Good morning one and all! It’s Monday morning so you know the score – it’s the time that the music writers at So So Gay bring you reviews of some new tracks out this week. Enjoy!
‘Call My Name’ by Cheryl (Rating: *)
Reviewed by Young Tan
Any fans of Girls Aloud who were hoping for a long-awaited reunion this year will unfortunately have to wait slightly longer than anticipated as the only one who has ever had a taste of solo success – which is quite unbelievable really – Cheryl, is back with her third album. A Million Lights is what Cheryl, who has now dropped the ‘Cole’ from her name, is hoping will catapult her back into the limelight after her short stint and humiliating sacking for The X Factor USA last year, as well as her music career failing to take off stateside. ‘Call My Name’, written and produced by the overly popular Calvin Harris, is the first single preceding the album’s release on 18 June, which sees Chezza move away from the pop and R&B roots of her first two albums and take on a more electropop and dance sound. Oh dear… how many more artists these days want to follow this tiresome trend?
Backed by a thumping bassline and pumping synthesisers, ‘Call My Name’ is no doubt a floor filler, but it doesn’t exactly separate itself from other songs by Harris, or in fact any other dance track out there right now. While Cheryl is far from a good singer, she is normally known for her whispery tone that is supposed to come off as sounding sexy, but against the loud beats of ‘Call My Name’, her less-than-average voice is forgettable and almost completely drowned out.
Unfortunately ‘Call My Name’ is not only just your average, generic dance tune that could be categorised as ‘too catchy for its own good’, but the song’s lyrics are so basic and unimaginative, Cheryl herself could have written them. But she didn’t. The verses are as short as two lines long each, probably taking the prize for the world’s shortest verses in a song, while the chorus is nothing but a constant droning repeat of: ‘How’d you think I feel when you call my name? / You got me confused by the way I change / How’d you think I feel when you call my name? / My name, say my name, baby’. We know most dance music like this is supposed to be less about the lyrics, but this is ridiculous.
Although ‘Call My Name”s mediocrity means it probably doesn’t deserve to be a hit, you can bet that it will be – a pattern that Cheryl’s music seems to have always followed. I guess in this industry, she really is proof that a pretty face, a lack of any outstanding talent and a legion of ‘hot right now’ producers and writers can get you to the top.
‘Do You Chew?’ by Chew Lips (Rating: ****)
Reviewed by Leo Kristoffersson
What’s better than a really funky track that you can tap your feet and nod your head to? A free one! A sure-fire hit in these times of austerity! Ladies and gentlemen, we give you ‘Do You Chew?’, the new single by exciting duo, Chew Lips. Having released their debut album Unicorn to positive reviews last year, the band are back with a new single and an as-yet-untitled sophomore album to be released later this year.
You know a song is going to be good when the opening lines are ‘Do you chew? / Maybe you’re a licker or a sucker too’. This slightly mischievous tone permeates the track. You get a real sense from the playful lyrics and upbeat instrumentation that the band are basically having a lot of fun. Lead singer Tigs provides excellent vocal delivery with hints of her background as a member of an indie band.
‘Do You Chew?’ is clearly not intended to be a piece of contemporary prose, the chorus being; ‘Video in your hand / And you’re starting to dance / Video in the air / As you found the mayhem’. Crucially though, the ever-so-slightly nonchalant tone to Tigs’ voice, combined with the killer beats and synths on the track make it a definite winner in our eyes. We reckon Chew Lips are definite ones to watch in the months ahead.
‘Do You Chew?’ is officially released as a single next week. However, you can download the single for free by clicking here.
What more could you possibly ask for?
‘Play It By Heart’ by Jay James Picton (Rating: **** 1/2)
Reviewed by Leo Kristoffersson
Hunky Welshman ends his music video on a beach, panting, almost bare-chested and very wet. Have we got your attention? Excellent.
Jay James Picton is a breath of fresh air in a UK music industry dominated by Simon Cowell-reared reality show contestants and Brit School alumni. His backstory is really quite fascinating. Having joined the Royal Navy at 16 and then worked as a physical training instructor, the aesthetically pleasing, bearded singer-songwriter only discovered his musical talent as a result of a drunken bet. Said wager resulted in Picton buying a guitar which he then learned to play via online video tutorials while recovering at home from a rugby-related knee injury.
Now, five years later, Picton has worked with the likes of John Legend to produce a debut album full of soulful promise. For someone who didn’t even realise they could sing until recently, Picton is possessed of a powerhouse vocal ability. Upon hearing him sing for the first time, you might be reminded of Maroon 5 frontman Adam Levine. However, persevere and it becomes clear that there is far more depth and soul to Picton’s voice, making a comparison with the likes of Al Green perhaps more appropriate.
Single ‘Play It By Heart’ is the perfect showcase for Picton’s vocal ability and songwriting prowess. Apparently the result of the breakdown of a long-term relationship, the track really does resound with heaviness of the heart, over a pounding retro beat; ‘Fallen arrows again / I shoulda known from the start / You’ll remember the day that you played with my heart / Now the wave’s falling down and I’m lost in the dark’. The vibe of the track, despite, or perhaps because of its lyrical melancholy, might well remind you of the best of Duffy’s zillion-selling debut Rockferry.
Jay James Picton is already beginning to make waves. With his smouldering good looks, soulful voice and friendships in the right places, we predict that, if there is any justice in the world, this man is a definite one to watch.