Friday, August 05, 2011

Single Reviews 07/08/11

Amongst the line-up for this week’s Single Reviews: a really good artist doing quite a crappy song; a really crappy artist doing quite a good song; and a boring song being really good, in a strange sort of way. It’s all rather back-to-front, truth be told. The kind of bizarre parallel universe type stuff where, say, something like Swagger Jagger can be on course for Number One. *shudder*

Charlie Simpson
– yes, he of the choreographed jumps and mile-wide dental gap – somehow produces something remarkably good to kick us off. Parachutes ditches the manufactured stabs at emo in favour of an out-and-out Coldplay tribute, and with surprisingly decent results. It’s a shame his voice still conjures up the same feeling of polystyrene being roughly diced with a knife and fork. And when a song by Cheryl Cole on the same subject trumps yours, it’s time to accept you’ll never achieve the muso credentials you’re so desperate for.

After several years floating in a dreary limbo of overproduction, Britney Spears clawed her way back to brilliance with her last single Til The World Ends. Sadly, the quality takes a dip – albeit only slightly – with I Wanna Go, all tinned beats and housey twiddles and jittery vocal effects. The whistle hook adds a nice something, though, and serious kudos must be awarded for the best video she’s done in a long while.

Perhaps we’ve put a bit too much stock in their return, but the comeback of Kids In Glass Houses is a largely disappointing one. Animals is dripping in character and packed with an untouchable fervour, and there’s definite progression which should be praised. However, the bizarre fusion of dirty Kasabian moments and amplified poodle-rock doesn’t make for a wholly enjoyable affair, and hopefully is not too strong an indication of their upcoming third album.

The newly-slinky Jennifer Hudson – because all coverage of her must reference her weight loss – gets all neck-snappy with the understated feline strut of No-One Gonna Love You. It’s unflappable and it’s sophisticated, but somewhere amongst the vocal runs and handclap beats and layers of ad-libs and Alicia Keys-esque tinkles, there’s a tune dying to make itself heard. But that’s probably true of most R ’n’ B, so within that particular sphere, ol’ J-Hud is one of the less guilty parties.

And finally, we wind down with our Single of the Week, which comes courtesy of Elbow. The unruffled, quiet splendour of Lippy Kids may not be the stuff of repeated plays, and for a single, it’s perhaps a tad on the lifeless side. But within its own sphere, its piano-led stillness makes for an intriguing, assured but humble indie mantra. Plus it’s easy to believe Elbow were probably desperate to do something which wouldn’t become a clichéd soundbed anthem for decades to come.

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