SINGLE OF THE WEEK
Gruff Rhys – ‘Honey All Over’ (Turnstile Records)
No, the title is not a comment on his dulcet tones or a naughty statement about (ahem!) love juice a-la Mariah at her most minxy. Although if this tune had reached its intended musical destination of one Britney Jean Spears (true story), Lord knows what kind of worn out ‘Carry On’ style innuendo would have ensued. Instead we get the much more modest Mr. Rhys pondering the dissolution of a relationship with a mind-tricking lady over wonky keyboards and sprightly xylophone noises. Although it’s easy to imagine Britters pouring sugar over the already seductively sweet poptastic chorus. An odd choice for a single perhaps as, despite its obvious heartwarming charms, it doesn’t have the instantaneous sledgehammer appeal of album hip-shaker ‘Christopher Columbus’ and for the initiated ‘Honey All Over’ is a bit Gruff-by-numbers; lovely numbers they may be, but it’s no nautical themed romp. It’s a summery soft-shoe shuffle – something you could imagine Dennis Wilson crooning to the Manson girls at some Laurel Canyon house party (but minus the murderous results, obviously).
Lykke Li – ‘Sadness is a Blessing’ (Atlantic)
Is there any point in reviewing a song that’s had ceaseless radio play for the past month and already feels like it’s an old song? Surely we’re all familiar with the tedious, lazy Spector production comparisons (yes, it has big drums…) We’ve all nodded along and tried our best to sympathise with Lykke and her ode to how even beautiful girls get the blues – we’re all up to speed on this one. In summary, it’s ‘Be My Baby’ in broken English; a twilight hour, mascara streaked, whiskey stained, paean to the comfort of delving into the inky blackness of the soul. For those wanting more, there’s also an artsy video featuring Lykke twirling about wildly in a fancy restaurant like the prettiest drunkard you’ve ever seen drop their chips in Roma II.
Calvin Harris (Featuring Kelis) – ‘Bounce’ (Columbia)
Calvin Harris is the man we all remember as the silly fool who once tried to sabotage a Jedward X Factor performance by dancing round with a pineapple on his head. Apparently he also wrote some songs about such topics as girls and the ’80s, and he’s Scottish and very tall or something. Hilarious. Anyway, having recently thrown a spectacularly public tantrum on Twitter about the injustice of Katy Perry making him stand behind a box on her tour (try placing him IN it next time love…) he has decided to go back to the old fashioned way of getting press…by writing a song! Thankfully, this ‘song’ features Kelis, whose smouldering vocals could make any old muck sound alluring and exciting – which is lucky because this sounds like a child releasing air from a balloon over and over again with some extra added bleeps. It is bound to be huge. Welcome back Calvin!
Charli XCX – ‘Stay Away’ (Atlantic)
Charli XCX is what the pop landscape has been missing. Ever since the mid ’90s there’s been a Martika-shaped hole in the pop parade and not even the ridiculous Eminem sampling of ‘Toy Soldiers’ could fix it. Martika had the ice cold purr of an apathetic Beverly Hills teen that could flip to a full bodied, impassioned shriek in the next breath. No wonder Prince threw songs at her like dirty dollar bills. Alas, after the all round rubbishness of the perky ‘Martika’s Kitchen’ she faded into obscurity, as did her style of bizarrely effecting emo-pop. Thank our musical overlords for Charli XCX who manages to ignite the spirit, if not voice, of Martika on this coolly sexy slice of monochromatic pop. It’s the two sides of Shakespeare’s Sister rolled together, it’s the exclusively dark chocolate box of ‘Black Magic’ festering on the shelf, it’s Audrey’s dance sequence in ‘Twin Peaks’. That’s right: it’s grown up pop that we desperately need more of.