by / May 10th, 2011 /

Top Story: New Singles: Yasmin, Austra, Chris Brown, Sade, Clare Maguire & more

The new singles for your perusal – featuring lots of totally uncalled-for name-calling.


Yasmin – ‘Finish Line’

Some people – grannies – moan that all pop music nowadays sounds the same, it’s all bang bang bang and you can’t make out the words. This proves them wrong. There’s a nice, filthy drum sound on this so crank it up because verily it is ace. ‘Finish Line’ is not auto-tuney, and not full of those bright David Guetta house sounds that people complain about and so it’s something of a bit of fresh air. The single is also a bit of a tear-jerker in the Rihanna “mould” and has an odd stentorian voice bellowing “FINISH LINE!” every so often just so you remember you’re not listening to the new LMFAO single by mistake, which would indeed be terrible. Good tunes, sharp production AND public service. What more do you want?

Austra – ‘Lose It’

It’s time to stop referring to this stuff as “’80s-influenced synthpop”. This is what pop music sounds like now. It involves keyboards. Get over it, medieval lute fans! Moving swiftly along, Austra wowed audiences at SXSW earlier in the spring, and ‘Lose It’ pulses forward without really grabbing your attention on first listen but give it time and its melodious charm will find its way into your head. There are hardly any lyrics to speak of, so the main attraction is the single’s haunting “lilt”.

Chris Brown featuring Benny Benassi – ‘Beautiful People’

I feel uneasy saying anything positive about girl-basher Chris Brown, whose rehabilitation into the pop fold has been troublingly swift and comprehensive. In many ways – and youth isn’t an excuse – he is a very bad man, and to make matters worse this collaboration with Benny Benassi of ‘Satisfaction’ fame (i.e. 2002 dance hit with its allegedly “sexy” video involving Nuts magazine type “babes” operating heavy machinery) is good enough to not only sustain Brown’s recent chart action but to make it sound deserved. The bastard.

Hurts – ‘Illuminated’/’Better Than Love’

Never the jolliest pop groups, Hurts nevertheless excel at windswept ballads of the Illuminated variety. But the “other a-side” – whatever that means in an age of downloads – is MUCH better. ‘Better Than Love’ wasn’t a huge hit on release at the beginning of 2010 and despite being an uptempo swirlaway pop anthem I’m not sure it will fare much better this time, but as classic British pop groups go Hurts are quite convincing. It’s a pity the public haven’t quite taken them to their hearts. They’re a funny lot, the public.

Sade – ‘Love Is Found’

Taken from their (“ALWAYS REMEMBER SADE IS A BAND, NOT A SINGER” says my Music Journo’s Amazing Book Of Top Tips Handbook) upcoming career retrospective, ‘Love Is Found’ continues the dark chocolate sound of last year’s Soldier Of Love album. This single lacks the pampered feel of Sade records of yore, but Adu could sing the collected works of The Pigeon Detectives and make them sound good. Well, maybe. When I was a young lad, my elder brother would stick Diamond Life in the CD player when we watched Coronation Street, and he’d press play whenever Ken Barlow appeared on screen. This meant even the mundane moments in Ken’s life (popping into The Kabin, applying for a job as a shopping trolley attendant at Bettabuys) were accompanied by the smokey sax and dulcet strains of the intro to ‘Smooth Operator’ – a louche, cocktail bar jazz soundtrack befitting the Weatherfield Lothario and all round love-pump’s daily business. “I’m not boring!”, that was his catchphrase. Ah, you had to make your own entertainment back then. Anyway. That’s my Sade story.

Nelly featuring Kelly Rowland – ‘Gone’

Nelly and Kelly play on the idea of being modern R’n’B’s most popular couple. The genre’s Sonny and Cher, its Shakey and Bonnie if you will. Back in 2002 they had a megasmash with ‘Dilemma’ so they’ve clearly thought “that worked well, let’s make another song with EXACTLY THE SAME TUNE which will slay the world in a similar fashion”. And that’s just what ‘Gone’ is. A single for people who are nostalgic for nine years ago. Gareth Gates will probably buy a copy or two. Ker-ching!

Clare Maguire – ‘The Shield and The Sword’

This is way too reminiscent of the awful awful awful awful AWFUL Florence Welch to be getting along with. There’s nothing especially wrong with the song, but sonically it is bombastic shouty bollocks. I’m sure it will sound just gurrrr-eat at festivals and will be just the thing to soundtrack trailers for ropey documentaries featuring Robson Green on ITV1. But a little bit of originality wouldn’t go amiss next time, and wouldn’t it be great if Maguire ditched this sound and made a fantastic, knee-quaking, groove-bound dance record? Wouldn’t it? Step to it, whoever is in charge of these decisions!

Alex Metric & Steve Angello featuring Ian Brown – ‘Open Your Eyes’

The spirit of Madchester hangs over this as Ian Brown lends his voice to an uplifting dancefloor stormer which harks back to ‘World In Motion’, the flapping of flares and the spirit of Italia ’90. Frankly I didn’t think old trout face Brown still had it in him, and maybe he doesn’t, in which case Metric and Angello deserve all the kudos. ‘Open Your Eyes’ is pleasant enough until the chorus hits and that chorus is ruddy good. So head-spinningly good in fact you too will get mixed up between dolphins and monkeys and think that this single is AMAZINGNESS ON A BAP for about 40 seconds before you come back to your senses. The world is mad, is it not?

ALSO RELEASING SINGLES IN THE HOPE THAT YOU’LL BUY THEM THIS WEEK: Zomby, Miles Kane, Ghostpoet, Cat’s Eyes, Josh T Pearson, Bruno Mars (the completely bloody terrible ‘Lazy Song’ which will probably be number one for a million years), Ed Sheeran, R.I.O, Maverick Sabre, Good Natured, and Joe Driscoll.

  • @anspideog

    Aha… brilliant. Florence ‘British Flavour of 2009’ Welch can fook right off. Hope to Jaysis they take a long time off before releasing their next album. Like, 20 years or something.

  • SandeePB

    Hey, I don’t feel uneasy about giving Chris Brown props. He deserves to be number 1, you hear that 🙂 Another thing: He’s not a girl basher so get it straight with yourself so that you can stop misleading those of us who are too weak to lead!

  • mick

    chris brown all day fuck the loser who wrote this article


  • Robert

    What an absolutely ridiculous post by the person who wrote this “review” of Chris Brown’s new music. First off, if engaging in intimate partner abuse makes someone a “very bad man,” then there are lots of very bad men and women in the United States. Consider these facts: 4.8 million women in the US are a target of intimate partner violence; 2.9 million men are victims of intimate partner violence in the US each year. Intimate partner violence costs the US 8.3 billion dollars a year in medical costs, therapy, lost productivity from work (2003 figures and likely much higher as it escalates in times of economic uncertainty.) Domestic violence occurs in 30% of intimate relationships with straight couples during the span of their relationships: no one knows how frequently violence happens in gay relationships because gay men often don’t report if they have been victims. Some other “very bad men” and “very bad women”? Eminem and his wife, john lennon, Kurt Cobain, Courtney Love, Sean Penn and Madonna, James Brown, Jackson Browne, Bill Murray, Richard Pryor, Ron Wood (Stones), Frank Sinatra just to name a few. How many of those people apologized to the general public and have faced the amount of scrutiny after having engaged in violent behavior?

    In terms of Chris’s rehabilitation being “swift,” I think perhaps you should do some research before you comment on things you clearly have no understanding about. Chris Brown has fulfilled 60 days of his 180 days of community service (that would be 180 unpaid hours of picking up trash, cleaning graffiti, and scooping horse manure from police horse barns), he has completed 120 hours of domestic violence counseling, and he has followed his court orders. Additionally, he has done volunteer work in domestic violence shelters in Los Angeles with children (not a part of his court order, but just because he wanted to understand the cycle of violence more fully) and he has contributed money and volunteerism to several charities (Best Buddies working with mentally retarded children, charity basketball games, raising money for underprivileged children in both Virginia and for the Earthquake victims of Haiti, Man Up anti-violence charity in Virginia) while his earning potential certainly wasn’t what it once was due to the charges against him. He has attended all his court ordered hearings, been lavished with praise from the judge (“”Of all the probationers I have had, no one has done a better job, or been more consistent than you. You are working diligently.”)

    Chris just came off “Deuces” being number one on the Billboard R-n-B chart for 10 Weeks (from a self promoted mix tape.) “Yeah 3x” is a worldwide top 5 smash, “Look At Me Now” was Number 2 best selling single on I-Tunes and is currently in the Top 10 on the pop chart, as well as holding down its 6th week at number one on the R-n-B chart. “No Bullsh*t” (also from previously mentioned self-promoted mix tape) spent 2 weeks at Number 1 on the Urban Charts. He currently has duets right now out with Busta Rhymes and Lil Wayne, T.I. (also charting pop and r-n-b), Keri HIlson “One Night Stand” (next single off her album), Twista (also currently charting), Diddy (also charting), new single with Chipmunk (UK grunge artist) recently hit Number 2 in the UK, “Dueces” Remix with Drake, Andre 3000, Kanye West, T.I., Rick Ross, and Fabulous (still charting), new Euro Pop single with Benny Benassi top 10 in Europe, and cuts with Jae Milz, Jawan Harris, and Pitbull. New single from Big Sean featuring Chris Brown just out! New song by T Pain featuring Chris Brown now out! Plus, don’t forget the three Grammy Award Nominations recently!! He reports to have come up with ideas for 2000 songs for his latest album, and with a library of well over 450 CB cuts, I can assure you he can sing anything. And don’t forget the 3 FREE mixtapes of all original material he put out for his fans in 2010 !! Brand new single “She Ain’t You” just out. His newest album Debuted at Number 1 on the Pop chart and remains number one on the R-n-B chart, having gone gold in 3 weeks.

    His rehabilitation is the result of hard work, tireless dedication to his craft and incredible amounts of talent!!!

    Do some research next time please!!!

  • Kevin

    Wow. I laughed hard at these reviews and even harder at the stupid responses. Get a grip people! To read that last comment you would think that Chris Brown is a saint. He completed one third of his community service! He wasn’t even paid for doing it! He followed orders from a judge! He sold lots of records and won awards! Lots of other people beat their partners too, and some of them are famous rock stars so he’s in good company! Christ almighty.

    I don’t think much of Chris Brown’s music but the writer of the article makes a good point. Chris Brown’s repentance involved releasing a song called Forgive All My Enemies. Like he’s been hard done by! Maybe he has had more negative attention for beating up his girlfriend (or engaging in “intimate partner abuse” as Robert calls it – WTF?) than Jackson Browne Ron Wood or Frank Sinatra had, but I’d say those people mentioned were very bad people too. The argument is not relevant.