My sister made me put the following as penance for petrifying her: Rest in peace Ricci Martin. He won't be Livin' La Vida Loca any time soon - nor, for that matter, has ever done, since this Ricci Martin (20 September 1953 - 3 August 2016; news broke four days later) is Dean Martin's son, and has nothing to do with Ricky Martin, who is (at the time of writing) alive and well.
In more interesting news, Pop Idol winner Will Young has been confirmed for the brand new series of Strictly Come Dancing on BBC One. Saira Khan's been evicted from Celebrity Big Brother, Chloe Khan's been evicted from Celebrity Big Brother.
What, again? Banks has another record out this week, the third in less than a month. This one's just plain weird - about two minutes of spaced-out noises, annotated only by an uncharacteristically stiff vocal line from Banks, ending with a set of drums, then a verse and outro like something M.O would slur after too many (it begins "who do you, who do you, who"). Keep this for the album release.
Bon Jovi has This House Is Not For Sale up this week. The record is a solid slab of hard rock, complete with a chunky guitar solo, and is a bit like going round a favourite uncle's house after many years; he's replaced his guitarist, had his bassist walk out on him, but it's still the same band that we knew from before.
Another week, another Britney single. This one is a vivacious return to form that actually comes across like it's trying to unleash the energy owed to the public after the lethargic Make Me… and the unhinged Private Show; parts of it evoke an explosion at a synth factory. But why, oh, why did they think it was a good idea to run a pathetic excuse for a drop at the end of the third verse with Britney's voice - it undermines the rage of the record! With a bit of promotion, this could be a hit.
I don't know why I'm reviewing this, it's ineligible for the UK Singles Chart… but anyway. Daniella Mason has Technicolour [sic] this week which is technically an album, as it's got five tracks on it, but is advertised as an EP. Shade of You and All I Want premiered as stand-alone singles in 2014. Technicolour [sic] and Planet are unexciting, torpid tracks which meld into each other; by the end of the roughly seven minutes the two tracks took to play simultaneously, I was so bored stiff that Distant Lover sounded like Tears for Fears' Everybody Wants to Rule the World on steroids. Shade of You wouldn't sound out of place on a Katy Perry album, though I can't imagine her singing about its sycophantic subject matter. All I Want is a laborious, languid lump that I really don't want! I was going to suggest pillaging this record, but there's little that could be rescued.
Danny L Harle teams up with Carly Rae Jepsen for Super Natural [sic]. A euphoric but heavy-handed track, the song sounds makes the mistake of beginning with a thick bass-line, which only serves to make the rest of the song sound boring, and indeed quickly scarpers to reveal a repetitive, dishevelled record. In short, it is a hit bowdlerised by rotten execution.
The Courteneers are back with The 17th, possibly one of the trickiest records to Google properly I have ever reviewed. The track is a divine mix of drums, piano clinks, occasional guitar lines (which, for our money, we wish were significantly longer) and hoarse vocals; they would have done well to have left it at that and not included a quartet of ostentatious motorcycle-like grunts before the final guitar solo. Otherwise, a brilliant record.
Cvbz, presumably pronounced Cubs, has come out with Be Like You this week. An unusually turbulent introduction leads into a soulful set of verses and choruses separated by DJ Snake-like shrieks. This is one of those records that should be a hit, but probably won't be.
Disciples has issued Daylight this week, a chunky house record which would stand perfectly well as an instrumental but falls flat with its current vocals; there are eight lines of unique lyrics, which are repeated ad nauseam throughout the track. With the choruses trimmed, this could be a hit; as it stands, it outstays its welcome very quickly. All in all, it's initially succulent but doesn't take long to ossify and become stodgy.
We can't get information about Calvin Harris right. Not only did we miss an accent on Olé (see last week's footnote), but now we discover that we forgot about Spectrum when noting what he was best known for. Oops. The band whose Spectrum Harris remixed, Florence + The Machine, have released an EP called Songs From Final Fantasy XV this week. Too Much is Never Enough is a cinematic track complete with Florence's trademark acoustic guitar strums and strings, but runs for far too long. Stand By Me is a fitting tribute to Ben E King, who had a #1 with the record in 1987 but died last year. I Will Be suffers from fatigue; there is a horrible stench of 'almost done lads' throughout the record, right to the point of Florence perfunctorily popping in every now and again to plonk down her vocals. Overall, as much miss as hit.
Bang Bang is Green Day's newest release. Whereas Bon Jovi's newest was a slab of rock, this is surely a slob of rock; sung from the perspective of a mass shooter, the song begins with a concatenation of related news clips and hits and diversifies into a slovenly clump of rock, with no personality, no life whatsoever. This has no hope of being a hit.
GTA, What So Not and Tunje Ige bring themselves together to produce Feel It. The song is a pulse-less piece; it saunters along casually with no enthusiasm, and if it was more laid-back it'd be horizontal. Ige's vocals add no flavour to proceedings, and frankly GTA are another band who have died once their life support (Martin Solveig) has been pulled.
Jake Miller has released Good Thing this week. The song kicks off with half a chorus, before a moiled synth (not, it has to be said, unlike The Weeknd's Can't Feel My Face) and a muffled slap kick in. It's not a bad record, but it doesn't go anywhere; the half-chorus at the start sets the rest of the record up for an anti-climax, and frankly the post-chorus synths do my nut in. Rubbish.
Jamie T has released Power Over Men this week. Beginning with a barely audible sample of a voiceover from actress Florence Bell (an old friend of [T's] from college), Power Over Men is a record that contains just the right amount of energy without crossing the line into excessive, with mean guitar complementing T's rugged vocals. Good luck to it.
Joy Crookes sings Sinatra this week. Containing absolutely no nod to anything ever released by (Frank) Sinatra from whom the track gets its title, the song is a soulful, downbeat cracker which acts as a sweet entrée for what Crookes could come out with. If we were to moan about it at all, we would say that it can get a bit monotonous after a while, although the savoury, thickly-accented chunk in the middle provides a welcome but brief break in the middle which provides welcome release. I can't stand its abrupt ending, though, but otherwise great stuff.
Kate Nash has released her Good Summer this week. A breezy, lithe set of electronics lies down and delicately massages Nash's vocals, stops for a breather to let a guitar do its thing every now and again and promptly resumes its rub-down, evoking the feeling of being subject to all the sun's rays gingerly gouging the body. All in all, not a bad record.
Kattison has Up And Down out this week. Rich bass-lines hum slowly like an orchestra of microwaves, while some of the most overexcited drums I've heard in ages fizz as a microwave would in a bathtub. These mix with an uncredited female's really rather treacly vocals like a rusty coin in cola for a record that, despite its bloated choruses, still feels too short. A miss.
OneRepublic have oozed Kids this week. This record reacts the singer's vocals with unusually prominent synths and negligible drums; guitar strums line the first verse, while the second verse trades this in for a thicker bass guitar and the third verse gets rid of that altogether. Even more annoying than the repetitive bass drum stings which pepper the track are the nasty chasms in the middle of each chorus; while they try to help exaggerate their second halves, they only serve to form the first, second and third of four anticlimaxes (the fourth will be its chart position).
Regina Spektor has this week unleashed Small Bill$ on us. It is a laboured, leaden record on which Spektor can't make her mind up whether or to sing or rap in places comprises of dense synths, hefty percussion thumps and occasional string stings layered on top of three verses (why the third is extended with a repeat of the first half of the second I do not know) and at the end a tasty instrumental coda. An excellent record - not one I expect to see on the charts, mind, but an excellent record nonetheless.
New record?!? No - this is a remix of a Charles Hamilton's Lessons, on which Bruno featured, and although whose presence could be a bit rich at times, Hamilton's rapping livened up a stagnant beat; with only Bruno singing, the record feels like four minutes of trying to resuscitate a dead body. It is worth noting that Hamilton's version contained a spicy guitar across the first couple of verses, which the solo version removes, which only proceeds to make the record even more monotonous; it also shuts up after its third chorus, while Bruno's version carries on and fades out. While Hamilton's vocals, reacted against the guitars, was too much, Bruno's empty version is excruciating.
Tom Chaplin has issued Heartened Heart this week. After a lifeless introduction, which livens up just as it gets boring; the strings harden, kick into angry drum slaps and tiny tickles of the synth and transform into a meaty chorus. Unfortunately, that is the climax; it doesn't go anywhere from there, meaning it gets boring very quickly.
Another EP ineligible for the UK Singles Chart; this week, Trampolene have released The Gangway. The title track was first released on 1 July 2016 - other tracks released that day were amongst the first batch we reviewed - and is a dirge which hits the ground jogging and contains a juicy guitar solo, but never quite builds into a full run. Tom Hardy, on the other hand, hit the ground running on 26th February 2016 and builds to an anthemic chorus. Friday I'm In Love is a cover of a track by The Cure recorded for a Radio X session, and is an enjoyable enough if raucous romp through the week, though we aren't won over by the repetition of the chorus at the start, nor the guitar solo (it leads the viewer to think there's more coming); I heard the original shortly after listening to the EP, and that trumps this every time. Letting You Down is, well, a let-down; it's a comatose come-down from the previous three tracks, although there's no harm in a little diversity. After all, variety is the spice of life. That said, given the diminutiveness of To Be a Libertine, it's difficult to think of any convincing reason why they released it as a standalone track and not as a hidden track at the end of Letting You Down.
Gawd, awful! Tritonal locks horns with Jenaux on this week's Broken, while Adam Lambert tries to wrap his head around what's going on around him. The song runs in like a bull in a china shop, and doesn't take long for the song to sound like scrap tracks from Tritonal's and Jenaux's bins laid on top of each other in a desperate bid to offload them. Not a snowball's chance in hell.
WSTRN has this week released A-List. A laid-back, guitar-and-clap based composition, silky vocals layer the first and second verses and choruses of the song, while a hoarse rap studs the third. The guitars are like rich dark chocolate; delicious for a bit, but they get rich very quickly because there's no variety whatsoever (it's the same line throughout). Close, but no cigar.
What's this? A record with the powerful message of peace and unity of a charity release coupled with anthemic beats capable of holding their own against any of the globally famous DJs such as Avicii or David Guetta? You bet - released in the middle of last week on 9 August 2016, Yonee's Bombs Of My Love is a powerful record; with Yonee's tender vocals and oddly right-at-home strings complimenting the record perfectly. This should be a hit, and I hope it becomes one.
At #1 is Cold Water, which we reviewed when it came out. Runner-up? Justin Bieber again, as he features on DJ Snake's Let Me Love You. By our reckoning, this is the third time this year Bieber has simultaneously occupied the top two slots this year, and sixth in the last year. (The other five weeks were with Love Yourself and Sorry.) Chainsmokers and Halsey's Closer advances to #12, Martin Garrix and Bebe Rexha make their way to #41, while Can't Stop the Feeling by Justin Timberlake, You Don't Know Love by Olly Murs, Cruel by Snakehips and Zayn, Rise by Katy Perry, Don't Need No Money by Imani Williams, Sigala and Blonde remain on the chart while Cool Girl by Tove Lo enters the chart at #55. Fake It by Bastille and Kiss the Sky by Jason Derulo have dropped out.