Single Reviews – 23 September
The start of a new week means a host of new single releases – here’s what guest contributor Philip Lickley thinks of this weeks new single releases…
Alyssa Reid ft Snoop Dogg- ’The Game’
Buy: The Game
Whipping out the good old AutoTune, Alyssa Reid’s ‘Alone Again’ follow-up is a mix of effects and instruments generated in the recording studio that doesn’t sound a million miles away from her previous hit and even samples some of its lyrics and style. With a repetitive chorus and a by-numbers rap by Snoop Dogg, it’s as superficial a song as you’d expect though the chorus is pretty catchy, even if everything about it feels manufactured. OK but nothing more.
Deacon Blue – ’The Hipsters’
Buy: The Hipsters
From their first new studio album in eleven years, ‘The Hipsters’ is taken from an album of the same name. With a pleasant driving backing tune and a contemporary nod to a modern group of people, it is let down by some sleepy, slow and, dare I say it, tedious singing that feels distant from the perky tune they’re laid over and at odds with the structure. It’s great to hear them back but I’d have hoped for better material than this. If only the words lived up to the backing.
DJ Fresh feat. RaVaughn – ’The Feeling’
Buy: The Feeling
You know when you’re watching something on YouTube and your browser crashes and it keeps looping the same thing over again? Well ‘The Feeling’ is very much like that. Though fast paced, summery and very much DJ Fresh, it’s just like you’re hearing the same thirty seconds over and over again for the length of the track. It’s going to make a great club track to hear on a night out but as a piece of music to enjoy it’s very much the same again from DJ Fresh and quickly becomes boring thanks to its over reliance on the chorus and production effects, washing over you like the summer seems to have done.
Michael Kiwanuka – ’Bones’
Onto his fourth single ‘Bones’ – this is a laid back piece of retro-sounding soul, capturing the spirit of Nina Simone’s ‘My Baby Just Cares For Me’ with the sound and drum-brush-pattern. It’s no ‘Home Again’ but it’s an enjoyable enough laid-back listen with an impressive fifties and Caribbean style, even if it does amble on rather than power ahead. It’s probably more at home on the album than a standalone release.
Nelly Furtado – ’Spirit Indestructible’
Buy: Spirit Indestructible
From her fifth English language album, ‘Spirit Indestructible’ doesn’t sound like Furtado. With a hauntingly composed piano track and thick drum beat that comes in, it’s perhaps not as appealing as her previously poppy material but does hook you in with its lyrics and meaningful chorus. It does feel a little scattergun at times with the chanting and rappy bits, perhaps feeling too much like a melting pot of ideas than one solid plan, but the chorus supports the track well and lifts it up above the crowd in a less than exciting week of releases.
No Doubt – ’Settle Down’
Buy: Settle Down
Though the video below is a lengthy six minutes, the radio edit is a much punchier three-and-a-half minutes that mixes reggae, ska and dancehall. It takes a few listens to get it but when you do the catchy chorus over the middle-eastern-style backing really works and Stefani is back on form as lead vocalist. It’s not as great as their previous first singles but it’s not a disappointment after all these years, and has been worth the wait. With a great mix of genres mashed together to form a cohesive piece, this is well worth a download.
Professor Green feat. Sierra Kusterbeck – ’Avalon’
Buy: Avalon (Feat. Sierra Kusterbeck) [Explicit]
‘Avalon’, the fourth single from his latest album, is the best since ‘Read All About It’, successfully fusing hip-hop and rap with rock, the rap verses sounding great and balanced against the energy of Kusterbeck’s rocking choruses. It does drag on for too long and could do with a minute or so shaved off the end for the radio, but the mixture of influences make this a genre-hopping success, and it’s appearance in a recent advert won’t do it any harm.
Tinchy Stryder feat. Camille Purcell – ’Help Me’
Buy: Help Me
Stryder’s return is very much business as usual, with his typical rap over a thick beat, references to Eminem and Tinie Tempah, plus a female-vocal chorus that separate his elements. It’s a better-than-average track in the genre but it doesn’t do anything revolutionary that will make it outlive the next few weeks. A comeback should be more exciting than this.