The Singles Jukebox
Fluffy Widdle Kitties



the joys of the multi-national jukebox experience get themselves fully manifested this week. Dem Franchise Boyz play “spot the difference,” relationship advice as only dancehall can give it, multiple instances of “melisma,” French disco of the deeply unfashionable variety, the return of Leo Sayer, and just an overwhelming sense of relief that there are that many countries in the world that we didn’t have to cover more than one song from the High School Musical soundtrack. However, for the second week running, we kick off by joining our British chums in their own unique version of MOR hell.


Liz McClarnon – Woman In Love
[2.91]


Hillary Brown: Bonnie Tyler got her balls snipped off? At least Babs has the pipes for this.
[4]

Edward Oculicz: Liz is the one of out Atomic Kitten that didn’t need to be autotuned, but she still needs a decent tune, and this Babs Streisand number isn’t even a highlight of her catalogue. The plucked strings in the verses are nice, Liz is pleasant but it just sounds plastered and fake and vacant, which is a bit rubbish for someone claiming to be a woman in love The definitive version of this song remains the Dana International one.
[3]

Jessica Popper: No songwriters would give Liz any good singles, she certainly wasn't able to write her own, so the only option was to release a cover version. No-one took any notice so she responded by making it a double a-side with another cover. Now that's Atomic Kitten logic - why ruin one song when you can ruin two?
[2]

Doug Robertson: Kittens, for all their cute and appealing qualities, don’t half make an awful, unpleasant sound. Ex-kittens are even less appealing, and so it is with former Atomic Kitten Liz, a woman so desperate to keep the fire of being vaguely recognisable burning that she spent last summer doing Celebrity Love Island with a bunch of people who would have trouble being recognised by their own parents. Here she takes on Barbara Streisand’s ‘classic’ and sounds less like a woman in love, more like one in extreme pain. As she strains to inject some sort of emotion or passion into the song, a blood clot in the brain seems like a real possibility and it comes as a blessed release when the musical abomination finally ends. Can someone please get a large sack, a couple of bricks and take her to the nearest river where she can be put out of her—and our—misery.
[3]

Brad Shoup: Shit, it’s like Max Martin’s violating my restraining order. “I am a woman in love/And I'd do anything/To get you into my world/And hold you within/It's a right I defend/Over and over again.” What can you do with this? Too slow for dancing, too gloomy for group-sing, too safe for camp. “Chiquitita” is calling. I gotta go.
[0]


Zack Efron & Vanessa-Anne Hudgens – Breaking Free
[3.09]


Jonathan Bradley: This Singles Jukebox gig isn’t all A-list parties and complimentary Cristal. Zac and Vanessa are two fresh-faced kids in some straight-to-TV Disney Channel movie about – get this – a brainy girl and a sporty guy who, even though they have nothing in common, audition for a high school musical. That’s why the movie has the appropriate name High School Musical. As for the song: it’s complete pap, of course. Its saving grace, though, is that it’s pap with verisimilitude; it sounds exactly like the big numbers that the popular drama kids would sing back when I did theatre in high school, loaded with uplifting sentiments and ripe for choreography. Bonus points for nostalgia, then, because musically… well, I’ve still got videos of productions I was in, and the quality is about the same. Which is the appeal, of course.
[4]

Jessica Popper: I'm as baffled as anyone as to why High School Musical has been quite so huge a success, but I have seen it and I must say I loved it. However, I also loved Camp and Get Over It, so this was not really surprising. The original songs are better than you'd expect, but they're never going to be considered modern pop classics. Still, they’re probably among the best things in the US chart at the moment so comparatively they get a big thumbs up from me.
[8]

Martin Skidmore: Really painfully bad teen pop singing of a kind I haven't heard in ages. How do these people get to make a record at all? This would get them thrown out of X Factor pretty quickly, like not remotely as good as Chico or the Conway Sisters standard. This is linked to a TV show, but it sounds as if it's a musical show, so it isn't like Buffy where the regulars were suddenly required to sing in one episode: the makers of this presumably knew there would be singing, so could easily have gone for people who were quite good at it. Not that that would have rescued this ragbag of rock-lite cliches anyway, but it would have made it less agonising.
[1]

Edward Oculicz: The piano on this is chirpy but forboding at the same time, and the singers have slightly insubstantial but waveringly charming deliveries. The problem comes in the chorus, where it sounds like two half songs pasted not particularly well together, each competing for the heartstrings against each other leaving very little effect.
[3]

Ian Mathers: Sometimes I think Will just hates me. I was tempted to give it a point for the decent drums, but... no.
[0]


Keyshia Cole - Love
[3.91]


Mike Powell: I really liked Keyshia Cole when she sounded like a girl done wrong but now she’s like a dolphin having melismatic seizures on a warm rock in the murky glow of Talking Book-style harmonies. A heartbroken dolphin! Beat that!
[8]

Steve Mannion: A timeless lament, as in it could’ve come out ten, twenty, thirty years ago and probably did. The 90s is where this sounds like it belongs most though. Not sure if Keyshia’s odd habit of looping her notes at the end of each chorus line is impressive or just painful but she’s just too full on here – in the same way many 90s RnB men tended to be with their slushy slow jams. Blergh.
[2]

Joris Gillet: This starts promising: a pretty, understated r&b-ballad. The beats are particularly un-flashy and the singing is nicely emotional-but-restrained as well. For the first few lines, that is. Already in the second half of the first verse she exhibits a need to show-off, but it's in the chorus that it all goes really horribly wrong. It's not even that she does those terrible Mariah Carey-style running-up-and-down the octaves, it's just that she tries too much to 'emote' and for some reason she thinks that that justifies making really weird noises. The way she stretches the word 'found' sounds like she has a sudden attack of the hiccups.
[2]

Martin Skidmore: Some of the most unpleasantly strained (nasal and fractionally flat) big notes and horrible FOR FUCK'S SAKE STOP IT melisma (we totally need to rename it jimmysavilling) I've heard in ages, though a lot of the stuff in between is fine. This is a slushy ballad, perfectly tolerable about half of the time, when she is in her comfort zone and singing one note to a syllable.
[3]

Jonathan Bradley: “I used to think that I wasn’t fun enough,” Cole sings. The fact that she’s lost this awareness demonstrates what a terrible thing self-esteem is. Keyshia Cole isn’t fun at all, and interminably slow beats, watery guitars and melismae by the pound do nothing to make her more compelling. Hopefully she’ll settle back into her dowdy ways and spend the rest of her life knitting.
[1]


Hilltop Hoods – Clown Prince
[4.20]


Mike Powell: House of Pain finally washes up on Australian shores and fuck is they soggy.
[2]

Edward Oculicz: This gets a point for the lines about Marlon Brando, and one for not being completely as awful as the idea of a hip-hop crew from Adelaide would suggest. The thing with hip-hop is that certain accents (and languages) lend themselves well to it. Italian has internal rhyme to die for. Finnish is smooth and breezy. Croatian is alien and harsh. French is alternately fierce and classy. Australian vowels are leering and lingering, which just doesn’t translate to good flow.
[2]

Jonathan Bradley: There’s something fundamentally wrong with biting production from Jurassic 5, considering Jurassic are the masters of biting old school hip hop anyway, but here it is – Adelaide’s Hilltop Hoods paste together flutes and thin beats and even a scratched voice announcing “back in the day…” to show that Australians can’t be outmatched when it comes to unoriginality. There’s also something fundamentally wrong with Australian rap’s biggest group coming from the Adelaide suburbs; the city is, after all, known more for its churches than its similarities to the South Bronx. Like Adelaide, Hilltop Hoods’ music is well put together but incurably boring. A weak hook, a weak beat and rapping with little personality does nothing to keep up the interest. Still, more lines like “I’m at my peak like Marlon Brando at 50/ And I’m fat like Marlon Brando at 70, fuck it” and they could be worth paying attention to.
[5]

Doug Robertson: Hooray for drinking! And hooray for artists who sound a bit like Will Smith when he was good, i.e. the vast majority of stuff he released before he started knocking out crap themes for films he’s in – though we do feel that not doing one for The Legend of Bagger Vance was a missed opportunity. A bouncy paean to the joys of going out and having a good time and quite right too.
[8]

Brad Shoup: “Beat you to the bunch or punch you to the beat.” Australia has projects? I always imagined Oz’s coasts as a supremely mellow land, Canada with a reef. But here’s the Hoods, half yobbing, half clutching through a harmless Slug/Jurassic 5 take. I would never ever play this in a car.
[4]


Pitty – Memorias
[4.27]


Steve Mannion: Brazilian rockers with a ready-made Grohl-approved template and bugger all else. What we really need here is a Brazilian Rasmus or QOTSA instead of this diluted hybrid of the two. Of course, by “really need” I mean “might prefer to this out of blind desperation.”
[3]

Ian Mathers: Bog standard radio rock, slightly interesting because I don't know Portuguese and so they could be saying anything. But they're probably not. It's kind of nice to know foreign music can be just as boring as our stuff.
[5]

Brad Shoup: This song speaks Coheed and Cambrian before it speaks Portuguese; if nothing else, we can cheer that other continents’ modern rock develops at the same pace as yours. There’s an interesting bit of theremin-like hooting at the very end, but I’m just grabbing here. It’s monolithic sub-Foo. As it is, the song’s speaking a language I once knew, a code we made up in summer camp and burned away in memory when the air chilled.
[3]

Mike Powell: The thoroughly commodifiable anguish of modern radio pop-punk pays little attention to language barriers and despite the beauty of Portuguese, sinks way below the water line to drown in a sea of handsome, expensive bullet belts.
[3]

Martin Skidmore: Brazilian punk, with more than a touch of Nirvana on lead guitar. The singing is quite good - high and clear, when you can hear it - but otherwise we have loads of bands who wish it was thirty years earlier, and I'm not convinced any of them are worth a damn. This seems entirely redundant, though it's not actually bad.
[4]


Dem Franchise Boyz – Lean Wit It, Rock Wit It
[4.50]


Hillary Brown: Sometimes multiplicity improves on singularity. Not here. I’ve tried so hard to make my peace with this hangnail of a sound, but the closest I’ve come is tolerance of about a minute.
[4]

Brad Shoup: Simultaneously a remake of D4L’s “Laffy Taffy” and Dem Boyz’ own “I Think They Like Me,” and I hate this group for making me wonder if a zed takes a possessive apostrophe. No one’s charismatic, no one’s clever. I award it two points for locking that midget Dupri out the studio.
[2]

Steve Mannion: Mediocre crunk affair made for lowriders rather than dancing, but it’s hard to resist those electro beats completely, however stretched out. Totally non-descript within the genre, though, with no real stand out aspects from either the MCs or the production.
[4]

Mike Powell: Spermy synth sounds float around like tiny microorganisms in the darkness of ocean depth, the chorus gets blown in your ear like a mouthful of smoke, and the ultra-minimal hip-hop trend gets a worthy time capsule entry beyond the soundbyte sprinkle of “Laffy Taffy.” The pomp of “I Think They Like Me” flushed like the shit it was. Extra points for the suggestion that one ought to rock until their spleen bursts when it’s clear that the closest these guys have come to being even remotely agitated is wearing a triple XL t-shirt when they were out of quadruple.
[8]

Ian Mathers: Every Dem Franchise Boyz single I hear makes me retroactively fond of the ones I've heard before. “White Ts” only sounded decent once I heard “Oh I Think They Like Me”, and that sounded horrible until I heard the even more washed out and inert “Lean Wit It, Rock Wit It”. The Boyz' strength is that the very thinness and meanness of their sound possess some power to compel – it's just someone shouting at you, a distant tone and a little drum machine. Unfortunately they over-extend, as always, and by four and a half minutes you just want it to end.
[5]


Cabal ft. Leilah Moreno – Mexe Seu Corpo
[4.50]


Hillary Brown: Snake-charmer ass-shaker. Remember Brit-Brit’s “I’m a Slave 4 U” performance? Now take away how uncomfortable she looked with that python around her neck. Bingo.
[5]

Edward Oculicz: The wailing Mariah-isms of the intro are deceptive – it doesn’t give warning that this has proper menace to it, and the production is tight and incredibly dense. It’s like crunk, Eastern and rap all put in a blender. It pulls off the same trick that Ciara’s “Oh” does, in that it slides around smoothly with the skill of a predator – even more so with a female voice prominent than when the man is prowlng the speakers.
[8]

Joris Gillet: My favourite bit here is somewhere in the third verse where they do a, probably, very clever play on words using the classic 'hotel, motel'-line but with a totally different punchline. But, on the whole, the upbeat Portugese rapping doesn't quite fit the dark beats (a rather cheap sounding but effective combination of rock-ish and eastern sounds). I don't understand a word they're saying, but the way it flows just feels too lively and too light to suit the music.
[4]

Jessica Popper: Unless every other Stylus writer did A-level Portuguese, this shouldn't be getting many points, yet somehow I bet it will get plenty.
[0]

Doug Robertson: It pulses along, all bassy and edgy, but there’s no real thrill. A track like this should make you fear that the next person to walk round the corner of the darkened alleyway ahead of you will be a dangerous looking fellow carrying a knife and making threatening gestures in your direction. Instead it seems more likely that Dale Winton will be the next person you see. With a puppy. And an ice cream cone.
[5]


Blacker ft. Macka Diamond – Bun Him
[4.50]


Joris Gillet: More a radio play than a real song this. We've got these two people - one particularly agitated woman and the man sounding like he's trying to calm her down, but maybe that's just because his voice isn't all high and squeaky - acting out a conversation and there just happens to be a dancehall beat playing in the background. And there is one of those Russian male choirs going 'hey! hey! hey! hey!' all the time as well. Well... I'm not entirely sure what this is, actually.
[6]

Hillary Brown: I’m thinking it shows my lack of cultural context that the first thing I think of when I hear “Bun-im” is The Real World (as in Mary-Ellis), but that doesn’t mean I can’t appreciate a brief repetitive little tune with a hip-shaking beat and a singer who sounds constantly on the verge of tears. No big thing, but fine enough.
[5]

Steve Mannion: I just had to Google the lyrics – pretty excellent ‘ditch that no good cheatin’ man’ dancehall fare boosted by Blacker acting as stern, self-assured counselor for Diamond’s distraught persona (her mournful, whiny tone and distinctive accent also standout). Aw sweet, perhaps the two of them should get together instead…
[8]

Ian Mathers: At less than three minutes it's tolerable and amusing, but it works as comedy, not a pop single. It's kind of grating in that context, actually. Worth hearing, just for novelty, but not worth keeping.
[4]

Brad Shoup: In dancehall, ‘s not allowed for the woman to be unfaithful. So Black-Er encourages Macka to do same in “Bun Him,” and furiously heated patois ensues. Too bad for everyone the conflict’s way better than the song. And seeing as he’s been tagged as – wait for it – “Black-Her,” that’s saying a lot. BUN IIIM!
[3]


Amine – J’Voulais
[4.91]


Steve Mannion: Straight up French pop aglow with resigned piano chords, guitar licks reminiscent of Spagna’s ‘Call Me’ and electronic tom-toms and a vaguely “soul” lean from yer man up front. Confident if lacking real power, and just a bit too smooth and featureless for its own good.
[5]

Edward Oculicz: There’s a kind of funky early 80s Michael Jackson in her delivery, which is a fantastic fit with the tightly-coiled bass springs of the chorus which is halfway between R&B and disco, and works well as both.
[9]

Martin Skidmore: I'm not sure about the jazz-funk instrumentation, the slap bass and electric piano - it sounds very dated, as does the singing - Eurodisco of a former generation, though in all honesty there are enough sonic cues that I know it is recent. The tune's partially pinched from somewhere - early '80s disco, I think. It's a touch awkward, a little leaden, kind of anonymous.
[3]

Jessica Popper: Amine seems to be going for a 70s disco sound, but all she achieves is to sound like Liberty X's Night To Remember cover. Luckily for Amine I had a worrying fondness for that cover, and this too, especially the chorus which is really quite catchy.
[7]

Mike Powell: I suspect that if this song were in English, I would’ve given it a lesser grade, but I sort of like the vision that France is actually just a bedazzled graveyard where cologne-soaked dance tracks with crispy wah guitar and plaster clavinet lines go to die.
[4]

Doug Robertson: The first time I heard this, I liked it and, listening to it again, I can’t for the life of me work out why. Any redeeming feature it might have had seems to have vanished into the ether and it’s almost like it’s an entirely different song to the one we first heard. It’s very dated in a Gloria Estefan way and, despite what Mylo may firmly believe, this is not a good thing.
[4]


Elisa - Swan
[5.20]


Edward Oculicz: A sweet, gurgling little pop song, which blends a drony backing with a pretty melody – lovely and ugly in equal measures in the verses, and blossoms in the chorus and sounds all the world like an above average Natalie Imbruglia single. Only from me is that a compliment, but I think I like the bassy grit of the verses even more.
[8]

Steve Mannion: Pleasant enough pop, with a stomping beat and some surprisingly ambitious bluster to the production, as things build up towards the end to elevate this a little bit higher than the bland surface of the M.O.R. quagmire. Treat it as the mother or at least eldest daughter of the Lighthouse Family speaking – mind you, those background wails at the end are almost approaching Bjork! Elisa’s voice is pretty and warm if occasionally close to cloying, but reasonably powerful if not really that distinctive. But I wouldn’t object to this being a big hit at all.
[6]

Jonathan Bradley: Is Italy ten years behind the rest of the world? Elisa has jumped on that dismal ‘90s pop sound like it’s the freshest thing out. I imagine some bootlegs of Jennifer Paige’s “Crush” made it into Torino with some of the Olympic athletes and it’s the hottest mix tape in the country. Next big thing from Italy: the Spice Girls!
[1]


Eminem ft. Nate Dogg – Shake That Ass
[5.40]


Edward Oculicz: Well at least we know Nate means “girl”. But, much like “Ass Like That”, this is a dreadful song. If Eminem wants to make songs about fucking ladies and liking their arses, he probably should do it over something that doesn’t sound like it’s the backing for an uptempo Mary J Blige song. Nate Dogg survives on charisma alone, but Eminem’s long since depleted his capital with some of his most puerile, awful lyrics to date.
[1]

Steve Mannion: Great stomping beat, Nate sounding on top form with some neat if unoriginal lines (“I get more ass than a toilet seat/how'd I get her to come home with me? Sweet conversation and Hennessey”), Em pretty much taking a backseat for much of this and being relatively lacklustre, though it’s interesting to note the contrast between his laid back horn dog attitude here and the slushy parental humility of “Mockingbird.” Some pointless uses of 'bitch' aside (they don't sound angry, just randy, so why bother?), there’s no real objections to its loitering with dumb sexual intent.
[7]

Martin Skidmore: He's been on an unmistakeable downward path for some time, and this doesn't exactly reverse it, but he still has a flow like no one else. The club beats are fine, bouncing along very pleasantly in a style not far from Without Me; Nate (and at least one other party) is given too much play for my tastes, but he's good too. It's just not extraordinary, not astonishing, not something needing or liable to provoke vast discussion. Just pretty good.
[7]

Ian Mathers: Just as with “Ass Like That”, this song has a surprisingly compelling chorus – unlike that single, this one has Nate Dogg threatening to brain you with a rock he finds on the ground. In fact, his whole verse alone is worth an easy three extra points (one alone for the way he says “Hummer truck”). Plus, no Triumph impersonations. Totally reprehensible fun.
[7]

Mike Powell: I’ll level with you: this song makes me feel ashamed. Carelessly gonzo boner rhetoric aside, when the “I get more ass than a toilet seat” line came on, my first impulse was to get on a train and go home to talk to my 13-year-old sister – who no doubt has heard this – and tell her Natalie, there are things in life to look forward to, I swear.
[3]


Meck ft. Leo Sayer – Thunder In My Heart Again
[5.82]


Edward Oculicz: Leo Sayer is playing near me in, like, two months. This song is probably why the ticket prices are about what your average popular indie combo would charge. His angsty love is certainly quite convincing, and this remix is a fine home for it – all sweeping stabs of strings that make the romanticism as danceable as it is doomed. Not as good as “You Make Me Feel Like Dancing”, and if you didn’t know who it was, you would be hard pressed to draw a link.
[7]

Martin Skidmore: I'm impressed at how instantly I knew this was Leo Sayer - I only later found confirmation that it was him. I'd not remembered him as a particularly special singer, but he sounds it here, strong and emotive and bright. The remix is modern filtered Eurohouse with a strong and simple 4/4. It's terrific. We will undoubtedly get more of this kind of thing, and much of it will be dreadful - I can sense a new Jive Bunny emerging - but I like this very much.
[8]

Joris Gillet: There is a great song in here somewhere. A strong, passionate soul belter. If you squint a bit you can even make out what appears to be some uplifting string accents. It's just that all of this loveliness is ruined by a truckload of big, dumb house-beats. Infuriatingly one-dimensional and just plain ugly, they hide everything that's good about this track.
[5]

Ian Mathers: I liked this a bit better when it just sounded like they were going to sample that game, but the fact still remains that he sounds a bit like Freddie Mercury, and so this sounds like “Disco Queen.” If you don't like that, fine, but it's your loss. The radio edit also keeps things moving nicely and wraps it all up in three minutes, which is perfect.
[7]

Jessica Popper: It was worth this song getting to no.1 just to see Leo's hilarious attempts at dancing on the Saturday morning pop shows. Groovy!
[6]


Rhymefest ft. Kanye West – Brand New
[6.00]


Jessica Popper: This is SO boring! There's nothing "brand new" or even slightly innovative about it.
[3]

Hillary Brown: Kinda Digable Planets/Q-Tip with some “bitch”es thrown in, i.e., there’s a bit of a jazzy feel, but it’s cut with funk, and it doesn’t come off preachy. Is pure Kanye superior? Yes. This is too restrained and too backpacker, ready and wrapped for Chappelle’s Show if it were still around, but none of that makes it bad.
[6]

Steve Mannion: A great freshness about this despite the title being a cunning ‘joke’ on how West knocked this beat up a few years back, stuck on the shelf only for Rhymefest to claim he can make hits out of West’s presumably colossal stockpile of potential bangers. Nice to hear Kanye on something with more of a street flavour (this feeling a little more raw than 'Gold Digger') although he may dominate this track a little too much, as Rhymefest's got a lovely tone in his voice and style on the mic that deserves more attention, somewhere between Biggie and someone else I just can't quite place (Biz Markie? Kool G Rap?). He looks and sounds back-to-basics old-skool in a way I like, but not so as to seem irrelevant.
[9]

Joris Gillet: I know there are different definitions of what is old-skool in hip-hop, but this is my kind of old-skool: one sample, obviously lifted off of some obscure funk-record - a sleazy guitar lick and some horns, looped continuously over a laidback beat. The rapping is loose and unprententious too. The way they play around with a sample going 'brand new' all the time in the chorus is fun. It reminds me a lot of 3rd Bass. There are probably better examples to compare this to; I admit I'm no expert on the subject, it's just that I used to play them a lot in the early nineties. So, this sounds very comfortable and nice. Which is not something a lot of hiphop does these days.
[8]


Goldfrapp – Ride A White Horse
[6.73]


Doug Robertson: I’ve tried, I really have, but I can’t feel anything more than mild interest in the work of Goldfrapp. I’ve read the reviews, the features in all the top quality Sunday newspapers, the excitable views of various fans up and down the country, but I still don’t get it. I want to; after all, on paper they sound fantastic! But the reality of this and, indeed, other tracks is that they’re just, well, alright. There’s nothing outstanding here – there’s nothing bad either – but it’s just there until it stops and is as much of a life changing experience as the news that some rich man has spent some of his money pointlessly flying round the world for a slightly longer distance than anyone’s ever done before. Oh well. Maybe it’s just me.
[6]

Edward Oculicz: As slinky and sleazy as it is expansive and invitingly lush, this is a definite high-point in the uneven Goldfrapp oeuvre, with the basic rhyming-dictionary lyrics given a mischievous archness over a throbbing backing that is half disco, half sex and all brilliant.
[10]

Steve Mannion: The single version is reworked slightly from one of the highlights on “Supernature” but comes off worse somehow. Still, a jaunty, often sublime affair switching from canter to gallop nicely, the “chorus” (for want of the correct term) sweeping through like Hot Chocolate’s “Everyone’s A Winner” with eyes half open. While it may be true that the turn to glitzy glampop demands less of her vocally, it really is a lot more entertaining, with Will Gregory really demonstrating his range and prowess as a sonic wizard.
[8]

Jonathan Bradley: I must be one of the few people who think Goldfrapp ceased to be interesting after they left their Felt Mountain sound behind. Alison just sounds so bored singing electro-pop, and not bored in a good Sophie Ellis Bextor way. This is exactly the same as all those other nouveau-Goldfrapp singles: not as horrible as Girls Aloud but far from Rachel Stevens quality. Still, I don’t mind that languid bass throb, and the vague psychedelic touches keep things interesting.
[6]

Brad Shoup: A saucerful of shivers. Pulse and gallop, layered like a wrong-coast DFA, and a weariness that works for once. Save a baffling reference to Winnebagos, Ms. Goldfrapp’s summed up the club scene neatly.
[8]


The Research – Lonely Hearts Still Beat The Same
[7.64]


Joris Gillet: Despite everything - Girls Aloud, Robyn, the Sugababes et al. - I still really, really love the Indie. This, sadly, is not the ultimate example of why I was hoping for. The Research’s previous single, “The Way You Used Too Smile,” touched that special place that proper pop just can't reach; and it did so especially because of the fact that it is a bit out of tune and not polished and perfect. This is still very, very nice though: that awkwardly plinkyteplonking organ, the dreamy, melancholic singing, the classic pah-pah-pah's. It's just that it gives me the feeling that The Research is going to be nothing more than the next Fonda 500. I love Fonda 500, but sadly they never scored a number one hit.
[8]

Martin Skidmore: Pulsing electric guitars kept simple, sweet and restrained vocals, thin and sad, touches of a pretty tune on the chorus. Occasionally indie like this connects with me (e.g. the Delgados' “Pull The Wires From The Wall”) and I love it, but more often it irritates me and I loathe its fey wimpiness. This just misses category one, and just tips over into two. But I want to play it a few more times, just in case...
[4]

Brad Shoup: Finally, an organic pop/rock track that earns its keep in under three minutes. For all the handwring about the collective attention span, our pop is longer than ever. Those verses are just Teutonic, though. Get to the polysyllables, get to that plush chorus… As I’m typing this, a fellow panellist is cracking convincing arguments for this song’s craftsmanship. Better if he explains…
[8]

Ian Mathers: Every so often a song just blindsides you, and in this case it's the perfect match of form (gorgeous chorus, middle eight nearly as affecting as Robyn's “Be Mine”, cheapish synth backing) and content (the ultimate anti-emo, although not anti-romantic statement; being lonely doesn't make you special or different, “it's just automatic, I can't tell the difference”). I will be humming that chorus for the rest of the year, and I am now waiting avidly for the Research's album, and I'd never heard of them four days ago.
[9]

Mike Powell: Whips the crap exotica fetish out of Stereolab and keeps the alien airiness, saves the economy of Young Marble Giants and loses the darkness, corrupts “heart” metaphors, employs naïf boy girl harmonies, and still manages to roll through a field of daisies before riding its bicycle to band practice in springtime, sun hanging above head warming hair. You come to twee for cheap milk and cookies but leave with a few stray tears; you listen for hours on end and finally stop daydreaming about staring absently at the clouds with your head on her stomach.
[9]

Hillary Brown: 180 seconds of fuckin’ twee multi-vocaled cuteness. The Research will change your life, but they’ll do it in a hurry. Anyone who hates this song must hate fluffy widdle kitties too.
[8]


Would you like to write for the Singles Jukebox? Can you proffer opinions on the state of popular music from more or less every corner of the globe? Could you justify the existence of Slovakian rock music? Can you give us any idea where in the hell we're meant to find any South African hip-hop up in this bitch?

Anyway, we're hiring. Send some sample singles reviews to william_swygart@stylusmagazine.com—we don't mind what they are, just so long as there's about seven or eight of them—and we shall see what we shall see...



By: Stylus Staff
Published on: 2006-02-14
Comments (2)
 

 
Today on Stylus
Reviews
October 31st, 2007
Features
October 31st, 2007
Recently on Stylus
Reviews
October 30th, 2007
October 29th, 2007
Features
October 30th, 2007
October 29th, 2007
Recent Music Reviews
Recent Movie Reviews