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We thoroughly enjoyed Lip Sync Battle last Friday, between Katie Price and Ben Fogle. Fogle's claims to notability include, according to his website, that "he has rowed the Atlantic Ocean, crossed Antarctica on foot, run across the Sahara and crossed the Empty Quarter on camel". Price, on the other hand, has done something even more gruelling and exhausting than all of those put together; she's looked after an autistic kid for almost fifteen years now. (What? Autistic kids are a handful! I was diagnosed with autism at five and I was a diabolical child.)

I Give You Power (Arcade Fire ft. Mavis Staples)

The last time I heard "fire" and "i give you" in the same sentence it was followed by "to burn" and in the magnificent Fire by The Crazy World of Arthur Brown. Not to be confused with the equally as excellent I Gave You Power by Nas (you can't say this site doesn't have wide music tastes), I Give You Power by Arcade Fire is a particularly odd juxtaposition of menacing, almost psychotic chants and soulful, gospel vocals courtesy of Staple Singer Mavis Staples; the latter, in amongst the dank synthesisers and computerised-cum-cat o' nine tails drums sounds like a deranged version of your mum going 'come, come to the dark side son'; it is an elaborately constructed nightmare.

Change of Heart (Chloe Martini ft. Chiara Hunter)

This. This is the very reason I do this. Chloe Martini's Change of Heart, featuring Chiara Hunter, is an eclectic, driving series of synths absolutely perfect for aggressive nightclub consumption; from Martini's choppy beats to Hunter's beautifully sweet-but-sure vocals, this is without question one of the best records I have reviewed in the last thirty issues.

This is the Moment (Collabro)

And then on to This is the Moment by Britain's Got Talent alumni Collabro from the Jekyll & Hyde soundtrack. Now I don't usually like to talk about vocal quality because I believe that everyone can sing to a certain degree – some obviously better than others – and if you want to sing badly in the middle of Sutton High Street please do so. (Make sure you put your hat on the floor so you can make money out of it.) However, this is an opera record, and frankly there's something that sounds a bit stilted here that I can't quite put a finger on; the vocals do not complement each other at all. They sound completely divorced from the rest of the record, and it just sounds odd. But that's just my opinion. I'm sure if they wanted professional judgement they'd go on a TV talent show… oh.

Only You (Doctor)

Not to be confused with Doctor and the Medics, this particular Doctor has released Only You. I'm not entirely sure I'd trust this particular Doctor to cut me open given that he considers this excruciating, top-heavy track entirely ill-suited to Doctor's hefty Jamaican vocals a good job; what the hell would he be satisfied with if he were to rearrange my organs? Me breathing out my bollocks?

High For Hours (J Cole)

I actually used to know a guy called Jay Cole, he was a couple of years below me in primary school. This particular J Cole released the non-album track High For Hours on 18 January 2016, a deep R&B track which would sound entirely at home in the mid 1990s and in fact, were it not for the monotonous chorus, it could probably justify turning up Nas' It Was Written.

Cry (James Maslow ft. City Fidelia)

My God James Maslow's new record is irritating. A really quite promising verse progression evolves into a pulseless, perhaps perfunctory chorus sufficiently irritating as to make you want to Cry. I wonder if that's why they called it that? City Fidelia provides takes the 'if you can't write, write about sex' line on his verse, and I fear for what Maslow's hierarchy would have looked like had this Maslow been responsible for it.

The Search For Everything – Wave One (EP) (John Mayer)

  1. Moving On and Getting Over
  2. Changing
  3. Love on the Weekend
  4. You're Gonna Live Forever in Me

I was asked this week why I did not review the Trust Me EP by Mr Tophat and Robyn last week. I said in issue 27 that I would not review any more EPs that were ineligible for the UK Singles Chart, and that EP was nearly ten minutes over the limit. To this EP, The Search for Everything – Wave One by John Mayer. Moving On and Getting Over is a funky country-lite track which pipes up with an enjoyable wet-sounding guitar just as the track starts to get boring, while Changing is more piano-based; like its predecessor it contains a guitar solo, though this one is more commanding. Love on the Weekend was first released on 17 November 2016, and has a laidback rhythm to it; it's a bit much Mayer moaning about his week, since all he spends it doing is singing, possibly playing a few instruments and offending people, and if he wanted to use it to regain his mid-naughties popularity as other reviewers have suggested, then this is about as effective as using a kitchen roll to mop up a volcanic eruption. As for the diabolical You're Gonna Live Forever in Me, neither Mayer nor any amount of whistling is going to mask the sheer ennui of a piano played as slowly as that.

Hands (Johnossi)

Johnossi's Hands is the sort of incompliant, inked, incarcerated eighteen year old you would expect to meet if you were told The Shadows gang-raped Coldplay's Every Teardrop is a Waterfall and never called it back, that this was their offspring, and that she got two arsehole tattoos over Christmas and then proceeded to ask in class "But what if I don't have the money for the school trip this course requires I go on?". (The latter genuinely happened on my sister's animal care course…)

You Look Good (Lady Antebellum)

Lady Antebellum are back, this time with the hamfisted You Look Good. In a statement, one of the bandmembers said that "we've always loved experimenting with different instruments and sounds in the studio, but we've never used horns before"; I couldn't hear any horns in the record, but if they're what I think they are, my advice to you would be to not use them again, as they sound plasticky and out of a cheap synthesiser. This, coupled with the 'almost done, lads' feel which has about as much respect for the record as Trump has respect for black people, makes for a truly diabolical piece of music. No thank you.

Boomerang (Lower Than Atlantis)

Now I do rather like this. Lower Than Atlantis have come back around with Boomerang, a sprightly 'screw you' to a previous partner. Lashings of mean-sounding guitar and jeering drums join in with the jibing of the singer's ex; the opening line "the tree remembers what the axe forgets" is certainly one of the best opening lines I've ever heard in the making of this column.

She Wants Me (Louis Berry)

It's nice to hear an attempt at real music every now and again. Louis Berry's She Wants Me is an attempt at the sort of rockabilly guitar-work most popular in the 1950s and done properly, it's enough to whip you into a frenzy. However, here it doesn't quite work, partly because the record doesn't have a proper bass on it, and also because Berry's voice isn't quite commanding enough to really grip the listener in the same way that perhaps Elvis might have done. A real shame.

Citalopram (Better Off Without You) (Mallory Knox)

Citalopram (Better Off Without You) is Mallory Knox's newest record, and it's as hard as you could get without feeling that you'd stuck your head in front of a cannon. This is proper rock, and it's an enjoyable listen. More please.

Incidentally, the title was changed last minute from the Better Off Without You title early promotional material uses to incorporate a drug used to treat depression given to the band's bassist who was actually suffering from anxiety. I myself suffer from moderate depression and mild anxiety; the anxiety makes you worry about things, while depression prevents you from doing anything about them. It's a vicious circle; I call them the skull and crossbones of mental health problems because left untreated the results can be fatal. This week I let it let me commit a far graver offense; this issue was published late.

Play With You (Mugisho)

Mugisho's new release Play With You is a bit skin and bone for my liking. Most records contain an instrumental introduction before it gets into its verses, but this one gets straight on with it and ends on it; with the only difference between verses being a missing bridge in the third verse, it feels cramped. A shame, actually, because it isn't bad, but I think for it to be a hit, a DJ would have to have a go at it.

Crying on the Bathroom Floor (MUNA)

Well, we've finally found out what place MUNA knew: the bathroom floor, where they are crying. This uses a deeper synth along with some guitars, and actually it's so much more manageable than its predecessor that I didn't find myself gagging for the pause button when it tried to repeat itself. More of this, please.

Reaction (Pale White)

One phrase that turns up with frightening rapidity in my Google Image searches is "pale white"; turns out there's a band called that, and they've released Reaction. It's a modern day hit of blues which incorporates a riff not dissimilar to John Lee Hooker's Boogie Chillen', and it feels utterly effortless. Not bad.

Reciprocate (Rationale)

Rationale, formerly known as Tinashé (not to be confused with Tinashe who we will hear from later), has released Reciprocate, a commanding, funky track with generous helpings of synths and Rationale's, erm, niche vocals; it is very much how most bits of music might sound under the influence of LSD. You don't need to listen to it twice, put it that way.

Chasing Flies (Tinie Tempah ft. Nea); Text From Your Ex (Tinie Tempah ft. Tinashe)

Tinie Tempah did not have a good year last year. He had two tracks chart, like the year before that, though instead of two number ones his chart entries rolled in at #5 and #45. In an attempt to combat this, his plan was to take the other person who entered the charts with the last person he topped the charts with, Tinashe, and come out with Text From Your Ex. However, given the success of Shape of You and Castle on the Hill by Ed Sheeran, he's rush-released a second single the same day, Chasing Flies featuring Nea, in the hopes that he might be able to match its success. Text From Your Ex is the better of the two tracks, being a cozy sounding track which condemns adulterous boyfriends, while Tinashe, as ever, can be relied upon not only to sound utterly replaceable but to lower the tone of the record, sounding in this case managing to sound even more mentally unhinged than MØ two weeks ago. We have a little more to say about Text From Your Ex, but it also applies to the next song we're reviewing…

Chasing Flies is a more sparse track than its predecessor, containing just a grimy synth and a crackly, almost perfunctory drum track. Nea takes over from Tinashe on this record, and the record is more respectable because of it. However, it sounds exactly what it is; a hastily cobbled together piece of music an attempt to copy someone else, and I think had it been worked on a little longer, there could have been a hit on it. It has to be said that on both tracks Tempah sounds a little aloof, as his rapping style best compliments a record with a bit more of a beat behind it. Mind you, Text From You Ex does sound like a hit piece of music so let's see what happens. The two tracks will probably do a No Lie/Tek Weh Yuh Heart; one will claw its way up the charts slowly and the other won't.

On the Go (WSTRN)

Now that's a co-incidence, I've spent most of the week eating out of the On the Go aisles in the big supermarkets. For their new single On the Go, WSTRN have ditched their previous downtempo sound and adopted a dirtier sound, like that which you might expect from Gucci Mane or Fetty Wap, and it doesn't sound quite right. The desolate sounding squeak at the end sounds like a noise of an abandoned railway station you can't get out of, and no-one wants their journey to terminate there. (But enough about the last time I tried to take Southern Rail into Sutton.) They're right to try a new sound, but with it sounding as ill-fitting as this, then I'm afraid it's curtains.

Other notes

We regret to report the death of Loalwa Braz, the vocalist for Kaoma's Lambada, which made #4 in 1989. She was found murdered in Brazil in a burned out car on the 19th January 2017. She was 63.


There is nothing new to this site in the top ten. We were hoping to sink our teeth into Just Hold On by Louis Tomlinson & Steve Aoki, but that's now sidestepped our scowl, and is at #11. Cowards. I tell you, the fact that a record by a fifth of a group that came third in 2010 can do outpeak a track released the same week as the 2016 winner, and that neither can depose a track designed to sound like a baby crying is embarrassing when you think about it. Also as embarrassing; the fact that for the last week we have said that last week's placement of Love My Life by Robbie Williams of #42 was its peak, when we had forgotten to change the colour of the cell. In addition, we were left really red faced by an error in the first revision of the last issue. We laid into the Chainsmokers' Paris for not crediting the featured artist Louane. There's a good reason why they didn't credit her – the actual singer was Emily Warren. In addition, in the issue before that, the castle Ed Sheeran sang about was in fact Framlingham Castle, as opposed to the Framlington Castle we mentioned. Apologies for that.

    1. Shape Of You
      (Ed Sheeran)
    1. Castle On the Hill
      (Ed Sheeran)
    1. Human
      (Rag'n'Bone Man)
    1. You Don't Know Me
      (Jax Jones & Raye)
    1. Rockabye
      (Clean Bandit ft. Anne-Marie & Sean Paul)
    1. Touch
      (Little Mix)
    1. Call On Me
    1. September Song
      (JP Cooper)
    1. I Would Like
      (Zara Larsson)
    1. Paris
      (Chainsmokers ft. Emily Warren)
    1. I Feel It Coming
      (Weeknd ft. Daft Punk)
    1. Sexual
      (Neiked ft. Dyo)
    1. Say You Won't Let Go
      (James Arthur)
    1. Starboy
      (Weeknd ft. Daft Punk)
    1. Bad Things
      (Machine Gun Kelly ft. Camila Cabello)
    1. I Don't Wanna Live Forever
      (Zayn & Taylor Swift)
    1. Don't Wanna Know
      (Maroon 5 ft. Kendrick Lamar)
    1. Shout Out to My Ex
      (Little Mix)
    1. 24K Magic
      (Bruno Mars)
    1. No Lie
      (Sean Paul ft. Dua Lipa)
    1. Closer
      (Chainsmokers ft. Halsey)
    1. Love Me Now
      (John Legend)
    1. By Your Side
      (Jonas Blue ft. Raye)
    1. All Night
      (Vamps ft. Matoma)
    1. The Mack
      (Nevada ft. Mark Morrison & Fetty Wap)
    1. After the Afterparty
      (Charli XCX ft. Lil Yachty)
    1. Now and Later
      (Sage the Gemini)
    1. Starving
      (Hailee Steinfeld ft. Grey & Zedd)
    1. On Hold
      (The XX)
    1. So Good
      (Louisa Johnson)
    1. The Greatest
      (Sia ft. Kendrick Lamar)
    1. Mercy
      (Shawn Mendes)
    1. Let Me Love You
      (DJ Snake ft. Justin Bieber)
    1. Can't Stop the Feeling
      (Justin Timberlake)
    1. My Way
      (Calvin Harris)
    1. Cold Water
      (Major Lazer ft. Justin Bieber & MØ)
    1. Love On Me
      (Galantis & Hook N Sling)
    1. Don't Leave
      (Snakehips ft. MØ)
    1. Don't Let Me Down
      (Chainsmokers ft. Daya)
    1. In the Name of Love
      (Martin Garrix)
    1. All We Know
      (Chainsmokers ft. Phoebe Ryan)
    1. Say Something Loving
      (The XX)
    1. Not in Love
      (M.O ft. Kent Jones)
    1. Redbone
      (Childish Gambino)
    1. Love My Life
      (Robbie Williams)
    1. Find Me
      (Sigma ft. Birdy)
    1. Only One
      (Sigala & Digital Farm Animals)
    1. Should've Been Me
      (Naughty Boy ft. Kyla & Popcaan)
    1. Party
      (Chris Brown ft. Gucci Mane & Usher)
    1. Party Monster
    1. Ain't My Fault
      (Zara Larsson)
    1. Make Me (Cry)
      (Noah Cyrus ft. Labrinth)
    1. Still Falling For You
      (Ellie Goulding)
    1. Rooting For You
      (London Grammar)
    1. Million Reasons (Lady Gaga)

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