Our singles of the week column return for the new year, featuring Cheryl Cole, White Lies, Broken Records and more.
There are two things I want to put money on here. The first is that Cheryl Cole will never perform this track 100% live – it’s laughable to suggest that she wasn’t using a backing track on the recent Royal Variety Performance. Infact it baffles me that the ‘The Flood’ was ever chosen to be a single. Sure it’s a catchy enough mid-tempo ballad with a big, clean, sweeping sound (and woeful aquatically-themed lyrics) but really, it’s Cole’s fragile and overly processed vocals that are in the spotlight here. Her high notes actually caused my cat to bolt from the room. But it’s not his opinion that counts here, or even mine. The second thing I would bet on is that Joe Public will eat this up. It’ll be number one by next week.
Bigger Than Us
Had it been up to me, ‘Is Love’, the epic opener of White Lies’ second album Ritual, would have been its first single. But no matter, this does the job nicely. Nothing less than what we would expect from the band who brought dark indie and hollowed cheekbones back into the top 40, easy-to-swallow miserablism is what White Lies do best. Proving that the hype surrounding them at the beginning of 2009 was somewhat justified, it’s evident they’ve more than nailed the ability to write a killer chorus.
‘Bigger Than Us’ is anthemic, highly polished and primed with onyx-gleaming pop grandeur. A promising return.
Professor Green feat Maverick Sabre
There’s a sick irony in getting “lucky” tattooed on your neck only to be stabbed in the same spot two weeks later. And certainly Professor Green has this in mind as he eschews his usually cheeky vim over the grimy, dubstep beat of ‘Jungle.’
“Welcome to Hackney” he spits by way of introduction. “We don’t applaud success, all we clap is tools.”
Sure it’s another rapper talking about life on the hardened streets yadda yadda, but it’s great to hear the Prof telling us about his own experiences on a single for a change rather than elusive love interests or surrounded by dry ice and costumed ghouls. Despite the edgier content this is still targeted firmly at the mainstream market getting bored of Dizzee Rascal. Just don’t expect to find Lily Allen popping up on this one.
If Matt Cardle – murderer of the Biff – is our current Anti-Christ, then Emma Gillespie must be some kind of saviour right?
Sky One’s antidote to the X Factor, Must Be The Music, may have been cancelled after just one series but its winner will be praying her career lasts a tad longer. And armed with a softly plucked guitar, willowy voice, and the charming modern lullaby of ‘This Day’, she has the tools to make people listen. Of course we’ve heard her chirpy acoustic schtick all too often before. But it would be nice to see Emma’s Imagination succeed, if not only to remind us that music-orientated reality TV doesn’t have to exist in order to further jangle the brimming pockets of Simon Cowell.
Me and You
If you thought Magnetic Man were guilty of watering down dubstep for the masses then you’re going to think Nero are like chucking it in a river and watching it hurtle downstream. Nero, producers Dan Stevens and Joe Ray and singer Alana, have made the long list of BBC’s Sound of 2011 but in truth ‘You and Me’ sounds like it would be better suited blasting out of a sub-woofer in the back of a Peugeot.
A tag like ‘The New Pendulum’ should never be used lightly, yet it’s an apt means to describe this dubstep-meets-dnb-meets-mosh-pit mash up. Chart bound and destined for Ministry of Sound “dubstep” compilations everywhere.
You Know You’re Not Dead
Arcade Fire. The National. The Walkmen. These are all big points of reference, big sounds to take your cues from. Yet Edinburgh’s Broken Records have always been able to pull them off and still come away working their own disparate agenda. The best offering on their second album Let Me Come Home, ‘You Know You’re Not Dead’ is an open road rush of a track, Jamie Sutherland’s expansive vocal pushing it’s Springsteen-esque urgency ever skyward to a chorus that drips with earnesty, class and beating heart.