o, a spot of clarification then. This week is the busiest one for new singles in the UK thus far this year. A whole swathe of new choons will be vying to do the traditional deed of deposing McFly from number one after a week, and this week the UK Singles Jukebox will be looking at eighteen of the wee circular gobshites. As such, this week you’re getting two editions – today, the nine lowest-scoring, and the ELITE EMPIRE STRIKE-FORCE SUPER-SUPER-WELL-HARD BATTALION COMMAND POSSE tomorrow – or, if you prefer, today’s the day you decide that we’re all a mildly amusing bunch of psychopathic hate machines, and then tomorrow’s the time that you decide you’ve not heard of any of these songs and yet conversely you’re not going to try and find out what they sound like. Don’t worry, Broken Social Scene are back soon, aren’t they?
Anyhow. Today, the chaff. It features a Rolling Stones single, which I too thought would have come dead last—but oh no, hang on, here’s a trance reissue…
Mauro Picotto – Lizard
Fergal O’Reilly: Relentless, joyless trance thud. I am pathologically incapable of deriving any enjoyment at all from this kind of thing.
Dom Passantino: Yeah, this song's only been released two times before, a third outing won't hurt. Unless you listen to it. Like the music they use in Lynx commercials at the cinema combined with a migraine. Dave Pearce is dead, let it go.
Hillary Brown: The loser of the three amphibo-reptilo-disco tracks this week. This is stunningly dull. Maybe it’s hot mixed with half-naked sweaty models, but I think I’d take the excuse to go get a drink.
Tom Ewing: A relief in this week's pile to find something straightforwardly boshin'. That doesn't necessarily mean I have anything much to say about it.
Alex Macpherson: This is basically Crazy Frog but even less fun, isn't it?
The Cribs - Martell
Paul Scott: The Cribs seem to be attempting to set themselves apart from the indie masses by displaying a flagrantly antagonistic attitude towards the tight trouser wearing be-mulleted trendy kids that frequent Britain’s indie discos. Here they chide these people as “morons” and display a desire to “fuck the music scene”. Noble sentiments indeed; problem is they display a tightness that makes Babyshambles sound like the JB’s and instead of a proper chorus employ some terrace chanting that even Sham 69 would have derided as retarded. I guess the scenesters get it right sometimes.
Tom Ewing: Songs about how the rest of the music scene is rubbish can be weirdly fascinating, like someone losing it on a talk show. This is drab, though - a sub-La's trundle through some specific dispute that only dedicated mailing list heads will understand. This week's most pointless record, even counting Tyler James.
Fergal O’Reilly: Drab, listless guitar bashing with charismaless, drawled vocals straight from the 1996 Here, Have A Record Deal glory years of Britpop. Has big shouted "wo-oh-oh" bits but still manages to be skilfully avoid any drama or basically have any energy at all. I suppose that makes it the anti-"Hounds of Love", which is not to be applauded.
Joe Macare: Pretty standard sub-par indie bobbins verses suddenly redeemed (to a certain extent) by a great big (as in great AND big) shout-along chorus with a “whoa-ah-whoa!” bit. Would have been in the running for a ten if it had just consisted of this chorus, and all the lyrics had been “whoa-ah-whoah!” and “la la la!”
Dom Passantino: Despite the title, and the lyric "So you hate my sunglasses?" this isn't a paean to early 1990s WWF midcarder "The Model" Rick Martel. What it is, what it is is a song that starts off as harmless enough as the 746 haircut indie tracks we've reviewed so far this year, but then it gets to the call and response "Oi oi saveloy" chorus, and in my mind I see a vision of 40,000 wankers at the V festival next year, all dressed like Mickey Pearce from Only Fools and Horses, and they're all called Tim, and they all really love the communal atmosphere that the "Oh oh oh" bits of this song foster, and I realise that I'd quite like The Cribs to be involved in a house fire.
Simon Webbe – Lay Your Hands
Tom Ewing: Kanye Westlife!
Fergal O’Reilly: I'm not hugely enamoured of the solo careers of the members of Blue so far, I must say. The same kind of blandly soppy drudge as Lee Ryan's earlier effort, only with an annoying pitchshifted vocal hook and the troubling question "should a man with a voice this bland really be singing on a pop record?" hovering in the back of the mind all through it. ("No.")
John Cameron: Aw, it's a song about wanting to be hugged and stuff! Isn't that sweet? Chipmunk-filtering a sample, however, kind of ruins the effect. Combine that with this song being far too close to a generic Nashville country-pop ballad for my taste and you have a serious, string-saturated problem. All it's missing is a suitable Tennesee twang and crash cymbals. Yuck.
David Meller: Painful hook accompanied with Akon inspired effects, a dreadfully flat voice and an overdose of violins to try and make it sound emotionally full when in fact the outcome is the complete opposite. This makes me feel resentment and anger, and even more disappointed that the new Girls Aloud single isn't what it could be.
Jessica Popper: When is the good one from Blue going to go solo? Oh, I'm so funny…
The Rolling Stones – Streets Of Love
INT: An expensive recording studio, sometime last year.
MICK: ‘Ere Keeef you remember that song, ‘Angie’, wot we did?
KEITH mumbles in the affirmative.
MICK: Yeh, yeh we should do something like that again, but y’know more rockin’.
KEITH cranks out his default “slow riff” I.e. the one that doesn’t sound like ‘Start Me Up’ he’s been relying on since ooh 1981.
MICK: Yeh, ooh that’s it, yeh. Oooh Oooh Aaahh Hah Streets of Luuuuuuuurve (begins to “freestyle”)
CHARLIE listlessly keeps time whilst an understated smile plays across his face as he idly wonders what his bank balance will look like with another couple of zeros at the end.
David Meller: I can't decide whether this is The Rolling Stones performing a heart tingling tune or an example of them finally showing their age. Whether Jagger is performing the song with sincerity and prosody, and the others are deliberately taking a back seat in order to show this, or if they're finally running out of ideas and have finally resorted in having to write soppy rock singles. I feel uncertain, and I think The Stones are a bit too. Whilst nowhere near in the same league as Cash's "Hurt", it feels as if it's up there.
Hillary Brown: Even on newer, weaker albums, The Stones’ have usually been well produced, but this is a mess, with vocals so high it sounds like home karaoke on the verses. And while they can work the relaxed vibe, this is mostly sluggish, except on the chorus, which manages to be even less interesting.
Fergal O’Reilly: This is a bit like that song in Team America: World Police where Trey Parker's all "what w'd yheeew deeeuuw/if you were aysked to make tha ultimate sacrifice" in his best daft tremulous voice. Humourous/embarrassing vocal stylings aside, it's pretty much borderline comatose.
Joe Macare: I was listening to Sticky Fingers again just the other week. Amazing album. Of course it's easy to mock the aged Stones, and fair enough. 'Streets Of Love' is not actively much cop – in fact the tune is basically a downbeat take on 'Love Is Strong', the Stones' most recent not-that-awful-but-not-actually-good single. But it's worth remembering that there are younger bands – the Kaiser Chiefs, for example – whose every song is much, much worse than this, and probably will be even if they continue making music until they're 100 years old each. What a ghastly thought.
Crazy Frog - Popcorn
Paul Scott: Take a classic instrumental piece then get some Dutchman to pretend to be a frog over the top… I see a pattern in the Frog team’s Modus Operandi. It’s a winning formula, but may I suggest that the next record they have a crack at is ‘Focus On Sanity’ off of Ornette Coleman’s The Shape Of Jazz To Come.
Joe Macare: I gave Crazy Frog's first single zero points when it was covered by the Jukebox. At the time the Frog seemed like the terrifying harbinger of a dark and strange new age. Then I thought about this a bit and realised that sounded pretty cool. So I decided I would try thinking the Frog was great, as a conscious “thought experiment” (because I am subversive!!1!!). I tried singing “bing-bing, bing-bing BING-BING” to myself and found myself laughing hysterically, caught up in the delirious mania of it all. Now I listen to 'Popcorn' and find it impossible to imagine not loving the Frog.
Tom Ewing: Lots better than "Axel F", just because "Popcorn" is lots better than "Axel F", and the Frog's unstoppable mouth can weave into the tune a lot better. Good amphibian beatboxing section, too, though I don't like the pointless interjections from his puny human friend. Future Jimmy Carrs will roll their eyes at this for years to come, for all the world as if helping people enjoy themselves on holiday was a bad thing.
John Cameron: I think I've heard this song before. In fact, I know I've heard this song before. Last time it wasn't this intensely annoying, though; in the intervening years, the sheen that we've come to expect from keyboard lines has increased how grating they are against human ears. And there should be laws against beatboxing as badly as that guy does in the bridge. Hearing him kill his microphone is almost as bad as the nonsense syllables that, I'm assuming, are cast towards us by Crazy Frog himself. I'm hoping this song isn't a sign of the coming apocalypse, because if so we're going out on a very bad note.
Hillary Brown: Lord, why did you build me with a grin that activates at the sound of someone saying “Let’s go” and the onset of insanely tinny, cheesy disco keyboard? Can I trade it back in for a cool pout and something that lets me appreciate guitar jams? At least this knows enough to keep it short and hyper.
Abby McDonald: No. Just no.
Oasis – The Importance Of Being Idle
Tom Ewing: Is this one of the ones written by him who used to be in Heavy Stereo? That would account for the slightly improved songwriting focus, though romancing "a bed beneath the stars that shine" is rich coming from men who will sadly never sleep rough again. There are better and worse Oasis songs, and if you like them you will rate this one of the better, but if you like them you shouldn't be reading this: Oasis approach pop as a puzzle they solved long ago, and there is no curiosity or spirit in what they do.
Paul Scott: Despite their later descent into maudlin trad rock Oasis’ early singles display a menacing psychedelic streak, indebted as much (though perhaps unconsciously) to the fuzzed up classicism of Spacemen 3 and The Jesus and Mary Chain as to the critically over referenced Beatles. Unfortunately, this time vocal duties are handed to Noel who comes up sorely lacking the snarl that Liam would have provided. But musically, for the first time in almost a decade, the Gallaghers have clawed back a bit of that early woozy danger. The Importance Of Being Idle waltzes unsteadily like The Kinks’ ‘Sunny Afternoon’ refracted through a fish eye lens; distorted and unnatural, the classic British psychedelica turned septic, relocated from sunny pastoral Oxford to rainy inner city Manchester.
Joe Macare: Unless I'm very wrong (and the video certainly supports this theory), this is the sound of Noel Gallagher trying to 'do' The Kinks. You know who it's just struck me that he sounds like instead, and in fact sounds like all the time these days when he sings? This is really good, you'll like this... Jimmy. “Crocodile Shoes”. Nail. Noel Gallagher in 2005 sounds exactly like Jimmy Nail.
John Cameron: Weird, spaghetti-western shuffles aren't something you hear very often, so this off-kilter ballad comes across sounding very fresh. Not sure which Gallagher is responsible, but that's not the point here; instead, I ask you to focus on the fact that it's a much more focused effort all around than the disappointment that was Heathen Chemistry - and it's also a pretty compellingly fun song. The brief tango interlude's very neat, too, without coming across as being tacked on. Good job.
Dom Passantino:"We always believe we are the best team in the world or the worst - the truth is we are neither." So opined corrupt detective series creator Terry Venables on the England football team. And so it goes with Oasis: people either want to give them 10/10 or 0/10 (the latter is a lot more likely at Stylus). I want to give them neither, they deserve neither, this is their best single since "All Around The World", has a vaguely Sensational Alex Harvey Band feel to it, and the vocals are has horrid as usual.
Bedouin Soundclash – When The Night Feels My Song
David Meller: A ho-hum version of "You Can Call Me Al".
Hillary Brown: Where are the missing handclaps? I don’t know if this is real reggae or fake reggae, real folk or fake folk, but it’s got a touch of Beat Happening to it in its sweetness and oddly bouncy beat.
Jessica Popper: I'd never heard of them before, but their sound is not as clashing as their name suggests. In fact, it's fairly pleasant and even quite cheerful. But it is right next to Rachel Stevens' new one on my playlist and after the joy of hearing that I am quite open to anything.
Alex Macpherson: Oh fucking christ, this is the sound of curly-haired cunt students on their gap year sitting round a third world campfire (top-of-the-range tent just metres away), bong in one hand and bongo in the other, and singing about how connected they feel to the land and the natives and won't they have such witty anecdotes to bray at terrible student house parties when they get back to civilisation?
Cecily Nowell-Smith: Wait, wait, this band have credence with the US punk press? When the song sounds like a folksy version of Karma Chameleon? When they're called, of all things, Bedouin Soundclash? How did they do that?
Mint Royale – Singin’ In The Rain
John Cameron: Computerized bassline - check. Off-kilter techno beat - check. Occasional wooshing noises to emphasize beat - check. Use of music-box melody for bridge - check. General sense of fun and cheekiness - check. Gene Kelly rolling in grave - check.
Dom Passantino: OK, so you may as well just put out a CD featuring 90 seconds of mechanical noises followed by Garrison Keillor going "Isn't it nice when things just work?", but it's harder to get less offensive than this amiable car-hawking piece of remixery. Bill Hicks would hate it, but then again he liked Tool.
Alex Macpherson: In which Mint Royale confuse 'joyous maximalism' with 'complete mess of unrelated sounds thrown together at random'. The best dance music makes you join mental dots you didn't even know existed; this is more painting by numbers, sloppily.
Joe Macare: I feel like a grumpy old curmudgeon for saying this, but much like the advert it accompanies, featuring a needlessly breakin', bodypoppin' Gene Kelly – heck, why not just go all the way and add a talking dog who skateboards and always recycles, “to the extreme!” - there was no reason for this record to exist. Nor is it accurate to call it a Mint Royale record just because they stuck a nice-but-generic bit of electro underneath the song. Nothing was lacking in the original that has been added by this, all the good things about it were already there.
Abby McDonald: Life should be a musical; or rather, my life should be one. Who wouldn’t want to live in the alternate universe where murky downpours are but an excuse to frolic in the gutter, and the painful rays of morning sunshine are to be greeted with squeals of delight and an ‘improvised’ chair-dance routine? I’ve taken to dressing for such eventualities, with my yellow ‘I am sixteen, going on seventeen’ cotton dress, and voluminous skirts (should a dashing young man be tempted to twirl me round a convenient gazebo). Alas, my dreams remain unfulfilled, but under no circumstance should they be fucked with in such a redundant and disrespectful manner.
Tyler James – Your Woman
Tom Ewing: A genuine oddity - I have no idea who Tyler James is, and even less idea who might have persuaded him that a whining, slightly funked-up cover of the White Town hit might be a good idea. The song's appeal is pretty undentable but this is still a great advert for hearing music illegally, free, and most of all once.
Alex Macpherson: Sole point of interest about this cover: how you just know from Tyler James's delivery that he's addressing a girl, how all ambiguity about gender and sexuality has been erased even though the lyrics remain unchanged. Otherwise it's an object lesson of how to miss the point of a song on every conceivable level: quite apart from the reams of queer theory begging to be written about it, a song about the frustrations of unrequited love surely shouldn't be sung quite so jauntily?
Fergal O’Reilly: I'm not sure how much this song needed to be redone with oversung "funky" vocals, but a) the sample's appeal endures in spite of this b) at least he didn't change it to fucking "Your Man" or something, and c) Jyoti Mishra probably needs the money, certainly more than Sparks need the money of Justin Hawkins fans. I'm assuming there's not some copyright sample-clearance wrangle that will prevent him getting any? That'd suck. This cover probably does suck but it doesn't make me angry.
John Cameron: Wait a minute. Is... is he switching gender roles on us? That bastard! On the other hand, it might help get him a lot of well-deserved club play - that and the fact that, like the original, it's a club song. It definitely has the sex appeal that Amerie's offering needed; the R&B crooning is very smooth. I'm wondering, though, if there should maybe be a lengthier period of time than eight years before you can take a club hit, cover it and not really change it up very much except for the production, and release it as a single. Eight years doesn't strike me as long enough to forget the original.
Dom Passantino: So, you're a decent enough looking male solo artist who has put out two singles already with major label backing, and neither has set the world alight, or even vaguely scorched it. Your options pretty much run as follow: Attitude photoshoot, playing second on the bill to a Red Hot Chilli Peppers tribute act at a redbrick university ball, or release a ridiculously obvious cover version. Tyler has taken the third route, and helpfully taken a big long refreshing piss over one of the best singles of the 1990s. Showing all the presence of an office junior doing karaoke at a Christmas bash, changing the lyrics so instead of these truly mysterious and interesting exercise in sexual politics is was originally it just becomes a heterocentric cast-off, deleting that "boop-boop-boop-boop... boop" bit from the song... I don't think there's been a more morally wretched and artistically bankrupt song on the jukebox all year.
By: UK Stylus Staff
Published on: 2005-08-22