Abel Tesfaye's dark, twisted album is at odds with the glossy pop world he's been thrust into
This Week's Singles Reviewed
Warpaint, Spector, Alex Winston
Warpaint - 'Billie Holiday'
I like songs which spell their titles out in the lyrics – an artist hasn’t really explored their full conceptual depths unless they can spell them. FEELINGCALLEDLOVE and DISCO are GREAT! Steve Mackey has cleaned up this version for a deluxe album reissue. But, as much of a dick as it makes me, I prefer the John Frusciante-produced original. Sorry Steve. Sorry music.
Spector - 'What You Wanted'
To the best of my knowledge, Fred Macpherson is the only man ever to have had three separate NME Radar features: Les Incompetents, Ox.Eagle.Lion.Man and Spector. John Lennon only managed two – The Quarrymen and The Beatles. That makes Fred better than John Lennon. Obviously, everybody loves that song Spector do that’s really repetitive; however, I feel beholden to point out that the shout-along bits in the middle of this strongly resemble late-period Pigeon Detectives, circa ‘Go At It Completely’.
Alex Winston - 'Velvet Elvis'
It’s not widely known, but Alex Winston was once a member of The Smiths. She played the maracas on ‘How Soon Is Now’ and the line “I lost my bag in Newport Pagnell” is based on her own personal experience. But Marr & Morrissey couldn’t countenance her beauty, so she was edited out of press materials. Now she’s solo and reinvented herself as an attractive early-20s woman with both ears on Radio 2, and it seems she may finally get the respect she deserves.
Emmy The Great - 'Paper Forest (In The Afterglow Of Rapture)'
Decent. But IMHO would be improved if she spelled out all the words in the title. And also if there was a guest spot from Ghostface Killah.
Michael Kiwanuka - 'I’m Getting Ready'
Michael used to be a session guitarist for Tinie Tempah’s producer Labrinth, which is confusing when you hear the hazy dusk shuffle of ‘I’m Getting Ready’. I know the cool answer here is to try and align him with Bill Withers. But no matter how many times you stick Michael in a microwave with a duck, you’re not getting that out of this.
Miles Kane - 'Come Closer'
Miles Kane is re-releasing the best thing on his record as part of a special EP, cleverly timed to coincide with him getting more famous and this song being picked up by Guinness, Match Of The Day, and generally circulated in very overground ad-music circles. If there is a montage that can’t be improved by the addition of this track, I’d like to see it. You could probably put images of Liberian child-prostitutes over this and you’d still be pumping your fist in the air.
This article appears in the September 17th issue of NME
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