Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Hannah's Single of the Week (20/02/06)

Fish is back in full force (her post to be published tomorrow!), and so am I. It's a big release week this week, with promising singles from plenty of the pop players, as well as many of my indie favourites and it would seem the teen/emo rock lot are serving up a few CDs for the shelves as well. Good, good. The chart needs a nice little shakeup post all that Valentine's day mush. Liz McClarnon the only top 10 entry? Oh puh-lease.

Special mentions:
Maximo Park - I Want You To Stay (official site with video)
It feels like the Park have had a lot more than three singles, but indeed, this is only their fourth, and while it wouldn't be my first choice for another single, I'm certainly not complaining. The song is, in a similar way to 'Going Missing', one of their slightly more subtle efforts, even if it still drifts from hook to hook with tremendous ease and the more understated start allows a remarkable crescendo to a fabulous finish. 'I Want You To Stay' is a perfect way to show the sheer sophistication of the Park - having multiple layers and just being musically interesting. You can listen to it several times (as I did for this review) and not be at all bored. You keep picking out new and exciting bits that you didn't notice before. The synths, the guitars, the bass, the percussion and the vocals all play a key and complex part, rather than just one instrument taking the foreground. In modern indie rock this just doesn't happen enough. Oh, and this is probably why their latest tour sold out in a matter of hours. Thank goodness I managed to nab a ticket... ;)

We Are Scientists - It’s A Hit (official site and video)
One of my highlights of the Brits 2006 was Keith, the rather cute (American) frontman of W.A.S., accepting the Arctic Monkeys' Brit award for British Breakthrough...and nobody really noticing. Cheeky monkeys, the lot of them. Anyway, the band themselves have been marked as the 'cool geeks' sporting dodgy should-have-gone-to-specsavers glasses, facial hair and appearing in slightly surreal and rather daft videos. They're an interesting bunch, to say the least. While not as strong as their previous hit 'The Great Escape', 'It's A Hit' still packs a punch with its intense guitar riffs and a magnificent chorus. However, it is a grower. I found it completely and utterly unlistenable the first time round, purely because of the intensity of the whole thing. For the uninitiated, this can give your eardrums a right pounding. Anyway, let's just hope the title's prophetic, shall we?

Single of the Week:
Delays - Valentine (Valentine promo site with video and relevant links)
Something tells me the Delays record company folks have missed a marketing trick here - why release a song entitled 'Valentine' nearly a week after the day itself? Hey - I can answer my own question here - because it's so damn good it does not matter one little bit. After the delay in the release of album-number-two, 'You See Colours', this lead single has definitely been worth the wait. It was even being showcased on the band's April 2005 tour supporting my favourites - Manic Street Preachers - nearly a whole year ago! 'Valentine' shows the band's departure from their dreamy soundscapes on their debut and instead moving in the direction of 'euphoric electropop' in a similar manner to 'Lost In A Melody'. Oh, except it makes 'Lost In A Melody' look a little bit average. It's an indie floorfiller and is definitely my favourite single of the week, and possibly the year so far. Incredibly addictive - a perfect showcase of beats, hooks, basslines, synths, guitar and Greg Gilbert's trademark falsetto...who cares if it's been a 'long time coming'? Finally, it's here. Buy it.

MP3 time:
As well as being masters of the dreamy soundscape and the indie floorfiller, Delays also do a nice line in jaunty acoustic numbers. Oooh. Versatile. Just what I love in a band. This tune, not available on their debut, is one of those. 'Safety In Numbers' is one of my favourite songs by the band, starting off simply and gradually adding layer by layer of music and vocal. Lovely. [mp3]
(Thanks to Michael. Oh, and apologies for the terrible Delays puns. I could not resist.)

The Rest: (because it's a big week, folks!)
Corinne Bailey Rae - Put Your Records On (official site)
Currently the okay-to-like alternative to Norah Jones and co, Corinne does have a rather attractive quality about her that I can't quite place. This summery little number is destined to be a huge hit.

The Darkness - Is It Just Me? (official site)
Who would have imagined this time two years ago that The Darkness, saviours of British rock, heroes of The Brits, and spandex revivalists would experience such a backlash. Well, maybe not a backlash, exactly. It depends entirely who you talk to, which magazine you read and whether or not you're a fan. My little brother thinks they're better than ever. Bless. This follow-up to the dire 'One Way Ticket' is significantly better, even if the video seems like some desperate plea for attention.

Madonna - Sorry (official site)
If anyone else had come out with this song, it would be dismissed as yet another piece of generic dance that's okay to like, but hardly criticially acclaimed. Oh, but this is Madonna, so clearly it has to be acer than ace and extremely innovative, apparently. Don't get me wrong, I like it, but I fail to see what the fuss is about. And she should cover up. Really, she should.

U2 - Original Of The Species [Download Only] (official site)
U2 squeeze yet ANOTHER single from 2004's 'How To Dismantle An Atomic Bomb'. It's even more dull than the others. 'Vertigo' was great. Anything since has left me less than impressed. Thank goodness it's just a download-only single. For more information, see this week's post from Lewis!

All Releases: (ones I've heard in bold)
Alkaline Trio - Burn, Alps - Last Dance, Arab Strap - Speed Date [7” only], Barefoot - It’s Like That, Blondie Vs The Doors - Rapture Riders [12” only], Boogie Pimps - Music In Me, Buzzcocks - Wish I Never Loved You, Celebration - War, Corinne Bailey Rae - Put Your Records On, The Darkness - Is It Just Me?, David Ford - I Don’t Care What You Call Me, Delays - Valentine, Funeral For A Friend - Roses For The Dead, Hardkandy Ft Terry Callier - Advice, Helen Boulding - I Don't Know What I Want (But I Know What I Need), Hollies - So Damn Beautiful, Hush - If You Go Breaking My Heart, Keisha White - The Weakness In Me, Knife - Silent Shout, Madonna - Sorry, Mario Rosenstock - Jose & His Amazing Techincolor Overcoat, Maximo Park - I Want You To Stay, Michael Jackson - Don’t Stop ‘Til You Get Enough, Michael Jackson - Thriller [Boxset Only - NCQ], Morning Runner - Burning Benches, My Latest Novel - Reputation Of Ross Francis, Nicki French - Total Eclipse Of The Heart 2006, Shaggy - Ultimatum, Shout Out Louds - Please, Please, Please, Simon Webbe - After All This Time, Simple Plan - Crazy, Sine Star Project - Strange Girl, Skye - Love Show, Soft Priest - Done It EP, Soledad Brothers - Good Feeling, Spank Rock - Rick Rubin, T.O.K. - Footprints, This Is Seb Clarke - Fall, U2 - Original Of The Species [Download Only], Vogue - Missing You, We Are Scientists - It’s A Hit, Westlife - Amazing, Wills & The Willing - It's Easy