This weeks single releases rated and slated by guest reviewer Philip Lickley. To contribute to All-Noise send your reviews to [email protected]
Single Reviews – 24 June
Chris Brown – ’Don’t Wake Me Up’
Buy: Don’t Wake Me Up
Kicking off with a cheesy short monologue by someone sounding like Madonna, ‘Don’t Wake Me Up’ is not how I expected the single to sound, dominated as it is initially by guitar and piano and only getting to the stereotypical dance bits and heavily autotuned vocals by the chorus, which is when the track actually becomes a disappointment, with the chorus just the title repeated in increasingly electronic ways. It’s actually a pleasant change to hear a different sound but in the end the lack of imagination in the chorus and the absence of a decent hook make it a waste of that initial promise and any memorability just comes from the overkill of the title within the tune.
Deadmau5 feat. Chris James – ’The Veldt’
Buy: The Veldt (Radio Edit)
Cropped down from a whopping eight and a half minutes, ‘The Veldt’ is a relaxing laid-back track with sleepy vocals from Chris James. It’s a calming, enjoyable track and will fit in perfectly on a CD of slower dreamy numbers but though it ticks the boxes of a relaxing track it’s not particularly revolutionary and next to artists like Royksopp who have made a business of this area of music it doesn’t compare. Great for a chill out but there are better, more interesting, examples out there.
Jason Derulo – ’Undefeated’
Many things have been crowd-sourced in recent times but never a song (to my knowledge, anyway). ‘Undefeated’ has been written by viewers of American Idol with the best lines picked for the song and sung by a recovering Derulo. Lyrically it’s straight out of the cliché rising-from-adversity song book and though the chorus lifts things up a little and the backing riff, though repetitive, sounds great the nature of its creation and Jason’s recovery from injury is more interesting than the final product of the record and at times sounds in shades like Knaan’s ‘Waving Flag’ especially in the ‘woah’ sections.
Macy Gray – ’Sail’
Having been out of the public eye for a while, Gray is back with an album of covers, with ‘Sail’ being her version of the Awolnation track. With swelling strings and a sound that resembles a female Rod Stewart combined with Nick Cave’s ‘O Children’ it’s a very listenable four minutes even if the mid-to-end breakdown loses the momentum a little, but she soon brings it back for an emotional ending. Her voice is perhaps a little bit too husky and wailing near the end to really carry the song without sounding lost in the production but the use of keyboards and choral voices really builds it up, but it’s a spirited take on the song that makes it sound less depressing, surprisingly, that is neither dramatically better or worse than the original, though I think the Awolnation track perhaps pips it slightly. (6/10)
R Kelly – ‘Share My Love’
Buy: Share My Love
It seems that R Kelly has discovered his book of soul with a sound that is not what I’d expect from the RnB star. Sounding like Barry White but not as deep, it’s a soulful positive-feeling track that belies his discography so far. It does, negatively, cherry-pick from many other songs in the genre so, forgetting who is singing it for a moment, it’s not particularly revolutionary and sounds very familiar to retro soul and the chorus could do with a few extra lyrics to spark up some interest, but to have this sort of record made in 2012 is a welcome change of direction for R Kelly in my eyes. Oh, and for getting away with ‘let’s populate’ as a euphemism.
Santigold – ‘The Keepers’
Buy: The Keepers
Following up ‘Disparate Youth’, ‘The Keepers’ mixes in the bass of Pink Floyd’s ‘Comfortably Numb’ with the style of an MGMT record to create something that after a few listens grabs you. YouTube commentators have compared it to Stevie Nick’s ‘Stand Back’ and you can hear that. In grabbing her styles from various sources, Santigold has created a composite piece that works. It’s not going to burst out of your radio or computer at you but is an enjoyable three minutes with a catchy chorus.
Taio Cruz feat. Pitbull – ’There She Goes’
Buy: There She Goes
Thankfully a better premise for a song than the silly ‘hangover’ but equally sharing its style, this isn’t a modern update of *the* ‘There She Goes’ but a new creation. Though, I say no, it’s not a huge departure from his previous records so how much you enjoy this will depend on your thoughts of his other records. There is a great Latin feel to the record at points but I’m not entirely sure where Pitbull fits into the record. If he’s just on backing vocals then we’ve been saved from another of his phoned-in guest raps but elsewhere it’s business as usual from Cruz. Perhaps he should speak to R Kelly about variety in music?
Will.I.Am feat. Eva Simons – ’This Is Love’
Buy: This Is Love
After the campness of ‘T.H.E. (The Hardest Ever)’ his follow-up single is once more a patchwork of styles and sections from the cut-back piano ballad bits, to the crowd shout-backs, to Eva Simons’ powerful chorus, and then of course Will.I.Am’s rapping sections. Though it has its moments and its various elements means it never gets boring, it doesn’t gel as well as his last single but it’s a fun, entertaining ride nonetheless but the less said about Will’s autotuned section two-thirds in the better.