The Singles Jukebox
Writ Anthemic



week fourteen sees the team struggling to cope with the fallout from the UK version of Hit Me Baby One More Time, which has just launched in the US. Note to US viewers—yes, our version was presented by Vernon Kay as well. Yes, he is a bit. There’s also something of an Elastica revival, A SORT-OF NOISE BAND, ARGUABLY, Patrick Wolf giving his pipes a polish, Paul Scott falling asleep on a bus, the return of Fatman Scoop, and the panel struggling to figure out who wins when DJ Sammy takes on Annie Lennox. But first—remember Busted? Unfortunately for Fightstar, so do we.


Fightstar – Paint Your Target
[2.75]


Alex van Vliet: Fightstar sound like Green Day. Green Day sound like Busted. If Busted were still alive, would the circle be unbroken Lord, by and by? The answer, unfortunately for all concerned, is “who cares”?
[3]

Joe Macare: I'm really quite surprised by this – it's Charlie from Busted's 'proper' rock band, and I would have expected it to be either a) obnoxious and unlistenable due to a perceived need to (over)compensate for his (ahem) shameful boyband past, or b) virtually indistinguishable from Busted and therefore annoyingly pointless. But in actual fact the combination of melody and abrasion found here is just about right. Don't get me wrong, this isn't really my kind of thing at all, even though I have a shameful past myself as a Soul Asylum fan – but it's pretty good at doing what it sets out to.
[6]

Barima Nyantekyi: "EEEE-MOOOOOO! I LIKE THE WAY YOU SEEEEM SO - REAL!" Pity poor Charlie Simps - oh, sod that. This turgid, worthy muss of Cliff Notes whingecore is exactly what he deserves for so selfishly disowning the tallents of Messrs Bourne and Willis in favour of "creating something genuine". So go make a Yaz record, why don'tcha. The world only needs one Green Day, at best, and anything Fighstar could hope to claim in their favour - strong musicianship, songwriting, a gimmick maybe – is simply not there. They sound like they just formed at school, with all the negative connotations that implies, and take it from me, the earlier incarnations of Million Dead were far better at the school level than these guys are on the CD:UK stage. Like water for doo doo.
[1]

Tom Ewing: Further evidence to discredit the pernicious myth that self-expression is a good reason to make pop music. As a fan of Busted's stupid and joyful moments I was never going to like Fightstar, but it's still miserable how easy they make it to hate them. No sign here at all of Charlie's talent for pop fighting a way out of the rote-learned grunge mire - his self-flagellation has been grotesquely effective.
[1]

John Seroff: They are the type of band that would name a song after Chuck Palahniuk and then misspell his name on their website. They are the type of band that scream lyrics like "I'M JUST NOT SURE IT'S GOING TO WORK!!!!" with all of the sensitivity, restraint and insight of the average high school freshman. They are a band that has crafted an utterly unmemorable and flimsy leadoff single crafted from every emo-rock cliche in the book. They are, finally, a band with a great enough lack of self-awareness to name themselves "Fightstar". Ladies and gentlemen, I give you the least essential single of the week.
[2]


Shakin’ Stevens – This Ole House
[3.55]


John Seroff: So, let me make certain I fully understand what you Brits are up to: the live lead-off single from this UK 'rockabilly' artist's comeback is an '05 remake of his '81 remake of a '54 Rosemary Clooney song? And the comeback is spurred by his performance on a reality TV show? Yipes. I'm assuming this succeeds on nostalgia value but we here in America never had any exposure to Shakin' Stevens; as such, I'm a bit unclear as to why this slightly out-of-tune retread of faux-country/western is making its way to your pop charts instead of to the background music tape at TGIFridays. My condolences.
[2]

Mike Atkinson: Look: this man used to play left-wing benefit gigs! He physically assaulted a young Richard Madeley on live kids' TV! He nearly co-headlined a punk/ted "stop the violence" unity gig with the Sex Pistols! To say nothing of his glittering career with Fulchester Rovers in Viz! In short: Shakey used to be HIP, dammit. So let's show a little RESPECT, kids! Word to the Godfather!
[6]

Doug Robertson: As one of the few people who actually sat through the entire missed opportunity which was Hit Me Baby One More Time, I’d like to state for the record that Haddaway was robbed. Thank you. Anyway, Shakey, who was, of course, the biggest selling artist of the eighties – which just goes to show you can prove anything with statistics – won the competition, mainly thanks to a geriatric fan base with nothing better to do with their time than phone a premium rate number to vote for him multiple times, and this is his reward: A chance to reinflict This Ole House on a nation that was collectively trying to pretend that the whole embarrassing affair had never happened in the first place. It’s also bundled with his cover of Trouble, a song so forgettable that even Pink herself doesn’t remember recording it.
[2]

Joe Macare: So one time when I didn't contribute to the UK Singles Jukebox, Cliff Richard put out a single that got a remarkably warm reception here, and I like to think that if I been able to take part that week, I would have taken some stand against the Bible basher and his colostomy bag. But maybe not: Shakin' Stevens hardly strikes me as preferable to Sir Cliff, but 'This Ole House' is hard to feel anything except affection towards. My feet might even start twitching in a minute. Wait... Oh, yep, there they go.
[7]

Jessica Popper: I'm still upset that 911 didn't win. I could be listening to ‘Bodyshakin'’ now but nooo it has to be this load of smarmy poo.
[0]


DJ Sammy - Why
[4.55]


Alex van Vliet: Annie Lennox had the BEST HAIR.
[2]

John Seroff: Hey, kids! Wanna make your own techno remix of a nineties hit the DJ SAMMY WAY? It's easy! First, get yourself a copy of the original. I recommend using kazaa; it's FREE and EASY (just like this remix!)!!! Now, SLIGHTLY SPEED UP the song in question, using a music editing program. This is the hard part, but don't give up! You can do it! While you're at it, throw in some vocal effects on the main vocals; echoes, vocoder tweaks and staccato line breaks work well. Next, find a simple club beat (did I mention kazaa?) to overlay the vocals on. I recommend bump-chick-bump-chick-bump-chick, but bump-bump-chick-bump-bump-chick works fine too. Experiment! It's YOUR remix! Okay, so now you've mixed the sped-up original (with the altered vocals) and the bassline right? Guess what? YOU'RE THROUGH! YOU'RE A DJ! Sit back and congratulate yourself on a job well done! be sure to check back with us next week for part two of our two-part course: how to score coke.
[3]

Tom Ewing: Few indeed are the Annie Lennox songs that would not be improved by i) a pumping fourbeat ii) not having Annie Lennox on them. DJ Sammy scores two for two and predictably he's made my favourite record this week. Sammy's approach - keep the song intact, whack up the tempo and season to taste - is basically the one that's kept happy hardcore and some handbag factions going since the mid-90s. Compared to the concentrated pop of the post-Prydz era this may seem conservative, overly respectful to the source, but it can still unstop wells of pleasure.
[8]

Joe Macare: As good a treatment of a terrible, terrible song – possibly one of the worst songs ever – as can be imagined. I could swear that DJ Sammy has got The Edge in to play guitar on this. Yeah, okay, it could be a sample, but I like to think that playing on records like this is the only way Edge can compensate for spending all that time with a man like Bono. Anyway, all that aside, I was tempted to like this, but I can't get away from the fact that it still, on some level, reminds me of the Annie Lennox version, and therefore it cannot get more than a one.
[1]

Alex Macpherson: I was expecting something a lot better than this! Why is DJ Sammy being so respectful of the original here? The vocal may as well be a direct sample for all that the session singer tries to mimic Annie Lennox, and while this is undeniably more pumping and banging than anything Lennox put her name to, it is quite frankly neither pumping nor banging enough. More chipmunks are needed, and maybe notch that tempo up a few hundred more notches. (Still not a bad song at all, mind.)
[7]


Jem – Just A Ride
[4.73]


Joe Macare: Look, I know she SEEMS harmless now, but a lot of people seemed harmless at an early stage in their career who are now terrifying menaces to everything worth caring about in popular culture. Even Dido seemed harmless once! And in fact Jem's last single seemed decent enough. But 'Just A Ride' – which has been overplayed already by way of being co-opted for approximately 357 adverts for what's coming up on Channel 4 – bears all the hallmarks of being the work of the next Dido. It may seem excessively drastic, but if we adopt a zero tolerance policy early on we may still be able to save ourselves and our loved ones.
[2]

Barima Nyantekyi: Dear Dido,: Nice try. I saw through Leann Rimes when she reinvented herself as Jojo (but I still love ya both). I saw through Peter Andre when he thought he was George Michael (and when he thought, and still does think, that Jordan is Elle Macpherson). And now, I see through you, though it seems that regeneration has left you even more chirpier, deluded and irritating than ever. Plus, I have The Shortwave Set now and they do relaxed melancholy moderne in a way you can't even begin to fathom. So bite me. Yours, B.
[2]

Doug Robertson: More laid back, sultry wonderment from the girl from the Welsh valleys. Occasionally it sounds like it’s about to fall from the tree of tremendousness into the stinking Dido bog below, but Jem just about manages to keep her balance and pull it off. It’s not as good as ‘They’, but judged on it’s own terms it’s a lovely little track which, for some reason, puts me in mind of Imani Coppola, and that can only be a good thing.
[7]

Mike Atkinson: Zoe's "Sunshine On A Rainy Day" ... Soho's "No Hippy Chick" ... One Dove's "Breakdown" ... there's something about this which evokes fond memories of a long-forgotten strain of early 90's pop. Maybe it's a certain sensibility in the melody. Maybe it's the way that Jem's summer-breezing insouciance is underpinned by that jiggling, rolling, midtempo groove. But whatever it is, I welcome it back with open arms.
[8]

Alex Macpherson: Someone out there, some English teacher or family member or devoted boyfriend, is responsible for this. At some point, when Jem tentatively expressed her dream of becoming a singer and songwriter (and it would have been tentatively, she doesn't do things any other way), someone encouraged her, maybe even actively supported her. Someone told this girl that her anodyne observations about the outside world needed to be shared with it; that her incredibly banal metaphors for life (it is like a car, apparently, but one which you have to keep driving) were capable of adding meaning to it. And now we have to pay. If she ever wins an award, the one silver lining will be that she might mention this person by name, so then we'll know who to blame, i.e. hunt down and kill.
[0]


Death From Above 1979 – Black History Month
[5.20]


Dom Passantino: 10CC for the Myspace generation.
[5]

Alex Macpherson: RARRR! This song is big and tough and mean and wants to eat you right up with its sharp teeth and rumbling bass. And, er, delicate xylophone coda. But just listen to those riffs thrust!
[8]

Paul Scott: I hate to use the term ‘gimmick’ to describe their use of just a drum kit and bass guitar, but in the case of DFA 1979 it just feels so apt. Whereas Lightning Bolt have used this stripped down inversion of tradition to expand far beyond hackneyed templates of conventional rock DFA 1979 don’t go anywhere that folks with more conventional line ups haven’t been a million times before and to far better effect. I have never heard a Queens Of The Stone Age B side but I get the feeling it probably sounds a lot like this. The whole drum and bass thing just feels like a faintly desperate attempt to make them slightly interesting, a gimmick basically.
[3]

David Jones: When a band’s already notched up the rock riff of the decade (that’d be ‘Romantic Rights’ last year) anything else seems a bit of a disappointment. DFA could be mistaken for QOTSA here, which is no bad thing, but the synth lines towards the end point towards a possible ‘industrial’ future direction. Don’t do it, you elephantine bastards…
[7]

Jessica Popper: There's so much of this 80s synth rock around at the moment, but this is quite convincing - it could easily be mistaken for the genuine article. That doesn't mean it's any good, though.
[3]


Do Me Bad Things – Move In Stereo
[5.50]


Doug Robertson: Last time they turned up on the Singles Jukebox, I gave them a somewhat unenthusiastic reception, mainly due to the fact that they sounded like a bad rock band from the seventies. Now, however, things are different, they sound like a half-decent FM rock band from the seventies. It’s still nothing overly exciting and shouldn’t have anyone racing down to the record stores to buy it, but you can at least listen to this without racing down to your local high street to warn anyone who may be about of the musical horror which is on it’s way.
[6]

Joe Macare: On the basis of their singles to date, one thing you couldn't call Do Me Bad Things is predictable – they sound like a different band on each one, and sometimes like more than one band during the course of a song. This doesn't come close to the dizzyingly anthemic heights of 'Time For Deliverence', but just about edges out the overly messy 'What's Hideous?'. It's pleasant in a 70s stoner rock kinda way, but perhaps inevitably, it could do with being a good deal tighter and shorter.
[6]

Dom Passantino: Starts off like the soundtrack for a Fleetwood Mac platform game on the Mega Drive. Continues as radio-pop the way the god of the 1970s intended. Ends with a fade. Retains a stupidly wide grin on my face all the way through.
[9]

Tom Ewing: This record does that indie-pop thing whereby there are loads of chord changes and melodic shifts and surprises but all the complexity seems arbitrary, a card-shuffle designed to distract you from something, in this case probably the absence of a good central hook. Kind of horrible sounding, actually.
[3]

Alex Macpherson: Oh dear, they appear to have overdone the fusion this time round: there's too much forced funk in here when possibly straight-up rock would be more suitable, and the effect is rather like your dad dancing in public. It doesn't help that the singer sounds curiously submissive to the guitar action; you want to shake him, and tell him to be more of a man, to force himself on the song! Sadly, it is not to be.
[4]


The Long Blondes – Appropriation (By Any Other Name)
[5.90]


Alex van Vliet: This song is a wilfully rubbish love letter to everyone who ever learnt too many words in tertiary education. Years spent pissing away your brain cells at words you’ll never need in a future climbing up the career ladder of a cunting call centre.
[6]

Mike Atkinson: An acquaintance of mine, who promotes small but carefully chosen showcase gigs up and down the country, came rushing up to me in a bar about four months ago, with the names of three hot new bands on his eager lips. Of these three, the Magic Numbers are already safely on their way to becoming this year's Thrills, the unusally young Fear Of Music remain an unknown quantity - but on the strength of this cracking little tune (imagine Elastica fronted by a blend of Chrissie Hynde and Siouxsie Sioux), the admirably precocious Long Blondes could out to be the pick of the bunch. I particularly commend them for being precocious enough to stuff "Appropriation" full with loads of slightly unwieldy Big Words, thus re-introducing a vocabulary which is well outside the range of most - if not all - of the current crop of young guitar bands. One suspects that Morrissey would approve.
[9]

Paul Scott: In his rather good Britpop tome The Last Party John Harris declares; “Some day soon Elastica’s self titled debut album will be held aloft as a Velvets-esque totem for a new crop of punk-influenced hopefuls.” Well, here come the Long Blondes – the choppy riffing is in place and crikey, that really does sound like Justine Frischman, but that hook’s a bit watery and really shouldn’t you have stopped by now? The thing is to make short and sharp punk pop one has to be, well, short and sharp. This is to Elastica what The Kaiser Chiefs are to Menswe@r - a pale imitation of a band that surely could have lain a little longer in the past.
[5]

Tom Ewing: I heard an Elastica record for the first time in ages yesterday and it reminded me what a lame idea they were, taking Blondie and sucking out the disco, the reggae, the wilful wish to make new things. Elastica's version of new wave was pinched, trimmed, eager to please and built with a cold eye for detail. They were charismatic, successful and knew their stuff but they always gave the impression that post-punk had been a puzzle and one that they had solved. For me they left the world less interesting than they had found it. And what have the Long Blondes to do with Elastica? Have a bleedin ' guess.
[2]

Joe Macare: Very, very reminiscent of the kind of 1990s acts who would be played on the Evening Session, raved about by the smarter critics in the music press, and totally lost on yer average clueless Cast lover. Note the lyrics about “the lingering malaise of British Rail” and the fox-hunting debate, and the violin part, which is actually by one of Pulp but reminds me of nothing so much as My Life Story (remember them, readers?). In general this is like a much, much cleverer (early) Sleeper, or a more typically guitar-driven Black Box Recorder. The “stop this man!” bit at the end is pretty much genius. When I fought in the Britpop Wars, this was what my side was fighting for. We lost, but obviously it wasn't entirely in vain.
[10]


Patrick Wolf – Wind in the Wires
[5.91]


John Seroff: Patrick Wolf requires careful listening; his songs are less actively engaging and more labyrinths that require unwinding. Precious, ambitious, doey-eyed goth-folk with electronic ghosts buzzing and hissing ('Wind in the Wires,' indeed) atop Wolf's wan, weepy crooning; 'Wires' is at once lavish and disarmingly bare. The unmistakable whiff of pretention and pomp that hangs heavy over most of Wolf's work is evident here ('aviary' becomes a three syllable word), but the patient will find that delving deeper is rewarding; 'Wind in the Wires' is surprisingly deep, even moreso because it's so clearly TRYING to be surprisingly deep.
[8]

Doug Robertson: Not only is this the sort of beautiful, epic loveliness that Mr Wolf does so well, but he’s also managed to sort out his vocals so that, when trying to persuade others of his genius, you no longer need to add the caveat: “Just give the voice a few minutes”. Fortunately while it’s no longer quite as initially grating, he hasn’t lost the unique charm which made people fall in love with him in the first place. He’s still an acquired taste, but it’s a taste that’s well worth putting the effort in.
[8]

Tom Ewing: Patrick torments himself over every sharp and dolorous note. It makes the song feel ten minutes long, but does encourage you to pay attention to the precise production and imaginative instrumentation. I've listened to this several times, trying to reconcile its obvious sincerity, ambition and commitment with my gut feeling that it's overwrought rubbish. No luck so far: bad Wolf.
[3]

Mike Atkinson: Oy! Give it a rest, Wordsworth! "Like a bird, in an ay-vyer-rrree", croons Patrick, oh so earnestly, with a preciousness of diction which constantly teeters on the brink of absurdity. "Singing to the sky, just singing to be free-uh." At which point, you wish someone would just revoke his Bad Poetry Licence, and bundle him off to a retreat for six months with a copy of the Antony & The Johnsons album. Because although there's nothing wrong with pseudo-literary effeteness per se (indeed, I would defend it to the death), it really needs to be founded on something a good deal more substantial than this kind of vapid, swooning self-regard.
[5]

David Jones: Patrick Wolf has an incredible pedigree. He joined Minty, the greatest art rock group of all time (eat your heart out Art Brut), at the age of 14 and was placed under the tutelage of Capitol K a few years later. While ‘To the Lighthouse’ from 2003’s Lycanthropy (how many Wolf references can one man accumulate?) was near-perfect glitch-pop I suspect he’s onto something far greater now he’s abandoned his laptop for a chamber orchestra and gone chasing after Vincent Gallo, Nick Cave et al. The whole thing is meticulous: its bleakness derives from echoey, repeated piano and acoustic guitar chords and an almost imperceptible shading of background noise. I doubt any other commentators are marking 2005 as ‘vintage year of desolate piano-driven soundscapes’ but I’m cueing this up alongside Hood and Antony and the Johnsons and getting as far away from pop music as I possibly can.
[9]


Basement Jaxx – U Don’t Know Me
[6.10]


Tom Ewing: In which Basement Jaxx fuss about trying to make a rock song. Turns out, after a mess of quotes, nudges, honks and blurts, that they can't.
[6]

Alex Macpherson: Hmm. It almost sounds like the Jaxx were trying to create an evil twin for 'Good Luck' - Lisa Kekaula's back on vox, but the rawk-heavy track's dark and dirty rather than monstrously triumphant. That's terrific in theory, but they don't quite pull it off: 'U Don't Know Me' trudges where it should grind, and the unsubtly Sellotaped-on carnival howls can't make up for the fact that there's nothing about the song to actually inspire real life excitement. Even the punctum-in-waiting of Kekaula spitting "you're sketchy sketchy!" doesn't quite ignite the synapses the way it should.
[6]

Doug Robertson: On the one hand this is a great track, very danceable, all crunchy synths and pulsing basses and everything you’d expect a Basement Jaxx track to be. But on the other, that’s exactly its problem: it’s everything you’d expect a Basement Jaxx track to be and there’s no sense whatsoever that they’re doing anything other than following the same recipe they’ve been following for years. There is a touch of Goldfrapp in the mix, but ultimately all that makes you do is wish you were listening to Goldfrapp instead.
[6]

John Seroff: Here's what I wrote after listening to the album version of 'U Don't Know Me' twenty-something times: When you're competing with the very best of Armand Van Helden (whose amazing '99 "U Don't Know Me" has nothing in common with this track), you better come correct. There's no one I'd trust more with that task than the producers behind Basement Jaxx, likely my favorite electronic band of all time. Imagine my surprise finding myself face to face with this joyless trudge through much travelled "I Will Survive" territory. I reserve the right to take it all back if this someday clicks, but "Don't Know Me" sounds pedestrian and boring, two things I've never associated with the Jaxx. Quite disappointing. THEN, I found the video version which takes the album cut, speeds it up, adds percussion/electronics/the "hey!hey!" girl from Prodigy's 'Firestarter, tacks on a fuzzy and bass-heavy break in the middle and generally reinvents the cut as the kind of wonder that I've come to EXPECT from the Jaxx. Redeemed! Skip the album version (which, if pressed, I'd rate as a '4') and grab the far superior and booty-movin' video mix, pronto!
[8]

Barima Nyantekyi: In which the Jaxx take it upon themselves to avenge dance of the likes of "I Like The Way You Move" with a metal machine monster built on the same vision of riffing dance, albeit one that owes more to Prince and his Purple Reign of current electrohouse, and, far too obviously for these guys, a slowed down "Strict Machine". There's a certain efficiency to the production layers, that renders it a little bit quieter than the Kish Kash days, and the groove sounds like it was supplied by The Prodigy's Liam Howlett. Of 2004. And this is not entirely a good thing, because it's not like these boys to play it safe, even on their own terms. Not entirely A-Side, more like an AA. But hey, y'all will dance.
[7]


Kano – Remember Me
[6.25]


Alex van Vliet: This is still the same guy who did ‘What Have U Done’, right? Unhappy smiley alert!
[4]

John Seroff: Kano's style is at once on and off the beat, slightly ahead and slightly behind. It's a unique and impressive flow that serves him remarkably well, allowing him to take on verbal flights of fancy previously reserved only for such hip hop acrobats as Busta and Twista, namely dirty dancing atop a samba to the pace of a pair of maracas. A "next big thing" who genuinely delivers is a rarity in the rap game, but Kano pays off like a greased slot machine; if anyone deserves to follow Dizzee into the states, this is the man. God willing, '06 will bring us the year of the crunk/grime crossover; Kano and BG battling on the track is the stuff dreams is made of.
[8]

Barima Nyantekyi: It's Kano's Night Out, y'see, and he is getting wasted on some Hennesseeee. His words are slurred, his vision's slurred, the girls are having none of it and the DJ seems to be playing the Wiseguy's "Ooh La La" over Missy and Ludacris' "Gossip Folks". Managing to lift his head above the edge of the club table, our hero manages to shout "Standard! I'm gonna spit all over that in the studio" before slipping into a lurid fantasy of Cuban Heels, Cuban cigars and Cuban vibes in which he probably did get lucky with Adele from Block C. The GBP should certainly remember him, because there's been better from him, like, say, all his previous singles. This is just a more commercial number to bend their ears and let them know they ain't seen nothing yet.
[7]

Alex Macpherson: It would be churlish to point out that 'Remember Me' doesn't have the same mind-blowing impact of Kano's underground cuts of last year, 'Ps & Qs', 'What Have You Done?' and 'Boys Luv Girls' in particular: the intention is not the same. So let's just focus on the reasons it's still superlative, despite not being recognisably grimy in any form. There's the infectious, tipsy Latin rhythm incongruously puncturing Kano's braggadocio, sounding curiously English and making the whole song beautifully self-deprecating; it's at once a novelty throwaway and potentially the sound of summer 2005. There are the everyday details, the way it captures familiar, comfortable buzzes so perfectly. And then there's the man's undeniable charisma to top it all off, his total buffness coming through loud and clear in that smooth, smooth voice.
[9]

Tom Ewing: There must be a massive disconnect for many ordinary punters between grime's ever-growing reputation as the most exciting sound in Britain and its in-store reality as an endless source of clumsy comedy records. Kano's reeling marriage of 50s instrumental and 00s rhyme is as queasy and unpleasant as the end of a drunken night: for all the man's huge talent I don't think this track was worth making.
[5]


Bark Psychosis – 400 Winters
[6.30]


Jessica Popper: I was expecting barking mad psychos so this boring old thing that you can barely even hear is more than a little disappointing. However, with a bit more 'oomph' it could be quite nice and I like the "na-na-nana"s in the background. An ode to their grandmothers, how lovely!
[5]

Alex van Vliet: OH MY GOD I LOVE THAT TURIN BREAKS, RIGHT?!
[5]

Tom Ewing: Rather unfairly I've always tagged Bark Psychosis as being one of those acts who release records when better bands won't. Talk Talk gone a bit quiet? My Bloody Valentine stalled on their 'jungle record'? These are your boys! And so this gentle, soothing, shifting half-pop reminds me of AR Kane's underrated latter-day albums and spin-offs. Not in the sense that it sounds irritatingly derivative, in the productive sense of making me want to dig them out.
[8]

Mike Atkinson: What sweet relief it is to stumble across a single which, instead of frantically trying to assert itself all over the place, is merely content to evoke. In this case, what is evoked is a kind of gauzy, shimmering midsummer haze: a vaseline-smeared lens, through which one might catch glimpses of veiled nymphs cavorting in lush, verdant meadows, or dragonflies buzzing above still lily ponds, or... well, look, why don't you tell me what you see? Yes, let that be your creative writing assignment for this week. Four hundred words on my desk by Friday lunchtime, please.
[7]

Paul Scott: Bark Psychosis perfectly capture the feeling of travelling by coach through London late at night. Voices whisper distantly like strangers’ conversations overheard as you half heartedly try and remain wakeful, each instrument twinkles and flashes, never quite coming into focus, always slightly beyond recognition. Dark, mysterious and quietly beautiful, the music effortlessly builds, looming from above, consuming everything, yet instead of hitting a crescendo it opens up yawning gaps stretching out like the urban hinterland before you and it is through these spaces you float barely conscious, subsumed within the city’s fitful slumber. (This actually happened last October by the way.)
[8]


Missy Elliott ft. Ciara & Fatman Scoop – Lose Control
[7.00]


Alex van Vliet: To bastardise that old review of Martin Amis, like discovering your favourite aunt used to shit in stranger’s mouths for money.
[2]

Jessica Popper: This morning I would have given this a low score and hoped never to hear it again, but since I did hear it again today and suddenly realised that the Ciara section is really quite catchy! Sadly the Fatman Scoop bit goes the other way, getting more painful with every listen, so I can't raise the score too much.
[4]

John Seroff: If I had to talk a troubled young man off of a building ledge, I would tell him that next year Missy will surely drop another monster hit and does he really want to miss that? I sure as hell don't, not with the possibility of seeing her top her new single. But what a tall order that would be; with its beautiful loops of impossibly mounting Cybotron crescendos, Mantronix production by Missy in her prime ('throw it in they face like UNNGH!' is the 'put my thang down flip it and reverse it' of 2005), Ciara doing her best Michael Jackson (plus she raps!) and Fatman Scoop providing gruff squaredance instruction; 'Lose Control' is party gospel, endlessly rewarding and simply the best pop single I've heard this year. Elliot is already the most interesting voice in pop and R+B (and, arguably, hip hop); with 'Lose Control' she's just doing victory laps and making it look easy. I look forward to hearing this all summer.
[10]

Barima Nyantekyi: The honest truth right here: SINGLE OF THE WEEK. Ordinarily, I'm sure Hip Hop Connection wouldn't single out our Missy for a Quotables session, but the lines she drops here are writ anthemic all over the wall. "The walk to the club is FI-YAH!" indeed. Taking it back to when electro made George Clinton's Mothership sound like a distinct possibility, Missy transmits live from planet Cybotron, with the kind permission of Pan-Galactic Kind Juan Atkins, and the ever-ready aid of Misdemeanor's Miscreants, Ciara, sounding like a sassy kid baby-step rapping in her mirror with the cuteness, and crazy old Fatman Scoop, who is hungry for the festivities that usually ensue at one of Missy's jams. And hell, do they start a riot. If the video doesn't feature Ciara, Alyson Stoner (of the "Work It" and "Gossip Folks" videos fame) and the other members of the Missy Teen Gang robot dancing on the cockpit of a Funkadelic starship, I'm turning in my fan club membership.
[10]

Alex Macpherson: Used to be that Missy Elliott singles weren't just singles, they were Events. 'Lose Control' is a timely reminder that very few people can do Events like Missy, even if they have been AWOL for a few years. It hits you straight away, that audacious MUSICMAKEYOULOSECONTROL sample ringing out like a rallying call to the dancefloor, where Missy rewards you with spectacular arpeggios of rave noises climbing up your back and rhymes pulled tighter and tighter until ooh, that's corset-tight! Then Ciara enters to sprinkle fairy dust over proceedings and suddenly you realise that this is actually '1 2 Step' turned inside out and into booty bass, and before you know it Ciara is rapping, swapping not just lines but words with Missy with a juggler's timing - and we're not even halfway through.
[10]


By: UK Stylus Staff
Published on: 2005-06-13
Comments (4)
 

 
Today on Stylus
Reviews
October 31st, 2007
Features
October 31st, 2007
Recently on Stylus
Reviews
October 30th, 2007
October 29th, 2007
Features
October 30th, 2007
October 29th, 2007
Recent Music Reviews
Recent Movie Reviews