This issue has been significantly delayed. Dad went into hospital on Thursday with sepsis, and I haven't had the inclination to write this. Curiously enough, Rolf Harris went into hospital the same day with the same thing. As my now 18-year-old sister says: "I love Rolf Harris. He probably loves me, as well."
Also on Thursday: My sister put me through Celebrity Juice. How much plastic surgery has that Tulisa had? I mean, I know for legal reasons I have to say that we have no evidence to suggest that she's had any but her appearance has changed so drastically since she was last on a major television program (I last saw her on the X Factor) that my sister refused to believe it was her.
Ady Suleiman has applied his usual sludgy vocal to Wait for You, a languid, pulseless piece which suffers from Suleiman's slavish refusal to back away from reggae; while some reggae tracks work, such as Honey by Shy FX (which we reviewed very positively back in issue 3), this slugs along too monotonously for us to recommend it. There is a reason why the live version contains no applause.
She of twee folk-pop refires (Cups) Anna Kendrick and confederate to a catastrophe (Hallelujah ft. Matt Morris & Charlie Sexton) Justin Timberlake have joined forces to cover Cyndi Lauper's True Colors as a second song Timberlake has contributed to Trolls, a film to which both musicians contribute voice performances and that Timberlake has already contributed Can't Stop the Feeling (which we also reviewed in issue 3) to. It's a pleasant enough rendition which reminds us of Beautiful by Justin Bieber ft. Carly Rae Jepsen; it is excessively sweet, a problem which Lauper counteracts with splashes of hoarseness, and the fact that Kendrick's theatrical vocal juts out like an iceberg on an ice rink. I wonder when Timberlake plans to put out some proper music?
Banks has produced To the Hilt this week. Even by Banks' standards, this is boring; four-and-a-half minutes of her muttering over a piano does nothing for even the most seasoned performer, and with all due respect Banks is not one of those people. There is not one redeeming factor about this record and this is a shame, because I know for a fact there's better on her album, because she performed several tracks last week on Jools Holland. Thankfully, this comes out on 30 September so hopefully that'll be her shut up for another couple of years.
Calvin Harris has penned an ode to departing his dead-end job in Safeway in Dumfries called My Way. Apparently. It seems rather coincidental that this comes up now shortly after Harris' and Taylor Swift's acrimonious break-up. With its vitriolic lyrics and bouncy beat, this is a truculent but tropical track which oozes nonchalance and evokes the feeling of being on a beach; this is a mellow meeting of minds between the jubilant synths of Harris' hits and the "lethargic, unenergetic guitar line" of issue 2's misfire Olé.
Dillon Francis has teamed up with Will Heard for Anywhere, with which he reverts back to his indie-dance roots for a succulent slice of synthpop; for a record to which Francis only really contributes a synthline and some barely-there drums, this is one danceable record. I hope this charts.
Dragonette have teamed up with Dada to produce the musical equivalent of pulled pork; a salty but tasty piece has been cooked slowly, yanked apart and sauce gushed into the hole, leaving a record which feels treacly. Much of this owes to the fact that two of its band-members separated in January 2014, and it feels like the band is staying together for the sake of staying together. Give it a rest.
Whoa! Emeli Sandé has released Hurts this week. And without a shadow of a doubt, this has to be one of the best records I have ever heard, let alone reviewed. It starts off with a tense enough chorus to a barrage of ballistic handclaps, diversifying to a series of spitting strings, while all the while Sandé lays into the listener about her divorce from marine biologist Adam Gouragaine. Bring your extinguisher when listening to this, because this is fire.
Eh, we're not entirely sure what to make of this. Francis and the Lights has produced See Her Out (That's Just Life), which would be an unmitigated disaster of lifeless synths were it not for a couple of bars near the end which after nearly three minutes of trainwreck mutters feel like being hit by a train. Were Francis to flesh out that synth into a full record, add some dubstep drums and maybe invite a more forceful vocalist onto it – Consequence of Sound suggested Kanye West or Chance the Rapper – this could be a massive hit, but at the moment it's got no chance.
Speaking of Chance, Greyson Chance has jumped on Frank Pole's Anything, a euphoric record on which Chance's vocals decorate a piano and drums - but only a piano and drums; there's something missing from this record which I can't quite put a finger on. We'll be intrigued to hear any remixes which might help jog our memories.
In a far more accessible release than her previous single (which we reviewed in issue 5), JoJo has released the title track from her new album. It's a slower track than its predecessor; languid guitar strums are livened up only by drums, occasional brass stings and JoJo's powerhouse vocals, yet never seems to properly ossify. It's a more interesting record than JoJo's last; we hope it does better, but doubt it.
One of this reviewer's pet hates is songs that use sufficiently vague terms as to be ungoogleable; it is an insult to biographers. Cherie Jones-Mattis, who records under the name JONES, has produced Wild this week: the first result for "wild Jones" is for an architect called "Henry Wild Jones". (If fans can't find you, how are they supposed to download/stream your stuff? They pay your wages you know!) That said, I'm not sure this would be bought with any particular alacrity whether the fans were able to find her or not, because although the song does show off JONES' silky vocal, the instrumental is the equivalent of being stuck behind a learner driver; you wish it would just do something rather than piddle along at 19 miles an hour.
You could be forgiven for not noticing that Randy by Justice started off as an "almost industrial techno track" from which it was rescued by Justice's good mood given how joyous it sounds. (No such luck for most of what I review, I can assure you…) Like Safe and Sound, which we reviewed back in issue 3, this reminds us of the 1970s; this is set slightly earlier, and reminds me personally of a more classical Electic Light Orchestra with its very funky keyboards. My only moan is that when they compiled the radio edit, they cut far too much out; almost half the record, including a whole verse. Let it funk out for a bit longer.
Kevin Simm has released Wildfire this week. It's a slow-burner, composed of an acoustic guitar with drums and gentle piano plonks on which Simm lies his vocals. The record's greatest asset is also its greatest fault; Simm's vocals are not properly exercised here. Hell, they make Simm seem almost pedestrian and it is a shame, because there is potential here.
In an act of musical mutilation, KSIOlajideBT (or just KSI) has shafted House of Pain's Jump Around and invited Waka Flocka Flame along to laugh at it while it screams out uselessly for help. Gone are the rugged verses from DJ Everlast, and in came perfunctory verses from KSI and a series of hoarse roars from Waka Flocka Flame. Gone are the four samples which made the original, to be replaced with a bastardised, burnt-out instrumental presumably of KSI's own contraption. Gone is part of the chorus (and with it, the grace of the record), only to be replaced with inane bullet points of the form jump in this, jump on that.
Mykki Blanco has released Loner this week, a record which contains female vocals from Jean Deaux. A set of hurried but relaxed synths fizzle on top of a set of drums against Blanco's rap, while Deaux's singing provides a relaxing break from Blanco. Great stuff.
You wait almost three months for someone to drop the C-bomb on a record, and then someone does so seven times in quick succession: Professor Green, with his new freestyle Back on the Market. It's a brilliant record; Professor Green raps fiercely for just over three minutes over a gregarious piano and drums. The whole thing just clicks, and we will be appalled if this doesn't chart.
Shawn Mendes has released Don't Be A Fool this week. It's a relaxing record; just Shawn and his guitar, gently strumming away, gently crooning away, and the net result is that you feel like you're on a hammock, gently being swung from side to side. It's no Stitches – and this can be a bit empty if you're in a bad mood (which I nearly always am) – but his fans will enjoy this.
Bloody country, I had a gutsful of this when I was stuffing my face during the week in some waffle shop in Merton Park… The Shires has released My Universe this week. At the time this went out, a UK country act was #1 on the albums chart: Ward Thomas' Cartwheels. My Universe is a decidedly moreish record comprising of a set of guitars and some drums alongside the Shires' vocals which intertwine like caramel on ice cream; it is simply gorgeous. I wish it luck.
Skylar Grey has produced Lemonade this week, and despite its initial clunkiness the song is actually a fairly relaxing record; gentle guitar strums lie on top of a bed of nails of drums while Skylar sings and occasionally raps (which for our money sounds like it was laid down in haste after a last-minute cancellation) for a very relaxing record. Not bad at all.
In a surely more accessible release than 7 September's Take Control, Slaves released People That You Meet on 14 September. Whilst maintaining the same fury as its predecessor, People That You Meet fleshes out its choler across twice as long, and as such feels more manageable; a series of spoken words decorate a menacing beat and drums, complementing it without being offputting. Brilliant.
In her usual explicit manner, Tinashe has released Company this week. Like its predecessor Superlove, Company doesn't feel like it goes anywhere. There's a good reason for this; there is no change in the chord progression in any part of the record, and the result is it gets boring very quickly. Not even a guest vocalist could rescue this from monotony.
Twenty One Pilots, or Twenty Øne Piløts if their logo is to be believed, have released their cover of My Chemical Romance's Cancer. Whereas the original was a hoarse song that felt like an android trying to perform a massage, this is a melodic rendition, complete with warm synths and furry vocals which does justice to the sensitive lyrics. The original didn't chart, will this?
Wiley has released Can't Go Wrong, a record in which Wiley spreads his usual abrasive vocal across an aggressive grime beat consisting of strings and occasional drums. My criticism of this is that I could accurately apply that description to several of his records – Heatwave gets away with it because Ms D provides a bit of variety to an otherwise very repetitive piece of music, but this unfortunately has the feel of a middle-aged man teaching his son how to rap, which isn't a good thing. This is good enough, but it is nothing exceptional.
Oops! Meteorite is a new release by Years & Years from the original motion picture soundtrack of Bridget Jones' Baby. It's the second record we've reviewed from that soundtrack – the other track, Still Falling For You by Ellie Goulding, we managed to miss off last week's charts summary despite it managing to attain a new peak of #19. Meteorite is a funky track that evokes dancing in a disco in space, and certainly one of the best.
Closer by Chainsmokers ft. Halsey and Cold Water by Major Lazer, Justin Bieber and MØ remain at #3, while The Greatest by Sia advances to #5. In the Name of Love by Martin Garrix and Bebe Rexha descends to #11, Perfect Illusion ascends to #12. You Don't Know Love by Olly Murs has slid to #18, but he sung it on The Jonathan Ross Show last Saturday so we'll have to see how that impacts it. Still Falling For You by Ellie Goulding's slipped to #21. Say You Won't Let Go by James Arthur rises to #25, while Can't Stop the Feeling by Justin Timberlake and Ain't My Fault by Zara Larsson slide to #28 and #32 respectively. Who Do You Think Of by M.O has slid to #44, but Starving by Hailee Steinfeld, Grey and Zedd have reached a new peak of #45 and Cool Girl by Tove Lo has reached a new peak of #48. Ain't Giving Up by Sigala and Craig David descends to #49. Waste a Moment by Kings of Leon has entered at #54. Cruel by Snakehips ft. Zayn and Blow Your Mind (Mwah) by Dua Lipa have slipped to #57 and #58. Déjà Vu by Post Malone ft. Justin Bieber is at #63. Don't Need No Money by Imani, Sigala and Blonde is at #75. Kids by OneRepublic is at #78. A-List by WSTRN falls to #83. Mercy by Shawn Mendes and Send Them Off! by Bastille are adjacent at #85 and #86. #WHERESTHELOVE by Black Eyed Peas ft. The World and White Tiger by Izzy Bizu have dropped out of the chart; we weren't sure how either of them got in in the first place.
What is it about rappers being nicked over firearms offenses? Two weeks ago, we noted that Chris Brown had been arrested after he allegedly pointed a gun at a woman. Last week, Desiigner was nicked for carrying a gun - we didn't run that story after his charges were demoted to possession of a controlled substance and menacing. And now Coolio's been nicked at Los Angeles airport after a loaded gun was found in a carry-on bag during security screening! We don't have that problem in the UK because firearms aren't as ubiquitous as they are over there.
And now, the information nobody wanted to know:
|Blankety Blank unaired episodes|
|13 September 2016||Nick Weir||Judith Chalmers||Michael Garner||Carol Smillie||Sean Wilson||Rhona Cameron|
|13 September 2016||Brian Blessed||June Whitfield||Joe Mace||Jennie Bond||John Savident||Alexandra Fletcher|
|14 September 2016||Billy Murray||Heather Peace||Chris Bisson||Kate Garraway||Eamonn Holmes||Nell McAndrew|
|14 September 2016||Phil Middlemiss||Gloria Hunniford||Ben Shepherd||Sue Jenkins||Dale Winton||June Sarpong|
|15 September 2016||Billy Murray||Gloria Hunniford||Kevin Woodford||Julie Peasgood||Dale Winton||Tricia Penrose|
|15 September 2016||Christopher Price||Jane Gurnett||Nick Pickard||Fiona Phillips||Patrick Mower||Emily Symons|
|16 September 2016||David Dickinson||Amanda Barrie||Antony Audenshaw||Patsy Palmer||Kevin Kennedy||Denise Robertson|
|16 September 2016||Will Mellor||Paula Tilbrook||John Craven||Claire Sweeney||Antony Worrall Thompson||Sue Jenkins|
I'm still waiting for my Pointless Celebrities information.