Friday, October 28, 2011

Single Reviews 30/10/11

Welcome to this week’s Single Reviews, in a week in which the Syco machine was well and truly floored by a miniscule charity after attempts to steamroller over them backfired horribly; a week in which fans mourned the Westlife split; a week in which Chris Moyles’ listener figures took yet another dive. Sometimes, a nice bit of schadenfreude does a world of good.

Ah, 2000. The year that the Toploader album Onka’s Big Moka got a good few more spins round these parts than it was probably deserving of. The folly of youth and all that. Eleven years on, and they’re still hard at it, albeit on the other side of a long hiatus, with new single She Said. In fairness, it’s a definite progression from the pub garden indie of yore, a harder-edged but tuneful affair. Quite what its point is at this moment remains to be seen, but it’s hard to find fault with.

Beyoncé thankfully follows on from the most boring single of her career – the truly wearisome Best Thing I Never Had – with something far more fitting. Countdown is infectious, kittenish, bouncy, and almost functions as one long chorus. In essence, it’s Single Ladies Pt 2, and that’s no bad thing. Beyoncé can now proudly add a Single of the Week to her mantelpiece full of nice shiny Grammys. That’s assuming Countdown’s actually a single, and not just yet another random Beyoncé album track given a video and serviced to radio.

Another act papering over their previous release is Cher Lloyd, although let’s face it, she’s got a much harder job after the aural genocide that was Swagger Jagger. It was probably seemed a good move – get people talking, then swoop in with a far superior follow-up and change opinion ahead of the album release. Problem is, the playful pop of With Ur Love doesn’t pack much clout. But it does feel very much a Cher Lloyd record – whether you like her or not, she’s carving out a true niche for herself.

And rounding off proceedings is Shake It Off, the decidedly average launch single to (attempt to) herald the return of Florence & The Machine. The huge, affirmative chant of a chorus goes some way to making a statement, and the shuffling, elegant production carries its own merits. But it all feels strangely derivative, and not quite the impact an artist needs when they’re already branded with the style-over-substance marker.

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