NEW RELEASES 10/01/05
Damn. This week is the best week ever, as far as I'm concerned. Well, OK, I won't go that far, but there are a ton of good singles and albums being released at this time. I recommend that any money received at Christmas should be hurled in this direction post-haste.
Four Kicks - Kings Of Leon (Handmedown)
Ohmigod. I love this band. Even the hairy drummer, yep! They are so cool and gorgeous and.... Alright, I'll stop gushing and babbling. My fun is officially spoiled. Let's take it back to the music, then, if we must. This track is gutsy, punchy and slightly mean, rather like a bad-tempered midget karate champ. An angry bad-tempered midget karate champ, to be precise. Why midget, I hear you ask? Because it's short. 2 minutes 8 seconds long. Far too short for such a brilliant song. Snatches of grinding, gritty, drum-pounding riffs and superbly tortured, soulful, rather more downbeat vocals alternate in a freaky call-and-response kinda manner. I defy you not to be forced to move (or twitch, whatever) to this one. As far as instrumentation and the like are concerned, this is great. Raw, powerful, edgy, dangerous, sexy - who could resist? But the question is, what the hell are they on about? I've listened to the song many a time, but seriously, the lyrics are totally inaudible. The name "Four Kicks" sounds a lot like "Four Licks" so it could be a Rolling Stones inspired track, but heck, I don't know. Having just looked up the lyrics on Google I am no less illuminated. Sounds like menacing nonsense, reads like menacing nonsense, but it's a profound nonsense all the same. And it sounds good. Looks better, but I think I'm the only one who finds that relevant here. Generally, an awesome piece of soundage.
CHART POSITION: 24
I am outraged. This so should have gotten higher. Don't you agree? It's such a rockin' track! Shocking behaviour from the record-buying public. Shocking.
Kings Of Leon - "Rather like a bad-tempered midget karate champ."
The Music - Breakin' (Virgin)
Uh oh uh uh-uh uh-uh oh! They stole this site's name! OK, so that's a lie, but here is the truth - this song is wicked good, to coin a phrase. There's something intrinsically joyful about it. The lyrics make it sound as if a rather nasty break is about to occur, no matter what one does, but the hound-like "uh oh" baying and up-tempo instrumentation, in a major key, simple enough but rhythmical, energetic and exciting - it all makes my heart sort of swell up in a pleasant sort of way. The verses are perhaps more melancholy, more relaxed, allowing the vocals to come through wonderfully, supported by twiddly guitar bits. And what nice vocals they are. Perhaps not enough emotion for my taste, but still, the voice is real smooth-sounding, in tune, and has a funny plaintive tone which suits the track well. The singer wails a bit too, which I'm not averse to. Others might be though, so let this be a wail warning to you all. But the base guitar! It's as groovy as a yellow drainpipe! All in all, it's a corker (damn, am sounding like David Dickinson again - must stop that) and would certainly find its way into my record collection, if I had money. The only gripe I have is that it's perhaps a little too simple, too nice. If you're breakin' you wouldn't be nice about it, you'd be in agony and bawling for help, would you not? Maybe it's a good sort of break, like when you go off for the weekend to Corfu. Maybe the whole point is that it's good to shatter into a million pieces? Well, you won't catch me trying it anytime soon. All in all a good piece of work. I'd give it an A. And a smiley face sticker to boot.
CHART POSITION: 20
What is going on in the great galumphing world right now? So many good songs, so many mediocre positions.... Well, I am disappointed again. Is it just my bad judgement that rates the losers and slates the winners? Let's not answer that one.
The Music - "As groovy as a yellow drainpipe."
The Killers - Somebody Told Me (Lizard King)
Another band after my own heart, with another scorchin' track! Yay! Now, whilst this song is nowhere near the genius of "Mr. Brightside" (which is, by the way, SO the best track on the album, and one of my favourites in general) it'll still pass muster. Synth-injected rock can sometimes get silly, but here The Killers stop just short of that line. Thankfully. The thing that makes this band stand out in my opinion are their lyrics. They are deep, dude. Now, they don't make much sense (more sense than Kings of Leon, mind you, but that ain't really sayin' much) but damn, they are catchy! And quirky. "Somebody told me, that you had a boyfriend, that looked like a girlfriend, that I had in February of last year" has to either be genius or madness, and I'd choose the former. For legal reasons, naturally.... Grammar ain't great here either, but in the vast ancestral wastes of the music world, I've learned to tolerate. The singer's voice is pretty good, above average, and it has this sort of blithe, blasé feel, almost self-consciously so. Sometimes the vocals are dwarfed by the accompagniment, the guitars, drums and synth, that is, but other than that, I can cope with 'em. This track lacks energy, I feel. It sallies along cheerily, but it lacks drive. Listening to it, you wonder where it's going. More of a gentle stroll along the beach rather than an adrenaline-guzzling whiz up the motorway. This song probably would have gotten a better review from me had I not heard the whole of The Killers' album. See, I know they can do better, so how can I put up with "pretty good" and "above average"? I can't. So this is a good track, buy it, but "Mr. Brightside" is better.
CHART POSITION: 3
Here we go! This is more like it! Much mental cheering ensues. Well done.
The Killers - "Either genius or madness."
Rooster - Staring At The Sun (BMG)
Rooster. They're name after a horse, if I can believe my dubious sources. And they stare at the sun. Need I say more? I think I will. Bland pop-rock rears its ugly, wart-besmirched head once more. Take cover, minions! I'm not going to say that it's rubbish, because the bottom line is that it ain't. The problem is that it's all old hat. There's nothing fresh, innovative, original or inspiring about it. Listening to it, I feel so jaded. As if I've heard this same arrangement of instruments, this same chorus, this same dramatic drum-pause, all before. Deja-vu, if you will. The song sounds as mass-produced as a can of baked beans. Perhaps it was mass-produced, or takes its mould from another song. As far as the sound is concerned, it's boring. Easy listening, all concordant, wonderfully smooth, but soulless. Each song a person/group produces should have a little bit of their soul in it somewhere, and that is what's missing here (and originality - can't forget that old chestnut). That said, the lyrics actually make sense, sort of, and they aren't half bad. A little cheesy, and perhaps the metaphor of staring at the sun is a little over-done and obvious, but it is an interesting image to sing about, very evocative. The vocals sound distinctive - the singer's voice is quite memorable actually, different, kind of weird and throaty and warm. If you want a slice of nice, something that will assimilate it's surroundings like beige wallpaper, then buy this baby. Frankly, I wouldn't. Come on, Rooster! Give us something edgy or new! Either that or bugger off!
CHART POSITION: 5
Blinkin' pre-teen wailers with their blinkin' money ruining the blinkin' chart yet again. Sigh.
Rooster - "Bugger off!"
This isn't really what Rooster look like, by the way.
POP! - Serious (Sony BMG)
Are they? Are they really? I think not. Unctuous, creepy, slimy, over-produced pop music sung by plastic-faced drones with silky hair. This is like musical cardboard. Instantly forgettable. I don't think I can even bear to waste any more of my life even writing about this song. So, I won't. Buy this, and you are a traitor to all music fans anywhere. You have been warned.
CHART POSITION: 16
Gordon Bennet. Some people'll buy anything! Shameless.
POP! - "Plastic-faced drones with silky hair."
Jamie Scott - Searching (Sony)
He's searching for fame and success in the music industry. You won't get anywhere with that square jaw, my lad. And come on! Singing a song about wanting to make it is so cliché! The thing is, you can't make it look like you want the fame and fortune too much - neediness and whining really piss people off. And then they begin to hate you - not what the record company want. This song is in the soft, flabby, pop-rock mode. The accompagniment - guitars, drums, accoustic guitar, backing vocals, assorted percussion et al - are nothing special. They trundle along nicely, but nothing in the rhythm or countermelody or anything strikes me as being good. It's just.... OK, verging on yawn-inducing. After repeated listenings it just fades into the background, meaningless as gobbledigook, but not half as interesting. The vocals are really not much to shout about either. All in tune, pleasantly done, but with no drive, no verve, no soul. Bleargh. That's the word that comes to mind. Jamie, my lad, your voice is alright-sounding, can't complain, but whilst my window-panes are not shattering, my illusions about the greatness of music are. Boo hoo. The lyrics are syrupy and needy, probably due to the dire subject matter. This needs an injection of something or other to perk it up. Pull those socks up! And by the way, my sister may think you're fit, but on that matter, Mr. Scott, I only have two words to say. Square jaw. I rest my case.
CHART POSITION: 33
Poor lad. I know you're crap, but I still pity you, not that that's any consolation. At least you got in there, mate! You and your jaw!
Jamie Scott - "You won't get anywhere with a square jaw, my lad."
Thirteen Senses - Thru The Glass (Vertigo)
I wish I had thirteen senses. But I only have four. Nonetheless, I am still able to appreciate a good tune when it smacks me in the gob. "You got us into this, so get us out of this, get us out of this." Wise words. I do like this song, and would urge anybody to buy it, but I haven't got much more to say. Obviously the terrible spelling of "thru" does poison my affections, but you know, it's a good song, they seem like nice people, so.... yeah.
CHART POSITION: 18
Bravo. A good solid position. With a better song, they'd have no doubt gotten higher. And more PR stunts, of course.
Thirteen Senses - "They seem like nice people."
Roni Size & Beverley Knight - No More (V)
You have the busy drum machine ticking away noisily in the corner. You have the random squeaks and other noises sampled from somewhere or the other. And you have the voice of Beverley Knight, whom everybody says is very good. A sort of garage/rnb type track, which sounds very produced, very polished, very much like everything else. What's the hook? Where's the interesting thing that's supposed to drag us all in, kicking and screaming? Listening to this, I found myself not caring at all. The music did not stir me, nor did it make me want to die. What's the word I'm searching for? Apathetic. Yes, this track induces apathy. Now, that's not what we all need right now. So, unless you are an apathy junkie, leave this one be, eh? Eh?
CHART POSITION: 26
Roni Size & Beverley Knight - "Yes, this track induces apathy."
And who is the second man loitering there? Eh? Eh?
Manic Street Preachers - Empty Souls (Sony)
A new release from the Manics! They're everyone's favourite political rock band! Or is that Greenday? No, surely not.... Well, whatever, this is a track from their new album, which is called Lifeblood, if you wanted to know. Jingle-jangle tinkly piano stuff and sensitive drumming (c'est possible, oui) provide a foil for the very soulful and stirring lyrics, almost aggressive in tone. There are very many reasons why one should enjoy and like this track. The pedigree, the lyrics.... everything seems to be good. But the problem is, it doesn't have that 'ping' that proclaims brilliance. So therefore there's something missing. It goes along well, but you know what? I expect more from these guys. (Now I'm beginning to sound like an American. Whoa.) So please dears, up it a notch, will ya?
CHART POSITION: 2
In this business, having a good fan base is everything. Don't Elvis just prove it? So do the Manics.
Manic Street Preachers - "They're everyone's favourite political rock band!"
And the ones I haven't heard.... "Strip" by Pink Grease, "Coming Down" and "When You Sleep" by Longview, "Invisible Girl" by Minnie Driver, "Police Dogs Bonfire" by Lazyboy, "Pornography" by Client, "Live Twice" by Darius, "One Night" by Elvis Presley and "When The Dawn Breaks" by Narcotic Thrust.