The Singles Jukebox
Designer Shoegazing



hello, and welcome to the most ridiculously large UK Singles Jukebox ever. Following last week’s UK/US singles jobshare, we find ourselves with BACKLOG of one week’s worth of stuff, so here’s 20 singles from this week and last – and oh, what a selection! Sean Paul AND Damian Marley! Pendulum AND Ultrabeat! Dom Passantino FAILS to hate on Kanye West! Plus the shock revelation that the difference between Hard-Fi and The Duke Spirit is EXACTLY 0.03! Rounded up a bit, obviously. First though, Jamie Cullum and Katie Melua find themselves in the same place for the first time since the 2004 Brit Awards, but fortunately they’re not covering the Cure. That is roughly the point at which the good news ends…


Jamie Cullum – Get Your Way
[1.40]


Patrick McNally: This sounds bizarrely like Jim Thirlwell's sample based fake-jazz under his Wiseblood disguise. But whilst Thirlwell is a smack shooting, Lydia Lunch screwing bog-eyed asshole, Cullum isn't and ain't ever gonna be. And he sings like he's got a blocked up nose. My mum hates him cuz she says that he looks like a young Quentin Tarantino.
[1]

Fergal O’Reilly: The most bile-inducingly smug, worthless thing I've heard in ages. Pedestrian as the backing is, there are few things more annoying than Cullum's raised-eyebrowed, mong-voiced delivery of this parade of excruciatingly self-satisfied lyrical couplets. Each one warrants five (5) shotgun wounds in retribution. Any of our more unhinged readers (and let's face it, there are a few of you) who are feeling obliging, well, y'know.
[0]

John Cameron: This song seems engineered to just grate against you. Not enough to make you turn the song off, but just enough to make the whole affair rather unpleasant. Lyrics slurred and mumbled rather than being sung? Obnoxious whistling interlude? Plodding beat? Problem. Add to that the fact that he's being a cocky bastard towards his love interest and, well, you realize you don't want to listen to a song by a mumbling, semi-incompetent jackass. Also the sniffing-during-the-song bit? Creepy!
[2]

Hillary Brown: John Legend (classy piano tinklings) meets boy band (Rob Thomas/verge of musical theater production). There must be dance moves associated with this, possibly ones involving a hat. Too long, but almost the boy version of “These Words.”
[5]

Joe Macare: "Cullum has hit the jackpot again!" says Q magazine according to the posters for Jamie's new album which currently pollute the platforms of the London Underground, whilst this week's Observer Music Magazine claims "this is a record Cullum should be proud of". If we're going to start deporting people from the UK for expressing opinions, I'd suggest starting with anyone who claims there's anything good about the distasteful elevator music produced by this comtemptible jazz-hobbit. Listening to 'Get Your Way' is like drinking from a cocktail glass filled to the brim with urine.
[0]


Katie Melua – Nine Million Bicycles
[1.82]


Dom Passantino: You know, no matter how many times the singles we tackle in this jukebox seem to scrape the bottom of the barrel, musicians keep on finding new ways to make me cry out in pain for even listening to it. Like having Helen Fielding come around to your house and smother you with a whale music CD. Really, we should introduce minus points so we can actually let you know how awful this song really is.
[0]

Doug Robertson: Do you think Katie ever bothers to read her lyrics back after writing then? Not only does she confuse the concept of “facts” and “estimations” in the very first line, but they’re so banal she would surely have thought “You know what, maybe I should at least pretend to put some effort in here”, after going over them for a second time. Mind you, with them being so entirely dull, she’d probably be hard pushed to get beyond the first couplet before finding herself in the land of nod. Vocally it also sounds like she’s falling asleep and, while there may or may not be 9 million bicycles in Beijing, there’s definitely only one mark available here for you and even that’s more than you probably deserve. That’s a fact. That’s a thing you can’t deny.
[1]

John Cameron: This music sounds like it was written with people's mothers in mind. That having been said, it's fairly nice; the lyrics are simple, if occasionally cliched, and the melody's pretty. Good music for elevators and dentist's offices.
[6]

Joe Macare: The panpipes of peace float by soothingly while Katie Melua sings 'kooky' lyrics like "We are twelve billion light years from the edge - that's a guess". Katie Melua is a simpleton. I wish that I could be twelve billion light years away from this song, one of the worst atrocities that has been committed upon my ears in living memory.
[0]

Jessica Popper: This song was apparently inspired by a tour guide she met abroad - I'm guessing she was in Belgium at the time, or perhaps Canada.
[3]


Bon Jovi – Have A Nice Day
[2.50]


Dom Passantino: I've never forgiven him for killing off Ally McBeal.
[0]

Alex Macpherson: Unlike most other has-been rock acts, on the evidence of this Bon Jovi are still just as good as they were in their prime. Which is to say, still bloody awful and terminally irritating in that very specific way reminiscent of getting your head repeatedly stamped on at a freshers' week party.
[1]

Doug Robertson: Despite this being a Bon Jovi song, there’s a lot to enjoy here, though that’s mainly centred around trying to work out exactly which parts of his own back catalogue he’s cannibalising here in his ongoing bid to see exactly how much money he can make from having no discernible talent other than being able to wear a pair of leather trousers.
[4]

Hillary Brown: This sounds more like the Eagles than like real Bon Jovi. By which I mean less that it really sounds like the Eagles and more that it sounds like something your dad listens to in his truck when he’s imagining he’s still a single dude.
[3]

Joe Macare: The winning formula for a specific kind of Bon Jovi song hasn't changed much since 'Livin' On A Prayer'. Bash out a generic stadium rock stomper, with a bit of political blue-collar resentment simmering away in there: 'Have A Nice Day' contains very Springsteen-worthy lines about Daddy slaving his life away, although Bruce would have included details such as what kind of factory Dad worked in. I would have given this a higher score if this was only the second, third or even fourth Bon Jovi single that's actually EXACTLY the same song.
[6]


Ultrabeat – Feel It With Me
[2.82]


Paul Scott: A generic trance "banger", probably fun if you like that sort of thing. You know, like base jumping, or knitting, or bestiality. Just not my thing really.
[3]

Patrick McNally: Listening to Scouse house on a Sunday evening on headphones in my underwear always makes me feel down and this is no exception. I think I'll watch some barely legal porn as well to complete the feeling of grubbiness.
[3]

Fergal O’Reilly: Moving Euphoric Trance with moody piano, shrieky synth arpeggios and histrionic vocals; exciting battle between the ZZZ and the RETCH for supremacy.
[1]

Doug Robertson: Change, for some people, is a scary thing. Sometimes this is a good thing: after all, we don’t really want those in charge of fire engines to start coming up with crazy new ways of trying to put out burning houses, particularly if the new method is based upon the “fighting fire with fire” philosophy. But in music, to stagnate is to become like an untended garden pond and stink. This is dated, irrelevant and really has no place whatsoever in the exciting and brave new silver suited world that is 2005.
[2]

Joe Macare: Honestly, I have nothing left to say about this kind of trance anymore, not one single thing. Does anyone?
[3]


Sheryl Crow – Good Is Good
[3.20]


Alex Macpherson: Oh whatevs, this is too banal and obvious to even make the banal and obvious joke about how banal and obvious the title is.
[3]

Patrick McNally: The absolute dread-full terror of the void. The ego-destroying blank vacuum. The pitiless, remorseless realisation that there is nothing and there will never not be nothing. Short of "Weeping" by Throbbing Gristle nobody articulates these feelings for me like Sheryl Crow does.
[3]

Jonathan Bradley: Sheryl Crow is Sheryl Crow, so this is pretty much exactly what you’d expect – a country-pop ballad that fills the gap between “All I Wanna Do” and “If It Makes You Happy.” It’s kind of sad and mournful, with strummed guitar, a bit of slide and a chorus that sounds like it could really mean something, except that it probably doesn’t.
[4]

John Cameron: I've seen an advert in which Sheryl Crow is in her house, watching herself on TV, listening to this song, and then switching to some pictures of herself. She wanders around the house, accompanied by herself. I think the commercial is a great allegory for how up her own arse she is. She seems to have started phoning it in since basically "Soak Up The Sun," and when you hear the outro, you start to wish something like it had constituted the entire song, because it wouldn't have come across as so tepid and sad. Take her slide guitar away, someone.
[3]

Hillary Brown: Who exhumed George Harrison to play guitar on this? And what did he get in royalties? Why is this being listened to in a country other than the U.S.?
[3]


Bullet For My Valentine – Suffocating Under Words Of Sorrow
[3.40]


Dom Passantino: Why are the youth of today called "moshers" when they show little desire to actually "mosh", and more desire to sit around moping in their bedrooms and emoting to bad music? I mean, it comes to something when the rock kids are more in touch with their emotions nowadays than the indie kids. Anyway, Bullet for My Valentine are the antidote for this, as they riff like they give a shit and drop some Cookie Monster vocals down for us. "Us" here being me and some 14 year olds, but still.
[9]

Paul Scott: There must be something about Wales that makes the kids just a little more intense than there English brethren. This barrels along with that head crushing, machine gunning drum sound, guitars that alternately needle then slam down layers upon layer of crushing sound, the shared vocals alternate between a pleasingly gruff shoutiness and some fellow who sounds far too much like Chester Bennington of Linkin Park fame which rather deflates the primal noisiness with boring stuff about emotions. I guess that why they call it the emos but please next time less angst more rock. Also songs about either pirates or dinosaurs would be good.
[6]

Fergal O’Reilly: Another one of those Comically Angry Young Welsh Bands (who possibly share the same Comically Angry Young Welsh Band Silly Name Generator), though the relentless guitar twiddling assault also reminds me a bit of that wankfest Iron Maiden re-release from a couple of weeks ago - the one that charted above British Whale - only instead of being a bit daft and fun it's just giving me a headache; the riffs aren't as good and I really can't be doing with that puking-your-own-skeleton out emo scream thing.
[1]

Hillary Brown: If you’re going to do prog-metal, you could at sound like you’re keeping an accurate beat. I don’t know how to judge this other than with hatred.
[1]

Joe Macare: I'll never understand the appeal of a certain kind of metal vocal style - the one that goes "WURRRGGHHH GURRRRGGGHHH WURRRRRGGGHHH AAAAAAEEERRRRGGGGHHH!!!" Not that 'Suffocating Under Words Of Sorrow' had much else going for it, but that awful bellowing just ruins it completely.
[0]


HIM – Rip Out The Wings Of A Butterfly
[4.09]


Alex Macpherson: Comedy Eurogoth was funny this time last year, its Very Serious Teenage Angst irresistibly cute when set against implausibly jaunty, catchy pop tunes. But I think the time has come to stop indulging our (inner) children and admit that really, this is all actually a bit crap and embarrassing.
[3]

Jonathan Bradley: Who likes this, anyway? The metal kids will hate it because it’s too pop and the melody is too boring to interest a general pop-rock listener. At least you can remember the hook in a Switchfoot song.
[2]

Doug Robertson: You’ll never go broke underestimating the musical tastes of hoodie wearing 14 year old boys, though to be fair, as long as you use a vaguely gothic looking font on your covers you probably don’t need to worry too much about the musical content. So it is with HIM, who seem to have spent less time writing this than they did recording it. Even they don’t sound like they can be bothered with it, so why should you?
[3]

Hillary Brown: Why? For your soul? Okay then. Lyrics are thankfully overwhelmed by big-ass guitars. This might seem more sensitive than the Bon Jovi, but it also rocks much harder.
[5]

Joe Macare: That's the kind of title that Billy Corgan would consider a bit silly and over the top, isn't it? And it and the rest of the equally preposterous, bad poetry lyrics to this song are delivered in a predictably portentous manner. Melodramatic gothic rock isn't always a bad thing, but this isn't even daft enough to be entertaining.
[2]


Status Quo – Party Ain’t Over Yet
[4.22]


Dom Passantino: Shame we didn't get this song coming up on the cross-cultural jukebox exchange, because no band must delight the Britishes and confuse those in the colonies as much as Status Quo. This is their 54th top 40 single (52 more than Wookie), and is the best song they've done for ever, not an ironic "Hah! Remember them!" way (thank you Daily Mirror), but in a tribute band deciding to debut a song they've written themselves when they get a gig at a Berni Inn way, and it somehow walking a path of two-chorded invigoration to an end point of cheerful despair.
[8]

Paul Scott: For the first time in god knows how many decades the Quo sound resolute. Dropping or at least turning down the boogie Rossi and Parfit survey their past but despite sharing a vocal melody with Turn, Turn, Turn this does not inspire melancholy or philosophising but a reinstatement of their of rocking creed. Guitars wielded like weapons, legs splayed in a way that can't be healthy for men of a certain age, heads a nodding, they ride on determined to not to "just survive" but wring every ounce from life itself. As the whole rock / pop continuum nears late middle age it's good to see such long term traveller still so obviously believing in the boogie.
[8]

Patrick McNally: After the brief flirtation with Fairlight samplers and gated snares on their last great record, the downbeat post-Falklands beatdown of "In the Army Now" from 1986, Status Quo never managed to get their choogling groove back on and they haven't here either. Lightweight.
[3]

Fergal O’Reilly: The main guitar line sounds like it should be played on pan-pipes. Lyrical content involves Status Quo taunting us over how they're not dead yet. You haven't got that long though, y'fuckers.
[2]

John Cameron: Where HIM was generally inoffensive, Status Quo is just plain bland, and this song comes complete with a phoned-in "electrifying" guitar solo. They sound like they're having sanctioned "fun" doing "party activities" with their "chums." C'mon, Status Quo, let your hair down and live a little.
[3]


Jamesy P - Nookie
[4.36]


Alex Macpherson: Inoffensive dancehall-extra-lite of the sort which always seems to be around, though unfortunately for Mr P he's chosen to release it in the week when the capricious gods of summer have decided that they're bored with Britain now and pissed off elsewhere. The riddim is kind of like Madonna's 'Music' as played by a three-year-old on a plastic toy keyboard.
[6]

Patrick McNally: I see this reconfigured for a 'comedic' Chicken Tonight advert before the decade's out.
[3]

Jonathan Bradley: I’m going to make myself look very uncool here, but, this is my first exposure to soca, and I really hope it’s not representative of the genre. Unmemorable dancehall-y rhythm with this tosser Jamesy P advertising his desire for “nookie tonight” over the top. If this is his calling card, I really doubt he’s going to impress anyone enough to achieve his aim, unless the woman is really drunk. Maybe if I was really drunk I’d think this was a party jam.
[3]

Doug Robertson: A continuing theme over recent jukeboxes seems to be that of men quite keen to get their end away and somehow believing that releasing records that just reek of desperation is the best way to go about it. Here Jamesy, rather than going down the more traditional route of chocolate boxes and roses, seems to be labouring under the delusion that simply declaring that he wants some “nookie tonight”, will have the ladies throwing themselves at him rather than, is as more likely, their shoes. Still, this isn’t as bad, or indeed as sex-pest-esque, as previous releases in this genre. In fact, his use of the term ‘nookie’ makes it sound like a News of the World sex scandal story set to music, and it’s bouncy enough that he almost gets away with it. Almost.
[6]

Hillary Brown: Not only is the melody, once it busts out on the chorus, pretty hooky and charming, but the background singers (“Juicy! Juicy!”) seem friendly, and that weird little slinky chirp makes you want to keep listening. One is inclined to think this dude will be successful in his quest.
[6]


The Duke Spirit – Cuts Across The Land
[4.40]


Paul Scott: Really PJ Harvey has cornered the market in PJ Harvey album tracks but if the Duke Spirit wish to make a career of it well I guess there are far, far worse things they could do.
[5]

Patrick McNally: The Yeah Yeah Yeahs crammed into a Sleeper shaped hole for In-ger-land.
[3]

Jonathan Bradley: I feel all Jessica Popper when I listen to this. Oh gosh! Boys! With guitars! Except apparently one of these boys-with-guitars is a girl-who-sings-with-boys-with-guitars, even though she’s no more interesting than your average boy-with-guitar. Is there really any reason for this band to exist?
[3]

Fergal O’Reilly: I find it a bit hard not to be ambivalent to the Duke Spirit. The singer's reasonably charismatic, sure, but her voice just blends into the relentless thudding drone of the music; I can imagine lots of people sort of swaying and nodding their heads purposefully at festivals and thinking it's really Heavy and Intense and shit, but it's a bit plodding and undramatic for my liking.
[4]

Doug Robertson: Elastica live! And not just in the form of Wire Best Of’s! Unfortunately this mainly manifests itself in Liela’s vocals, which stand out against the lacklustre, by the numbers, heard it before backing in much the same way that a diamond choker stands out in a tray full of undercooked doughnuts.
[4]

Joe Macare: Every now and then it's nice to hear a song that reminds me why I listened to the Evening Session in the first place. It was partly because I used to fancy singers like this just on the basis of their voices, but it wasn't just because of that.
[7]


Hard-Fi – Living For The Weekend
[4.43]


Patrick McNally: The most enervated waiting for the weekend song ever and pathetically desperate to be anthemic. The singer, perhaps the epitome of post-Ian Brown unearned swagger and a'itude, is not just bored by his job but under "pressure, pressure, pressuuuuure..." C'mon mate, delivering pizzas isn't that hard. Hopefully someone'll carve his face into roses with the wrong end of a bottle on his night out.
[0]

Jonathan Bradley: When this begins Hard-Fi can’t decide whether they like down-low pulsating bass or soaring disco stabs and instead eschew both excellent ideas in favour of that moronic dance-rock pastiche the Bodyrockers love so much. They bring back the disco strings for the chorus, but it’s a case of too little too late.
[4]

Fergal O’Reilly: From what I gather, Hard-Fi are allowed one quite good part in each of their songs. Here it is the intro, which is a nice sequenced disco'n'strings thing, which is then replaced by a clunkier but admittedly more dramatic loud guitar rendition of the same chords. Then of course we get a load of witless indie scraping, with the rubbish half-assed Lad singer droning various hackneyed Insightful Social Commentary shit about how hard working class life is when you just live to get drunk at the weekend and even then sometimes bouncers aren't very nice people and etc etc I can't imagine how anyone could care less.
[3]

Doug Robertson: Rarely has a song gone from such greatness to such mediocrity quite as quickly as this. The intro grabs your attention like an angry looking rottweiler barrelling towards you with hunger in its eyes and slavers in its mouth, all synthy horn stabs and menacing guitars. Unfortunately, the minute the verse comes in, it immediately reduces to pretty standard indie with some nice fake strings backing and the chorus fails to lift it back up to the sort of euphoric heights a song about how fab the release valve of a Saturday night is when you’re doing a crappy job. Oh, and he should hang his head in shame for the “When it gets too much I live like a lush” line.
[6]

Jessica Popper: I do think Hard-Fi are quite good for an indie band - their songs do have a certain poptasticness to them, but the lead singer just looks so mean, that he really puts me off. This is probably their best song, though, so I'll still give it an:
[8]


Pendulum – Slam
[4.89]


Alex Macpherson: Drum'n'bass officially hasn't just come back to life, it's been resurrected as a fifty-foot fire-breathing muscled hulk.
[9]

Paul Scott: There's nothing like a melodramatic bit of 50's horror style narration to set the scene before hitting the world with something massive. After about fifty odd seconds the voiceover ebbs away and in comes what sounds like a hip hop backing track but – curve ball – the ominous man returns and we lurch into a dance tune that feels like being stuck inside a fast forwarded kids tv show; the bass and synth combo alone hitting with the force and subtlety of a 50ft Timmy Mallet and his infamous mallet.
[6]

Patrick McNally: This opens with spoken word samples so ponderous and overblown they could be on a decade old Ninja Tune record. The intro lasts for one minute and fifty-two seconds! The rest of the record sounds like library music designed for the chase scene in a straight to video Brit gangster lad-flick.
[3]

John Cameron: Okay, the minute long orchestral introduction is a little pretentious, but then SLAM! A Nelly-style hip-hop beat kicks in, soon replaced by weird dance-punk drum machine action, and with bendy, scratchy synths, Pendulum grabs you. Pendulum grabs you and forces you to ride a hovering motorbike through a sewer, fending off aliens with an energy pistol. Then the song collapses with few seconds to go, breaking your brain more than it needed to be broken. Except for the completely excessive intro, this is enjoyable future music.
[7]

Hillary Brown: I lack the attention span for this. Six minutes and no real song?
[1]


Sean Paul – We Be Burnin’
[6.00]


Paul Scott: The demand to legalize I take is in reference to the marijuana I take it, not homosexual marriage or stem cell research or something interesting – how many songs have you heard about stem cell research? Not many I would guess. How many songs have you heard extolling the virtues of the worlds most rubbish drug? Far, far too many. Does the world need another?
[4]

Fergal O’Reilly: Possibly not, on paper, a brilliant conceit for a pop song, basically being Sean bellowing a fairly comprehensive essay about why marijuana should be legalised - it was found on King Solomon's grave and is good for your eyes, fact fans - but it works out pretty well. The chorus is great, with Sean's perfectly paced pro-weed mantra intertwining with these dramatic descending string stabs to oddly stirring effect.
[8]

John Cameron: I hate Sean Paul. I hate his canned, ridiculously bland beats. I hate his club-music-by-the-numbers, though I give him credit for seemingly aping M.I.A. this time as opposed to dub. I hate this pathetic attempt at seeming socially conscious by writing about ganja. I hate the line "legalize it / time to recognize it," almost as much as I hate the pricks who love Sean Paul's way with words probably because they can't fucking understand it and assume it's about marijuana anyway since that's what reggae's all about, man. I hate how Sean Paul hands this to them, with a knowing wink and a grin, saying he's with you, guys. I fucking hate Sean Paul.
[0]

Hillary Brown: Kind of walks in place the whole time, yet feels surprisingly short at under 3.5 minutes. So it goes nowhere, but it’s fun enough in a low-key Red-Stripe-drinking way. And the drumroll is utter crap in the best way possible.
[6]

Joe Macare: Sean Paul is back, but what he's brought with him this time isn't quite 'Gimme The Light', 'Like Glue', or 'Get Busy'. Amid a lot of stuff about how good marijuana is, the hook just isn't strong enough. 'We Be Burnin' is good, it's just that if all Sean Paul's new material is like this, you can't imagine him dominating a year the way he did 2003 any time soon.
[7]


Backstreet Boys – Just Want You To Know
[6.33]


Alex Macpherson: It's like a bootleg of 'Quit Playing Games' and 'Since U Been Gone'! And it is the catchiest song of the year ever, the tune embedding itself so firmly in your head that even after you've only heard it once and can't remember the lyrics, you have to go round singing made-up lyrics to the melody, like, ALL DAY. Comebacks aren't meant to be this easy.
[9]

Jonathan Bradley: The Backstreet Boys take that drum machine that did such wonders on “Since U Been Gone,” pour some incredible gapped-synth on it, and then… drench it in Backstreet schmaltz. This sort of thing doesn’t need harmonies and earnest power-balladry! It doesn’t need an anaemic chorus with the guitars EQ-d into nothingness! The bridge eases the pain a little, but why not just give it to Kelly Clarkson or someone who can perform it with the chutzpah it deserves?
[3]

John Cameron: Oh good, new-new-wave and Backstreet Boys got into a car crash. I hope A.J. went first.
[0]

Hillary Brown: BSB continue the trend of not being afraid to go big. Even without the best video ever, it becomes absolutely massive and glittery, almost oceanic, on the chorus.
[8]

Joe Macare: The flipside to 'Since You've Been Gone': a similarly unbeatable chorus, and also about a break-up, but this time from the point of view of someone who isn't moving on. I honestly didn't think the reunited Backstreet Boys' were capable of releasing a song this good. The video has attracted a lot of attention, but it's the song itself that deserves the acclaim: the connection being that to an extent both are about pining for a past that can never be regained, if it ever even really existed.
[10]


Damian Marley – Welcome To Jamrock
[6.56]


Paul Scott: It's the absences that count, the great aching gaps in the production, each instrument seemingly echoing across vast spaces and Marley surfacing from the cavernous sound fired up with hectoring ire. You could argue that it's retro, in some way backwards looking, ignoring the last however many years of reggae and dancehall music and you'd be half right but there is a sense of righteousness, a voice calling out across the voids, so essential that it can not be ignored.
[8]

Patrick McNally: Hypnotic, dust covered muggy retro-reggay that's about ten times better than anything his dad ever managed. Marley's voice catches just the right quality of stentorian, throaty melody. Lil' Kim's copycat riff on this, "Lighters Up", is even better.
[7]

Jonathan Bradley: In which Damian Marley takes reggae back from those faux-hippy, middle-class wankers and returns it to the hood. “Welcome To Jamrock,” is far more at home sandwiched between contemporary Caribbean/American urban fare such as dancehall or Reggaetòn than it is as a soundtrack to a blunt and a game of hackysack between lectures, and it’s all the better for it. It is driven by little more than a relentless skeletal bassline, reverbed guitar stabs and Marley’s grim vocal, but, when it’s that good, what else do you need?
[9]

Fergal O’Reilly: Has UK Chart Hit written all over it: downbeat reggae with morbid lyrics, Ini Kamoze vocal sample about MURDER and a Chuck Norris reference. Enjoyable for all of these reasons.
[7]

Hillary Brown: I suppose this is fine for being kind of traditional reggae, but all I can understand are the words “political violence” (eye-roll) and “jamrock” (huh?). Progressively more irritating as it continues.
[3]


Ladytron – Destroy Everything You Touch
[6.80]


Patrick McNally: Less designer shoegazing than their last single but they're still not as affecting since they took away the clean lines and added the fuzz.
[6]

Doug Robertson: Ladytron seem to have acquired more of a commercial sheen with this track, and it’s a theme that continues as this sounds more like a more polished version of their previous tracks, rather than anything genuinely new or exciting. Having said that, with a back catalogue as good as theirs, they can be forgiven for wanting to get out the feather duster – though no doubt a dark and metallic looking one – and give it the once over as they strive for the gleaming perfection which they no doubt crave.
[7]

Hillary Brown: I prefer my robot disco more robotic. This is more like android disco, meaning that it seems human until you realize it is too shiny and free of error. It’s also lacking in real thump.
[4]

Joe Macare: There are two ways I could talk about this song: one is really quick and easy, and one is drawn-out and painful. The quick and easy way is to say that this is exactly what I want from Ladytron: future-perfect beautiful but sad electronic pop. The drawn-out and painful way involves talking about how Mondays make me feel like my life is an endless vista of unfinished projects, unkept promises and unfulfilled potential. Right, so, exactly what I want from Ladytron then, cheers Ladytron, thank you, thank you very much.
[10]

Jessica Popper: Not only my favourite Ladytron song to date, but also one of the best of the many electropop singles released so far this year. This is a lovely song and I hope that, like their last single, it will be a surprise hit, and hopefully an even bigger one this time!
[9]


K-Os – Man I Used To Be
[7.00]


Dom Passantino: The Wyclef Jean it's OK not to throw acid into the face of, K-Os runs on the same combination of chin-stroking thoughtfulness and rampant egotism that saw Mos Def become an essential figure for, oooh, two months in 1999. Anyway, K-Os is great, K-Os knows all about regret and if ever a song could benefit from Ghost Deini popping up and throwing some of that crying style down over the final eight bars, it's this. Lovely as it is, although nothing compared to that one track on K-Os' album where he tells us that he's "On the scene with a mic like Ernesto Guevara."
[9]

Jonathan Bradley: This is pretty awesome, but could you imagine how huge a hit it would be if K-Os wasn’t some backpacker Canadian, but was from Queens and on Aftermath? He could get hooked up with some Dre drums rather than that tinny kick-snare that sounds like it came as the free prize in a packet of Cornflakes, and turn this into a genuine trunk-rattler. Of course, then he’d be contractually obliged to stutter “G-g-g-g-unit!” every four bars and give Tony Yayo a guest verse, but the trade off could be worth it.
[8]

John Cameron: K-Os' strut is so danceable, so soulful, so fucking effortless that I can't find fault with this song, no matter how hard I try. Hell, it's so incredible that "strut" is the only word to describe it, because even a rumination on lost prinicple and the point of existence can only be described as a "strut" when it's backed with rhythms this incredibly sexy and buoyant. I can do nothing except love this song (I won't even touch the little guitar bit, because as far as I know that's not part of the actual single, and it's definitely not part of the video; though it's beautiful, for those reasons it does not count).
[10]

Hillary Brown: Things change fast in the world of hip hop. This is still tuneful, but after Late Registration, the production sounds like almost nothing, and his flow is kind of conventional. What you want is for the bits with the rapping to finish, so you can get back to the hook.
[5]

Joe Macare: Oh good, conscious rap! The chorus and beat are almost good enough to enable me to overlook lyrics like "I've been across the universe and inside of flowers" - why is it that conscious rappers always claim they've been into space? It's because they're so cosmic and spiritual, isn't it? There's a line about swords, too - it's like K-Os is trying to tick every box in the mid-90s conscious rap checklist...
[6]


Franz Ferdinand – Do You Want To
[7.00]


Alex Macpherson: They're even more reluctant to change a winning formula than most bad indie bands, aren't they? Same old same old FF schtick, ie great hooks in search of a resolution, a reason, a point, something to back them up other than archly raised eyebrows and a vague air of smugness. I can imagine a remix turning my feelings around on 180 degrees à la 'Mr Brightside' but in its current form it seems awfully vacant.
[2]

Paul Scott: One way of defining what is commonly known as Britpop is to take it as a genre of music that takes the Beatles and The Smiths as the beginning and end of a narrative, the alpha and omega of British rock, then maps a way betweens these two poles. Suede went through Bowie, Blur took a route through The Kinks and the Pet Shop Boys, Elastica; Wire and The Stranglers and so forth. Do You Want To seems to make a beeline from Twist And Shout to Handsome Devil by way of Roxy Music, the New Pop "movement", Duran Duran and many, many others. It's surprising how a song that barely consists of more than one chorus refrain can be reminiscent of so many things and still sound so incredibly fresh and invigorating. This is the sound of a British guitar band trumping all expectations, it's arch yet still fun, catchy but clever it resurrects the spirit and blazing energy that fuelled Animal Nitrate, Girls and Boys and Stutter and propels it ever forward with enough stomp and unstoppable giddy momentum to fuel an army.
[9]

Fergal O’Reilly: I'm a tad disappointed this hasn't prompted a stronger reaction in me one way or the other. S'alright, y'know, it's loud and brash and a bit infectious, but at the same time it feels perfunctory, like, here's a scrapy robot disco groove, and we're going "doo doo doo" or some shit, that's a Hook that is, here are some silly arch lyrics, Franz Ferdinand are baaaack. Baaaack. OK.
[6]

Joe Macare: Doot-doot, doot-doot doo-doo-doo-doo. Drunk drunk, drunk drunk drunk drunk drunk drunk. This is a great lurching party-crashing beast of a song, the kind that makes you want to down several strong drinks quickly and then swagger around town leering and bumping into people. You know how some people are so charismatic, charming or just plain good-looking that they can get away with appallingly bad behaviour? This could be their song. It could even fool you into thinking that maybe you're one of them. And, on its own, it won't even give you a hangover.
[10]

Jessica Popper: First single from their make-or-break second album and the video is set in a chaotic art gallery with lots of singing to the camera as though it's a person. Hmm, sounds familiar! It's only 2 years since the Will Young single, did they think we wouldn't notice? (Good song, though!)
[8]


The Juan McLean – Give Me Every Little Thing
[7.40]


Dom Passantino: Passable enough ket-tastic electro track ruined by what appears to be the crowd at the Vice Magazine five-a-side tournament chanting the lyrics.
[5]

Alex Macpherson: Unstoppable monster bassline which pretty gives the most downright enjoyable member of the DFA roster leeway to do whatever the hell he likes over the top. As it turns out, that pretty much encompasses every sound in the world: shots of squelchy sound which hit you in the ass like paintballs loaded with dancing magic, a chant as irresistible as sunglasses, squealing high-end drifting off into its own imagination. An entire summer of hedonism compressed into five minutes.
[10]

Doug Robertson: Like a dirty silk dress, this mixes glamour and sleaze in equal measures, its back arching sensuously in the moonlight while lying on a mattress that someone found in a skip. Unfotunately, though, there’s a hard to shake feeling that something’s missing here, probably the springs, and ultimately you find yourself alone, with your back resting uncomfortably against hard concrete, looking up at the stars, wondering what might have been.
[7]

John Cameron: It takes so long to get going, and that's the only reason I can muster for having a problem with this song, but when it does kick up, oh man! This is dance music, alright; funky, shouting samples, shaking tambourine, elastic bassline, jumping, tittering synths, and that beat! This is the sort of music that you can be driving in a Hyundai Pony whilst listening to, nodding your head, and still not feel like a dork because it's that compulsive. Good on you, The Juan Mclean.
[9]


Kanye West ft. Jamie Foxx – Gold Digger
[7.45]


Dom Passantino: KANYE WEST DON'T CARE ABOUT (insert aspect of the song you find fault with). America has now produced its own version of "The Avenue", anyway, a song where you're enjoying the samples so much, it comes as a shock on the third listen when you realise there's actually some rapping on it. SKEE-PAH!
[6]

Alex Macpherson: I actually don't give a shit why I love this song so much, know what I mean? It's totally unlike me, I mean I'm forever deconstructing and analysing my own taste, probably more to do with ego than natural critical faculties but nevertheless all that can sod off for the duration of this incredible song. Key moments: "an ass like Serena, Trina, Jennifer Lopez", "we want pre-nup - WE WANT PRE-NUP!", the moment when the horns come in way after you thought you'd heard all the goodness Kanye had to offer.
[10]

Jessica Popper: Any song that namechecks Usher has to be a bit of a worry, but on this song I can see to some extent why rap fans think Kanye is so great, and I admire him for not being afraid to cause a scene - he seems genuinely quite intelligent and self-aware, but I'm still not a rap fan myself and I still can't see how anyone would rather listen to this than Rachel Stevens.
[3]

Patrick McNally: Like every rapper who has made a successful LP Kanye follows up with a track pointing out that women are untrustworthy money grubbing bitches (and why point out the obvious, etc.) But Kanye can't even manage to sound bitter and also laces his spiel with addictive stutter kicks and Stylophone clucking so I can ignore him when I have to.
[8]

Hillary Brown: Show-off shows the hell off. Full of winky touches, like the Stevie Wonder keyboards at the end, and Kanye’s rhythms are clicking like mad. A thing of beauty is a joy forever.
[10]

Joe Macare: Kanye West's increasingly rubbish attitude to women - "I want to touch their bottoms but what if they steal all my lovely money?" - wouldn't bother me if stupid stupid journalists for broadsheet newspapers and the like didn't tend to call him a refreshing alternative to macho sexist gangsta rap, or whatever. As it is, the lyrics to 'Gold Digger' have me longing for a remix with as many different guest rappers who aren't Kanye as possible. But the beat is 100% irresistable brilliance, particularly the sound that comes in around 2 minutes 42 seconds in. I could listen to that sound for hours.
[9]


By: UK Stylus Staff
Published on: 2005-09-21
Comments (14)
 

 
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