This Week’s New Single Releases (1st December 2013)

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

All About She – ‘Higher (Free)’
The debut single from British dance act ‘All About She’ is a perky number headed up by the sweet words of the female vocalist but it doesn’t really reveal its own DNA during its four minute running time. Employing the poppier side of dance, it sounds like a Mousse T song but with an ill-fitting musical backing and a general feeling that you’ve experienced all the highs by the 90-second point. Happy enough for a club set and it is pretty singable, but it comes across as average sadly. (6/10)
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CHVRCHES – ‘Lies’ (EP)
Backed up by a Whitney Houston cover and three remixes of the title tune, ‘Lies’ is possibly the weakest of the four singles they’ve released so far though, as I a fan of the album and the band, this does feel like a good choice for the next song to be singled out if one must be. With a very familiar sound to their last two singles in particular, ‘Lies’ lacks the killers chorus that the first three cuts centred around but the production and 80s electronica are great to hear and there’s a strong Gary Numan feel, and the lead singer’s vocals are as appealing as ever. Good song, just not really single material. (6/10)
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Dan Croll – ‘Home’
The latest song from Liverpool Institute for Performing Arts protégé Dan Croll captures the mood of coming home well in this stripped back ballad that uses its instrumentation and lyrical-referencing train-like beat to hold it together. Sounding a little flat vocally at times, ‘Home’ doesn’t really kick up the excitement factor much but it’s well written and evocative for anyone who has been away from home for a long time. Sweet and pleasant. (6.5/10)
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Justin Bieber – ‘Roller Coaster’
Here we go again. The 8th of his ten weekly releases, ‘Roller Coaster’ continues from last week of at least sounding a bit more exciting than what he has been giving us. With a more enjoyable thick beat and the first of the octet to actually stick in my head, this feels more like single material even if Bieber continues to sound bored as he sings and tries to do a cheap impersonation of the other musical Justin (not Hawkins, pedants!) It’s not that exciting though compared to the last seven of his releases it’s brilliant. It works as a song and bumbles along nicely but struggles outside of the simple chorus. (6/10)
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Kelly Clarkson – ‘Underneath The Tree’
With shades of Britney Spears’ ‘My Only With (This Year)’ and produced and written with a stern eye on a well-thumbed copy of the Dummies Guide to Writing A Festive Ditty, ‘Underneath The Tree’ is certainly not original but it’s jolly, fast-paced and has all the hallmarks of a joyful perky Christmas song (Sleigh bells! Saxophone solo! Jaunty piano!), carried off by Clarkson’s loveable, appealing vocal line. Christmas, and this song, isn’t a revolutionary time, but it does its job and will fit well your mix CD for 2013. (For more, she has a whole album of Xmas tunes called ‘Wrapped In Red’. (7.5/10)
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Leona Lewis – ‘One More Sleep’
And staying firmly festive Leona Lewis must have also got the memo about making a Christmas album from which this is taken, and it’s album like Clarkson’s, mixing up classic numbers and original material. Sounding much more retro and with a stronger voice than I’d expected, ‘One More Sleep’ again has a very familiar sound (the opening has shades of ‘I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus’) and raids the storage box of instruments only allowed to come out at this time of year. With a backing riff similarity that I can’t quite place, the song once more ticks the boxes of a great festive tune and, though she gets a little wail-y towards the end, the song fits nicely in with the seasonal sound and boasts a very catchy chorus. (7.5/10)
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Malisa Grace – ‘Don’t Know Tomorrow’
Rihanna-a-like Malisa Grace releases ‘Don’t Know Tomorrow’ and though her vocal sound is comparative to that of Rihanna, the song is much more enjoyable. Laid over a simple beat but with the emergence of a strong string sound as the first verse progresses, the emotion of the lyrics is brought out by Grace. The single lacks that killer hook in the chorus and it fails to gain a huge amount of traction and a chorus that pays-off from the verses, but it’s a smooth, soaring listen that is powered up by her voice. Taking a few listens to settle in, this proves enjoyable. (7/10)
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Rebecca Ferguson – ‘I Hope’
Back to the X Factor and here is the lead single from Ferguson’s second album ‘Freedom’. ‘I Hope’ retains her trademark vocal-led sound. With a catchy vocal riff based around the title and some well observed lyrics it will please the fans but it lacks the hooks of ‘Too Good To Lose’ or ‘Backtrack’. With lyrics that fit into the motivational category, it’s a song that grows on you after a few listens. Give it time and it shows its magic. (7/10)
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RY X – ‘Berlin’
And finally, this first major single from Australian singer RY X sounds like a young Rod Stewart covering ALT-J. An ethereal, quiet, distant song, it lacks the killer observations of the aforementioned ALT-J and though sonically interesting and with a chorus early on that sounds like it’s lifting to somewhere, it is too meandering to really hold ones attention and it feels like it cuts off before it gets anywhere. With flashes of inspiration it feels, like the last song, like a grower – give it time and it will grab you. (6.5/10)
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Post Author: Philip Lickley