The Singles Jukebox
The Weekend Starts Here, Allegedly



week 32 and we’ve moved to Fridays, all the better to kick off the weekend with just the right amount of positive vibes. What better way to start, then, than with our second-lowest scoring winner ever? Even lower than Ben Adams! Jamie Lidell, Rammstein, McFly, Arctic Monkeys and more Lovebites comparisons than you can shake a Stratocaster at, but before all that, Stylus’ second critiquing of a Barbra Streisand-based noise inside a month! Christ, why not just rename the whole website Yentl, eh?


Barbara Streisand – Stranger In A Strange Land
[2.33]


Doug Robertson: If it comes down to ranking Barbra Streisand tracks, then I Know Him So Well is my favourite by a nose. Arf! No? Pah. Anyway, this is as godawful as you’d expect, and is probably on the soundtrack of the latest Meg Ryan film as we speak.
[1]

Hillary Brown: Pure Velveeta, but it goes down so easy. Impossible to pin down when it was recorded just from the sound. There are moments of mid-90s stuff like Paula Cole, and there is Gibb, and mostly there is orchestration that screams 1970s musical (can’t you hear the stardust being sprinkled around?).
[7]

Edward Oculicz: Gibb's still got it, he's written a pretty good close-of-telethon-extravaganza ballad for Babs to do her thing on. There's absolutely nothing wrong with this in any way - it's exceedingly well sung, the backing vocals are nicely placed, but I can’t do more than admire it on a technical level.
[4]

Joe Macare: Barbra Streisand does a haunting anti-war ballad. Christ on crutches. Even the ba-da-da-da backing vocals of Barry Gibb (respect due) can't save this.
[0]


Olav Basoski ft. Michie One - Waterman
[3.25]


Paul Scott: Combines useless funky house beats – at least, I think this is funky house – with a vocal hook that seems to be actively trying to be more irritating than the Crazy Frog and sort of succeeds, because the Frog had some kind of personality.
[3]

Hillary Brown: If this went anywhere at all, it might be pretty good, but as it is, it’s just a tiny circle, like a dog turning around before it lies down. The beat’s appealing, but it bores quickly.
[5]

Jonathan Bradley: Well yes, you’re very clever with all those samples and the horns and everything. And I really like that percussion. I bet Basement Jaxx could do some really neat stuff with it. But did you have to choose such a relentlessly annoying vocal? I may not ever want to listen to this again, but at least some effort’s gone into making something this unenjoyable.
[3]

John Cameron: Good Christ, what a mess. Too much wooshing, too much techno drumming, not enough of the vaguely catchy bassline. The "wah-wah-dong-dong" woman completes it in the way that seeing a stack of low-budget pornographic magazines completes a brief visit to the dorm of your university student nephew/cousin/etc.
[2]


Arctic Monkeys – I Bet You Look Good On The Dancefloor
[3.44]


Patrick McNally: ive been into the indie scene for 10 year now and have never been so excited about a up and coming bad as these watch this space mate cause there gonna be big take my word for it im mortal and cant be arsed to write owt else but if u wanna argue out else get in touch.
[1]

Joe Macare: Arctic Monkeys arrive with both hype and backlash pre-arranged, and given the type of music they make and the kind of people they're being championed by, I fully expected to be taking part in the latter. But this isn't actually all that bad: at least it celebrates something worth celebrating (a cute person dancing to electro-pop "like a robot from 1984") - although of course it would be better if it actually sounded like its subject matter instead of an indie disco from 1994. Apparently the Arctic Monkeys don't even like this song anymore, which is a handy get-out clause for me liking it if they subsequently turn out to be the new Cheezy Keiths.
[6]

Hillary Brown: This is the big hit? Beat is far too spastic, promotes ADD, and (worst sin of all) seems impossible to dance to unless you do have the reflexes of a robot.
[3]

Paul Scott: The intro is really something, rumbling and stomping away, then it veers off into the barely proficient kind of indie rock that has become so over exposed in the wake of The Libertines. The song itself isn’t awful; it’s not offensive like, say, Razorlight, it bangs away functionally enough, never getting close to the kind of spark that sets Franz Ferdinand or Bloc Party away from the indie masses. Quite why they rather than The Cribs, The Rakes, The Kooks or any of the other million bands relentlessly ploughing this very same furrow have been elected as this season’s BEST NEW BAND IN BRITAIN (with what looks like a number one single to boot) is quite baffling.
[4]


Dannii Minogue vs. Soul Seekerz – Perfection
[3.78]


John Cameron: I would like to know who keeps letting songs like this onto the radio so I can tell them to stop it. No, seriously. Quit it. SERIOUSLY.
[1]

Hillary Brown: Look, John Cale accents “perfect” correctly. Danii does not. Putting the accent on the second syllable turns it into a verb, damn it. Also, the song is okay but very meh.
[4]

Edward Oculicz: Not without its charms, but sticking Dannii over the top of instrumental club hits and getting her to trill sterilely over the top is hardly good enough for her. At her best, Dannii is a raunchier Kylie, singing about dirty hands and vibrators. At her worst, she's just Kylie without the tunes. This lies somewhere in the middle.
[7]

Jonathan Bradley: Has the Singles Jukebox ever reviewed a decent song by an Australian artist? If we keep sending you guys Missy Higgins and Dannii Minogue, I’m expecting Tony Blair to put an embargo on our music, causing a trade war in which Australia retaliates by threatening to stop… um… giving you new episodes of Neighbours. Well, while the horror of that sinks in, listen to ‘Perfection’, whose sample of Soul Seekerz’s ‘Turn Me Upside Down’ is pretty much a wholesale grab that negates any need for Dannii to appear at all. Unfortunately, Minogue-the-lesser shows up anyway, spreading her black hole personality all over the track, and generally ruining the party.
[5]


Daddy Yankee – Lo Que Paso, Paso
[4.00]


Patrick McNally: Everybody hates a carnival.
[2]

Jonathan Bradley: Nearly as good as Gasolina, if only for the fact that it uses almost exactly the same beat. It doesn’t hit quite as hard, but Daddy Yankee makes up for that by chanting the title ad nauseam for an absurdly catchy hook, which Babelfish tells me means “What Step Step.” Given that translation, I figure this is the reggaetón version of Ciara’s “1,2 Step” — hence the ridiculous catchiness.
[8]

Doug Robertson: The sort of song you bring back from your Club 18-30 holiday as it reminds you of all the great times you had, drunk on the beach. In the cold, sober reality of Britain however, you’ll soon realise that it’s simply just not that good and, when you get right down to it, you don’t really want to remember that time you were sick on the cute tour rep now, do you?
[4]

Hillary Brown: The drums are a little loud and flat, drowning out whatever might be going on in addition to them, but the horns are sort of neat. A mixed bag, as is par for the course with Daddy Yankee.
[5]


Lethal Bizzle – Fire
[4.56]


Paul Scott: It’s such a well put together tune – nice beat, nice sample and so forth – that one has to wonder quite why Bizzle sounds so, well, lacklustre. If all that effort has gone into the production surely it deserves more than this half hearted stilted flow.
[5]

Jonathan Bradley: I don’t have the automatic screwface response to straight up British hip-hop that many other people have, but really, this fails in so many ways as to just be embarrassing. Lethal Bizzle’s flow works when he’s rapping on ridiculous grime synths, but with a summery guitar line and those breakbeat drums, he sounds like he interrupted a Jurassic 5 recording session and got handed a mic. You wouldn’t think this is the same guy who did such great things on the Kray Twinz track.
[3]

Joe Macare: This manages to make both artist and song seem criminally ill-deserving of their names. Mr Bizzle sounds about as lethal as a non-bird-flu-carrying duck, and any fire here fizzled out a while ago.
[3]

Doug Robertson: Realising that, while underground cred is all well and good, it doesn’t exactly pay the bills, no matter how good his skills may be, out comes this blatantly commercial track, showing that he can still effortlessly out-perform most of his compatriots, even when playing it safe. He might not quite be lethal here, but he’s still got the power to give you a nasty injury.
[6]


McFly – I Wanna Hold You
[4.67]


Paul Scott: Do you think some executive actually one day sat back and thought: “The Rutles with Tom Delonge providing vocals is a sure-fire winner with the kids at Woolworths”? Me neither, but what other explanation is there for this cack handed mess?
[3]

Jonathan Bradley: Holy Spin Doctors! I thought McFly did that Busted-style boyband-punk that you Brits seem so curiously fond of — the Pom answer to a question nobody wanted the Simple Plan to ask — but instead we get some modern rock bullshit with more upbeat smarminess than you can throw a punch in the face at. It's what rock’n’roll sounds like to people who make tween movies, but less fun. McFly, I hope Lovebites break your collective nose before the week is out.
[1]

John Cameron: Wait, what the fuck is this? This is like a less electro'd version of Rachel Stevens' song from the other week; if the other folks dismiss this, they'll be huge-ass hypocrites for doing so. I'll give it the same score, on the basis that it's the same level of awesomeness, but replaces synths with strings. Also, pretty badass blues solo, fellas. Keep it up!
[8]

Edward Oculicz: Not bad at all, nicely 50s-styled guitar licks and some wonderfully-placed strings, but the chorus has no guts, and in fact, sounds pretty much like the chorus to every fast-ish McFly song off the first album. Their singles continue to be easily and effectively placed in two categories: "Obviously", and "everything else". Maybe would be more enjoyable if I fancied them.
[6]


Rammstein – Benzin
[4.67]


Hillary Brown: Guitar line sounds like a fairly monotonous driving video game soundtrack. Love the rolling of the R’s, as usual, but I like my Rammstein with a lil’ more sugar on top.
[4]

John Cameron: I want to use the phrase "overlords" to describe Rammstein at some point. It just feels like it would be a good word to use. Overlords rely on beating the same chord into your brain repeatedly as an intro, right? And I guess I know why they didn't bother translating lyrics (except, apparently, for "GIV MI BENZIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIN"). The trumpet at the end is also the ridiculous icing on the completely unneccessary cake. Good work, fellas. At least you aren't as bad as Olav.
[4]

Edward Oculicz: The best band to ever come out of Germany. Because Kraftwerk couldn't brood for shit, and they certainly didn't do thrashing, pounding riffs of DEATH that are as menacing as they are hilarious. Over tenth-grade rhyming-dictionary Deutsch. My heart actually speeds up when I listen to this.
[10]

Jonathan Bradley: Queens Of The Stone Age’s “Feel Good Hit Of The Summer,” translated into German and given extra guitars. So stupid that it’s actually good, but I’d hate to meet one of those hardcore fans that took it seriously. Perhaps Rammstein have worked out that they are a joke and will do for industrial what The Darkness have done for soft metal. Actually, that could be what they’ve been doing all along. They can’t be serious, right?
[6]


dEUS – 7 Days, 7 Weeks
[4.89]


Patrick McNally: Before Soulwax did something interesting, i.e. also became 2Many DJs, I didn’t even realise that dEUS and them were different bands. Now that I’ve sorted that mess out, I think of dEUS as a boring version of Motorpsycho.
[3]

Jonathan Bradley: How can this many interesting bits combine to be so boring? Driving bassline, backwards guitar, gentle keyboard chords, twiddly synths and they still sound like Coldplay on a bad day. Wait for the remix, and let’s hope it’s an instrumental – I write these blurbs after midnight, and listening to this guy sing gets me reaching for the No-Doze.
[4]

John Cameron: Low-key and better for it. dEUS sounds like they're soundtracking a commercial for a car. The car drives on a freeway at night. It then turns off and into a city's downtown. The car is seen driving through the city from rooftops. Eventually it parks in front of a museum or something and a guy in a tuxedo gets out and goes inside. Then you see there is 0% APR on the car and suddenly dEUS' song is positively linked in your memory with low, low rates. As well it should be.
[7]

Doug Robertson: Moments of greatness, interrupted by moments of mediocrity. It’s a bit like watching a film on ITV, really.
[6]


Jamie Lidell – Multiply
[5.56]


Joe Macare: I don't understand. This guy is on Warp and gets on the cover of The Wire magazine, but he sounds like the male Joss Stone. Stupid The Wire magazine.
[2]

Patrick McNally: Much as I might wanna hate him (his face is too hairy and you can tell he looks in the mirror too often) I gotta throw Jamie Lidell props for being the Andrew Strong of the 21st century. A real sixties soul man would’ve known to knock a minute twenty off this song though.
[7]

John Cameron: Instead of reaching back to the excesses of old soul music, Lidell smartly reaches to the subdued, simple approach of more classic songs, touching them up slightly instead of smarmily revamping them. The melody is fantastic, too; Lidell handles it deftly. I don't care if he looks like a bit of a wanker, he's crafted a great soul record here.
[8]

Edward Oculicz: This sounds exactly like "Deeper Shade of Soul" by Urban Dance Squad, but without the silly voices. Nice cheap organ noises, though, an entire song of that and we'd be talking.
[4]

Doug Robertson: A song so entirely out of time that I’m convinced it must be a cover, despite being unable to uncover any evidence to prove this. Certainly they don’t make them like this any more, which is probably a good thing as it would be very boring if this sort of Motown croon was all that was available. As it is though, it stands out as something fresh and original - despite the fact it’s the complete opposite - and so wins through by sheer audacity alone.
[6]


Tiga – You Gonna Want Me
[6.00]


Doug Robertson: While there is, as yet, no confirmation as to whether his top is made out of rubber or whether his bottom is made out of springs, the wonderful thing about Tiga is that he’s the only one. OK, so there’s a certain cheese on toast, anyone can do it, element to the track, but there’s something more here which someone just following the recipe wouldn’t be able to replicate. He’s the Worcester sauce of the electroclash world.
[7]

John Cameron: Have you ever seen those commercials advertising "top hits" CD compilations which are actually just a collection of really terrible synthesized pop that nobody's ever heard? Tiga deserves to be on one of those compilations. The breakdown's kinda neat, in that it emphasizes the unusual bass, but uh, beyond that this song is less than unique.
[2]

Hillary Brown: Most things this week are leaving me nonplussed, and here’s another one. Ticky ticky runs up and down the scale are grating, not fun, and then, if you’re going to do this kind of repetitive dance song thing, you really should go ahead and make it 7 minutes long or something. It seems like it’s just about to go somewhere when it cuts off.
[4]

Joe Macare: It's really not a great week for singles, so for Tiga to leave everybody else in the shade, all he needs to do is turn up with Soulwax and Jake Shears in tow and do everything by the book. Handclaps, check. Fat synth bassline, check. Insistent house beat, check. Teasing vocals, check. Hey presto, another 21st century disco classic, and the week gets PWNED. "A song for any season" - yeah, too right. This stuff never gets old.
[10]

Jonathan Bradley: Tiga are smart enough to recognise that when they’ve got a bassline this dirty they don’t need to do any more than slap a monotone vocal over it and head down to the pub. Of course, with this bassline they could do some truly fantastic things, but apparently Tiga thought the pub was a better idea, and I won’t criticise them for that, because they’re partying with the guy from Scissor Sisters. I have a pretty similar reaction to this as I do to the Scissor Sisters, actually; it’s good, but I really think I’m missing something.
[7]


John Cale – Perfect
[6.33]


Joe Macare: He may be getting on, but he can still rock with the best of them! But only if by "the best of them" you mean "The Killers and Hard-Fi and all those other current shit guitar bands".
[4]

Paul Scott: His voice is as gruff as one might expect but he sounds like he’s pushing himself, not like so many others of his age content to revel in the faux gravitas of a shot larynx. But then very few of his contemporaries seem to be as concerned with such youthful subjects as love, which is what this is all about. Yes, romantic love and one which almost uniquely seems to acknowledge the passing of time but when the daft solo kicks in it’s clear that the love is also for the simple pleasures of banging together a couple of barre chords, for music, for life itself. At 63 John Cale seems to have as much in common with the pop punk exuberance of The Lovebites as any of those worthies dished out five stars by the old man rock mags.
[10]

Hillary Brown: Old cranky fella makes good music once again. It’s cool to see Cale break out the rock and belt this song, and it contains none of the embarrassment of, say, “Honi Soit.” Not that I don’t have affection for his more retarded outings, but this is simply quality stuff, especially the multiple Cales on the chorus.
[8]

Patrick McNally: Does this song signify that John’s on a coke-drive or a health-kick? If Jeremy Irons made a rock record it’d sound like this, like a stentorian version of Moe Tucker’s solo career.
[4]

Edward Oculicz: A decent enough melody stretched to breaking point by the presence of straining, needless guitar bluster, leaving but a trace of the potential anthemic sing-a-long fun that was surely the intent.
[6]


By: UK Stylus Staff
Published on: 2005-10-21
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