Single Reviews – 7 October
The pick of this weeks new single releases from Philip Lickley.
Adele – ’Skyfall’
And so we get to the latest Bond theme ahead of the new film later this month, with the world’s worst kept secret officially revealed, that Adele is the vocalist. ‘Skyfall’ is a very traditional sounding Bond song and very much Adele in style. It takes a few listens to settle in but it is a grower, even if it doesn’t have the high-octane catchiness, singability and appeal of recent Bond song ‘You Know My Name’ or, to a lesser extent, ‘Another Way To Die’. Seamingly weaving the traditional Bond theme into the music it employs a well put together build-up throughout the song, some neat piano and choral effects, and some memorable use of backing vocals and oodles of atmosphere. It certainly ticks all the boxes of a big Bond hit. There may be some clunky lyrics here and there but it’s up there as one of my favourite Bond tunes, and certainly grows with each listen.
AlunaGeorge – ’Your Drums, Your Love’
Buy: Your Drums, Your Love
Mixing in the musical style of Royksopp with the vocal sound of Lily Allen at times, it’s the production of ‘Your Drums, Your Love’ that first grabs you with a catchy, synth and autotuned chorus of the title. The verses are a little pondering at times and flow a little too freely for my liking but a second chorus soon develops which gives the track a bit more power. As a calming, subdued and laidback piece of music it sounds great and fans of Royksopp and Daft Punk that like something with a bit more of a traditional pop sound will enjoy this.
Angel Haze – ’New York’
Buy: New York [Explicit]
Here’s America’s answer to Azealia Banks, as in creating a really addictive backing tune – in this case an ensemble of hand-clapping and drums – and then adding a barrel-load of explicits on top of it as if that makes it somehow credible. Lacking the sung-chorus of 212, though, which at least added something else to enjoy to that track, it’s very interesting from a production side of view and her rap skills are impressive, but ‘New York’ doesn’t really say anything and it never really builds on its impressive opening and doesn’t expand on the clapping / drum style so tires quickly. And I highly doubt she runs New York, as she confesses on the song.
Conor Maynard feat. Ne-Yo – ’Turn Around’
Buy: Turn Around (feat. Ne-Yo)
The album’s third single, ‘Turn Around’, comes after a couple of promising singles but doesn’t continue this trend with a clichéd RnB track. Sure, it has the great beat and the catchy chorus, but it’s nothing that we haven’t heard before, and Maynard and Ne-Yo’s vocals disappear into each other, and as it reaches its conclusions the layers of vocals mix together to form too much of an assault on your ears. It’s OK for the time it’s on but it just sounds like a track created from the Calvin Harris school of out-of-the-box RnB.
Dog Is Dead – ’Talk Through The Night’
Buy: Talk Through The Night
‘Talk Through The Night’ is a laid-back indie rock ballad with hazy vocals over a standard rock-indie-synth track. With choral vocals that mimic MGMT or the Klaxons, it’s not a half-bad song with some toe-tapping moments and a grabbing chorus, but it doesn’t really do anything special that makes it stand out from the crowd of middle-of-the-road indie. The chorus is a grower and it’s worth a purchase but it’s not that earth-shattering.
Keane – ’Disconnected’
The third single from their ‘Strangeland’ album, ‘Disconnected’ is a subtle change in sound for Keane, sounding more like Mumford and Sons than Keane at the start. The piano work and lyrics are as strong as ever and, after a swift change in style half-way through the song with a pleasing retro sound and almost-spoken break-down, kicks up the pace. It’s not as strong as ‘Sovereign Light Café’ as a single but it’s another thoroughly enjoyable single from Keane, even if it does borrow a little from the sound of Elbow’s ‘One Day Like This’.
Leona Lewis feat. Childish Gambino – ’Trouble’
The reality star returns with this shift in direction and it really works. The press release mention of a Massive Attack influence is accurate and the appearance of Emile Sande, on the writing credits, and Naughty Boy on the production side, mirrors its sound to the earlier ‘Never Be Your Woman’. With Lewis’ voice at her most powerful with a thick, atmospheric backing and a dramatic chorus, this is a definite meeting of minds to make a great single. Gambino also appears on the record with a short, Andre 3000-sounding but tension-building rap, that balances nicely over some strings.
Linkin Park – ’Lost In The Echo’
Buy: Lost In The Echo
Following on from the impressive ‘Burn It Down’ as a return to form for Linkin Park, ‘Lost In The Echo’ continues this trend with a traditional Park sound, opening with a great synth section. There are no real surprises as Chester sings an emotive chorus after a fast-paced rap from Mike and it’s perhaps not as catchy as their previous single, but for fans of the band who enjoy their classic sound will enjoy this and the powerful guitars and drums carry it.
Swedish House Mafia feat. John Martin – ’Don’t You Worry Child’
Buy: Don’t You Worry Child (feat. John Martin)
The sixth and final single from short-lived DJ collective Swedish House Mafia is not the greatest swan song. If you’re a fan of their music then you will enjoy this but after classic songs such as ‘Greyhound’ and ‘Miami 2 Ibiza’ this pales in comparison. It’s fun enough to hear but nothing particularly special and, at over five minutes long, it outstays its welcome.