Plan B, Hot Chip, Tulisa
The latest singles reviewed by NME’s Barry Nicolson
Plan B – ‘Deepest Shame’
‘The Ken Loach of pop’ is such a bizarre thing to aspire to, I feel like Plan B is due a pass on everything, ever, just for trying. But that would be uncharacteristically generous of us, especially when ‘Deepest Shame’ sounds like him singing what he sees at social-realist DVD night.
Hot Chip – ‘How Do You Do?’
Despite resembling the Miliband brother Dave and Ed ostracised for cramping their style, Alexis Taylor continues to write brilliant, vibrant electro-pop nuggets that make the listener feel like they’ve got a garishly coloured cocktail in their hand at all times. ‘How Do You Do?’ is yet another of them.
Tulisa ft Tyga – ‘Live It Up’
This song revolts me to the very marrow of my bones. Lyrically, it resembles the auto-tuned thought process of a city boy in a strip club. Musically, it sounds like £50 notes falling carelessly out of speakers. It is as sexy as a hen-partier flashing her clunge from the window of a tacky pink limousine as it trundles down some provincial high street on a Wednesday night.
I listen to it, and I shudder.
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Zulu Winter – ‘Key To My Heart’
Zulu Winter are a nice band who write dull songs that weren’t meant for the cruel likes of me, but which I’m tasked with savaging like a blood-lusty wolverine anyway. But what the hell. So long as Tulisa’s new single is on this list, why not go easy on them? ‘Key To My Heart’ is mellifluous, sub-Coldplay arena-indie that won’t cause sudden, violent retching when played on the radio.
Carly Rae Jepsen ft Owl City – ‘Good Time’
You want that new single to transcend mere nebulous hummability? Then you need a hook worthy of captioning endless JPEGs of surprised-looking household animals. Having already touched the face of God with ‘Call Me Maybe’, it’s a long way down for docile Canadian Carly Rae Jepsen, whose follow-up is so nondescript I literally can’t be bothered to describe it. The words ‘Featuring Owl City’ say more than a paragraph of adjectives ever could.
Shrag – ‘Devastating Bones’
Unglamorous, unheralded, and underrated, Shrag are the sort of band you want to root for on principle alone. Thankfully, ‘principle alone’ doesn’t have to come into it. ‘Devastating Bones’ is a more muscular, less irritating genus of twee, a kick to the danglies with a steel toe-capped clog, or – if you want to get really ridiculous – Stuart Murdoch fronting QOTSA.