The Singles Jukebox
Frothy Tops



this week's Jukebox entrants have lots and lots of friends. Snoop Dogg and R. Kelly are the best of chums. Snow Patrol and Martha Wainwright go together like cod and chips. And as for The Game and Junior Reid? Can you possibly imagine one without the other? We also have the much-anticipated return of Gwen Stefani, the not-especially-anticipated second single from Paris Hilton, and we see if former winners Lemar, Nadiya, and Najoua Belyzel can top the tree for a second time (minor spoiler: they can't). Before that, though, your section editor gets an object lesson in what happens when you forget that some people think that twee is a negative adjective...


Misty's Big Adventure ft. Noddy Holder - Fashion Parade
[Watch the Video]
[3.20]

Mallory O’Donnell: On marches the neo-neo-ska revival.
[1]

Joseph McCombs: Oh my god! They’re recounting the plot of the unfairly derided film Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, in which Peter Frampton and the Bee Gees perform happy tunes in a bland age, make a ton of money for other people and have ambitions realized, get ripped off by their manager, and become unpopular. Having said all that, this is a really dumb record, only possibly appealing to people who think Art Brut are too subtle.
[2]

Kevin J. Elliott: Art Brut for the twee set. One part “Formed a Band,” one part “Common People,” all of it brilliant. Spot-on proof that most bands take themselves much too serious.
[10]

Ian Mathers: Careful there, Misty, if you don't watch it you'll wind up tripping over your own cleverness.
[3]


Deftones - Hole in the Earth
[Watch the Video]
[3.20]

Martin Skidmore: It starts as if it will be heavy metal, but then gets slower and gentler and wafts along to no great purpose, sounding something like a dull U2 album track from the early '90s, though occasionally the heavy metal makes a brief comeback, as if the band are allowed to do what they want when the singer wanders off. I can't imagine why anyone likes this stuff.
[1]

Ian Mathers: Chino Moreno always sounds dreamy; he sings the refrain here in a voice that's halfway between a bellow and a murmur. The band's music is similarly a cut above many of their their contemporaries by avoiding constant full-out blast; “Hole in the Earth” is heavy even when it's psychedelic, gentle even when it's punishing. It's nice to have them back.
[7]

Rodney J. Greene: Righteous squall into pounding riffage into ponderous dad-rock within thirty seconds. The whole affair feels like a bad comedown.
[4]

Hillary Brown: Shove ‘em in it.
[1]


Klaxons - Magick
[Watch the Video]
[4.20]

Martin Skidmore: I was told this lot were indie rock with big rave influences. I'm finding the latter aspect quite hard to spot, though I guess they have 5% more of a rave sound than, say, the Arctic Monkeys. That sprinking helps liven it up a little now and then, but they waste whatever small energy boost they achieve on the choruses with clumsy and lifeless verses.
[3]

Joseph McCombs: There are threshold limits to my rapture-rock tolerance. I dunno, they just seem worked up into a fevered sweat over nothing.
[5]

Mallory O’Donnell: Uh-oh. We've a Crowley fan in the house. The more unhinged this band sounds, the better—this one catches them in the act of falling apart, dancing and thrashing instincts ripped asunder. Modern alchemists, what can you do?
[7]

Iain Forrester: Two singles in and Klaxons already appear remarkably short on ideas.
[4]


Gwen Stefani - Wind It Up
[Watch the Video]
[4.40]

Teresa Nieman: Since I assume I won’t be the first to do so—and it’s hardly fair anyhow since Fergie has been ripping off Gwen for awhile—I’m trying to refrain from comparing this to “Fergalicious.” But it’s just. not. possible. The geeky Lonely Goatherd yodeling, combined with the burning mental image of Gwen in the video, luckily for her, makes it hard to hate. Though, when you can liken anything to “Fergalicious,” it’s probably doomed.
[5]

Kevin J. Elliott: In an effort to try and be everything for everybody, Gwen has succumbed to yodeling. I was a sorta-fan of her solo break-out (thanks to Diplo’s remix of course), but this is a narcissistic mess.
[3]

Hillary Brown: This is the next step in marching band sampling madness, where one includes also the sounds of pressure-washing the stadium during the off-season. It’s also both wobbly and unexpectedly fast and cool, much like a vintage wind-up toy that rushes around the tabletop even as it’s always about to fall over.
[7]

Mallory O’Donnell: The last time I was this uncomfortable for three minutes and ten seconds, it involved a doctor and a rubber glove.
[0]


David Bisbal - Quien Me Iba A Decir
[Watch the Video]
[4.60]

Erick Bieritz: Do dramatic songs sound better in Spanish, or just sound better in a language the listener doesn’t understand? This sort of seriousness just sounds at home en Espanol, although the mush of instruments in the middle third sounds busy in any language, partially obscuring the more interesting plucked classical-style guitar with some unnecessary metal crunchiness.
[5]

Teresa Nieman: Pleasant, but ultimately mediocre fare that may hold some appeal because it sounds somewhat “exotic” and flamenco-y. I have no use for it.
[4]

M.H. Lo: David Bisbal used to sing Julio Iglesiasian ballads and flamenco-tinged pop, and, rather tragically, have hair like a mop that’s been dragged around a Greyhound restroom. Thrice. But, look, ma, our boy’s all grown up! We have stubble! The hair’s been fetchingly pulled back and sometimes tucked under a rakish Timberlakish hat! He wears threadbare T-shirts with rock ‘n’ roll armpit holes (but, then again, that’s bound to happen when you spend your free time hanging from ropes)! And, oh yeah, “Quien Me Lo Iba A Decir” is a surprisingly compelling rock song. But, really, have you seen what they’ve done with his hair?
[7]

David Moore: This guy comes from a Spanish reality show, and I imagine in real life he takes himself very seriously, but I’m getting Gob Bluth vibes.
[4]


Lemar - Someone Should Tell You
[Watch the Video]
[4.80]

M.H. Lo: Consigned to being some girl’s shoulder-to-cry-on when what he wants is to be her beau, Lemar, his lower lip all a-quiver, warbles: “Someone should tell you / How much I love you.” In other words, despite the chorus being directly addressed to the girl in question, Lemar himself has no faith in his own song doing the trick, instead asking for…a messenger? Maybe he could hire a singing telegram. If he has no confidence that he can get through to his girl, can he blame us for being similarly unmoved?
[5]

Joseph McCombs: The guy with the dusky charcoal voice has marvelous taste in material once again, this one nearly matching “It’s Not That Easy” in retro class. Whoever’s playing the electric piano fills is ganking the Taxi theme and I love it.
[9]

Hillary Brown: If this is what enlightened R&B sounds like, I am much happier with Pretty Ricky.
[2]

Ian Mathers: Look, buddy, consciously or not she's using you, and no matter how often she comes crying to you about her boyfriend, the fact is, he's her boyfriend. Making your play cloaked in the smoothest, blandest R&B available is not going to change anything.
[4]


Najoua Belyzel - Comme Toi
[Watch the Video]
[5.40]

Iain Forrester: There’s something about “Comme Toi” that really doesn’t hang together well at all, largely as its better elements (some really pretty strings, cool synths) get buried in an avalanche of everything else they could think of. It doesn’t quite turn into the blustery stadium rock it initially threatens, thank god, but it’s still rather overworked.
[5]

Joseph McCombs: Those uptick exhale-whinnies at the ends of syllables weren’t attractive when Sarah McLachlan and Dolores O’Riordan were overdoing them, and they’re not attractive now.
[5]

David Moore: Avril-lite en francais, packaged in a box of chocolates. Clif Magness seems to have been replaced with a MIDI program.
[5]

M.H. Lo: My French friend: “She is saying…she’s impregnating from his wrongdoing? Which, whaaa? And the chorus says she’s not like him.” Me: “Meaning that she, on the other hand, would never impregnate him from her wrongdoing.” My (possibly drunk) French friend: “Exactly.”
[5]


Belinda - Ni Freud Ni Tu Mama
[Watch the Video]
[5.40]

David Moore: Freudian dance-spite, like Kelly Osbourne using psychoanalysis jokes to humiliate some loser. I imagine it would be even funnier if I spoke Spanish. As is, “you’re hot? I forgot” is good enough for a chuckle.
[6]

Hillary Brown: Apparently Mexico likes to pay tribute to classic 1980s video game music too.
[4]

Rodney J. Greene: A power ballad for those who prefer beats to guitars, rising from a throb to a jackhammer pulse when the chorus hits. Odd pop moment #52866: after singing the entire song en Espanol, Belinda audaciously intones, "You're hot......I forgot." Twice, so you don't forget.
[7]

M.H. Lo: Telenovela star Belinda tells her immature boyfriend that she’s neither his anal(yst-the)rapist nor his mother, and just where he can shove his emotional baggage; the result is Song Title of the Year. (Last year’s winner, for those of you keeping track: The Cardigans’ “I Need Some Fine Wine and You, You Need to Be Nicer.”) Obviously, the song itself can’t possibly live up to its glorious teaser. And it doesn’t, but at least it’s suitably schizophrenic: the verses are sung against a trancey backing track (interesting), while the choruses are pure Avril-rock (perfunctory). Never mind. I’ll be over in this corner printing up the T-shirts (front: “Ni Freud Ni…”, back: “…Yo’ Mama”).
[6]


RIP SLYME - Blow
[Watch the Video]
[5.80]

Joseph McCombs: Pure giddy joy, and the De La Soul influence was apparent well before they shouted “Hey, how ya doin’” at us. Great use of the disco string washes, too.
[8]

Teresa Nieman: I’d always heard that Rip Slyme was more of a punky/harder-than-usualcore band? Someone misinformed me, ‘cause this is anything but. Oh, okay, Wikipedia says “hip-hop group.” I’ll take Orange Range and Teriyaki Boyz Are Better for 100.
[3]

Kevin J. Elliott: Though I’m of the belief that Japanese rap is only suited for quirky Japanese video games (i.e. Katamari Damacy) and guest spots on De La Soul records (i.e. SDP), RIP SLYME survive the skip button by injecting a chorus of irresistible J-Pop.
[5]

David Moore: Cracked cartoon G-funk crossbred with the “Love Boat” theme and one of the beats from Mario Kart, all played back at double speed. Or something. Whatever, I’m sold.
[7]


Paris Hilton - Nothing in This World
[Watch the Video]
[5.80]

M.H. Lo: Not only is this (1) Paris, but it’s (2) Paris trying to steal a man by boasting, “I can do what she can do so much better” as (3) producer Dr. Luke trots out his “Since U Been Gone” / “4Ever” template for the umpteenth time. And yet, despite the three preemptive strikes, the song is a pure pop pleasure. The explosive chorus is especially joyous; even the way its vocals are doubletracked—probably to hide Paris’s lack of chops—gives it a delirious, giddy air. Sometimes the best thing that can happen to a pop song is a singer that forces you to compensate.
[9]

Rodney J. Greene: Hilton's trying to ride "Since U Been Gone" coattails here, but settles for breezy agreeability over fury. Which isn't necessarily doing anything wrong in itself; as late 90's sunshine power-pop suits Hilton's airy voice.
[6]

Hillary Brown: Here’s the thing: you started out fringe. It was cool, but it wasn’t enough to make a judgment. Now every song you put out moves us in both directions. On the one hand, they’re all shinily produced and pretty catchy. On the other, it’s still you. What do we do? Admit defeat? A little.
[6]

Mallory O’Donnell: Actually, from what I've heard, you can't do it so much better, dear.
[1]


Snow Patrol ft. Martha Wainwright - Set the Fire to the Third Bar
[Watch the Video]
[6.00]

Joseph McCombs: As critical as I was of the random success of “Chasing Cars,” I don’t think Snow Patrol are a bad band, just an indistinct one. And this song actually takes advantage of their indistinctness and becomes a terrific trash single (a phrase I use lovingly), picking up where Collective Soul left off, Martha joining the boys to become islands in the stream.
[7]

David Moore: If you listen very carefully, you can hear a point where Martha Wainwright’s voice diverges slightly from the monotonous unison recitation of a sort of interesting melody, thus coming quite close to a harmony. It’s very exciting.
[5]

Iain Forrester: Three singles in and Snow Patrol finally shows the good side of Eyes Open. There’s none of the clumsiness of “Chasing Cars,” just pure heartbreak. Having Gary Lightbody and the third most successful Wainwright sing about the tragic distance between them while sounding like they’re recording in separate continents is a particularly neat trick, too.
[8]

Erick Bieritz: More music for doctors to look dramatic to, I suppose. There’s nothing particularly bad about this.
[5]


Nadiya - Amies Ennemies
[Watch the Video]
[6.00]

Rodney J. Greene: Nadiya fuses classical affectations into her R&B with more gusto than last week's contestant, Keshia Chante, but I still can't shake the feeling that I've heard this song thirty-odd times before.
[5]

Ian Mathers: I kind of like how she slides between English and French on the chorus, and I definitely like those barely-in-check strings; but whereas “Tous Ces Mots” was so massive and OTT that it was impossible to resist, this actually feels pretty ordinary and actually too long. Rein in the refrain a little and you've got a winner, though.
[6]

Mallory O’Donnell: "J't'ai pris pour ce que tu n'etais pas, t'ai laisse pour ce que tu es."
[4]

Erick Bieritz: Unusual, tense pacing, sudden pauses, storminess, and of course, that drum. It seems that not a week goes by in the Jukebox without a kettledrum in pop music. The five people who play those things must be making a killing.
[8]


Snoop Dogg ft. R Kelly - That's That Shit
[Watch the Video]
[6.40]

Rodney J. Greene: "That's That Shit" plays like a pimp holiday to the West Indies. Snoop is his usual suave self, drawling on about his favored earthly delights, but any concerns that he's covered this territory many times before are smoothed over by the trade wind flute loop. The summer jam of the winter.
[8]

Erick Bieritz: Offering little more than a reminder of what Kelly and Snoop are all about, “That’s That Shit” sounds like a placeholder. Hopefully they can shake off the complacency and make a few more cool singles before R. goes insane and/or gets arrested and Snoop pursues his film career to its logical conclusion with a starring role in an Uwe Boll joint.
[3]

Hillary Brown: If you recognize it, you might think the sample ill-advised for a track Kells appears on, but origin ain’t the point. Frothiness is. Rolls like an Escalade with the top cut off and a hot tub bubblebath in the back.
[7]

Mallory O’Donnell: Snoop Dogg and R. Kelly are both old men by pop standards. This song is a mannered, formulaic space-filler about porking young girls. I rather like it.
[6]


The Game ft. Junior Reid - One Blood
[Watch the Video]
[7.40]

Kevin J. Elliott: In plain-speak the Game’s message here is simple; he’s extending an olive branch to Jay-Z and 50, but burning every other bridge that’s left to burn. As an army of one he still succeeds, enlisting the mysterious Reefa to construct a track, replete with crumbling beats and mesmerizing synths.
[7]

Ian Mathers: The Game starting this single by whispering “Dre, I see dead people” is simultaneously funny, creepy, brilliant, and kind of pathetic. It's a pity the rest of the song isn't as interesting.
[5]

Martin Skidmore: This is very potent stuff, with some effective reggae backing vocals (a sample I assume, but if so I can't place it) and immensely energetic buzzing strings and strong beats, all supporting the Game's confident and cocky rap. He may well be as good as the hype.
[9]

Teresa Nieman: Partway through he claims to have “no beef with Jay,” but the line “you’re 38 and still rappin’?” seems awfully suspicious. I mean, who else could that be about? Snoop? But Game’s utter inability to be subtle is a hefty part of his charm, and this song is succulent.
[8]


Teddybears STHLM ft. Mad Cobra - Cobrastyle
[Watch the Video]
[8.00]

Ian Mathers: Despite the fact that “Cobrastyle” has been everywhere from FIFA 06 to Grey's Anatomy, it still has a certain visceral, straightforward charm. As long as someone spouting “di bom digi bom di deng di deng digigi” (as one lyric site memorably puts it) keeps being so entertaining the song will always have a place in our hearts.
[8]

Martin Skidmore: A big favorite with some of my pals, but I'm not quite sure about this very odd mix of ragga and swedish pop-rock. It's pretty lively and energetic most of the way, so I am basically in favor of it, but I can't decide if its ridiculousness is a good or bad thing. Good, probably.
[7]

M.H. Lo: Likely to provide “hilarious” fodder for that VH1 hidden camera show designed to catch people singing badly in their cars. (Yes, I know the show was from two years ago. So’s the song, though it remains totally boss after all this time.)
[8]

David Moore: Has this song been shamelessly exploited to help sell a lifeless frat comedy yet? Sports car? Sneaker? Soft drink? Experimental hamburger? Life insurance? THE ZUNE? I mean, someone, somehow, is making some money off of this song by now, right? (Phew.)
[9]


Check out the Singles Jukebox podcast to hear some of the tracks talked about here.


By: Stylus Staff
Published on: 2006-11-21
Comments (5)
 

 
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