Back in the mists of time, I used to get my pocket money and head off down to Goldrush Records to spend it on Kinks, Small Faces and The Jam singles. It was heaven. During the era of The Jam you need to sell upwards of 100,000 copies of your single to stand a chance of a Number 1. Times have certainly changed. Downloads have revolutionised the UK Chart and sales of singles rarely reach 100,000. Now, which of the following singles will tickle your fancy, whether or be vinyl, CD or digital download.
Yuck are a band who’s name belies their sound. The latest single from their acclaimed eponymous album is ‘Get Away’. It begins in a squeal of feedback, but this is just a ruse. When the song kicks in it sweeps you along on it’s wave of positive feeling. The tempo is kept high, the drums and guitars sound slightly underproduced, the bass thumps along and the vocal is understated. From start to finish this is a catchy, fantastically uplifting piece of indie music. In short it’s a brilliant cut from a brilliant album.
‘Stop and Stare’ from electro-pop outfit Fenech-Soler is a completely different proposition. From the outset the song doesn’t hide what it is as the synth leads us into a good summery sounding club favourite in the making. The vocals are nice and the chorus is catchy. It may not veer too far from that White Lies type sound, but that’s probably why it’ll be on Radio 1 all summer. That’s also it’s only downside ironically. It’s a sound that has been and will be replicated many times, but if it works then why not?
PJ Harvey could not be further from the electro-pop sound if she tried. ‘The Glorious Land’ is another single from a critically acclaimed album Let England Shake. The homage to her home country is fairly typical of a PJ Harvey song. It’s music hides a dark heart and there’s always a feeling of something sinister bubbling under the surface. This song is interesting for the bugle that punctuates the otherwise brooding guitars, while Polly Jean treats us to a fairly upbeat vocal. This might not be a big hit, but 6 Music listeners are sure to hear it often.
Teenagers all over the UK will be delighted to hear that Nicki Minaj is releasing ‘Girls Fall Like Dominoes’ this week. I know that line you say. Yes, you do. The song features a sample of ‘Dominoes’ by The Big Pink, punctuated by some sexually provocative lyrics that don’t quite say what you think they do. Perfect fodder for teenagers everywhere I’d say. There are some fairly basic rhymes in here too. Chuck D can rest easy if “She might be Filipino/be sippin’ Pellegrino/Be watchin’ Al Pacino” is the best Nicki Minaj can come up with. That said though, it’ll be a massive hit.
Again, there’s an Atlantic Ocean sized gulf between what Nicki Minaj does and what Alison Krauss does. The bluegrass legend returns with ‘Paper Airplane’, the title track from her fourteenth album. Along lending a hand are Union Station. The song is fairly low key at the outset, relying on Krauss’ lovely vocals over a finger picking guitar style. When the song hits the chorus, Union Station start to earn their crust backing Alison Krauss and the song remains slightly more up tempo with their help. There’s nothing here you wouldn’t expect but that’s no bad thing on a song as nice as this.
The last of this weeks singles changes the pace again. Raphael Saadiq‘s new offering this week is ‘Radio’. When this song starts you’re taken back in time and transported to a bygone era when R&B was still untouched by hip-hop. As with Yuck, the production isn’t overbearing, allowing Saadiq to capture a true R&B sound. The pace of the song is kept high throughout and the vocals sound like vintage soul. The guitar jangles away throughout and you’d be hard pressed not to like this infectious number. Your parents might even like it too.