Music Features

The Singles Bar - 3rd October 2011

It’s heartening to see that the influence of No Ripcord, and in particular, The Singles Bar, spreads far and wide. The week after Nicola Roberts’ Lucky Day was made single of the week, the track went into the charts with a bullet at number 40. In the same week, Dappy’s No Regrets was rubbished, and that only went into the charts at number… er… 1.

In a further attempt to be increasingly influential in the music business, here’s the low-down on this week’s tracks.

Delilah – Go

Acts like Chase & Status, Nero and Pendulum have done much to smooth down the rough edges of drum & bass and make it more chart-friendly. Delilah, who featured on a Chase & Status track earlier this year, is attempting the same trick with Go, but apparently forgets to put any beats down until the track is about 75% finished. As a result, Go sounds like it’s forever building to a climax that never comes. This means we get more of Delilah’s irritating voice, which is annoyingly breathy, and contains lots of the melisma and emoting that X Factor contestants seem to think equal good singing. Go also samples a large chunk of melody and lyrics from Chaka Khan’s Ain’t Nobody, which doesn’t add anything in particular, despite Delilah’s assertions in a recent interview that Chaka Khan thinks the track is “genius.” In a way, I’m glad this track isn’t up to much, because it allows me to trot out an obvious and atrocious pun… *clears throat* Why, why, why, Delilah? 4/10

Clock Opera – Lesson No. 7

If Delilah is wondering, this is how you build a track properly. For the first 90 seconds, Lesson No. 7 is the kind of insubstantial indie rock you’ve heard a thousand times before, but then the drums pulsate, guitars clang and keyboard stabs fill the air with electricity. It all comes to a head in the final minute, with frantic ascending riffs and siren-like squeals. It brings to mind a heady time when it really seemed like Hope Of The States would be the saviours of British music and rock had a bit of intelligence and substance behind it. As for comparisons with today, imagine Foals decided to stop being so intricate and went loco with some effects pedals. 7/10 – SINGLE OF THE WEEK

Cradle Of Filth – Lilith Immaculate

There’s no danger of this track taking too long to get going. I was sad to discover it doesn’t appear to be a tender paean to the purity and intellectual prowess of Frasier Crane’s ex-wife (or perhaps it is, and I wasn’t listening carefully enough). This is everything you’d expect from a Cradle Of Filth track – frighteningly quick bass drums, layers and layers of guitar, strings, outrageous melodrama and a worrying lack of self-awareness. Does this mean it’s any good? Of course not, it’s unlistenable claptrap. Cradle Of Filth have been making this music for two decades and nine albums; their lead singer, Dani Filth, is 38 – aren’t people supposed to grow out of this preposterous pantomime some time in their teens? In summary: not as good as Beyoncé. 1/10

Givers – Meantime

The trouble with a crowded marketplace is that it’s very difficult to stand out. On Meantime, Givers attempt to get noticed by wearing their “kookiness” on their sleeves and employing time changes liberally throughout the track. The overall effect is the same as an Architecture In Helsinki record, in that it’s difficult to warm to, and every time you settle into enjoyment of any kind, you’re completely uprooted. The advantage of this, of course, is that if you don’t like a certain section, don’t worry, there’ll be another one along in a minute. All this serves to make Meantime a confusing listen, with no central spine from which to build the hooks, which is a shame as it’s sublime in parts. There are shades of Best Coast, sunshine pop and even calypso. It doesn’t stop it being a largely unfathomable mess though. 5/10

Marina And The Diamonds – Radioactive

Although her debut LP, The Family Jewels, could probably be described as patchy at best, the return of Marina Diamandis – aka Marina And The Diamonds – is certainly welcome. There’ll always be room in pop music for outspoken, idiosyncratic stars. Radioactive is quite a departure from her previous work though; rather than the bolshy, take-no-prisoners style of before, this is more of a David Guetta-influenced straight-up dance record. Sadly, this means Marina’s lost some of the edge that made her special in the first place, and this is a rather tame comeback with a poor metaphor about love being, you’ve guessed it, radioactive. One listen to this, and you’ll be yearning to put Hollywood or Oh No! on instead. 4/10

Imelda May – Road Runner

I was hoping this would be a cover of the Jonathan Richman track or, better yet, the Junior Walker And The All Stars one. Sadly, it was not to be. Road Runner is a throwback to the 1950s rock n’ roll style, and seems bizarre and anachronistic in this day and age. It trundles along perfectly adequately without ever really going anywhere, leaving you wondering what is this music actually for. There’s nothing wrong with singers wearing their influences brazenly on their sleeve, but when you’re making inferior versions of half-century old songs, something’s up. Presumably there’s a market for this sort of thing, which goes to prove once and all for all that the older I get, the less I know about the world. 2/10

LMFAO – Sexy And I Know It

Does anybody else read this title and immediately suffix it with, “clap your hands”? Anyway, as irritating and it was (and still is), there’s something indefinably catchy about LMFAO’s monster hit, Party Rock Anthem. It was always tempting to write them off as one-hit wonders who hit lucky, and Sexy And I Know It isn’t going to do anything to change that. It’s a repetitive, dull, bone-headed track, devoid of imagination, wit and charm, which informs the listener that, “I got passion in my pants and I ain’t afraid to show it / I’m sexy and I know it.” The kind of lowest denominator rubbish that, in a just society, would see its “creators” shipped off to a desert island with only the back catalogue of Alvin & The Chipmunks for company. 0/10

Evanescence – What You Want

If Evanescence truly were offering what I want, then they’d not have bothered making a comeback. Evanescence’s formula has not advanced one iota since they became inexplicably popular eight years ago with Bring Me To Life. In fact, What You Want sounds very similar to Bring Me To Life – crunching riffs, words being belted out with all the subtlety and guile of antique farmyard machinery, dramatic strings and a simple piano riff over the top. Life-sapping stuff; it makes you wonder why we bother really. 1/10

So, not exactly a vintage week for new releases. Why not let us know what you think using the Disqus form below?