The Singles Jukebox
Swygart Goes Solo

so, following something of a cock-up on your section editor’s part, the songs didn’t reach the ears of the contributors in time for them to write anything about them, so they’ve just done the scores and he’s writing the words. Perhaps it’s karma for getting them to listen to Stephen Fretwell. Ah well. So, let’s take a dip into the lucky bag, and see what we pull out… oh dear. Oh dearie me…

Simply Red – Perfect Love
Mick Hucknall goes to Cuba and makes a record with Cuban musicians and stuff. This therefore has lots of trumpets and stuff, and they’re not too bad, and there’s interplay between him and a Cuban female vocalist, and that’s slightly worse, but by fuck that chorus is dreadful. “YRRR PRR-FECT LRRRRRRRRR-RRVE… YRRR PRRRR-FECT LRRRRR-RRR-RRR-RRRVE…” I’m not entirely sure how to describe the sound he makes. It’s kind of like when the people at the hospital remove the heart monitor pads – all sticky and gooey and hairy and generally quite ow, except without the peculiar feeling of cleanliness that brings. Kind of like someone ploughing a ditch using your face. You know? No? Well, don’t get too het up about finding out.

U2 – All Because Of You
U2 single tum de tum Bono “bit of a tosser” dee de dee godawful tortoise/”high rise on my back” metaphor phweep de dum guitar’s quite nice phwiddly diddly shoop de woop de daow. Actually, the guitar does make you think there’s more to this than meets the eye – it doesn’t sound too tossed off considering it’s either the fourth or fifth single off this particular U2 album – til you listen again and realise that there isn’t really. Passes the time alright, though.

Bob Sinclar – Love Generation
Amazingly, considering that we’ve just had Simply Red and U2, things are about to get worse. French house chap Bob Sinclar has decided that he’s going to get all reggae influenced. What he has done is construct a loop of some bloke playing an acoustic guitar over the top of which he goes “Bom, bam bam, bom, bam bam…” It all sounds fine, until the reggae singer that he’s got in moans “Why must children play in the street?” THAT IS WHAT THEY DO. THEY ARE CHILDREN. But no, apparently that’s a sign of some kind of global malaise or something. The reggae singer then continues to pretend that this song isn’t just an extended warning to get away from his bins by wailing “I’ve got so much love in my arm,” but you barely notice because that loop in the background is still going, and it’s going at a pace that has presumably been precision timed to make you start hunching your shoulders with severe irritation. And suddenly you realise. It’s Bedouin Soundclash, except amplified a bit louder, mixed a bit worse, and featuring lyrics that, staggeringly, mean even bloody less. This is not the sound of the summer. This is the sound of waking up to find that Jack Johnson has spray-painted “YOU ARE OLD” on the front of your house and then kicked a football through your window. FUCK OFF.

Friday Hill – Baby Goodbye
Oh look, three members of Blazin’ Squad have formed a boyband so they can finally stop pretending that they ever wanted to make anything other than mawkish drivelly ballad crap. How very nice for them. Their girl has left them. Or they have left their girl. It’s a bit difficult to tell. At some point someone may have been a bit upset. ‘Kenzie’ does a ‘rap’. It’s not very good.

Missy Higgins – Scar
The Australians warned us about this one. “Those vowels… those vowels…Finally, you will join our suffering.” They’re prescient little bastards, aren’t they? God, how awkward does that piano sound? So jutty, so jaunty, so bloody smug, and then there’s her voice. Had I not been informed beforehand that yes, she is putting those vowels on, I suspect I could have guessed. The whole thing sounds so bloody pleased with itself but has puzzlingly little reason to do so – there’s some lyrics which contain lots and lots of words (like Alanis Morrissette) but mean fuck all (like Alanis Morrissette), there’s lots of instruments but no hook, and her bloody voice is all very “A-ha, I told you so!” Told us what exactly, Missy? “Told you!” But what, though? What exactly have you got over us with your Alanis-with-a-trumpet let’s-all-go-to-DFS-and-buy-some-vases singer-songwriter coffee-table mimsy cobblers? “…Nyerrrrrr!” Leave her alone, children, she’ll get bored soon enough….

Clor – Good Stuff
Oh, Clor. Expecting them to follow ‘Love + Pain’ with anything even vaguely as brilliant was probably asking a bit much, but this… this is just a bit abject, isn’t it? There’s some guitars that could be described, quite reasonably, as tight, and yes, that is a chorus, and it’s all proficiently jerky and, um, ‘punk-funk’, or something, but there’s just not much going on. His vocals aren’t anywhere near desperate or charged or bothered enough to inject any kind of momentum, and the song desperately needs some. Perhaps it can get away with it on the album, but put out on its own it shrivels and dies miserably.

Lisa Scott-Lee – Electric
Lisa Scott-Lee used to be in Steps. She was apparently described as ‘Party Steps’ because she had dark hair. Here, in her second stab at doing a solo career, she’s gone for an electro-pop track called ‘Electric’, in which someone has decided to put the line “It’s all over/Warranty expired.” This is soon followed by “Ain’t no batteries required.” “Pull on my wire.” “Feel me, I’m unprotected/This preset is selected.” Aside from all that, there’s a very nice “uh, oh” noise in the background, a vaguely scatty bit that sounds like Janet Jackson but more Welsh, and several attempts to sound sexy that fail quite, quite miserably. It’s not as good as Rachel Stevens (OBVIOUSLY), but it’s still kinda fun. #23 with a bullet.

Spoon – Sister Jack
“Hello sir. According to our records, you are still under-rating the songwriting of the Finn Brothers.” And so, in a week that’s riddled with songs that Don’t Do Much or Don’t Really Go Anywhere, Spoon have somehow turned it into an artform of sorts. Drumma-drumma-chugga-chugga-TEEN-AGE-FAN-CLUBBA! Swirly guitar noise! Crowd goes wild! Much mumbling “Sister Jack… Sister Jack!” RAILROAD JERK! RAILROAD JERK! Missy Higgins was too knowing, Clor were too boring, and Friday Hill were just outright shit, but somehow the corniest indiest fuckerest of the whole pile have got more charm than all the rest of them, stumbling round in clothes that have gone stiff in all the wrong places, forgetting to rub the sleep out of their eyes, and getting to the end of the road before realising they’ve forgotten to put their glasses on. Chaos of the most benign and outright adorable kind.

Roll Deep – Shake A Leg
Charm offensive continues as Roll Deep realise that Mint Royale have some very good singles indeed, and proceed to go unto the dancehall and make merry. “You have no bum.” The kind of song that you download off an MP3 blog at random then proceed to listen to non-stop for six months afterwards, almost too sunny and light-hearted to be from anywhere other than mainland Europe, except, er, not. This is why people think making reggae-influenced records with a ‘summery, laid-back vibe’ is a good idea, except that they’re very, very wrong and Roll Deep are very, very right. One of them’s called William too! Score!

MIA – Galang ‘05
Oh, like the panel would have gone for anything else… Two years at least since this thud-thud-thudded onto the scene, and it’s still the classic it always was. MIA’s flow is sinuous and taunting, riddled with pauses, switches, hooks and bumps, the kind of thing that takes hold of you and pulls you in all kinds of different directions, the kind that makes you forget that you have a lecture in about ten minutes –

Oh shit.

Erm, I suspect other people may have written about this song elsewhere a wee bit. Ask them. Normal service resumed next week. Bye!

By: William B. Swygart
Published on: 2005-10-10
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