heavy and lacking a true stand out moment, it’s not a track that’s going to immediately grab you but the lead singer’s voice is worth spending time with and the song feels perkier than its subject matter. Simple yet enjoyable, it’s a grower with a chorus that shows itself as much poppier than on first inspection. Fans of modern indie with retro tendencies will find themselves satisfied here. (7/10)
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Dove Cameron – ‘Better In Stereo’
The first original single from the Liv and Maddie Disney show star, she did lead to a head-scratching typo from a few weeks ago that seemed to suggest our Prime Minister had started a pop career. With that mistake now apparent, ‘Better In Stereo’ is a jaunty, teenage-friendly pop ballad that’s as sickly sweet as the video is cheesy. Cameron has a smooth, listenable voice but the song isn’t particularly memorable and it feels like pop music by numbers. It’s nice enough, as bland as that sounds, but it’s something for the younger audience methinks. (6/10)
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Ed Sheeran – ‘I See Fire’
I don’t think I’ll be hearing this song in its rightful place – over the end credits of The Hobbit sequel – as I don’t think I can stomach another over-long Tolkien movie. Musically, ‘I See Fire’ feels like a strong closer to a dramatic film, simple in production with many fire metaphors and some name-checking lyrics (how many times do you hear ‘desolation’ in modern music?). It’s a dramatic, atmospheric number with a production that shines with its simplicity and a surprisingly enjoyable hook. It perhaps goes on a little – taking the film for inspiration there – but it’s a touching, smooth cinematic ballad that flows well to its conclusion. (6.5/10)
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Gary Barlow – ‘Let Me Go’
From a singer-songwriter that has had so much success with Take That as the brains behind the band, Gary Barlow has weirdly struggled as a solo artist. ‘Let Me Go’ feels less like Barlow, more like it has been ripped from the Mumford and Sons songbook, which isn’t really such a bad thing. It’s a jaunty, forward-running number with a strong positive message, but it’s a little too messy to really stand on its own for its entire running time. It’s certainly, though, one of his best solo numbers, with a rousing, singable chorus, and should finally bring some solo success for Barlow. (7/10)
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JLS – ‘Billion Lights’
The final single from the short-lived X-Factor band JLS (until their inevitable reunion in a few years’ time) doesn’t really tread much new ground but it’s uptempo urban sound with a bouncy, danceable chorus will keep their fanbase happy before they depart. The chorus is enjoyable and carries the song but it doesn’t live up to some of their bigger singles, but it’s fine enough to wrap up their five year-long career. (6.5/10)
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Joey Bada$$ feat. Maverick Sabre – ‘My Yout’
No, there is not a spelling mistake in the title, that’s what it’s called. ‘My Yout’ is a summery but tedious track with a repetitive beat and a long list of rapped lines that just blur into each other with little obvious rhythm. Maverick Sabre’s appearance is minimal in the chorus and he doesn’t particularly bring any magic to the record. Boring and lacks any killer moment, though the sound and style is captured well. (3/10)
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Justin Bieber – ‘All Bad’
And onto the next Beiber weekly release (we must be at the end nearly?) and he’s making it just too easy for me to review them with titles such as ‘All Bad’. How these songs keep charting is beyond me, as once more it’s a bland, poor rnb number with a bored Bieber singing over an out-of-the-box drum beat. Ironically, this one is not as bad as some of the others, but that’s a comparison, like saying death by steamroller is better than death by juggernaut. Bieber, please get back to your poppier, listenable songs. (2/10)
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Lily Allen – Somewhere Only We Know
Covering one of Keane’s best known and loved songs would always be a risk, and Lily Allen, as bad at retirement as Elton “I’m never releasing an album again” John, is the one to pick it up for the new John Lewis Christmas advert (last year’s snowman one was better). This version seems slower at the start and the simple piano version feels more festive than the original – even if the piano playing follows the notes too closely – but in truth Allen has done very little to the record and her Cockney pronunciations don’t really do it for me. It’s a touching, Christmassy adaptation, but one not a million miles from the original and it doesn’t have the highs and lows that made the original such an emotional journey. It’s touching enough though but not as tear-jerking as people would have you believe. (7/10)
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Luminites – ‘Do Something’ (EP)
Joined by three remixes and a b-side in ‘It Hurts So Bad’, ‘Do Something’ is the debut single from BGT group Luminites. I recently saw them at the Bingley Bonfire night where they performed this song before the power went to the PA system half-way through. Hopefully that wasn’t an omen for their career as ‘Do Something’ is quite a likeable pop song carried by a smooth lead vocal and some beat boxing in parts. Sadly the production lets the record down with the guitar riff feeling repetitive and the overall mix seeming flat, with no highs and lows that would really make the chorus stand out. I’m not sure about the rap two-thirds in, but ‘Do Something’ is the roots of a promising career for the reality act. Just get a better producer. It feels like a killer pop song held back by something. (6.5/10)
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Marmozets – ‘Move Shake Hide’
For South American animals they sound good. Sorry, not Marmosets. ‘Move Shake Hide’ is a rocky number but one that doesn’t really set the world alight. Thankfully it resists going into full screamo territory it’s a little too screechy for my tastes, but it has enough poppy elements to keep it afloat to a wider audience, feeling like a heavier Paramore. It doesn’t quite gel as a solid song but has a fair few moments of interest. For fans of the genre. (5/10)
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Naughty Boy feat. Wiz Khalifa and Ella Eyre – ‘Think About It’
‘Think About It’ is another one of those songs that revels in its clichés and whether you enjoy this song will depend on your tolerance and enjoyment of rnb beats, a female-led chorus and a stereotypical rap verse. It has enough power from Ella Eyre’s voice to hold some of it together but Khalifa’s rap is boring. Naughty Boy’s production isn’t bad though. (4/10)
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Nicky Romero vs Krewella – ‘Legacy’
‘Legacy’ is a dark, dramatic dance number that feels a little fresher than what we’ve had in the genre for a while but, again, doesn’t really do anything that will knock your musical socks off. Dance fans will see this fittingly neatly into their favourite set but it truly doesn’t set any new grand. Romero’s voice is great but it’s drowned under a lot of electronic dance. (5/10)
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Poppy Girls – ‘The Call (No Need To Say Goodbye)’
Arriving a little bit late on the publicity machine for the now past Remembrance Sunday, this official Poppy Appeal song is as touching and designed to pull on your heartstrings as much as you’d expect. Led by a group of young singers, your tolerance of this record will depend on how much you can stomach high-falsetto girls singing a sickly sweet ballad on the familiar Poppy-themes. I could see it coming across as cute to some people, but to me it’s a little bit cringe-worthy and a song that even an X-Factor winner would reject. The song is average though handled well by the young singers, but the cause is good. (5/10)
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Rixton – ‘Make Out’
On the surface this is a cookie-cutter song in the style of One Direction et al, but in conjunction with the video becomes a tongue-in-cheek critique of some modern music. As a stand-alone song it perhaps nestles too much into the genre they’re parodying, but it’s a sunny, singable pop number that actually becomes pretty fun and embraces the hooks that pull you into this hyper-commercial music. It’s hardly pop genius but it’ll do, though I’d just stick with the video version to get the most from it. (6.5/10)
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Rudimental feat. Emeli Sandé – ‘Free’ (EP)
With three remixes tagged onto the end, ‘Free’ is an inspiring gospel-tinged number that also gives Sandé’s familiar and lovely vocals freedom to be expressed without getting drenched in over-production. That said it’s a pretty bland number with little excitement or emotion to match the positive message in the lyrics. It’s OK, no more. (5/10)
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Texas – ‘Dry Your Eyes’
The third single from their latest album, ‘Dry Your Eyes’ is a smooth ballad that, though not as must as the first two cuts, still captures Sharleen’s voice perfectly to create a laid back, nicely written and sung ballad. The chorus is simple but sticks with you, and musically is well supported. It’s not going to give your eyes a workout or indeed your repeat button, but it’s a fun enough listen. (6.5/10)
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