Abel Tesfaye's dark, twisted album is at odds with the glossy pop world he's been thrust into
This Week's Singles Reviewed (31/01/11)
Featuring The Streets, Jessie J, Clinic
The Streets – Going Through Hell
Mike Skinner seems to be very fond of those little philosophical sayings people use to cast a wise light on bad experiences – the one about a cloud, for example, or the one about sewing. He’s lined a few up, and then twisted them a bit, to illustrate his song, about defiance (and possibly fights in pub car parks). To assist him, he has brought along slabs of monolithic prog-hop, with matey from The Music and his rubberised lungs. It’s a powerful, rowdy brew, scattering sense and nonsense around like well-sprinkled croutons in a broth. A broth made by just the right amount of cooks, obv.
Jessie J feat. B.o.B - Price Tag
Oh yeah, yeah, I know this girl: Sound Of 2011, right? Does it like a dude? Fond of crotches and hats and...waydaminnit! Light, skippy, cuss-free pop music? A wholesome message for humanity? A tune you can WHISTLE? Is this really what people want from their cutting-edge these days? I mean it’s very nice, and those harmonies right at the end are lovely, but this had better be an attempt to broaden her appeal after a very strident first single, or I want my money back.
The Phoenix Foundation – Buffalo
I am all for a bit of ambition in music, so a spirited attempt to capture the rolling sweep of the sea, and the aquatic mammals that do dwell within, using just instruments and voices, well that is only to be applauded. However, singing “I am the buffalo,” as the Foundation do, before adding, “through the oceans I do roam,” is a gross factual inaccuracy, and will not stand. The word they are looking for, you see, is WHALE, although I would also accept walrus or manatee, even though they don’t eat plankton.
Hercules And Love Affair – My House
Certain songs can leave you feeling like a badger being shown Facebook – bewildered, hostile, and desperate to return to the comfort of your set. This song is hugely confusing, because the singer doesn’t seem to exist in the same key as the bassline. Is that what we’re doing now? Jamming musical things together at random? Cos everything I have learned until now points to that being a bad thing. So what is everyone looking so pleased about? Why are they dancing? I’m so confused!
Clinic – Bubblegum
Ah, the true sound of an urban summer. Beatific music, soft and warm, sung through desperately-clenched teeth, as if depicting a crazed attempt to sunbathe on a traffic island, at rush hour. Let’s hope February is a scorcher or this may not find the audience it deserves (e.g. city nudists with extreme allergies.)
Enrique Iglesias - Tonight (I'm F**kin' You)
Oh is that tonight? Cos I have it down in my diary as NEVER.
Ringo Deathstarr - So High
It’s a shame we do not live in a world in which Ringo Deathstarr is the name of Liam Gallagher’s new band. Or even a world in which Ringo Deathstarr is the name of Noel Gallagher’s firstborn son. Hell, I would settle for a world in which Ringo Deathstarr was the name of Paul Gallagher’s cat. As it is, it’s the name of these Lush revivalists, and to be fair, they seem to be having a lot more fun with it than those other guys, so maybe all is well after all.
The Cavan teenagers attack album two with abandon, largely at the expense of quality
A still-vital John Lydon rages towards retirement on a saucy, scuzzy new album
10 Tracks You Need To Hear This Week (26/8/2015)
Oxford's finest flit between gnarly rock and frustrating slickness on an often-brilliant fourth album