Lorde Royals

This Week’s New Single Releases (20th October)

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

Cher – ‘I Hope You Find It’
Arriving once more on the chart with a cover of a Miley Cyrus song, ‘I Hope You Find It’, this is a huge contrast with the dance-y, heavily produced number of last week. Showcasing a strong voice and a more stripped back feel, this is a touching, well sung ballad. Yes, it’s pretty generic as it pulls at your heartstrings and is not a million miles away from the original, but it’s a smooth way to spend four minutes and Cher has a better stab at it than her younger protégé, enthusing it with a little more emotion and strength vocally. (7/10)
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Cyril Hahn feat. Shy Girls – ‘Perfect Form’ (EP)
Backed up by a couple of remixes and a track called ‘Raw Cut’, ‘Perfect Form’ is such a laid back track it’s practically horizontal. Backed by a synth line that sounds like someone has left a cup of tea on the keys for the duration of the song, this is a peaceful number with minimal production creating a calming atmosphere, but it feels forgettable in its minimalism. It’s nice enough, but nice isn’t an exciting word to use, and it fails to progress much past somnambulance. Not really my cup of tea, which I couldn’t have anyway as it’s resting on the piano… (5/10)
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Emma Stevens – ‘Sunflower’ (EP)
Track one ‘Riptide’ from the ‘Sunflower EP’ is a KT-Tunstall sounding uptempo county-tinged number that immediately gets your foot-tapping. With a sunny, optimistic voice backed up with similarly themed lyrics, this is a real stomper of a number that’s very quickly singable and danceable. Love it! From the samples available of the other tracks, ‘Sunflower’ is a slower, acoustic ballad that feels like another strong song, but in a different way; ‘Lazy’ is a mid-tempo number that is more understated but still feels like a winner; and ‘It’s Obvious’ sounds like a Train track with a quick-step pace and suits her voice well. A great lead single with three other top supportive numbers. (8/10)
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Guinevere – ‘Ran For My Life’
A Rihanna sound-a-like with hints of Beyonce, the first minute or so blends a neat instrumental with a great, opening verse and powerful chorus that makes it feel like she could be the next big thing, but all the good work is undone with a dodgy production decision to throw in an awkward club feel and dubstep breakdown which feels at odds with what is found elsewhere, as if two producers were arguing over the direction. Such an enjoyable song, damaged by some generic dubstep that has no place here. A pity. (6.5/10)
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Hellogoodbye – ‘Everything Is Debatable’
Most famous for their 2006 hit ‘Here (In Your Arms)’, the Californian indie band release this lead single from their third album, which feels less catchy but equally less artificial than that huge first hit, abandoning the vocal effects to bring something much more straight-up indie. Echoing a more Owl City sound, though with less over-production, it lacks a killer hook that really sells the piece and it meanders a little too much without saying anything, but there are moments of catchiness hidden among the middling number and it will keep the indie crowd higher, plus the kazoo appreciation society. (6/10)
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Icona Pop – ‘All Night’
The first Icona Pop song to come to my attention since their big number one earlier in the year, ‘All Night’ samples an American gameshow theme but also proves that, if you want more success, then it’s worth recreating your last single, as it’s not a million miles away in style and sound from their number one and feels like they could easily be mashed together by some teenage bedroom DJ. It lacks the huge grabbing chorus of the last song so it feels inferior in that respect but the lyrics of the bridge are memorable and the dance feel works well. Fans of the last single will like it, but it’s the lesser cousin though still has enough pop-dance energy to carry it. (6.5/10)
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James Arthur – ‘You’re Nobody ‘Til Somebody Loves You’
Nothing to do with the oft-covered classic song, this new release from last year’s X Factor winner, his first after his winner’s song, feels like he’s been stealing songs from John Newman’s album. A jazzy, soulful number with a singable chorus, this certainly feels like a better song than we’d usually expect from the SyCo stable. Sturdy in its production and with an attractive voice, though losing its way two-thirds in with some uncomfortable wailing, it’s a song that sounds like it’ll be used as the advert for a mobile phone at some point in the future. It sounds too much like John Newman, though, so Arthur needs to work on his USP. (6.5/10)
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Joel Compass – ‘Run’
Pulling off an intriguing Akon impression, the intriguingly named Joel Compass releases ‘Run’, a dark number with a subdued drum beat. With suggestions of autotune and a weaving in of some screechy Prince-esque falsetto sections, the song is a mixture of elements that don’t sometimes gel. It takes a few listens to really sink in to create a dark, brooding number that doesn’t outstay its welcome in a sub-three minute song. Not bad, just not that remarkable. (6/10)
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Justin Bieber – ‘All That Matters’
The second of Bieber’s weekly music releases, ‘All That Matters’ is another bland, slow RnB ballad that fails to spark much of an interest. I can fully appreciate their desire to cash in on their teenage-friendly artist but at least give him some decent material to work with. Boring, and lacking any real substance or moment. (1/10)
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Justin Bieber – ‘Hold Tight’
And his third release, now with added autotune. Once more landing firmly in the slow, brooding RnB ballad territory, this is at least a little faster lyrically and better written, even if the backing tune is depressingly meandering. Whatever you think of Bieber, his earlier singles were vastly superior to this batch of tunes which sound too similar to each other and in blandness. (2/10)
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Lisa Stansfield – ‘Can’t Dance’
Taken from her 2014 album ‘Seven’ (guess which number album release it is) ‘Can’t Dance’ is Stansfield’s first single in eight years, and though it’s great to see her back this isn’t a particular exciting release. With elements of 70s dance and some camp handclaps, it has the elements of a great return but it’s lost in a subdued, understated feeling that never really feels like it gets going or has the power behind it. The post-chorus moment suggests greatness and she kicks up the vocal power as the single reaches its conclusion, but it feels like a driving disco song stuck in second gear. (5.5/10)
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Little Nikki – ‘Little Nikki Says’ (EP)
Backed up by four remixes, ‘Little Nikki Says’ is a weird cross between MC Hammer, the Cha Cha Slide, Simon Says and Rihanna, possibly the weirdest cheesy-wedding-dance song put to an RnB tune since Kardinal’s ‘Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes’. If you can resist the temptation to shout out ‘Stop! Hammer time!’ then you might enjoy the dancehall catchiness. The lyrics are nonsense and the match of tongue-in-cheek party game words and twerk-inducing RnB is confusing, but it’s harmless piece of confused pop and reminds me of early Rihanna, though with less credibility. (6/10)
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Lorde – ‘Royals’
Receiving a re-release after initially coming out in March, ‘Royals’ is a slow RnB number that never really lifts up past casual enjoyment, lacking the oomph of the earlier ‘Tennis Court’ which was an instant like from me. Lorde is a talented artist and is very listenable, but this track doesn’t really grab me. It’s missing something, but I’m not sure what. (4/10)
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The Pretty Reckless – ‘Going To Hell’
The second cut from their sophomore album, ‘Going To Hell’ is a fast-guitar rock number with a determined drum line. Led by Taylor Momsen, unbelievably the young girl from Jim Carrey’s Grinch film, it’s a neat enough rock song with a simple, catchy chorus and a well-mixed range of instrumentation. It feels like it’s lacking a little in structure and power, but fans of fast-guitar bands and lighter metal will enjoy this and it’s certainly a grower, though feels overlong for its setup. (6/10)
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Sean Paul – ‘Turn It Up’
The third single from his upcoming new album, ‘Turn It Up’ feels like Sean Paul once more on autopilot, though the bridge into the chorus does seem to be one of his strongest, even if the rest of the song is too familiar to much of his other work. His fans will lap it up as he continues refining dancehall, but it’s no ‘Other Side of Love’ part two and the random klaxons throughout feel like a producer desperate to get something working. It grows as you listen but it’s not his greatest piece. (6/10)
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Smif N Wessun feat. Junior Reid – ‘Solid Ground’
Mixing up a reggae and ska sound with hip-hop and rap, ‘Solid Ground’ is a pleasant enough listen for fans of all those genres, but it’s not a song that will really hold your attention for much longer than its four minutes, but the laid-back silky-smooth chorus brings a bit of sunshine into these cold Autumnal days. (5/10)
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Timeflies – ‘Warning Signs’ (EP)
Lead single ‘I Believe’ is the second release this week that reminds me of Owl City, this much more like them with its balance of synth with poppy-autotuned voice. Sadly, it quickly flips into clichéd, familiar, dance territory but it’s not enough to damage the enjoyment of the other bits in the piece, with its sweet blend of indie and dance. The EP is completed with three other tracks: SMFWU, ‘Ride’ – a more attitude-filled rap-focussed number that feels like it’s from an entirely different band but equally as listenable, if not better than the main single; and ‘I Choose U’ – more similar to ‘Ride’ than ‘I Believe’, and just as catchy though the dance effect isn’t as noteworthy, rounding off a surprisingly strong EP. (6.5/10)
Watch ‘I Believe’
Watch ‘Ride’
Watch ‘I Choose You’

Union J – ‘Beautiful Life’
The second single from their debut album and indeed the band, the slow, simple ‘Beautiful Life’ lacks the power of ‘Carry You’ and falls too much into typical boyband territory, taking some of the familiar sounds from their debut but not capitalising on them with anything more exciting. An OK boyband song, but nothing more than that. Bland. (4/10)
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Post Author: Philip Lickley