Saturday, March 31, 2007

Single Reviews 02/04/07

Welcome to this week’s Single Reviews, the only place across television, radio, web and print media that you won’t find David Tennant making barefaced, tacky, low-rent pushes for the new series of Doctor Who. We know it’s a great show, but seriously dude, you need a new agent.

Actually, the Doctor Who allusion is rather apt, with Avril Lavigne evidently making a Tardis-fresh comeback as her 12-year-old self – Girlfriend is a highly juvenile, candyfloss-heavy, zit-squeezing anthem. It’s a pleasing little pop song, sure, but given La Lavigne’s inflated attempts to be viewed as a serious artist throughout the phase of her second album, you wonder where in the world she plucked the line “she’s like, SO whatever” from.

Single of the Week is provided by Little Man Tate, and the rough-edged, clumsy Northern charm of This Must Be Love. Typically we’d reserve a spot in our proverbial “no” pile for such unembroidered, literal lyrics. Yet somehow, in this instance, it only adds to the attraction. Nice.

It’s a busy week for ladies returning to the fray, but self-appointed so-called "crunk" "princess" Ciara, unlike her comeback companion Avril Lavigne, appears to have matured rather than regressed a decade. Like A Boy boasts a tremendous string section, unfortunately to which the rest of the song pales in comparison. Nonetheless, it’s mercifully more 1, 2 Step than Goodies.

Lastly, The Good, The Bad & The Queen (NB: not a band, not an album, not even a project – it’s, like, a movement or something) volunteer another self-important greyfest in the form of Green Fields. Perhaps actual decent music is far too passé? Heaven forefend Damon Albarn cooks up something resembling a tune unless he’s hiding behind the fucking Get-Along Gang.

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Melanie C - This Time (Red Girl Records)

Now in her eighth year as a solo artist, Melanie Chisholm can proudly boast that she’s recorded more albums on her own than she did with her group (a low-key side project she once had, called the Spice Girls or something. You may not have heard their stuff), yet she still has to fight tooth and nail to be viewed as such. So, does her fourth album redress the balance?

This Time is, if nothing else, a pronouncement of Melanie C as an established solo artist. Previous albums carried a certain patchwork quality in comparison to the streamlined vibe found here.

A departure from the active, distinctly non-studio feel of Beautiful Intentions, the tweakage ‘n’ twinkle levels are upped noticeably throughout This Time. First and foremost, it’s a return to pop. The levels of quality and musical aptitude haven’t dipped, but the rock overtones are demoted to unobtrusive backdrops.

Understand sees the heroine of the piece coming on like some sort of one-woman She-Keane, highly listenable and overtly musical. Elsewhere the delicate patter of What If I Stay distances Melanie from the phlegm-clearing ad libs that capped Say You’ll Be There.

Additionally, there’s a significant change of tone. She’s spat all the bile she’s going to spit, and Lord knows there was a lot of it – Beautiful Intentions, at times, felt like your harshest childhood scoldings in musical form. This Time, however, thinks outside of the box. Indubitably, there’s your usual sky-visioned declarations of courage, but there’s new territory too – Carolyna is, content-wise, somewhere along the lines of Destiny’s Child’s Story of Beauty without the grim molesty bits.

There’s no escaping the liberal peppering of affirming balladry, always a likely move after the European success of First Day Of My Life. By no measure are The Moment You Believe or Forever Again inadequate, but do fall faintly short alongside the more natural, unaffected material.

The overall mellow, defined texture of the album raises questions as to whether the lovably disposable I Want Candy was the best spokesperson for the project. Sure, everyone’s an A&R man these days, but there’s far more to This Time than the lead single is capable of demonstrating. Still, one can have confidence Joe Public will view this as a pleasant surprise rather than a nasty shock.

Most admirably, it’s not consciously attempting to be mature. Perhaps previous material was inadvertently infused with an anxiety to establish a distance from Spice, but This Time, in comparison, is merely a sincere progression. And all the while, it’s not as though Melanie C can’t pull off fun. Hey, Gwen Stefani’s allowed to yodel like a loon about a magic key and she’s, like, 80.

Monday, March 26, 2007

Honking Box Review: Castaway

It's been a week or two since the re-launch of BBC One's supposed big-money show Castaway, and we were rather hoping for something in the way of activity, so we'd actually have something to stick in a Honking Box column. But with the news that the Beeb are snatching the primetime slot back from beneath its wobbly legs, we figured now would be a good time to address the show, before it's axed altogether (estimation: two weeks tops). So, why is Castaway sinking like an Olsen twin on Morecambe Bay?

What began seven years ago as a bonafide social experiment has been downgraded into an unoriginal, gutter-level reality format. And although the initial project may not have provided the hype 'n' headlines typical of the genre, Castaway achieved exactly what it set out to do. It's like a bar of 70% cocoa Green & Black's (you know it's good quality, but you just can't stomach the taste) left on the radiator, melted into a sticky mush, slithered downwards and gotten stuck in the carpet, then scraped out and dished up in a snazzy 2007 wrapper.

The nomination process, the group divisions, the desertion theme, the makeshift way of life and the ensuing scrimpage and loggerheads are all fundamental components of Channel 4's Shipwrecked. Which, while not exactly the type of show to turn the heads of your average RTS bod, performs pretty damn well all the same. Mainly because a visually-unappealing cross-section of British life in cagouls on a Godforsaken rock doesn't quite cut it the same way as Heat-seeking Abercrombie & Fitch models on a sandy beach, whose average day amounts to a ratings-friendly balance of shouting and shagging.

For instance, instead of Shipwrecked's would-be Page 3 stunnah Lianne, we've got the likes of 19-year-old Alasdair, who, in his introductory VT, announced he "hopes people call him Ali-umbo, as it's a lot cooler", which frankly is akin to someone named Bob saying he prefers to be called Rumpelstiltskin Agamemnon Farquhar-Farquharson because it's easier to pronounce.

It's not totally devoid of plus points. There lurks a fair number of characters on the island, helmed by Jonathan (seemingly some sort of Victor Meldrew/Eeyore hybrid) and lest we forget the marvellously-named Joe Chicken. Meanwhile, Danny Wallace, inducer of inappropriate crushes and all-round mirthmaker, functions more than capably in his role as ringmaster. But overall, the show is clueless as to where it lies, and more importantly, there's simply a major deficiency of action.

Admittedly, we probably wouldn't have tuned in had this series been another televised sociology lesson featuring Ben Fogle. But it's safe to say a rather more intellectual pocket of viewers would have, as they did with the first outing. And as this series fails to enlighten these aforementioned learned folk, or to entertain the Reef-chugging, Anthony Hutton-voting masses, it'll only be a matter of time before Castaway glugs out its last few bubbles of air and sinks to the seabed forever (note to self: lose the maritime metaphors, seriously).

Saturday, March 24, 2007

Single Reviews 26/03/07

Are we actually here...? We’re alive? Sorry for the confusion, readers – we heard that Scooch were selected to represent the United Kingdom in a musical tournament observed by literally billions of people, and simply assumed the universe had collapsed in on itself, consequently negating all reality. Anyhoo, Single Reviews, anyone?

Indicating that Abba, Dime bars, The Knife and affordable furniture were just flukes, Sweden once again expunges the desolate Robyn onto our shores with Konichiwa Bitches. It’s a blessing that she’s no longer flogging the washed-out R&B of yesteryear, though you can’t help but feel as though she’s corseting herself into a kitsch electro-pop market from which she’s bulging out in all the wrong places.

Kings of Leon obliterate the good work Molly’s Chambers did in camouflaging their gruesome style and ostentatious swagger, with the dire On Call. Acting as a sudden reminder of just how annoying they are, it's a whinging skulk through a post-apocalyptic Superdrug shelf of adolescent facewash and greasy hair shampoo. We’ll happily leave this for the skinny-jeaned acne brigade to digest.

Replacing their thoughtful, brooding debut with something far more upbeat and brawny, Thirteen Senses make an incredibly welcome return with All The Love In Your Hands. As far as changes go, it’s a slight yet vastly effective one – the substance hasn’t gone anywhere, it’s merely taken a comfortable seat atop a foundation of bright waywardness.

Top of the list of invitations to The Sloppy Dog’s Fantasy Dinner Party, the perpetually-tremendous Melanie C doesn’t have to do much to win our approval (we can be objective, mind – On The Horizon sucked dog ass). Unashamedly embracing the pop she was once advocator of, I Want Candy comes with a wide grin and a cheeky glint, while maintaining the musical aptitude she’s proved very capable of. Single of the Week, and she doesn’t even need to bring the dessert.

Another champion release this week comes courtesy of Alterkicks, and the inadvertent volume-crankage of Good Luck. A pulsating, hefty bassfest married with a buoyant melody, this suggests that The Ghosts shouldn’t expect a monopoly on the title of Our Favouritest New Band they were bestowed with last week. Fight! Fight! Fight!

Friday, March 23, 2007

Honking Box Feature: The X Factor

Weeks after the announcement that Louis Walsh and Kate Thornton had been exiled from The X Factor, and still no decision has been made (or at the very least, announced) relating to the new judges. And with speculation still as plentiful as Angelina Jolie is publicity-hungry maternal, we’ve booked us a seat aboard the bandwagon.

That said, the sole reason the showbiz columns are chucking names every which way is to do with the vain hope that when the judge selections are announced, either Newton or Mott will have touched upon the idea at some point, and can therefore claim it as an exclusive.

So, in the interests of hard-hitting journalism, we’ve chosen to provide a round-up of the industry luminaries currently being bandied about, along with a few choices of our own...

Chris Moyles
Widely touted as both a host and a judge, but for a man whose once-sizeable talent was messily gorged by his ever-swelling ego, he’s perhaps not best placed to be criticising the ability of others. That and the fact you’d need to fashion a new desk to accommodate his team of ingratiating arse-lickers.

Jackiey Budden
We’d bet one of our kidneys that Shilpa’s name has been thrown into the hat by ITV1, but we’re can’t help think it would be far funnier if the name Sho-pal was thrown in instead. Jackiey judging The X Factor would be the perfect opportunity for some PC backpeddling (“yup, I propah liked ya singin’, coz yer braaaaahn.”), and Lord knows you can’t hear enough of that silky voice...

Richard Park
“That was a terribly pitchy version of a song by Dolly Parton, who I often shared a tasty Greek platter with in the 70’s.” “Now, that track was written by John Lennon, who was a close personal friend of mine for many, many years.” “I much preferred Madonna’s interpretation, for which I was actually solely responsible.” “I truly hated your version of Think Twice, as does Jesus, who I am a direct descendant of”. If the contestants don’t kill him, Simon Cowell will.

Victoria Beckham
Geri took one hell of a condemnation when she opted to rate vocal performances on Popstars: The Rivals. Sadly, we fear ol’ Posh would suffer the same fate. Nonetheless, it would be a perfect opportunity for that sardonic wit we so rarely see showcased nowadays – incessant pap snaps aren’t the best vehicle to broadcast sarky brilliance to the masses. FYI, we also wish to voice our desire for a Spice Girls Week during the live stages. Just think, Ray Quinn doing Lady Is A Vamp would have been a definite expulsion.

Jake Shears, Ana Matronic or Babydaddy
Should Jake have had a hand in Eton Road (innuendo? Us?) last year, we’re sure the industry would, by now, have been bestowed with an intergalactic digi-boyband ready to conquer the globe. We’re filled with evil glee at the thought of a shaky, underconfident 16-year-old from Skelmersdale being told he’s a hot little bastard followed by some finger-clicks.

Jeremy Kyle
Let the record show that we completely, absolutely, unequivocally loathe the smug bastard, but no-one has more experience in dealing with hair-raising pikeys in search of their 15 minutes. Just picture a bubble-permed mum-of-nine painfully shrieking out a shambolic rendition of Can’t Fight The Moonlight. “You need to accept FULL RESPONSIBILITY for your COMPLETE lack of talent! You need to get ON YOUR KNEES and APOLOGISE to LeAnn Rimes! GO ON!! KNEEL!!”

Never mind the fact she’s already heavily involved with The X Factor, who else on God’s green Earth would be likely to rock up at Teddington Studios in a bikini and a MASSIVE STRAW HAT?

David Gest
Remember that Northern rapper who we all thought crossed the line when he asked Sharon if her kids wanted to get out of rehab (yet also made us snigger our cuppas out our nostrils)? Just imagine the possible insults unsuccessful auditionees could muster for this bizarre character. Even if his musical know-how didn’t cut it, the schadenfreude aspect is reason enough to plonk him behind that desk.

Roseann McBride
We’re putting our (feather)weight behind the Popjustice campaign to get Roseann working with people who may actually shift units in triple figures. After our own plea last year to get this woman on primetime, the idea of inter-judge bitchery between dual harpies Sharon and Roseann ups the potential greatness ten-fold. In fact, those two in a ring sounds like a show in itself. *Fires off email to ITV2 entertainment commissioner*

If you’re interested in placing a bet on who’ll scoop the two judge spots vacant, pop into your nearest branch of William Hill quoting reference name The Sloppy Dog. You won’t actually be able to gamble on the above, but they will look at you like you’re a fucking loon.

Meanwhile, we understand that the top choices for replacement presenters – Dermot O’Leary and Steve Jones – have both declined the role, supposedly passing the opportunity onto self-satisfied, gormless rent-a-twat Vernon Kay and the equally vacuous, beak-faced, sycophantic turdgibbon Fearne Cotton. Yikes. Hey, why not just get Andi Peters in to give it the ultimate kiss of death?

Let’s hope whoever fills Louis’ position of chronic blinking and frantic flying of the green, white and gold is more capable of finding someone with a bit more flair than the current champion. Or, y’know, just provides some unmissable train-wreck telly. We know which of the two is more important to us...

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Kelly Jones - Only The Names Have Been Changed (V2)

We don't get vinyl. Not in the sense that we don't purchase it, but we don't 'get' it. Sure, a million DJs could validate its assets in relation to dance genres. But as far as commercial releases are concerned, vinyl is all a bit gimmicky and pretentious, as if designed specially for Barleyesque tosspots like Peaches Geldof with a desire to say something cooler than 'MP3'.

Thankfully, Kelly Jones' first foray outside the Stereophonics has been finally given a proper release outside of its limited vinyl run earlier this year. Arguably a traditional concept album, Only The Names Have Been Changed plays like a Little Black Book read aloud, where Jones recounts one tale of sexual conquest per track. Perhaps a tacky idea on paper, but the novelty factor is soon nullified by the heavily emotional content and untouchable artistry.

A far more emotive and untreated affair than band material, and not surprisingly. The subject matter - and moreover, the album's honest presentation of it - leaves Jones laid completely bare, with his one-time detached, pint-swilling persona making way for new levels of vulnerability. A thematic collection of gentle, smoky sonnets, but each with a tone as unique as its story.

Emily is a bile-drenched tale of hotel room sleaze, while in comparison, the reminiscent longing of opening track Suzy holds echoes of a world-weary, scrubbed-raw James Walsh. Elsewhere, the jagged rockabilly ballad Violet almost takes a third-person narrative, demonstrating yet another dimension of what's actually an incredibly multi-faceted album, particularly when you consider it's constrained by such a strict remit.

There's little to find fault with, other than perhaps the difficulty to consider anyone named Jean in any form of carnal interaction. Seriously Kelly, if you're going to change the names, don't go using monikers usually reserved for great aunts. And the 2001 pop tart within was dubiously hoping Liberty wouldn't pass up the perfect opportunity to spit a vintage "L to the I to the B to the E to the R to the T-Y". Probably wouldn't fit with the slow-paced musicianship, mind.

In seriousness, Only The Names Have Been Changed demonstrates a sombre, incredibly personal side to Kelly Jones. For that reason, it may not tick any boxes for the Stereophonics purists - while the quality is on a par, the mood is exceptionally different. More importantly, it doesn't necessarily feel like it's just different for different's sake - music this introspective justifiably commands its own sound. And as downbeat and atypical as that sound may be, Jones shows that he's more than just a frontman; he's a human.

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Single Reviews 19/03/07

You lucky bleeders, you get the Single Reviews early this week! Much as we’d like to say it’s because we love you, it’s actually due to a Sloppy Dog staff outing to Devon. We’re actually rather excited to see whether all native Devonians now have purple hair and talk with an American accent, or whether that was just an isolated case.

First up, the outrageously bad Glamorous from the firing range target of our dreams, Fergie. While the presence of Ludacris just about separates this from her usual brand of blowaway belly-fluff, it’s nonetheless ten types of tripe. And, much like Fergalicious, a hefty portion of the track is the ever-rough Fergie clumsily reciting the letters of the title. We imagine the album must play out like a brothel hosting a spelling bee.

This week’s Single of the Week is an effortless shoo-in from what threatens to be our favourite new band. Stay The Night, a brass-boasting Britpop anthem courtesy of The Ghosts, channels the Bluetones’ finest moments with a marked noughties update. By far and away the best track of the year thus far, The Sloppy Dog Seal of Approval is rarely stamped this solidly.

Showcasing what must be one of the most bizarre sample choices in contemporary music, Lemar calls forth the hook from Color Me Badd’s I Wanna Sex You Up to add some sort of postmodern urban irony to Tick Tock. While overtly goofy, it’s actually a decent display of Lemar’s talents away from the humdrum Magic staples usually proffered.

Amidst a multitude of beeps and a diet house thump, Hilary Duff affords us the transitional With Love, a tough-talking declaration of leg-shaving womanhood. Evidently more a statement heralding a lid on the endearing Disney ditties than a keenness to break new musical grounds, it’ll keep California’s kiddies chuffed enough til Britney gets it together.

Finally, the debut mainstream release from The Twang, another band expected to conquer the globe in 2007. Perhaps a review alongside the far-superior Ghosts is what’s preventing us from getting majorly excited, but there’s certainly a modicum of potential in Wide Awake. Rather like Doves without the sweeping drama, but also without the killer choruses. Meh. It’ll do.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Honking Box Preview: Me & Mr Jones

Doing a reality show with your spouse is more often than not the definitive kiss of death. We've witnessed numerous relationships fall apart after allowing the seemingly-hexed MTV cameras into every toe-curlingly shameful aspect of their lives. Nick and Jessica, Carmen and Dave, Travis and Shanna, Ozzy and his credibility.

Nonetheless, said shows often provide ample amusement up until the divorce lawyers are summoned. So imagine our delight to be given an exclusive glimpse at the first episode of Me & Mr Jones, a hornet-on-the-wall (this is hip-hop, a'ight? No lame-ass fly don't cut it) view of the crazy life of Kelis and her urban-equivalent-of-'im-indoors, Nas. Note how we say 'crazy', having made the assumption that it's a pre-requisite of the marriage reality sub-genre.

However, Me & Mr Jones isn't so much 'crazy' as 'mildly dippy supplementing a main course of beige'. It appears that, rather than vaporising all metaphorical barriers and inviting the world and his boom-mic into their home, a frosty display of camera-conscious cool is maintained throughout. An attitude evidently spilling over into Kel's professional life - much as we love her, had she got off her battycrease and done a bit of bogstandard promotion, Milkshake and Lil Star could have bagged her a couple of Number Ones.

Still, it wasn't all hushed conversation behind an omnipresent foreground of Nas' gaudy ice. Key moments included our viewing companion mistaking a non-cosmeticked Kelis for Oprah Winfrey, and an amiable 'chance' meeting between Nas and Jay-Z. Gawd bless 'em. If these two can be mates, surely there's hope for Jackiey and Shilpa?

However, both highlights are blown out of the gin 'n' juice (this is hip-hop, remember? Water don't get no game) by the ol' romantics seeing one another for the first time in a week. They don't hug. They don't kiss. They barely even muster a smile between them. No, rather than a traditional display of affection, Kelis chooses to sniff her beau's armpit, which apparently she finds comforting. Well, whatever floats your boat. Some women like aftershave on a man, others prefer Eau de London Marathon. She ought to get a whiff of the Nikes as worn by a certain colleague of ours - she'd have multiple orgasms on the spot.

So while the first episode didn't provide particularly remarkable viewing, there were undoubtedly hints at car-crash potential. Perhaps the aloof façade will slip halfway through, and the cameras capture a typical Sunday afternoon at the Jones mansion where the happy couple enjoy snuggling up in front of Antiques Roadshow re-runs on BBC America. Not entirely likely, it's fair to say, but nonetheless, we're definitely booking a slot on the ol' HD recorder once this hits our screens (apparently sometime around July). Assuming, of course, they're not divorced by then.

Saturday, March 10, 2007

Single Reviews 12/03/07

In keeping with past attempts to push our favourites in numerous reality shows, we’d like to use this opportunity to twist your collective arms into supporting our favourite on Comic Relief Does Fame Academy. Joining the hallowed ranks of Aisleyne, Jonathan and Shilpa (the latter of whom we take TOTAL credit for) is the awesome Mel Giedroyc. If nothing else, see it as thanking her for the legendary Light Lunch. To summarise, Go Mel, etc etc. Lecture over, enjoy the Single Reviews...

Bandwagon-avoidance is a difficult pastime, as we’re finding out having recently been presented with a plethora of new acts meeting the hype bestowed upon them. To illustrate, Calvin Harris – recipient of acclaim and now tabloid-botherer thanks to a collaboration with the more expensive Minogue sister – provides bleeps, tweaks and likeable babblage in all the right places. Acceptable In The 80s isn’t yet exceeding the hype, but certainly one to keep an ear out for.

Inducing a deep slumber with the first offering from new album Good Morning Revival, Good Charlotte ought to learn pretty quick that chattering an oafish white rap over an uninspired tune vortex isn’t particularly effective. At least their early material carried a sense of knowing fun – Keep Your Hands Off My Girl all but defecates on that.

On to the long-awaited and much-criticised Walk This Way by the Comic Relief supergroup of Sugababes vs Girls Aloud. That’s all Nicola Roberts needs, isn’t it? Another three women to stand in front of her. While we’re certain Xenomania would have been a better choice to helm this than Dallas Austin, it’s actually refreshingly British, and manages to find a common ground for both bands to successfully work on. While the sheer event quality of the song combined with the charidee aspect are pushing us to award it with our Single of the Week title, that honour goes to The Fratellis, who lift yet another item of terrace-forged bewitchment from the magnificent Costello Music. Rescued from overkill courtesy of its Hot Fuzz link, Baby Fratelli is a jagged hoedown making way for a jolly mash-up of chant-a-long blokals and can-can sensibilities.

Brett Anderson, having decided passing Suede off as The Tears was denial on a previously-undiscovered level, produces a solo gem in the form of Love Is Dead. Perhaps a somewhat tepid number were it not for the bed of enchanting strings, which provide a much-needed backbone. Bloody nice instrumental, too.

Finally, we were all geared-up for some full-on noxious acrimony for Westlife’s feeble take on Total Eclipse of the Heart. Alas, the release has been cancelled, so we’re off to stamp on some kittens to liberate the build-up of bile. Ta-ra!

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Charlotte Hatherley - The Deep Blue
(Little Sister Recordings)

Despite the Spice Girls having disbanded and released no less than 13 solo albums between them, they still struggle to confirm their worth as solo artists. Well, the two still bothering at least. In that vain, Charlotte Hatherley presents her second solo album – and having permanently parted from Ash, can she finally emerge as the stand-alone artist she’s long promised to be?

For a female working the back catalogue of bloke-rock bastions – however sensitive and multifaceted said material may be – one can only imagine the hazardous build-up of womanly wants could only be contained within Charlotte Hatherley for a limited time. Therefore, where previous side projects from Ash appeared to be a de rigueur oestrogen-emitting valve, The Deep Blue is by comparison a calmer affair.

This seemingly is Charlotte Hatherley: The Diverse Soloist rather than just ‘er out of Ash. And while fans of Grey Will Fade will certainly find that same brand of hefty-bollocked riffs peppered with glittery winks, there’s a great deal more showcased here.

Take, for instance, Dawn Treader, a delicate hymn with overtones of Vespertine-era Bjork. Wounded Sky hints at a similar Earth Mother wakefulness, before slowly soaring into a mass of anthemic thumps atop a layer of gentle noodling. And, to underline the asymmetrical vigour crafted across nine years of Ash, Siberia is the act of wanton vandalism on the way out of a house party to which you weren’t invited.

The simple entertainment facet has undeniably lessened from her previous material, but as a far more noticeably scrupulous piece of work, it’s not something you can hold against her. Sure, you have to dig that bit deeper to find the character. And even when you do, it’s slightly less apparent than you might hope for. But, somehow, you just can’t begrudge it.

It’s evidence of a rock musician capable of surpassing the gender pigeonhole she’s so often jammed into. Perhaps something we’re guilty of ourselves – as a capable musician, it’s safe to say Hatherley had more to offer than the 25% assigned to her as part of Ash. But to assume a veritable chasm of male/female disparity was the cause is just lazy. Therefore, we humbly apologise, donate a metaphorical sum of money to a women’s charity, and give The Deep Blue a sanctified slot in our CD collection.

Sunday, March 04, 2007

Single Reviews 05/03/07

Anyone who’s seen the superb Bowfinger will be familiar with the story of a wannabe filmmaker who attempts to get an A-list actor to appear in his film without his knowledge. This weekend, we attempted to employ a similar technique to interview The Feeling. Sadly, it didn’t quite go to plan – all we can report is that Paul’s dog is adorable, and Dan looks even more like Gordon from Thomas the Tank Engine in real life. By way of compensation, can we interest you in the Single Reviews?

Having becoming the poster girl for eccentricity, Regina Spektor proves with ease that she’s more than just a barmy Russian bird. Fidelity is a dreamlike waft making way for a chorus of balletic foibles, and will do very nicely until Bjork’s done trekking round Greenland and schmoozing Timbaland.

The Fray (whose physical CD release bypassed us thanks once again to the fecking chart upheaval) provide a pleasant enough listen via How To Save A Life, although with a strong sense of caution that it could sit incredibly comfortably on a Christian stadium-gospel album not available in the shops, alongside Amy Grant’s take on Shine Jesus Shine.

Christina Aguilera leapfrogs the dire Ain’t No Other Man to bring us the worst record of her entire career. The abusively bad Candyman plays out like a Mad TV spoof of a Betty Boop cartoon, to the extent that you genuinely consider whether she’s being serious. To summarise, quite frankly, fucking awful pop music.

A hybrid of a nursery rhyme and a filthy limerick, Alfie is a sugar-coated ode to fraternal concern courtesy of Lily Allen. Once again achieving above and beyond the hype – and claiming our Single of the Week – it raises questions as to why we still don’t own a copy of her album.

Lastly, while growing old with a bit of dignity is always going to be the preferable option, it’s at least positive to see Madness have moved on from the likes of Lovestruck. Sorry boasts ska references without self-parody, and a 2007 take on events without any obvious signs of La Bandwagon... but can Suggs ever be forgiven for Night Fever?
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