Abel Tesfaye's dark, twisted album is at odds with the glossy pop world he's been thrust into
This Week's Singles Reviewed (11/08/2012)
George Michael, Rita Ora, Bloc Party
George Michael - 'White Light'
“One more pill, just one more beer, one less star in the atmosphere.” Not the ramblings of a student at Secret Garden Party, but the opening lyrics of the new George Michael single. Smothered in neon synths and George wailing “I’m alive”, ‘White Light’ could do for George what ‘Believe’ did for Cher – make him cool again for five minutes before relegating him to a life in Vegas.
Rita Ora - 'How We Do'
Step aside Cowell, there’s a new sure-fire way to launch a pop star. Step one: release a ’90s-influenced dance single that gets you in Nick Grimshaw’s phonebook. Step two: once you’re cool, churn out inoffensive pap and sell a million records to mums. It worked for Jessie J. Now Rita Ora is reverting to type on a song trying so hard to be ‘Friday Night’ by Katy Perry it needs a restraining order.
Bloc Party - 'Octopus'
This comeback is going rather well, isn’t it? Everyone’s getting along, Kele’s put his top on, and the primary colour scheme they’re using for the artwork is very JLS. ‘Octopus’ is a tune too, with its “wooh a wooh a wooh” chorus and erratic riff from Russell Lissack. One thing though, Kele, it’s been a few years since you were straight outta New Cross. These days you’re a bit too Shoreditch House to pull off lyrics like “Gonna show you how we get down in my hood”.
Lemar - 'Invincible'
Lemar first cornrowed his way into our lives with cheap Robert Dyas imitations of slick US pop back when the UK didn’t have a proper male R&B singer. Then we got Jay Sean, Taio Cruz and Labrinth. Lemar was out of a job. ‘Invincible’ lies between Ryan Tedder and a Hovis advert, Lemar warbling on about nothing in particular in the forlorn hope that Gary Barlow might ask him to write a song on the Marcus Collins album.
Theme Park - 'Jamaica'
It’s been a tough year for gingers. First Andy Murray lost Wimbledon and then Nicola Roberts went blonde. But Theme Park guitarist Oscar Manthorpe is setting things right, his coiffured bob surpassed only by ‘Jamaica’’s plucky Orange Juice licks and sexy-messy shuffle. Carrot tops rejoice!
2 Shoes - 'Turn Me On, Turn Me Out'
If you didn’t watch the last series of The X Factor then you missed 2 Shoes, a spray-tan girl duo that brought a ray of Essex sunshine to ITV’s bore-fest. This chugging ’90s disco track about needing a good bonk isn’t outstanding, but I would rather listen to their version of Kathy Brown’s 1994 banger for eternity than one second of Little Mix irrigating Damien Rice.
This article originally appeared in the August 11th issue of NME
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