Good morning to you all! Thanks for reading So So Gay‘s weekly round-up of key singles released this week. This week, we bring you singles from two established artists as well as a preview of an up-and-coming US singer, Devin. Be sure to have a listen and let us know what you think of them by leaving your comments below. Have a good week!
‘Let It Go’ by Calvin Harris feat. Ne-Yo (Rating: ****)
Reviewed by Jake Basford
Seeing as we haven’t heard anything from Ne-Yo for a bit, we did jump on board rather quickly when we heard he had collaborated with Calvin Harris, who for his part as been working like a hyperactive badger of late.
And boy, are we glad we did.
This song is right up our alley – anthemic, clubby, just right on the bass and with a great vocal-to-beat ratio. Even the drop is timed to perfection, with over-arching beats and backing vocals. Ne-Yo’s vocal contribution is appropriately blendable and RnB-like, displaying his fine abilities. This is all why it gets a good rating.
You have to wonder, however, if you timed all of the appropriate parts of this song – the drop, the switch from treble to bass, and the power-up – and compared it to the majority of Calvin’s music, whether you would find that the same features are occurring at the same times.
We aren’t complaining about him or this track, not by a long stretch, but this has a sort-of formulaic feel – in the same way we know that girl-bands in the nineties, and boy-bands in the noughties were put together, is the same thing happening with our club music now? Make a track sound like this, ramp it up at this speed at this time, and you have a sure-fire hit?
We like the track. A lot. But Mr Harris, can you show us something new please?
‘End Of Time’ by Beyoncé (Rating: ****)
Reviewed by Young Tan
She’s currently taking time out of the spotlight to be a mother to her first child, but the Beyoncé music wagon never seems to stop running. ‘End Of Time’ is the fifth - yes, fifth – single to be taken from her last album 4 and sees Bey mixing R&B, dance, funk and Afrobeat genres to create a foot-stomping hip-shaker of a hit. In the song, she serenades her other half about how much she loves him and of course, promises that she will love him until the end of time, chanting loudly at the top of her voice so that the whole world knows it.
The first thirty seconds begins with spitfire drums and staccato horns building up the intro before Bey comes roaring in with the opening lines and the chorus: ’Come take my hand / I won’t let you go / I’ll be your friend / I will love you so deeply / I will be the one to kiss you at night / I will love you till the end of time’. The beat is reminiscent of a military march and that of the album’s lead single ‘Run The World (Girls)’ while the array of brass and woodwind instruments to add a soulful flavour remind us of the previous single ‘Love On Top’.
She also employs a rapping-singing technique at times as she rapidly spits out the second verse: ‘Baby come on get up on it show me that you really want it / I wanna be the one to love you baby let’s go (whoa, let’s go) / I wanna provide this loving that you’re giving / I ain’t fronting in this love but can you let me love you from your head to toe (whoa, let’s go)’.
‘End Of Time’ is a strong Beyoncé song with its climactic, high-energy vibe, cross-genre style (African tribal dance meets Eighties pop-soul, anyone?) and her fierce, powerhouse vocals helping it to shine and make it one of 4‘s standout uptempo tracks alongside ‘Love On Top’, but why it is being released so late when it could have replaced the mess of ‘Run The World (Girls)’ as the first single is beyond us.
ALBUM PREVIEW: ‘Masochist’ by Devin (Rating: ***)
Reviewed by Eden Bass
Tipped for the top in 2012, Devin has the world at his feet. With the looks of a Cowell-pioneered star and the mind of a hedonistic rocker, he has charmed the music world (in the shape of The Guardian, NME and the thinking, gig-going public) with his high octane performances across America, and more recently good old Blighty, where the reception has been luscious. His album Romancing is just around the corner, but as a sample morsel, Devin has seen fit to dish up the tantalisingly titled ‘Masochist’ with the hope of whetting our appetites.
A fast talking, fast thinking, post-punk riot of a track, ‘Masochist’ breaches the 50′s-00′s gap with a rock ‘n’ roll feel, tinged with edge and illustrated with a droplet of scuzz. A simplistic melody is generally automatically tagged as ‘catchy’, but here the moniker sticks – mostly due to the polished vocals whose only criticism can be that they almost try too hard to sound strained. Nevertheless, once this earworm eats its way in there, you will find it very difficult to dislodge its vicious tune from your cortex.
Hints of The Vaccines, Iggy Pop, Test Icicles and Arctic Monkeys make for a truly wild mixture of sounds, and believe it or not, this is where the track falls surprisingly flat. We wouldn’t want to try and pigeonhole ‘Masochist’ as generic, but the effort that has been thrust into making this piece appeal to allcomers is to its detriment. Too contrived to be punk, too nasty to be pop, too loud to be indie…’Masochist’ is certainly unique,but consequently lacks definition. Is he trying to be Johnny Rotten? We can’t quite tell – but there’s little to suggest the gritty realism of true punk rock in this track.
Devin is feeling his way, somewhat blindly, around the genres, and although we could see ourselves happily two-stepping to this offering on a Saturday night, in order to achieve the mass appeal that he craves, this boy needs to find out who he wants to be, and the music that that persona brings along with it for the ride. A valiant effort, but we do expect there is better to come. The hype isn’t lost on us yet.