With the Olympics sadly now over – though the Paralympics about to begin – we unfortunately don’t have any new Spice Girls music out this week, however we do have some other new singles for you to check out. If you caught the London 2012 Closing Ceremony last night, we have a review of George Michael’s latest, ‘White Light’, which he performed after ‘Freedom’. We also have Paloma Faith’s second release from her sophomore album, as well as the latest singles from The Noisettes and Rita Ora. So start your week off with a quick rundown of the latest releases, courtesy of our ‘Singles of the Week’ feature, here at So So Gay.
‘White Light’ by George Michael (Rating: *1/2)
Reviewed by Elliot Robinson
‘White Light’ is the latest single to be released by George Michael and is to commemorate 30 years since his first musical release, ‘Wham Rap! (Enjoy What You Do)’, when he was part of the pop duo Wham!, with Andrew Ridgeley.
When writing the song, George Michael drew on his near-death experiences during 2011 when he suffered a serious case of pneumonia. While hardships are certainly a staple of song writing, when listening to ‘White Light’ one gets the impression that this source wasn’t that useful. A traumatic illness can certainly turn up trumps, just take Anastacia with her massive post-illness, comeback single, ‘Left Outside Alone’; a brilliant track. ‘White Light’ is sadly nowhere near this standard.
For starters, someone really needs to confiscate the Vocoder from George ASAP, because it is doing him no favours, and is a needless affectation that certainly doesn’t enhance his songs. Secondly, the track lacks any kind of melody and meanders around for four and a half minutes, never really making any impact on the listener.
Worse still, George’s vocals sound rather shaky, like he perhaps hadn’t fully recovered from his illness last year when he recorded them. There are parts at the beginning of the track where he even sounds off-key, though this could be just a dubious choice of melody, rather than George singing badly. The final quibble is the audio mix on the song; his weak vocals sound overly dominant against the serviceable, if ultimately forgettable music, which is very ‘generic dance track’. All in all, it’s a rather shambolic piece.
The accompanying video includes the occasional visual reference (needles, a ventilator, surgeons looking down into the camera) to the fact that George is singing about his recovery and his time in hospital, whilst interspersing shots of people dancing, as well as an apparent police incident, with news crews in attendance covering it. There’s also the presence throughout of British supermodel, Kate Moss, who looks admittedly stunning. However, even a video containing an appearance by one of Britain’s most famous supermodels can’t make this track anything other than a poor return by an artist who we know can make brilliant pop music.
’30 Minute Love Affair’ by Paloma Faith (Rating: ****)
Reviewed by Greg White.
This week sees Paloma Faith releasing the second single from her sophomore album, Fall To Grace. Produced by Nellee Hooper (Madonna, Gwen Stefani, Garbage) and written by Faith and Chris Braide (Lana Del Rey, Sia) ’30 Minute Love Affair’ is one of Paloma’s most accessible singles to date.
Over propulsive and layered 80s-tinged synths, Faith paints the picture of a brief romance in the listener’s head. The song manages to pull off both a fresh and nostalgic electro feel, with Faith’s unmistakable vocal delivery as sharp and eloquent as ever. Paloma revealed recently that the song was actually inspired by a street busker she had a brief encounter with as a teenager. Apparently Faith found herself quite smitten with the gifted street musician after hearing him play a few songs. He had told her he’d be back to sing in the same spot again the next day, but she never saw him again.
The video, directed by Emile Nava, tells the vague story of a romance between Paloma and the same gentleman we saw in the video for previous single ‘Picking Up The Pieces’. Overall it’s a little bit of a boring affair but there are some nice shots, and Faith’s magnetic energy makes it worth giving a watch. The track remains one of Paloma’s most alluring and enjoyable to date.
‘How We Do (Party)’ by Rita Ora(Rating: ***1/2)
Reviewed by Elliot Robinson
‘How We Do (Party)’ is the latest single to be released by Yugoslavia-born, but London-raised singer, Rita Ora, and is the second single from her upcoming début album, Ora, which is out towards the end of the month. The song lifts its chorus refrain from the Notorious B.I.G. track, ‘Party and Bullshit’.
Ora’s single is a catchy affair and will no doubt chart very highly for her here, having been a solid hit for her around the world already. Having said that, lyrically speaking it’s a typically shallow and frivolous party track, very much in the vein of Ke$ha’s ‘Tik Tok’, with a lot of talk of drinking, casual sex, and yet more drinking, because that’s just ‘how we do’, as Ora tells us.
Part of the attention-grabbing quality of the song is likely down to its repetitiveness. The bridge in particular being stuck in a lyrical loop, with ‘party and bullshit’ chanted multiple times, to really drill the (low) tone of the song home.
Ora’s vocal delivery is good, though something about the finish of it sounds a little overly polished, likely the result of some over-eager application of filtering techniques, post-recording, leaving the vocal sounding almost devoid of character somehow. Nevertheless, it’s a good song to shove on at a party, to get people on their feet and dancing, and will similarly no doubt help fill dancefloors in clubs up and down the country when played.
‘That Girl’ by The Noisettes (Rating: *****)
Reviewed by Ben Egan
Believe it not, London-based, Indie-pop group, The Noisettes, have actually been around since 2003. But it wasn’t really until 2009 that the UK opened up their ears and listened when the band released the #2 hit ‘Don’t Upset the Rhythm’ taken from the sublime album Wild Young Hearts.
Now the band are back with their mouth-watering new single, ‘That Girl’ – Will they finally get the commercial success they so deserve?
The song is a simple jazzy, pop song guaranteed to raise a smile on your face from beginning to end. Everything is perfect: from the spunky, toe-tapping introduction, to the flawless infectious vocals. The Noisettes’ lead singer, Shingai Shoniwa, delivers each note with perfection and class and draws you into the love triangle story, chews you up and leaves you bitterly wanting that new album now.
The band continue to defy any form of bandwagon and make music that is remarkably unique and original. ‘That Girl’ has a summer, Beach Boys-esque, 60s tinge, and makes you crave a Pimms whilst dancing around the picnic blanket. The beats are a guaranteed hip shaker and this is definitely one for your summer playlist.
The release comes just in time, whilst we enjoy the last bit of Summer sun, and it is a refreshingly fabulous one at that. The Noisettes have always been a So So Gay favourite and here they prove just why.