This Week’s New Single Releases (2nd February 2014)

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

Angel – ‘Us’
With shades of dancehall and fiesta, like a sub-par ‘Dance and Shout’, Angel’s ‘Us’ is a buzzy, summery number but also a rambling release as if he’s taken the idea of making a windows-down, summer song but then abandoned the car and gone warbling down a random woodland path. It’s got power, it’s got gusty, but it’s entirely forgettable and descends into production and vocal acrobatics in lieu of a structured song. (3/10)
Watch the video

Austin Mahone feat. Pitbull – ‘Mmm Yeah’
Single #3 from his ‘Junior Year’ album and we’re straight into catchy pop territory. Though Pitbull’s short contribution to proceedings may be straight out of his book of clichés, and the lyric sheet of the main song itself is hardly high-brow, this is a perky, catchy, foot-tapping slice of pop. It’s hardly revolutionary or original and lacks the bigger credibility of ‘What About Love’, but it’s a disco-influenced pop number that sticks in your head. Though a minute shaved off its running time would be better. (6.5/10)
Watch the video

Bibio – ‘The Green’ (EP)
‘Dye the Water Green’ is the lead track from this seventh-album following EP. Heavily ticking the ‘ethereal’ box this  atmospheric number of soft, flowing instrumentation and effected-distant vocals, waves gently and cool-ly from your speakers relaxing your person until you’re fully chilled out. If you like you’re music smooth then this will be right up your tinkling stream. Pleasant. The first track is joined by five others, including ‘Down To The Sound’, a more vocal-focussed but similar number; ‘Carbon Wulf’ and ‘The Spinney View Of Hinkley Point’ continue the theme. (5/10)
Watch ‘Dye The Water Green’
Watch ‘Down To The Sound
Watch ‘Carbon Wulf’
Watch ‘The Spinney View of Hinkley Point’

Blue – ‘Broken / Ayo’
It seems Blue have gone a little ‘OneRepublic’ on their fourth single from their comeback ‘Blue’ album and on this latest spin the ball has landed on a bit of a dud in comparison to their stronger releases more recently. Yes, it sounds like Blue and will keep the fans happy but it’s quite bland and familiar and lacks the spark of their previous hits. The bridge lifts up the song a little and the chorus proves that it works after a few listens, but it feels like they’ve wandered into typical boyband territory. I can’t help but feeling it’s a little boring and too safe. ‘Ayo’ is much more different for them, with them taking a strong leap from Timberlake’s book of songwriting. It’s again, hardly revolutionary, but a better sound. Lacking a major chorus, it still has enough of a hook to hold things together. Though Simon’s Ali-G like rap feels like a mis-step and it smacks of an older band trying to act younger. (5.5/10)
Watch ‘Broken’
Watch ‘Ayo’

Concept – ‘Get Down’
‘Get Down’ is a catchy indie pop number that mixes up the familiar sounds of a few bands together to create an interesting number. Yes, it’s hardly a huge original sound with its ‘Panic! At the Disco’ boy-band vibe but it quickly hooks you in even if you’re not a huge fan of the boyband sound. Nice and catchy and will fill the void left by the Wanted. (6.5/10)
Watch the video

Dirty Vegas – ‘Let The Night’
The two unreleated Harris’ return with this new electronic-based number six years after they started making music again. ‘Let The Night’ is a fun enough track with its title repeated simply over a hot electronic tune, but I wouldn’t say it’s going to set the world alight. A good listen that will get your head nodding with enough elements to keep it fresh, just don’t expect it to rule your head in the day as well as the night as it quickly becomes a little too repetitive. (6.5/10)
Watch the video

DJ Fresh vs Jay Fay feat. Ms Dynamite – ‘Dibby Dibby Sound’
DJ Fresh goes all Fatboy Slim on this record, if Norman had gone to the Caribbean for a holiday and brought back with him some musical inspiration as well as some local trinkets. Sounding fresher than, er, DJ Fresh’s more recent material, the bass and reggae-esque feel make the record though the repetition of ‘Dibby’ is less welcome than the Dynamite-led swagger on the verses. I can see this becoming the party starter in a club, but not sure it’s appeal in the bright daylight. It’s catchy and a grower, but the chorus could do with something more doing with it and it lacks the killer dust of, say, ‘Gold Dust’ or ‘Hot Right Now’, though far better than ‘Earthquake’. (6.5/10)
Watch the video

Dusky – ‘9T8’
Complete with the most redundant ‘T’ in  a song title ever, here is ‘Dusky’ with their ode to a terrible game of hide and seek where the player gets stuck just as they’re about to find the person. If you don’t like simple electronic dance tunes with ‘lyrics’ to the point of immense repetition then I’d look elsewhere. If you stomach the three minutes of uninvolving dance then you’ll find this relatively palatable. But only just. OK, but not on the exciting end of the dance spectrum. (5.5/10)
Watch the video

Elbow – ‘New York Morning’
‘New York Morning’ will do nothing to dispel the Elbow detractors as it’s a song that slots nearly – perhaps too neatly – into their current discography. With a big nod to Sting in the vocal line, this multi-layered piano-heavy ballad feels like a strong soundscape and it’s a touching, emotional listen but it doesn’t have the peaks and troughs to make it truly soar. It’s a strong, well produced and atmospheric ballad, but it’s not one of their best or indeed anything that’s going to break their well established mould. (6/10)
Watch the video

Future feat. Miley Cyrus and Mr Hudson – ‘Real and True’
You know sometimes when you’re tuning in the radio and you get a mix of two stations; well this is what you get here with the enjoyable ballad vocals of Mr Hudson and Miley Cyrus played over an irritating backing ooh-er-backing track that just distracts from the song, though it does at least add some atmosphere to it. ‘Real and True’ feels like a song with too much in it as if Future is the final cook that spoilt the broth. A cut back ballad just featuring his guests, and without the Auto-Tune, would make for a better track. Just like the video, these are a group of musical astronauts ambling along in low gravity, unsure of their direction, whilst a good track screams to get out. But in space, no producer can hear the screams. (5/10)
Watch the video

Single Of The Week

Imagine Dragons feat. Kendrick Lamar – ‘Radioactive’
Having already been a top 20 hit last May, here it is again now with an added verse from rapper Kendrick Lamar. Your love of this song will depend on your enjoyment of the original. The rap is OK and adds little to the song aside from a little bit of drama and makes only a subtle difference to it aside from us worrying that Lamar is going to have a breakdown by the end. A great song with a catchy chorus and great guitar work – the nearest we get to big rock at the moment, but if you own the original then this isn’t much of a change. The score is mainly for the original. (7/10)

Jessica Clemmons – ‘Single Tonight’
Brought to you by the words ‘yee-ha’ this swinging country-track built over a raga piano quickly grabs you with its uptempo western hook. With a strong Shania Twain vibe, Clemmons happily fills in the void left by her country-pop crossover sound, ‘Single Tonight’ is a simple, familiar number but one that will get you singing along pretty quickly, thanks to its production style and bouncing lyrics. (7/10)
Watch the video

Kwabs – ‘Wrong or Right’ (EP)
London-based soul singer Kwabs releases his EP, with the title track showcasing his thick, sultry vocals. Laid over a repetitive, but relatively satisfying backing track, Kwabs’ voice is very involving but it’s not the most exciting track that he could be paired with. Feeling a little like style over substance, the song is neither wrong nor right, just occupying a space somewhere between. It’s a grower but it doesn’t lift itself from that middle ground. ‘Last Stand’ is less concrete, more ethereal and too similar, but keeps the atmosphere. ‘Spirit Fade’ rounds off the normal tracks before the titular remix, but again doesn’t rock the stylistic boat. (4/10)
Watch ‘Wrong or Right’
Watch ‘Last Stand’
Watch ‘Spirit Fade’

One Republic – ‘If I Lose Myself’
Finally the group release a follow-up to the successful but overplayed ‘Counting Stars’ and it’s a smooth, power ballad that lacks the catchy hook that made their single so big, but it satisfies enough to hold it together. Tedder’s vocals are once more listenable and the more dance-vibe to the song suits proceedings, and it just about balances on the right side of generic dance music. (6.5/10)
Watch the video

Periphery – ‘Clear’
‘Clear’ is an experimental rock track that mixes screamo vocals with mismatched drum and guitar beats, packaged together within three minutes. Experimental could translate as messy and this is a song that is an acquired taste. And one I don’t have, finding its awkward transitions and lack of central theme difficult to handle. (2/10)
Watch the video

Sean Paul feat. Konshens – ‘Want Dem All’
The fourth cut from his still unreleased fourth album, ‘Want Dem All’ feels like an amalgamation of every style Sean Paul is known for, as if someone has created a greatest hits pastiche. ‘Want Dem All’ feels different in its production values from his usual style and the Caribbean feel is less obvious. The guest appearance of Konshens adds a little to the mix but it lacks his usual pop-sparkle, though should please his less commercial-focussed fans. (4.5/10)
Watch the video

Sick Individuals and Axwell feat. Taylor Renee – ‘I Am’
In a classic example of ‘never judge a book by its cover’ I was ready to be disappointed by the track as a heavy shouty track from the name ‘Sick Individuals’. However, it’s actual quite a catchy dance number lifted up by the enjoyable vocals of Taylr Renee (not a spelling mistake). Yes, musically it’s a little generic with the piano scales familiar to anyone with a passing interest in dance music and the build up lifted from every dance song ever, but there’s something quite fun about it. (6.5/10)
Watch the video

THUMPERS – ‘Galore’
Last year ‘Unkinder (A Tougher Love)’ was one of my favourite songs of the year, and here is the follow-up entitled ‘Galore’ which shares a slightly similar sound thanks to their distinctive vocals. Unfortunately this single doesn’t quite capture the magic of that 2013 offering. If I’m being honest I was hoping for something a bit more than this and it lacks the sparkle I was expecting. It’s nice enough and the chorus catches some magic after a few listens, but that’s the limit of my love for it. (5/10)
Watch the video

Post Author: Philip Lickley