Monday, October 31, 2005

Hannah's not-really-that-spooky Single of the Week (31/10/05)

Well, this spoof is better than 'Do They Know It's Christmas', anyday! Muhahahaha!

Single of the Week:
Patrick Wolf - Tristan (official site and video and extended video)
Novelty anti-halloween records aside, this is the perfect song to be tied in with the slightly spooky release date of this week's singles. Headlining the Samhain Spooktacular on Monday, playing the last of his supporting slots with Bloc Party, and now releasing the third single from his critically acclaimed second album, everything would appear to be going extremely well in Wolfland. Arguably darker, and perhaps harsher than previous singles 'Tristan' is one of the highlights (and possibly even the best song) from 'Wind In The Wires', and features Patrick growling and wailing to great effect, alongside some stunning instrumentation so unlike the contents of your average chart single. Oh Patrick - we are not worthy! 'Tristan' comes complete with a suitably sinister video directed by Paul Gore to which I've provided a link. Or two, since there's an extended version, but lacking RealPlayer I'm missing out on it. Watch. Listen. You won't regret it.
BUY: Wind In The Wires (Tomlab)

Special Mentions:
The Kills - No Wow (official site and video)
Personally, I'm surprised this has been released as a single. On the surface it would appear to make sense - it's a great song, and is also the title track of the band's current album. I suppose it just shows it's 'all about the music' because there is little marketing sense whatsoever in a track being released as a single after inclusion on a free CD on the front of the NME. However, those issues aside, this is a bass-driven masterpiece, complete with sultry vocals and some neat harmonisation. Musically, it's fairly simplistic, but this is the song's strength, drawing attention to the aforementioned vocals and their contrast between the distorted guitar. The only let down to the track, however, is its slightly repetitive nature, but it's a minor fault, and the Kills are definitely a musical force to be reckoned with.
BUY: No Wow (Domino)

The Rakes - 22 Grand Job (official site with video)
If you're looking for a quick, two-minute adrenalin rush of indiepop - this is it. Previously I've never been particularly captivated by The Rakes, but this song, and the accompanying video made me sit up and listen. Set to open for Franz Ferdinand on their upcoming tour, with this single The Rakes also employ the jerky-guitars-plus-dance-routine formula beloved of Kapranos and co. However, what the video really reminds me of is Jarvis Cocker in 'Common People' - please tell me I'm not mad! '22 Grand Job' is both ridiculously catchy and lyrically witty. Perfect for an indie disco.
BUY: Capture/Release (V2)

Not Quite Worth Your Time:
This week, I would advise you to refrain from buying the single by Craig David, simply because it is Craig David and is therefore utter dross. 1/5

Goldfrapp's follow-up to the fantastic 'Ooh La La' is also somewhat disappointing, boring, and lacking anything particularly inspiring about it unless you count the surreal stunner of a video. 2.5/5

Gwen Stefani has teamed up with Pharrell Williams to release what is possibly the worst thing she has ever put her name to. Why, Gwen? WHY? 1/5

After having the dubious honour of being WL Single of the Week earlier this year with 'Got None', Robert Post fails to impress with his follow-up 'There's One Thing'. Once again, the video's got a nice concept, but music-wise (and lyrics-wise - they're WEIRD!) you're much better off with his free download 'Newborn', available from his
official website. 2/5

All Releases: (those I've heard in bold)
Absentee - Weasel [7” only], Agnelli & Nelson - Shiver [12” only], Alanis Morrissette - Crazy, Ampop - EP [7” only], Army Of One - Black Rain, Audioslave - Doesn’t Remind Me, Bcd Project - Infinity [12” only], Black Rebel Motorcycle Club - Weight Of The World, Blak Twang - Travellin’, Bob Marley & The Wailers - No Woman No Cry (Live), Calvoon - Coming On Strong 2 The Maximum, Columbian Drum Cartel - The Shipment [12” only], Craig David - Don’t Love You No More (I’m Sorry), Daft Punk - Human After All [12’’ only], Dandy Warhols - All The Money Or The Simple Life Honey, Darren Hayes - So Beautiful, Dear Eskimo - Be Patient, Echo & The Bunnymen - In The Margins, Electric Avenue - All I Want, Eurythmics - I’ve Got Life, Fallout Trust - Before The Light Goes, Fightstar - Grand Unification, Goldfrapp - Number One, Hipslinky - Had It Occurred To You?, Howdi - The Number One Song In Heaven/Play Dead [7” only], Jamie Lidell - Multiply, Jo Jingles - Disco/Jo Jingles Says, The Kills - No Wow, Kray Twinz - What We Do, Lancaster Bombers - Cruelty Boxes [7” only], Lupen Crook - Halloween, Madness - Girl, Why Don’t You?, Man Raze - Skin Crawl, Meeky Rosie - Forever, Mugison - I Want You, Nine Black Alps - Just Friends, Patrick Wolf - Tristan, Pharrell Williams & Gwen Stefani - Can I Have It Like That?, Rachel Star - Till There Was You, The Rakes - 22 Grand Job, Ray J - One Wish, Redjetson - This Every Day For The Rest Of Your Life, Richard Hawley - Coles’ Corner, Robert Post - There’s One Thing,Rosetta Ft Billy Bragg - We Laughed, Ryan Leslie - Just Right, Scary Kids Scaring Kids - Only Medicine [7” only], St Etienne - A Good Thing, Status Quo - All That Counts Is Love, Suffrajets - Everything You Do, Texas - Can’t Resist, Twisted Angels - La, Vanlustbader - Here We Go Again, White Rose Movement - Alsatian

What's your single of the week?

Saturday, October 29, 2005

Freelance Videowatch...with Elz

Introducing my good friend Elz, music fan extrordinaire, who has somehow managed to keep her Franz fangirling to a minimum in her first video review, which will hopefully soon become a weekly feature on WL. Please tell us what you think! - Hannah

Freelance Videowatch:
Franz Ferdinand - Walk Away (official site - lyrics, several videos, band gallery, band blog... these guys think of everything!)

Alex is cold... he forgot to put a coat on.We all know about Franz Ferdinand; Scottish (but not really), arty (but not pretentious), breakthrough indie rockers (but...well, they are). After the fast-paced debut single from Franz Ferdinand's sophomore album, "Walk Away" is a surprisingly mellow ballad with dark, twisted undertones that make you question what exactly singer Alex Kapranos is walking away from.

The video, while at first seeming innocuous enough, appears to chart the break-up of a relationship, with the added extras of being chased by spies (Kapranos' bandmates, Nick McCarthy, Bob Hardy and Paul Thomson), with some marvellous fake driving by Kapranos. No, Possibly the best part of the video.really. Look at him go! On his arm, a pretty blonde who seems to be marginally more talented at acting than her co-star. Switching between colour and black-and-white film gives a very realistic feel to the idea that the action in "Walk Away" occurs during the forties or fifties. Filmed at Ealing Studios in London, Franz continue their tradition of taking inspiration from other sources; this video contains references to older films, including To Catch A Thief, Suspicion and The Third Man.

Part of the appeal of the video to "Walk Away" is that although there isAs you can see here, mascara does in fact not bleed a blackened tear. But let's not quibble over details. a plot, the intentions of the characters remain unclear, even after the video ends. I personally love this sort of ambiguity, especially since it plays along with the lyrics of the song. Even if you're convinced you've pinned down what's happening, Franz Ferdinand will change your mind within the next few frames, or at least make you doubt yourself.

Franz Ferdinand can always be relied upon to produce an outstanding video for each of their singles, and "Walk Away" certainly doesn't break the trend. In fact, the hammed-up acting just makes it even more amusing to watch.
This video premieres on Channel 4 in the UK on Friday 4th November at 11:15pm. It's well worth taking the time out of your obviously packed schedules to watch it. Just make sure you're not being followed by creepy men whose shadows are playing instruments. That's never a good thing.

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Single of the Week (24/10/05)

Single of the Week:
Maximo Park - Apply Some Pressure (official site - videos, lyrics and more)
Another slightly pointless re-release from another successful newbie indie band. The Kaiser Chiefs have done it, Editors have done it, Kasabian have done it...all with varying degrees of success. The Park's breakthrough hit was this song, charting at 20 in March of this year. Whether it will now better that position remains to be seen, but it deserves to. The video is slicker, frontman Paul is now covering up that oh-so-offputting hair with a hat on TOTP, and the song itself still sounds great, however many times I may have heard it. It's upbeat, with energetic angular guitar riffs, is full of pizazz and sparkle and has a definite sense of I'm-not-quite-sure-what-the-chorus-is...and the most impressive thing is it's not even their best.

Other Releases:
The Magic Numbers - Love's A Game (official site - no video)
Let me put it simply. Like Supergrass, below, this is the wrong song released from an otherwise good album. In comparison to the band's previous (both fantastic) singles, this 'ballad' seems a little limp. Lewis has already slammed it this week - I don't think it's that bad, but the vocals do seem weak, the lyrics cliched in places, and the chorus something of an anticlimax. The last minute of the track also seems a bit pointless and rambling. Something has me yearning for the cheery, upbeat numbers-from-the-numbers that defined the summer of 2005.

Supergrass - Low C (official site - for video and radio)
Somebody, somewhere, clearly wants to convey the following message - 'Supergrass are old and boring'. This thing is that they aren't, but whoever opted for this song to be released as opposed to one of the others on their latest album, 'Road To Rouen' has made a foolish mistake. The song itself doesn't seem to go anywhere until the very end. It's rather sweet and dreamy, much like 'St Petersburg'. It pleasantly ambles along, much like 'St Petersburg' and is driven by piano and acoustic guitar, much like 'St Petersburg'. Sorry, but the 'new' Supergrass, have much more to them than a host of 'St Petersburgs'. It's a good song, there's just nothing outstanding about it.

All Releases: (ones I've heard in bold)
Akala - Bullshit, Amsterdam - Takin’ On The World, Audio Bullys - I’m In Love, Backstreet Boys - Just Want You To Know, Beauty Shop - A Desperate Cry For Help, Black Angels - Black Angels EP, Blak Twang - Travellin’, Bowling For Soup - Almost, Cagedbaby - Golden Triangle [7” only], Computerman - No More Broken Hearts, The Corrs - Heart Like A Wheel/Old Town, Crosbi - Coastline, DJ Tekin Ft Beth Trollan - Wait Forever, Dons Ft Technotronic - Pump Up The Jam, Envelopes - Sister In Love [7” only], Four Tet - A Joy [7” only], Glitterati - Back In Power, Hilary Duff - Wake Up, Howdi - Number One Song In Heaven/Play Dead [7” only], Ivories - Reduce The Temperature, Jamie Lidell - Multiply, Kate Bush - King Of The Mountain, Kirsty Hawkshaw - Reach For Me, The Leaves - Good Enough, Magic Numbers - Love’s A Game, Mari Wilson - Storyline, Mattafix - Passer By, Maximo Park - Apply Some Pressure, Morning Runner - Be All You Want Me To Be, My Awesome Compilation - Set To Go [7” only], Natural - Rockaway [12’’ only], The Organ - Memorize The City, Patricia Vonne - Texas Burning, Pure Reason Revolution - Intention Craft, Rifles - Local Boy, Roots Manuva - Awfully Deep EP, Satomi - Heartbreaker, Styles & Breeze - You're An Angel [12’’ only], Supergrass - Low C, Superthriller - I’m Gonna Ask To Leave At Three, So Call Me [7” only], Syn - Cathedral Of Love, Testicicles - Circle Square Triangle, Tiefschwarz Ft Matty Safer - Warning Siren [12” only], Tom Vek - Nothing But Green Lights, Trickbaby vs Freemasons - Zap Me Lovely, The Wedding Present - Ringway To Seatac, Westlife - You Raise Me Up, Will Smith - Party Starter

What's your single of the week?

Monday, October 24, 2005

Not The Single of the Week...with Lewis

The Magic Numbers - 'Love's A Game'
Oh no! Not the poor widdle Numbers! Alas, this song is a sorry state of affairs, especially in relation to their last single, the excellent 'Love Me Like You'. Here we have an instantly forgettable lump of MOR twaddle, bound up with flaccid ruminations on love 'n' life 'n' stuff. Romeo Stodart obviously feels the need to live up to his namesake - he really shouldn't bother when the results are this trite: 'Love is just a lie / It happens all the time / Swear I know this much is true'. Yawn. They really are capable of much better than dross like this; dross that only serves to overwhelm with its pointlessness. Would you like some Westlife with that, sir?

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Hannah's Single of the Week (17/10/05)

I'm really struggling, this week. After almost a week of being off sick and spending my days flicking through the digital music channels, you would think I'd heard, and liked, a greater proportion of this little lot. I have pre-ordered the Do Me Bad Things limited vinyl, but unfortunately it hasn't made it to my letterbox yet. Shame. My reviewer's masterplan was to rely on one single...which has subsequently (and frustratingly!) had its release put back a couple of weeks. So, is there anything worth your time?

Alex Parks - 'Looking For Water' (official site)
Lacklustre download-only single from the Fame Academy winner's second album. As much as I love Alex's voice, this is nothing that special.

Arctic Monkeys - 'I Bet That You Look Good On The Dancefloor' (official site)
While I don't dislike the Arctic Monkeys with such a passion as Lewis, I still fail to see this amazing 'thing' that makes them more talented, promising, and 'the next big thing' in comparison to every other typical NME-endorsed indie band. I just think they're a little overhyped.

McFly - 'I Wanna Hold You' (official site)
The sucessors to Busted's power-pop throne (although soon to be challenged by 'Son of Dork') release another single of their formulaic guitar pop. I've never liked McFly's vocals, nor their lyrics, but the music here is delightfully uplifting and shows more complexity and musical prowess in comparison to anything released by their predecessors. It's not great, but it's not bad either.

Single of the Week:
Protocol - 'She Waits For Me' (official site)
So instead, I'm going to recommend a single that was out last week, but probably didn't get the attention it deserved. 'She Waits For Me' is an excellent slice of indie-ish electropop, by a band not afraid to classify themselves as 'pop'. The lead singer may have the most offputting hair since the time Alex Kapranos rid himself of his trademark 'do, but that's about the only critical thing I can say here. The music itself sounds like a friendly British alternative to The Bravery or The Killers, with a fabulous, infectious melody and plenty of synths combined effectively with a prominent bass line and distorted guitars. It's energetic, addictive, and has an impressive video accompaniment. Why the hell is it this week's number 65?

All Releases: (those heard by me in bold)
12 Stone Toddler - Come Back, Alex Parks - Looking For Water [Download Only], Arab Strap - Dream Sequence [7” only], Arctic Monkeys - I Bet That You Look Good On The Dancefloor, Baby J - None Of Them [12” only], Barbra Streisand - Stranger In A Strange Land, Blak Twang - Travellin’, The Brakes - Ring A Ding Ding, Chase & Status - Duppy Man, Chocolate Monday - Model Life, Conjure One - Extraordinary Way, Da Playaz Ft Clea - Clothes Off, Dannii Minogue - Perfection, Deus - 7 Days, 7 Weeks, Do Me Bad Things - Standards EP [7” only], Dre Allen Project Ft Dawn Robinson - Fly, Echelon - Windows Shut, Happy Mondays - Playground Superstar, Hardkandy - Three Days, Jamie Liddell - Multiply, John Cale - Perfect, John Legend - So High [12” only], Kings Have Long Arms - All Hail Satan, The Kooks - Sofa Song, Laura Veirs - Galaxies, Lethal Bizzle - Fire, The Littl’ans - Their Way, Love Bites - You Broke My Heart, McFly - I Wanna Hold You, My Latest Novel - Sister Sneaker Sister Soul, Olav Basoski Ft Michie One - Waterman, Omerta - One Chance/Synchronise Your Smile, Organ - Memorize The City [Ltd Ed], The Paddingtons - Sorry, Paris Avenue Ft Robin One - I Want You, People’s Revolutionary Choir - Elevate, Rammstein - Benzin’, Research - Way You Used To Smile, Tiga - You Gonna Want Me, Triquetra - Half The Time, Wheatus - Bmx Bandits [7’’ only]

What's your single of the week?

Monday, October 17, 2005

Not The Single of the Week...with Lewis

After last week's free-for-all I thought it would be a great idea to ressurect the anti-single of the week posts Jamie used to do and so invited Lewis to blog for WL full time. So, in a bit of contrast to his 'victim' of choice last week, Lewis has chosen to the review the single from the incredibly hyped-up Arctic Monkeys. Enjoy!
- Hannah

Arctic Monkeys - 'I Bet You Look Good On The Dancefloor'
Ah, there is nought so fresh on an autumnal morn as the scent of freshly-laid hype! This marauding, illiterate hoedown, riding on thecoat-tails of the frankly otiose Pete Doherty, comes championed by the frankly otiose NME (one senses a pattern here) and their house policy of voice-of-a-generation masturbation - plugging bands that offer a quick, empty thrill, in the hope that they'll become vital enough to reprezent today's Yoof, man. The Arctic Monkeys are the typical kind of ephemera that characterizes this way of thinking, with their boring, hedonistic lyrics and hackneyed sound. Unfortunately, this inertia seems to have currently infested the entire mainstream indie scene. Oh, Britpop. Whatever happened to you?

Monday, October 10, 2005

WL's Big Fat Free-For-All!

Hello, and welcome to the first ever WL multi-contributor free-for-all post! This week I have asked a small group of my online buddies to write a review for WL, meaning that this week both the choice of music and the writing styles will be deliciously diverse. There will be reviews from both myself (Hannah) and Fish, but also from my pals Lewis, Kaytee and Greg. Hopefully we will do this sort of thing again some time soon. If you would like to take part when that time comes, please send an email expressing your interest to the usual address, and we'll contact you a week before we decide to do another free-for-all!

In other news, if you haven't yet voted for the DMAs, myself and the team would really appreciate your vote for WL! The link is still in the sidebar. Please show your support for the site...and you never know, we may even beat last years shockingly good/hopeless (depending on how you view it) position! Anyway...

Recommended Singles:

Death Cab For CutieSoul Meets Body - Review by Kaytee
When I first heard this song, it has to be said that I didn’t think much of it. On first listening it is quite bland. However now that I’ve listened to it more, it has certainly grown on me. It doesn’t live up to other DCFC songs I’ve heard from previous albums, but it is still pretty good in its own right. The song has the perfect feel for the end of summer/beginning of autumn, and Ben Gibbard’s vocals on this song are really pretty and perfectly suited to the song. I also have to mention how much I love this line from the song as well: “Cause you’re the only song I want to hear, a melody softly soaring through my atmosphere”.
Kaytee also recommends this week's single from: InMe

Missy Higgins - 'Scar' - Review by Hannah
I've been waiting patiently for this. Very patiently. Having heard this Australian number 1 hit over a year ago, it was really only a matter of time before it got a British release. Missy obviously hasn't equalled her Aussie success over here in the UK, but, as you know, success isn't everything. 'Scar' is a delightful slice of piano driven pop that is so ridiculously catchy that one listen will have it stuck in your head for a matter of days. Think Daniel Powter's 'Bad Day' in female form, just more intelligent, avec Aussie accent and sans stupid beanie hat.
Hannah also recommends this week's single by: Protocol

Lisa Scott LeeElectric - Review by Greg
The former Steps star returns with her do-or-die new single ‘Electric’. If this fails to make the top ten then Lisa has vowed to graciously bow out of the music industry. What’s that I hear you cry? “What a martyr she is for pop!” “that’ll show those sleazy record companies!” and the like. A wave of apathy hits, and no-one cares. It is a shame really, that LSL has made herself into the pop laughing stock, because really ‘Electric’ is a little pop song that’s really not that bad at all. It’s no ‘Toxic’ for sure, but then by the same token Lisa is no Britney. ‘Electric’ very obviously flirts with the now rather tired and overused electro pop sound, but still manages to sound unique, as well as flirting slightly with electroclash (!!!) with the slashy guitars under the track. Certain elements of this song are brilliant but the overall song is slightly underwhelming. There is a great pop song under there somewhere. This song does have ‘top ten’ written all over it, but I feel as though I’m being just a tad unrealistic with that statement. I think I’ll finish this review with a quote from my friend regarding this song, “At least she did better than H and Claire”. Yes, quite.
Greg also recommends this week's singles from: Missy Higgins, M.I.A., Utada Hikaru and Louis XIV

InMe - So You Know - Review By Fish
InMe's third single 'So You Know' from their stunning second album 'White Butterfly' is much more of a grower than instant-hit predecessors 'Faster The Chase' and '7Weeks'. Ever relentless in their tirade to prove themselves against the odds of being dropped from their label and struggling to get their second album out, the band aren't letting up with this slice of powerful rock with a strong riff and pretty vocal harmonies. Lyrically sophisticated they may not always be, but InMe have an ear for a killer tune, and are always an absolute pleasure to listen to. Whack up the volume, sing along merrily and feel the hairs on the back of your neck stand up. In fact, go and see them live and stuff your fingers in your ears all the way through the crap support bands, gaining death glares from their guitarists, and then go mad when InMe come onstage and save you, just like I did. Screw depth this week, InMe are simply a wonderful, solid band, and they'd get my 5/5 anyday.

Singles To Avoid:

Lee Ryan - Turn Your Car Around - Review by Lewis
Apparently Lee Ryan has been taking singing lessons from Janis Joplin, via the mediations of a clairvoyant. Yes, Janis, there is no escape from Lee, even in death. He claims she told him to work on his lower range. Why'd you do it, Janis? Why not just tell him to drop off the scale altogether? It would spare us this lame, strumalong effort, with its misogynistic lyrics and arrogant posture. Admittedly, the directionless sound is a vague departure from the charmless, lads-mag-style-supplement groove that Blue blandly inflicted on us -but, ultimately, why should we give a fuck about Lee Ryan's new single? There are elephants and whales dying out there...
Instead, Lewis recommends this week's single from: Death Cab For Cutie

All Releases: (songs Hannah has heard in bold)
Amandine - Halo [7” only], Benjamin Theves - Texas [12” only], Black Watch - Innercity Garden EP, Bob Sinclair and Garry Pine - Love Generation, Bow Wow Ft Omarion - Let Me Hold You, Cinematics - Chase [7” only], Clor - Good Stuff, Conjure One - Extraordinary Way, Cuban Heels - Mr Brannam, Death Cab For Cutie - Soul Meets Body [7” only], Delirious - Paint The Town Red, Dylan Rhymes - Sugar DJ [12” only], El Presidente - Rocket, The Faders - Stupid Mistake [Download Only], Feeder - Shatter/Tender, The Fight - Can’t Be Bothered, Friday Hill - Baby Goodbye, Hush - If I Was, Ils - Angels [12” only], Inme - So You Know, Jenn Cuneta - Come Rain Come Shine, Jynxt - Electric Knives, Lee Ryan - Turn Your Car Around, Lisa Scott Lee - Electric, Louis XIV - Finding Out True Love Is Blind, Make Good Your Escape - No Return/Waiting [7” only], MIA - Galang 2005, Missy Higgins - Scar, Mono Taxi - King Of Better [7” only], Motorhead - Ace Of Spades [7” only], My Morning Jacket - Off The Record, Omerta - One Chance/Synchronise Your Smile, Protocol - She Waits For Me, Roll Deep - Shake A Leg, Rookiee - I’ll Do You [Download Only], Route 1 Ft Jenny Frost - Crash Landing, Simply Red - Perfect Love, Spoon - Sister Jack, Stephen Fretwell - New York, Steve Mac - Lovin’ You More (That Big Track), TQ - Right On, U2 - All Because Of You, Umlaut - Wintercoat [7” only], Utada Hikaru - You Make Me Want To Be A Man, Winterville - Under My Skin

What's your single of the week?

Monday, October 03, 2005

Single of the Week (03/10/05)

Picks of the Singles:

Bloc Party - Two More Years
At the beginning of the year, Bloc Party were on the lips of every journalist, tipped to be the next big thing. As we move into the last part of 2005, they've made an impact, but possibly not as big an impact as the other journo's favourite - Kaiser Chiefs. The simple fact is that while Bloc Party have some great tunes, in the singles department they're a little inconsistant. This brand new song, however, is one of the better ones. While still maintaining the percussive sound the band seem to favour, the vocal melody here is far more tuneful and adventurous, complete with some neat harmonies and layered vocals. Bloc Party aren't worthy of the hype, but some of their songs are almost there.

Rachel Stevens - I Said Never Again (But Here We Are)
After the slightly questionable 'Negotiate With Love' and 'that-one-with-the-gloves' ('So Good') barely making it into the top 10, it was always going to take something incredible to propel Rachel back to the dizzy top 3 heights of 'Some Girls'. Is this song going to do it? Possibly not, but it certainly deserves to. It's unforgivably catchy, bouncy and heaps better than the Jo O'Meara effort last week. The song itself is another Goldfrapp-lite slice of glorious electropop and, despite the fact she's not the world's strongest singer - it doesn't matter. Nobody could front this other than Stevens. I'm not a pop lover, normally, but this is FANTASTIC.

Starsailor - In The Crossfire
It's nothing particularly new, adventuous, or sparklingly original, but it seems to pack a punch that the band never appeared to have before or at least haven't had in a long time. It's your typical epic ballad, which is perfectly fine if you like that sort of thing, but if you've never liked Starsailor, it's certainly not going to convert you.

Avoid these ones:

James Blunt - High
Possibly less annoying than 'You're Beautiful' because, unlike the aforementioned previous hit, it's not everywhere, and I mean EVERYWHERE, yet. It'll be interesting to see if this song matches the success of its predecessor, but to be honest I really don't want it to. The earlier the British media labels the future singles career of Blunt a 'flop'. the better. Mind you, the fact that the original lyric was 'f***ing high' baffles me. I can't possibly see how it would work...

Robbie Williams - Tripping
I'm always ashamed to admit it, but I'm a bit of a Robbie Williams fan. However, I find this single impossible to like. The verses seem tuneless and lacking in musical impact, the chorus features strained high pitched vocals and as for the 'rap' - let's not even go there. This song is almost painful to listen to. The video's suitably bizarre. Then again, come back to me next week - you can bet I'll love it.

All Releases: (all I've heard in bold)
Alex Gold - Back From A Break/Better Days [12” only], Amandine - Halo [7” only], Black Dice - Smiling Off, Bloc Party - Two More Years, Boston Rodriguez - Where's The Party [12" only], Bratz Rock Angels - So Good, The Cardigans - I Need Some Fine Wine, And You, You Need To Be Nicer, Depeche Mode - Precious, Emmanuel - Damelo [12" only], The Fight - Can’t Be Bothered, Fleet - Get Down EP, Freeform Five - (No More) Conversations [12” only], George Michael - John And Elvis Are Dead [Download Only], Ian Van Dahl - Inspiration, Idiot Pilot - To Buy A Gun, Ironweed - Down To My Grave, James Blunt - High, Leah Wood - Contact High, Mariah Carey - Shake It Off/Get Your Number, Mr. Oizo - Moustace (Half A Scissor) [12” only], Nazareth - Glimpse Of Perfection [12” only], New Order - Waiting For The Sirens Call, Prodigy - Out Of Space/Voodoo People, Rachel Stevens - I Said Never Again (But Here We Are), Ricky Martin - I Don’t Care, Robbie Williams - Trippin’, Rogers Sisters - Emotion Control [7” only], Sandie Thom - I Wish I Was A Punk Rocker With Flowers In My Hair, Saw Doctors - Stars Over Cloughanover, Schnappi - Schnappi, Skindred - Nobody, Starsailor - In The Crossfire, Ultrasonic - High Energy/Staying Underground, We Are Scientists - Great Escape