Kanye West, The Ting Tings, Manic Street Preachers
The sounds rattling round the skulls of the NME staff this week
1. Kanye West – ‘See Me Now’
After the uncomfortable spectacle that was Penitent Yeezy post-VMAgate or the existential ego crises that befell him after having his Messiah complex well and truly filleted by South Park, it’s great to have Cocky Kanye back once again. Wearing out the Caps Lock key on Twitter over the past few weeks, he’s kept us buzzing with Confucian observations such as “God is dope, yo!”, “Me and Mos Def had a push-up contest at Nobu last night… Suits on”, and “Sometimes I get emotional over fonts”. In the same vein, the second song to be released from the album once known as ‘Good Ass Job’ (now possibly to be titled ‘Dark Twisted Fantasy’, although who knows?) is vintage Kanye; bright, warm and sharp.
The essential ingredients of a goodtime vintage sheen like buffed walnut, dropped brandnames, rhyming the same word with itself over and over again and snort-out-loud-lines such as, “I’m like Socrates but my skin more chocolatey” are all present and correct. Guest spots from a radiant Beyoncé and Gap Band R&B legend Uncle Charlie Wilson send the harmonies soaring to the heavens as Kanye goofs and giggles on into the fade. “I bet they put me back on the cover of Ebony now… we the greatest in the world, baby!” The crowning moment, though? “I’mma let you finish, but I got Beyoncé on the track”. Laughing at himself? Nah, laughing with himself as ever.
[Emily Mackay, Reviews Editor]
2. The Ting Tings – ‘Hands’
The Ting Tings return younger than before (if the recent press pics are to be believed) but as infectious as ever, still adept at mundane lyricism (“What are you supposed to do with two hands?”) and backed by a remix from Retro/Grade that adds five minutes to the original.
[Tim Chester, Assistant Editor, NME.COM]
3. Perfume Genius – ‘Your Drum’
Little over 90 seconds is all it takes Mike Hadreas to showcase the most fragile moment of his career thus far. This new track – accompanied by retro ’80s cartoon footage – is, like all his best tunes, beautifully ethereal and sparse. Considering its miniscule length, it’s also rather touching too.
[Matt Wilkinson, News Reporter]
4. Manic Street Preachers – ‘I’m Leaving You For Solitude’
Sign up for the newsletter
A new track which isn’t on the new album, but which sounds like the kind of drivetime radio hit that they’re going for now, being a gorgeous acoustic and piano-led sigh with an instantly singable chorus. Actually the wicked lyric would probably make your dad cry at the wheel, so best it remains our secret.
[Martin Robinson, Deputy Editor]
5. Dum Dum Girls – ‘Stiff Little Fingers’
Named after a Talk Talk song, and now releasing a single named after Belfast’s finest punk-rockers, this has the energy of the latter, the melodicism of the former and features a fuzz bassline of the type Sonic Youth do when they’re doing the straight rock thing. Truly great.
[Hamish MacBain,Assistant Editor]
6. David’s Lyre – ‘Tear Them Down’
Despite the strangely Biblical name and a mysterious attitude towards band membership – they like to wear masks – this opening salvo from David’s Lyre is a beautiful piece of addictive folk-pop. Swerving the banjos, its hypnotic vocals suggest it’s time for folk to forget the hoedown and hit the dancefloor.
[Paul Stokes, Associate Editor]
7. Dent May – ‘Eastover Wives’
Damn you, Dent, sprinkling joy on to the most wrist-slitting of scenarios –
a bed-hopping wife, nipping out to be bummed by half the town. Don’t keep filling our hearts with this kind of sax-laden, Bee Gee-lovin’ sunshine.
[Mike Williams, writer]
8. Gold Panda – ‘Snow & Taxis’
Caribou tour buddy Gold Panda isn’t right in your face and all over your radio like some of the others in the BBC’s Sound Of 2010 list (we’re looking at
you, Miss Goulding) but, as they say, it’s the quiet ones you have to watch. This track has a surface layer of chillwave tranquility, but a thumping techno heart.
[Abby Tayleure, writer]
9. The National – ‘You Were A Kindness’
The National write lines to snip out of songs and paste on to your heart. This song is chock full of ’em – “you made a slow disaster out of me,” croons Matt Berninger, before singing of a “radiant darkness”, an inadvertently perfect description of their sound.
[Laura Snapes, Assistant Reviews Editor]
10. Nicky Minaj – ‘Your Love’
Why is Nicky Minaj the best girl rapper in forever? Well, beholding what she does is impossible without awe, fear and bemusement, the hallmarks of hip-hop perfection. See the video for ‘Your Love’: geishas battle through a syrupy netherworld, to the sampled echoes of Annie Lennox’s ‘No More I Love You’’s.
[Jaimie Hodgson, New Music Editor]
This article originally appeared in the August 28 issue of NME