Ach! Some gristle-grabbing guttersnipe described me as a "lard-arsed, unreasonable, niggardly chicken hawking bunkum and lily-livered, execrable rubbish"! This, I say this calls for massive retaliation!
Bridgit Mendler has teamed up Kaiydo for Atlantis. Sweeping electronics evoking the sensation of listening to a record while underwater submerge Mendler's vocals and flood Kaiydo's; with its spitting percussion and shrieking synths, think a seething Underwater Love (Smoke City). It is a harsh record, and not for fans of the bubblegum pop Mendler is best known for.
What the hell is this? Cashmere Cat and Francis and the Lights have digested The Weeknd's contribution and spat out a smorgasbord of shrill shrieks that frankly don't deserve to set foot outside a fire alarm, a set of vocals that have been distorted to oblivion and a procession of pugnacious pings which pepper the track like bullets. I imagine that if hell ever existed, this is the sort of music they might play in it.
The perfect antidote to the aforementioned horrors, Charlotte OC has released Blackout this week. Gentle, soulful vocals decorate a gentle guitar line and later drums like sundried tomatoes in pesto (although I'll admit that the "let the love begin" bit at the beginning was just a bit too much) while the record itself builds to a crashing, smashing crescendo. I wish this record the best of luck.
Dev has teamed up with Nef the Pharaoh for #1, but commits the cardinal sin of letting Nef begin the record - the rest of it is utterly forgettable bog-standard synths, pizzicato pricks for percussion and nondescript female vocals. We may have to withdraw our criticism of Superlove by Tinashe in issue 3; at least that went nowhere and stayed nowhere, whereas this feels like a car that's run out of petrol on a busy roundabout whilst perpendicular to the rest of the traffic. (Move Nef's stuff the other side of Dev's verses, replace the first chorus with a bar or two from Nef and start the drums just as Dev opens her mouth - you'll need some sort of carrot to tempt anyone to weather this.)
Holy hell, this is irritating. Diana, previously Wynter, Gordon lauds her fellow ladies in her new release Woman. An evocative record, it stomps along like a angry bodybuilder glaring down the high street looking for an old woman to kill with one punch; it is a furious piece, and doesn't take long before it starts to grate.
Another knob of enervation, but this time for a different reason. Dua Lipa has Blow Your Mind (Mwah) out this week, a truculent track which attempts gravitas, but falls headlong into bathos with annoying 'Mwah's littered across the record (in my day these used to be called 'Kiss', as in Kiss Kiss by Holly Valance). There probably is a decent record out of this; the single before Hotter Than Hell was a flop.
Empire of the Sun has two records out this week. Two Vines is the title track to their new album, and hits the ground running with a fury of organ licks which lead into some drums and stiff synths but for all its anger falls a bit flat. On the other hand, High and Low reserves its rage for its choruses (it begins with a laid-back piano and hi-hats and builds into a cracker of a chorus); its fade-out could do with starting a little earlier and ending later, however, but remains easily the better of the two records.
Florence + the Machine have released Wish That You Were Here this week from the Original Motion Picture Soundtrack to Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children; all six-and-a-half-minutes of it will play over its end credits. The song jogs along with Florence's usual eclectic collection of instrumentation quite innocently, but it feels like it's been lengthened artificially to meet the demands of the credits - which is fine, many of my favourite records are even longer - but for the purposes of a radio edit, that ending could be trimmed quite easily.
This week, Michael Bublé has covered Matt Monro's My Kind Of Girl for an advert for his new perfume. For this review, we've looked at versions by Bublé, Monro and Frank Sinatra with Count Basie. My Kind Of Girl is a return to Bublé's home turf - big band - but not My Kind Of Girl's. My Kind Of Girl was written as a slow, romantic piece designed to promote the vocalist, and Sinatra does this justice with his trademark loose-limbered vocals, pausing in the middle for a smooth flute solo by Frank Wess. However, Bublé's version's sounds like a band trying to sound big for the sake of it, resulting in the track being battered to bits. Shoehorning in more horns (get it?) in place of the flute only serves to make the record more monotonous. Stick to promoting last week's Nobody But Me.
From easy listening to harsh, Sean Paul has released Crick Neck this week, featuring rap vocals from Jamaican Chi Ching Ching. The BBC reckons this song also features Chimney, Banx & Ranx, though this appears to be a previous version. The song begins with laid-back synths but thrusting, rapped vocals provide a jarring juxtaposition, and it takes the instrumental ages to adapt to the fury of the vocals. It's not an easy listen, and surely this can't be the best Sean Paul can do on his own.
Swear Down by Tiggs Da Author and Yungen has seen the light of day this week. Occasional trap beats manage to work alongside very funky guitar without violating them whilst at the same time managing rap vocals. The result is a serene release that sounds right at home in the summer sun (or what precious little we have left of it). This could be a hit.
Last week, I said I'd fade out Usher and De La Soul's Greyhounds from 5:13 to 5:23. Having heard the next track on the album, I'd have ended the fade out as late as 5:33. Anyway, Usher has two records out this week. The first is Champions which comes from the Hands of Stone Original Motion Picture Soundtrack, features Rubén Blades and flaunts a Spanish flavour, though this novelty doesn't sustain it for the whole five minutes and the song gets boring quite quickly. The second is Missing U; all that can be said about that is that it is a dull, lethargic piece complete with misogynist lyrics. Bits of the instrumental remind me of a game my sister plays at the moment, Undertale. Overall, Champions is the better of the two.
You Me At Six have the title track of their new album, Night People, out this week. An angry, laboured record complete with guitar, drums and occasional piano lines, the song builds into an anarchic chorus and quickly tells the listener who's boss. It's just as well it does it quickly, since it's over in just less than three minutes. A punchy effort, and I wish it luck.
There is nothing more irritating than realising that you have missed the opportunity to provide some biting political commentary. Last week, I reviewed I.O.U. by Emeli Sandé and Wretch 32; given that Sandé is a qualified neurologist, is it really unreasonable to think that she found herself forced back into music after Jeremy Hunt imposed the new contract on junior doctors? (For what it's worth, I must lend my support to Hunt in this debate. I support a seven-day NHS in the same way I support not having to book my heart attacks on a weekday.)
Last week, I reviewed a track by Izzy Bizu - Lost Paradise. This week, a track by Izzy Bizu has entered the chart for the first time - White Tiger, at #91. This should tell the label something. Other records to achieve new peaks this week are In the Name of Love (Martin Garrix ft. Bebe Rexha, #24), Still Falling For You (Ellie Goulding, #25), Ain't Giving Up (Craig David ft. Sigala, #29), Mercy (Shawn Mendes, #58), Starving (Hailee Steinfeld, Grey and Zedd, #68), Nobody But Me (Michael Bublé, #77) and Back to You (Mollie King, #90), while #s 1, 2 and 3 are occupied by Justin Bieber (Cold Water with Major Lazer & MØ, Justin Bieber (Let Me Love You with DJ Snake) and Chainsmokers ft. Halsey (Closer), the latter also achieving a new peak. Other records I have reviewed are Can't Stop the Feeling by Justin Timberlake, You Don't Know Love by Olly Murs, Who Do You Think Of? by M.O, Cruel by Zayn & Snakehips, Cool Girl by Tove Lo, Don't Need No Money by Imani, Sigala & Blonde, Kids by OneRepublic, Rise by Katy Perry and A-List by WSTRN, while Bang Bang by Green Day created such a big bang it's now out of the charts.
Sam Fox and Katie Waissel both left the Celebrity Big Brother house on Tuesday, while the rest were evicted in the following order: Frankie Grande, Aubrey O'Day, Marnie Simpson, Renee Graziano and Ricky Norwood, with Stephen Bear the winner. BBC4 has All Together Now - The Great Orchestra Challenge at 9pm on 30 August, Top of the Pops at 7:30pm on 1 September (with the full version airing at 2am the following morning) and half a dozen sixties tracks from 9:10pm onwards on 2 September. Olly Murs and Rebecca Ferguson are somewhere in the launch show from 6:50 until 8:15, while there is lots of music goes out on ITV on Saturday 3 September; The X Factor is scheduled to air at 8:15pm, while some musical public figures get lampooned on Newzoids at 9:15pm (The Xtra Factor starts then and ends at 10:15pm), Carpenters: The Nation's Favourite Song at 9:45pm, the news at 11:05pm and Pop Gold at 11:25pm. Ignoring Newzoids and the news, we recommend recording the programmes, skipping the ads and starting at about 9:15pm for The X Factor, about 10pm for The Xtra Factor, about 10:45pm for The Carpenters and Pop Gold at about 11:45pm. As for Sunday? Just The X Factor, at 8pm; we recommend skipping the ads and starting from 8:15pm. John Barnes is on Blankety Blank on Challenge on Monday (7:15pm), Sid Owen's on Tuesday's episode (6:30pm), Kerry Katona's on Wednesday's episode (6:30pm), the late Bill Tarmey's on Thursday's episode (6:30pm) and Keith Duffy and Natasha Hamilton are on Friday's episode (7:15pm) if you're in to that sort of thing.
One of the interesting things about working on this site is the stuff you find while conducting research into previous hits. For one of this week's reviews, I searched the Official Charts Company database for entries containing the word "Champions". We all know that Queen recorded We Are the Champions - fewer people know that it went to #2 - but did you know that Hank Marvin and Brian May refurbished the record and went to #66 in 1992 with it? Or that it was one of at least half a dozen records mutilated by Crazy Frog in 2005/2006, this one peaking at #11? The British public have an acquired taste…