Last week, we quipped that Justin Timberlake's Can't Stop the Feeling ended with two a cappella lines, and that we wished it ran to four. We saw the video for it Sunday evening on 4Music, and noted that it was slightly longer - three a cappella lines. We maintain it still feels too short, though. In the same review, we said it was the third of five records deprived of #1 by One Dance; this week, it becomes six because last Friday, Don't Let Me Down by Chainsmokers ft. Daya was demoted to #3 by Perfect Strangers by Jonas Blue ft. JP Cooper. Four of the records we reviewed last week are in the charts: Can't Stop the Feeling actually departed the top ten on Friday and is currently sitting at #11, while Katy Perry entered the chart at #25, Snakehips and Zayn entered at #38 and poor Britney Spears' Make Me… misses the top forty, coming in at #42. Fergie's M.I.L.F. $ and Olly Murs' You Don't Know Love remain on the charts.
This week, Activated sees Cher Lloyd dump her usual impish sass across a dark, empty beat comprising of nothing but dull bass, barely discernible claps, pathetic attempts at guitar strums and anathemic distorted "charged up, I'm getting activated"s. I suspect this was only released as an "I'm still here" record; it falls very badly flat, though we suspect that Lloyd's lyrics might lend themselves to something more upbeat.
Such as Banana Brain by Die Antwoord, which boasts a bellicose beat, and bastardised vocals; sounding like something straight out of Osu! (some computer game my sister plays which causes blindness and muscular disorders). Banana Brain is a volcano which erupts for nearly five minutes, pausing only for pointless extended drops and lyrics which smack of "Random page" on Urban Dictionary being clicked over and over again; we have no idea what the phrase "cookie juice gushing out your coochie, boo" means. Not a hit, but deserves to be.
Every now and again, I suggest clipping a line or two to/from a record, or moving a verse to a different place. With Gorgon City and Wyclef Jean's progressive house record Zoom Zoom, it's as though the sections defaced a dice, were shaken in a cylindrical container and cracked across the record like a rotten egg; a large chunk of the record should be excised, and the rest doused with spices and put into some semblance of order. The record is the equivalent of Jools Holland's Name That Tune; all involved sound as though they would rather be doing something else.
Three weeks ago, I berated Imani for chopping and changing aliases; she'd gone from Imani to Imani Williams. Conversely, Jahméne Douglas now performs as Jahméne, and has Is This the Time? out this week: A funky piano purr snuggles up to the loose-limbered smack of a drum which supports Jahméne's silky vocals but suffers from too much down-time; an unholy pause between the first chorus and second verse, and barely a piano note supports the first part of the third verse. Is This the Time for Jahméne's first hit? Very possibly - it was promoted by him performing on Loose Women on 15 July - but I suspect Jahméne may need to wait a little longer.
Clique much? Not to be confused with what is either a track of the same name released earlier in the year by "Major Lazer ft. Justin B" earlier this year or a opportunist, libellous parasite, Major Lazer invites Justin Bieber, with whom band member Diplo's had a #3 hit whilst half of Jack Ü, and MØ, with whom he's had a #2 hit alongside DJ Snake, on to his new single Cold Water. Neither record is particularly bad - B's Cold Water is a slinky piece that actually evokes being in cold water, while Bieber's Cold Water is an upbeat, guitar led piece with very little else save for the spunky, unseemly synths during the choruses; partially owing to it sharing a sound with some of Bieber's solo records (Love Yourself springs to mind), MØ sounds as though she's sauntered into the studio while Bieber had gone for lunch. But whose idea was it to fade out the end of the record - let it run its course!
You can't say this column doesn't review all sorts. Enter country singer Miranda Lambert's Vice; released last Monday, Lambert details her post-divorce deeds of getting drunk and high and bouncing from bloke to bloke over the top of a plodding, slovenly instrumental that just crawls along, with no energy whatsoever - which sets in after an a cappella verse, and sounds like it was on its way to scrap before being half-heartedly tacked on; the phrase "2+2=3" springs to mind.
First released last year with vocals from Digital Farm Animals, this week sees Netsky's Rio remixed; as far as I can tell, all he's done is that Macklemore's added two verses to it - one after the second chorus and one right at the end - and cut it twenty seconds short. The track itself was a handsome hunk of drum 'n' bass even without Macklemore's input; with it, it leaves us wanting more. We recommend reinstating the final twenty seconds and adding a verse after the first chorus.
First released just over six months ago, the Pet Shop Boys have re-released this record as a 12" vinyl single consisting of a Carl Craig remix and a couple of demos exclusive to vinyl. The song itself is a feast of electronics, with only sparse four-line interjections of vocals; the remix extends the record by about three minutes, but shuts it off crudely at the end and introduces an enervating, poorly edited "ow who you are". While I do enjoy a longer record - I don't like to change the tune too frequently - I have to say I'll be sticking to the January version.
Finally, an actual new release to look at. Greenlight, by three apparently proud Miamians, Pitbull, Flo Rida and Lunchmoney Lewis, kicks off with an a cappella section, although unlike Vice earlier in this issue the instrumental does actually lend itself very nicely to the track; funky guitar complements the three performers' vocals and, err, exorbitant quantities of brass during the chorus (which sound about as purposeful as a cabbage in a coconut convention).
While Gucci Mane beamed about being back on road, this week Skylar Grey wants someone to take her Off Road this week; on Off Road, she discusses her ennui amidst one of the strangest sounds I've ever heard. A stutter of drums designed to evoke driving on gravel (think "Off-Road Rage" from The Getaway Car), while every now and again a nondescript synth pipes up and grates. The whole thing knocks off early, as well - we didn't even notice that the second chorus was twice the length of the first - we would have loved to have heard an instrumental version of the chorus at the end of the record.
Spare a thought this week for Taylor Swift. Two weeks ago, she was lambasted by Calvin Harris and John Newman; last week, Kanye West's wife, whose name I will not sully this site by stating but must confess to having heard of from misreading her show in my electronic program guide as "Keeping Up Appearances" and wondering what the hell I'd clicked on to, has concatenated various Snapchat clips from West's phone call to Swift and released them to the general public. Speaking to People Magazine, Gregory G. Brown, Esq. of Irvine-based business, family and trial law firm Brown & Charbonneau said that in California, recording or eavesdropping on any confidential communication without the consent of all those involved carries a "potential punishment [of] $2,500 per violation and up to a year in prison", while "willfully [sic] disclosing [its contents] carries up to one year in prison and up to $5,000 fine". This column watched Sunday evening's episode of her show, and would gladly incarcerate whoever was responsible for it for even longer.
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