The Singles Jukebox
Max Martinized



amazingly, the Jukebox has managed to make it all the way to October before getting our first dead heat at the top... but who could it be between? Might it be some sort of shit-band-name suicide pact between Van She and Hellogoodbye? Perhaps a peculiar hung parliament arrangement, with Clinic and My Chemical Romance uniting behind a front of not really being able to carry off military jackets? Maybe even Children of Bodom and Love Is All? Or maybe not. Anyway, you probably won't be stunned to find that Rise Against aren't in the picture, either.


Rise Against - Ready to Fall
[Watch the Video]
[2.50]

Martin Skidmore: Old fashioned and deeply conservative punk in the service of something that seems to be after some sort of anthemic 'unite and fight' agenda.
[3]

Edward Oculicz: As far as ludicrously overwrought, constipated American rock goes, this is not without its charm, but the level of intensity never increases. Where it needs to rise and power on, it wilts.
[4]

David Moore: If there’s anything that distinguishes these guys from the scads of sadsack screamer/whiners clogging my MySpace friend request page, I’m not hearing it.
[3]

Mallory O'Donnell: I find it impossible to believe anyone other than a thirteen year-old boy who hasn't figured out how to masturbate yet would find this enjoyable.
[0]


The Fray - How to Save a Life
[Watch the Video]
[2.60]

David Moore: Starts like "Come Sail Away" and then this awful sub-Rufus voice comes in and slurs out some story about losing a friend. "Saving a life" seems to be a metaphor for stopping loved ones from making poor decisions, like taking drugs or cutting or trying to find profundity in schmaltz that doesn't understand that "Come Sail Away" is actually quite silly.
[3]

Iain Forrester: This doesn’t really sound like the usual US rock ballad fare we get. The problem? It’s still kind of boring.
[4]

Joseph McCombs: It’s not bad secretary rock if you ignore what’s going on, but pay attention to what he’s saying: whatever vaguely-alluded-to wrongs this other guy has inflicted, it’s not important enough to specify what they are, but it’s important enough for Mr. Fray to consider his meddling saving a life. Step back, son. Perspective.
[3]

Martin Skidmore: Coldplay with more strumming, more or less.
[0]


Yummy Bingham ft. Jadakiss - Come Get It
[Watch the Video]
[4.00]

David Moore: I was expecting a bubblegum anthem, and it’s close with its incessant trumpet fanfare and lukewarm party vibes. But Yummy isn’t sure whether to be chirpy or earnest, and the middle ground makes for a mildly irritating, generally humorless mess.
[4]

Joseph McCombs: Having graduated (without honors) from De La Soul’s “Baby Phat,” Yummy now represents Destiny not just Fulfilled, but overflowing, topped off with 151, lit on fire, and hurled down my throat. I feel pummeled by the time it’s over.
[4]

William B. Swygart: The beat that should be Verbalicious’ comeback single gets suffocated by Bingham’s vanilla drawling—she sounds like she’s constantly glancing off to her left, just to check that “I’ve got enough goods to feed the whole world” is the kind of thing she should sound pleased about singing. It’s a lovely noise, but she’s selling it miles too short.
[5]

M.H. Lo: Deciding that she’s not going to be the one doing the chasing, Yummy tells us: “So for me to get witchu, you need to come get it.” But if that’s her idea of playing hard to get, it’s somewhat negated by the rather brazen things she promises us we would be able to “get” if only we “went.” Befitting her name, these are mostly food-related, it would seem. She’s got enough goods to feed the world! She’s got the truth: taste her pudding and you’ll find the proof! ARE YOU TURNED ON YET? I’m calling this one pudding pop, obviously, though it’s somewhat piddling. Thank you! Tip your waitress!
[5]


Lil Scrappy ft. Young Buck - Money in the Bank
[Watch the Video]
[4.25]

Jonathan Bradley: There’s something brutally boneheaded about a synth line made up of three notes—two of which are identical—that appeals to the same part of my brain that loves punk rock. Lil’ Scrappy’s verse fades into the background, which is hardly a good start, but Young Buck delivers his lines in a voice sturdy enough to keep from being flung round at the mercy of those bleeps. Still, blunt force can’t make this interesting enough for repeat listens.
[5]

Ian Mathers: The rappers are taking things at far too deliberate a pace—and so is that damned screwed chorus. It's got a bit of swagger, but no energy.
[3]

Martin Skidmore: Lil' Scrappy demonstrates his almost total lack of flow with some incredibly stiff and basic delivery. This is okay, but only thanks to Young Buck's guest verse and some nice production.
[5]

William B. Swygart: If your reaction to those bits of The Apprentice that are designed to show off precisely how rich Donald Trump is is “Gosh, what a role model,” this may possibly be for you.
[4]


Clinic - Harvest
[Watch the Video]
[4.60]

Iain Forrester: Wait, this is Clinic? I thought that they were meant to be really good. Instead it seems like a lot of straining hard for unconvincing creepy atmosphere and not much else.
[4]

Martin Skidmore: I'm not entirely clear why anyone would want to sing without actually opening his mouth (perhaps he is a ventriloquist?), but that's what this guy seems to be doing. Perhaps he thinks it makes him sound more serious, rather than like an incomprehensible and surly teenager.
[3]

Ian Mathers: For the first time since their debut, Clinic dial up the fuzz and grit a bit, but this is still the thing they do exceptionally well (or at least one of them). That seems to be the primary complaint leveled at the band these days, but as long as Brian Campbell's bass and Ade Blackburn's vocals remain hypnotic on the chorus, slowly ratcheting up the tension, their eternal fusion of Can, Suicide, and the Seeds remains spectrally compelling.
[7]

Mallory O'Donnell: Sure, it’s a thinly-veiled rip of the "Lust for Life" cadence with clipped, annoyingly affected-sounding vocals. But it's not entirely without merit, is it? Wait, yeah, actually it kinda is.
[3]


Children of Bodom - Living Dead Beat
[Watch the Video]
[4.75]

Edward Oculicz: Ham-fisted metal. The shouting is throaty but lacks presence, rather than sounding frayed and angry, the singer just sounds as if he really needs a throat lozenge.
[4]

David Moore: They’re a few steps away from being an ambiguously ironic Nintendo cover band. I’m not sure whether or not that’d be an improvement. Probably not.
[4]

Iain Forrester: This reminds me of my not-so-fun first year of university when I shared a room with a guy who loved this kind of shouty metal and didn’t believe in headphones. Despite those associations I find the guitar shredding solos that end “Living Dead Beat” rather awesome, though I could do without everything else.
[5]

Martin Skidmore: There's rather too much guitar fannydangle now and then, which doesn't help, and not quite enough of a tune, but it entertained me pretty well for most of its five minutes.
[6]


Love Is All - Make Out Fall Out Make Up
[Watch the Video]
[5.00]

Doug Robertson: Not just the score in a particularly dull and uneventful game of tennis, but the sound of aceness, distilled and distorted until the flame of shouty girl goodness burns through and sets fire to the hearts and minds of everyone who hears it. Advantage them, we reckon.
[8]

Iain Forrester: I like the way that they use several members singing at once to kind of hide the fact that none of them can really sing—and brass powered post-punk is an idea I’m fairly in favor of. That being said, the central tune and lyrics are not good enough to comfortably bear the amount of repetition that they get.
[6]

Jonathan Bradley: Gleeful fuzzed-out noise that is entirely focused on its destination, and all the better for it. As pleasant as Love Is All’s distant indie-pop is, its sole purpose is to heighten the tension. A procrastinatory measure deployed to drag out the journey, all becomes clear when the track concludes with a finale consisting of rolling drums and a myriad of exuberant boys and girls screaming the title at the top of their lungs as if it were a manifesto.
[8]

M.H. Lo: Charmed by—and can’t get enough—shouty shambolic-ness in your life? Find CSS and The Go! Team too polished and slick? You’re in luck.
[0]


Shana Tesh - Boum Boum Boum
[Watch the Video]
[5.29]

Edward Oculicz: Rapid-fire Iberian guitar flourishes, a crunchy quick-step beat and an accordion that won't quit. The horns in the background, squiggling and shouting at nothing in particular, might be one layer of thickness to much but on a rhythmic level, this is truly fantastic, both the music and the words and the onomatopoeia of the chorus. An instant, but transient, hit.
[7]

Mallory O'Donnell: I'm trying to find something snarky to say about this, but honestly it just sounds like Kid Creole & the Coconuts sped up to 45 RPM, and that's such an exciting notion it completely defangs me.
[7]

M.H. Lo: I thought only turntables can play music at the wrong speeds. Damn iPod. Speaking of malfunctions, kids, don’t seek out the video without appropriate safety equipment, because Shana’s syncopated (boum!) dancing (boum!) breasts (boum!) will put at least one of your eyes out.
[1]

David Moore: Unequivocal canned ham, warp-speed mariachi oompah. It’s brisk enough, brief enough, and cheesy enough to sell the “boum boum boum” part—which, as the title will attest, is the most crucial part.
[6]


Hellogoodbye - Here (In Your Arms)
[Watch the Video]
[6.00]

Mallory O'Donnell: Rather than thinking of all the cheap jokes I could make using the band's name, I attempted to actually listen to this one. That was my first mistake. Like a more Eurotastic Basement Jaxx, this lot have succeeded in taking a bunch of perfectly fine elements—vocoder, flanged house beat, marimba—and combining them to mostly nauseating effect. Seeya!
[4]

M.H. Lo: First they name themselves after a Screech quote, and then they model the chorus of their song on The Icicle Works…as interpreted by a Eurodisco Cher. No, I couldn’t believe it either! Nor how near-genius it is!
[8]

Edward Oculicz: It's moshercore meets disco by a bunch of skinny wimps who aren't going to get any ever! Oh, the waves of cheap keytar. The vocoder. The 80s ballad touches in the verses—very "Time After Time." A chorus that could attract the most beautiful women in the world through a combination sheer gravity and adorable desperation and longing. This song is so close to being perfect I'm not entirely sure it wasn't created, tweaked, focus-grouped and recorded just for my benefit.
[10]

Jonathan Bradley: hellogoodbye is an absolutely awful band, and its best moments occur when it revels in that awfulness, making messy, hyperactive brat-pop that sounds for all the world like the demo tapes a few bored high schoolers had cobbled together on their iMac after school. The more polished “Here (In Your Arms)” smacks a vocoder and cues that don’t get missed into the mix, and like kids dressed up for prom, it has a veneer of respectability that almost succeeds in concealing how much more fun they would be having goofing off on GarageBand.
[5]


Omkara - Beedi
[Watch the Video]
[6.20]

William B. Swygart: Othello gets transported to India via the Wild West. Big, bold duet, skirts get hoisted lustily, and several quite hard men start line-stepping in a very, very synchronised manner. Part of me says it’s agreeably epic; part of me is sulking about there not really being any kind of a hook to keep me after the first thirty seconds or so, which is when the sheer amount of bluster starts to get just a bit wearying.
[6]

Mallory O'Donnell: If this was playing in a trendy tapas bar, I would lift my head away from the gambas al allijo for a moment and find myself captivated by three things about this song: the interplay between male and female vocals, the break-worthy break-downs clustered throughout and the fact that it makes six minutes sound infinitely more epic than the entirety of Peter Gabriel's The Passion.
[7]

Ian Mathers: This is Bollywood as pulsing, faceless machinery, two decent voices strapped to it but for those of us without the ability to discern what's being said those voices are just more ingredients.
[5]

Martin Skidmore: There's almost a filtered techno feel to parts of this Bollywood number, and the male and female voices are both strong. No idea what they are on about, of course, which is even more of a shame when there are two voices, presumably interacting.
[7]


Van She - Kelly
[Watch the Video]
[6.40]

Jonathan Bradley: Van She impersonates an ‘80s synth-pop act so convincingly that even while “Kelly” is a great song, its pleasures arrive loaded with an uncomfortable sense of superfluousness.
[8]

M.H. Lo: The song is finally never quite explosive enough—it could’ve, but hasn’t, been Max Martinized—but it certainly wasn’t a bad way to pass five minutes of my life. Maybe even fifteen.
[7]

Iain Forrester: Electropop so thoroughly bloody tasteful that it seems unsure whether to exist, in case that causes too much offence.
[3]

Ian Mathers: As opposed to the other over-the-top dancepop track this week, “Kelly” is focused—and immensely successful. Those massive 80s stadium synths recast Van Halen as mere aides to a blissfully hands-in-the-air moment of dancefloor transcendence and nonsense, the kind of thing that only intensifies when the end of the song adds even more layers of sound. I don't dance much, but this very much makes me want to be in a packed club.
[9]


DJ Khaled ft. Trick Daddy, Pitbull & Rick Ross - Born 'n' Raised
[Watch the Video]
[6.40]

Erick Bieritz: Miami’s multi-ethnic rap melting pot is an interesting story in and of itself, but the city’s loose circle of rappers and producers have distinguished themselves through their output more than they ever could through mere demographics. Khaled’s slurred Houston production with g-funk keys pales a bit compared to some of his more dynamic past tracks with the same personnel, but Trick Daddy’s hollowed out coastal-drawl and Pitbull’s breathless empty-stomach rhymes complement each other as well as ever and suggest once again that there’s no such thing as too much tightly-knit Florida posse rap.
[7]

Mallory O'Donnell: G-Funk meets "Hustlin'" meets Trick Daddy somewhere in Dade County. We need to stop meeting like this.
[3]

Ian Mathers: The vocal loop is actually the least catchy part of “Born 'n' Raised,” being outshined by all the rappers (yes, even Rick Ross) and that two-note organ. A decent but not exceptional posse cut, this feels very much like a placeholder rather than a banger.
[5]

Jonathan Bradley: A fabulous organ drenched beat soaked equally in menace and Florida sun introduces Dade County’s biggest stars to make a case for Miami’s ascendancy to the hip-hop majors, and the hometown line-up Khaled has assembled runs some impressive plays to support its bid. Pitbull follows Trick Daddy’s self-assured flow with gritty crack-rap teetering back and forth between lines in Spanish and English. Hell, even Rick Ross sounds good.
[9]


My Chemical Romance - Welcome to the Black Parade
[Watch the Video]
[7.00]

Jonathan Bradley: The My Chemical Romance dictionary goes straight from subtitle to subtonic, but it’s not as if they ever had a use for subtlety anyway. Not when there are piano notes from which to wring grand drama, classic rock guitars to solo upon, and fake cannon blasts with which to finish. Though it is slightly disappointing when, after the introduction, Gerard Way supplants Hot Topic savior fantasies with Hot Topic riffing, such orthodox sounds are a necessary placeholder, one which the band tears to shreds when it drags the martial drumming and hysteria back for the triumphant, fist-pumping finale.
[10]

Edward Oculicz: Far too much going on here to stick—there's a marching band, some Queen-esque guitars in the intro, and rather than being dark, menacing but still pop, it sounds alarmingly like Good Charlotte, and just as toothless.
[5]

William B. Swygart: Kind of cudgels you into acceptance with the sheer ludicrousness of that opening minute and a bit, which appears to consist entirely of The Saviour Of The Damned gurgling, and the cunning trick of making every other lyric indecipherable with the exception of “WEIR CARRRR-Y OHHHN! WEIR CARRRR-Y OHHHN!,” while the guitars rush to paper over as many cracks as they can, so it all turns into a vaguely hysterical game of Twister. Which is quite fun, yeah. It’s just that the reason Gerry’s hair looks like that is because ‘Knights Of Cydonia’ has pissed all over him.
[7]

Iain Forrester: As “Welcome to the Black Parade” slowly unravels to reveal level after magnificent level of ridiculous rock pomp, it feels wrong to judge it by the standards of mere songs: this is an Event. The correct response is probably to salute, or something.
[9]


Mika - Relax
[7.60]

Edward Oculicz: If the Scissor Sisters were still interested in pastiching disco, but instead decided to fuse it with cheap 80s synth-pop, the result might be something a bit like this.
[9]

David Moore: Fun with falsetto over a plinky dance-pop tune. The arrangement is loose and there are a few nice touches in the arrangement, like the chipmunk Supertramp keyboard line and what sounds like a marimba plunking alongside the plinks. But the chorus flies a little too close to the sun, i.e. the other “Relax.”
[6]

William B. Swygart: Charms through… quaintness, almost. Mildly uplifting, mildly classy, lyrics so vapid they may as well be condensation—sounds fine, but has the emotional resonance of picking a moderately satisfying bogey.
[6]

M.H. Lo: Just as some more famous popstar sets about proving to the world that he has forgotten how to best utilize his falsetto, Mika obligingly comes along to remind us that it’s all in the contrast, stupid. On “Relax,” Mika is all-natural on the verses, and only kicks it into high gear on the choruses, because god knows it’s impossible to express different emotional shadings when you’re in falsetto all the time, Jake. Furthermore, given the common wisdom that men only hit those notes when you’ve got their boules in a death grip, it feels wonderfully apt that on that chorus, Mika is imploring us to “relax, take it easy.” Witty and poptastic.
[9]


Jarvis Cocker - Running the World
[Watch the Video]
[7.60]

David Moore: Totally obvious rage-venting commentary on the fact that cunts are still running the world. Coming from just about anyone but Jarvis Cocker, these lyrics would probably drive me nuts, but he makes it work, sort of. I don’t really like it, but nostalgia and a resilient general fondness prevent me from sticking my tongue out right back at him and checking out.
[6]

Ian Mathers: Along with Yorke's “Harrowdown Hill” this is—for better or worse—a protest song for my generation; Jarvis, it's time to get the band back together and do a whole album of these.
[8]

Edward Oculicz: It takes a certain intelligence and charisma to be able to get away with something this stupid, even if it is due largely to benefit of doubt.
[6]

Mallory O'Donnell: We'd been waiting so long for a sequel to "Glory Days," I'd all but given up hope. Thankfully old ex-pat Jarv put down the baguettes and brie long enough to pen another "we're all fucked" barnstormer. You've been missed. Cunt.
[9]


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


By: Stylus Staff
Published on: 2006-10-03
Comments (2)
 

 
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