band: Amy Macdonald
single: mr. rock & roll
Granted, the title does initially make you wince, but if you just put that down to misconstruing Scottish irony, this is quite a gem of a track. Sweetly spare, with a bit of zesty acoustic strumming, Macdonald has been a clever girl by deciding to eschew the tendency shown by many new artists today of trying to be too complex or innovative. The perfect pootling-with-Pimms-in-the-fields summer track. Sometimes it’s best just to follow the K.I.S.S rule: keep it simple, stupid.
single: mer du japon
So they effectively soundtracked every home and garden improvement in Lawrence Llewlyn-Bowen’s heyday, but Air really were quite brilliant at one point. Their haunting music for Sofia Coppola’s The Virgin Suicides and the numinous melodics of Moon Safari seem to have petered away. The track starts dynamically enough, but when you take a half-decent riff and repeat it for three minutes, frankly you’re just being lazy. Upsetting, from a band which once professed such sonic virtuosity.
band: siobhan donaghy
single: so you say
After the ethereal delights of ‘Don’t Give It Up’, the prodigal Sugababe seems to be a little over-enthralled with her own record and has given up on her ‘screw-Pop’ sedition, producing a disappointingly flat record. Bless her, it’s been a long run since the Sugababes days of the ‘90s; the poor lass is probably tired. That’s the most forgiving explanation anyway for a banally mediocre chorus culminating in ‘you’ve got me on a gurney’.
“And I’m thinking, what did I do to deserve this?” Probably Jesus’ personal anthem, but when the chorus kicks off into “Jump around, jump around to the sound”, unless your personal Jesus is a 14-year-old pubescent raver, the reference doesn’t really hold up. If they’re trying to be winningly sardonic, that’s probably the cleverest aspect of this track. It begins with a kitsch electronic melody spoiled by a chorus that makes you consider impaling yourself. Empathy, not satire, is perhaps the point here?