Single Reviews – 21 October
Philip Lickley takes us through the hottest single releases of the coming week…
Bastille – ’Flaws’
The electronic blips and bleeps that start this tune aren’t reflective of what is to come, which is a shame as they give it some identity that is perhaps missing in the tune outside of the chorus. A re-release from last year, ‘Flaws’ does have them, namely that it’s perhaps a little bland and lacking in any hooks even if the deep drums attempt to turn the chorus into something more and this does prove to be a grower. It’s an interesting slice of indie pop with some enjoyable stabs of production with the synth line and backing vocals, but doesn’t stay with you that well after it tails away.
Jessie Ware – ’Night Light’
Buy: Night Light
Ware’s fourth single, ‘Night Light’ starts, like the previous single, optimistically with the intriguing string orchestral section but it’s, again, a misdirection as the songs is only topped and tailed by this intriguing sound, though it is perhaps elsewhere just lost in the mix. What we get in-between, though, is still a listenable Sade-esque love story, though it does borrow more than a cue from Pat Benatar’s ‘Love Is A Battlefield’. A pleasant, laid-back track whose average verses are compensated by a singable, if simple, chorus. A strong fourth single and worth a listen but it doesn’t really head in a particularly exciting direction.
JLS – ’Hottest Girl In The World’
Buy: Hottest Girl In The World
For the lead single of their fourth album JLS seem to have gone back, listened to old *Nsync album and copied them wholesale. Featuring a ridiculously high-falsetto verse and a chorus that sounds like it has been played at the wrong tempo, it’s great to hear the group try something a little different but I’m afraid Justin Timberlake and Timbaland did this all a lot better ten years ago. I think the change in sound will make them stand out from the new wave of boy bands but it’s all been heard before. You can’t deny the catchiness in parts and their target audience will lap it up, but the background effects are just plain ridiculous and elements like the short spoken section are just beyond cliché.
Naughty Boy feat. Emile Sande – ’Wonder’
Buy: Wonder (feat. Emeli Sandé)
Taken from the new deluxe version of her debut album, ‘Wonder’ is the obligitary bolt-on song to justify the re-release. Sadly, whereas songs like Jessie J’s ‘Domino’ have stood out, ‘Wonder’ is not really up to that level, sounding more like an album track or b-side. It does boast a catchy repetitive section (“life is contagious / tell your neighbours”) and has some ear-pleasing piano sections, and her voice is as great to listen to as always, but it’s very much a middle-of-the-road track: atmospheric but not a patch on her previous hits.
Pnau – ’Solid Ground’
Buy: Solid Ground
Leaving Elton John collaborations alone for the moment, ‘Solid Ground’ is a strong solo offering from the pair, with a driving beat and tune that kicks off from the start. It sounds strangely familiar – though I can’t put my finger on it – but it mixes in eighties stylings with a more modern indie feeling. The verses are often better than the chorus thanks to the guitar line but the chorus does pop it up a little bit more. It perhaps loses a little steam as it reaches its conclusion but it’s by far the poppiest and most listenable song released this week.
Rick Astley – ’Superman’
Not a rick roll, but only available as a teaser online so far, this stripped-back acoustic number from the ‘Never Gonna Give You Up’ singer sounds refreshing and promising, but without a full promo it’s difficult to judge.
The Rolling Stones – ’Doom and Gloom’
Buy: Doom And Gloom
The Strolling Bones are back with this new song seven years after their last new material. It doesn’t particularly advance their sound on much and sounds rather like the cousin to ZZ Top’s ‘Give Me All You Lovin’’. Influences aside, this is actually a very strong return for the band and, forgiving a few clunky lyrics at the start and scattered throughout and sometimes a slighty-forced sound, it mixes up some neat guitar work and a catchy and singable chorus with some political thoughts. Very enjoyable to hear and sounds fresh for such a long-established band, or at least taking other elements and giving them a fresh twist.