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Music - Singles of the week - Monday, January 21, 2013

IndieLondon gleefully checks out the cream of the week’s singles…

Justin Timberlake feat Jay-Z, Suit & Tie

JUSTIN TIMBERLAKE feat JAY-Z – SUIT & TIE: Justin Timberlake pulled a David Bowie earlier this week by announcing a single and album apparently out of the blue. And the first fruits arrive in the form of his Suit & Tie single featuring hip-hop luminary Jay-Z. The result is amiable enough, slick as hell but not quite the emphatic comeback we may have all been hoping for. Initially, in fact, the track threatens to outstay its welcome with a 42-second opening segment that feels distinctly flat. Once the song proper starts, though, there’s a decent mix of falsetto vocals, finger-clicking beats, sharp stabs of brass and a catchy chorus that is all about “showing you a good thing”. Indeed, the longer the song lasts, the more it slides into your subconscious to satisfying effect, while the entrance of Jay-Z lends it an extra layer of cool and, potentially, wider appeal into the hip-hop market as well. Timberlake does succeed in grabbing our attention but while certainly as well-dressed as its name suggests, maybe we were expecting a little bit more. The track is available now as a download.
Rating: 3 out of 5

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The Blackout, Running Scared

THE BLACKOUTRUNNING SCARED: The Blackout look to get their 2013 campaign underway in emphatic style with the release of new album, Start The Party and new single Running Scared on the same day. Featuring 11 new tracks of non-stop, high-energy, full-monty, balls-to-wall rock anthems, the latest creative splatter from Merthyr Tydfil’s is described by the band themselves as a collection of songs that captures their personality best and which are about positivity. Running Scared captures that sense of vitality with crunching power riffs, shouty choruses and unbridled enthusiasm. It’s a party-pleaser that confidently marries heavy elements with radio friendly melody and it’s not a bad listen.
Rating: 3 out of 5

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This Many Boyfriends

THIS MANY BOYFRIENDSTINA WEYMOUTH: Tina Weymouth marks the third single to be taken from This Many Boyfriends’ critically acclaimed eponymous debut LP and is a fast-flowing indie pop jangle. The guitars, in particular, are sharp and lively, echoing early Cure, while the vocals have a Smiths vibe at times. Put together, it’s fast, furious and toe-tapping without ever quite managing to blow you away. Produced by The Cribs’ Ryan Jarman, the track is both an ode to The Talking Heads bass player and a cautionary tale. The chorus even carries a chant-along vibe to it, while the sudden finale is another of the song’s many nice touches.
Rating: 3 out of 5

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Jessie Ware, Sweet Talk

JESSIE WARESWEET TALK: Jessie Ware delivers a slice of minimalist synth pop that barely gets out of second gear. The restraint, admittedly, is admirable and serves to give greater emphasis to the intimacy of the lyrics. Ware, meanwhile, delivers one of her most assured vocal performances. But overall there’s nothing really to get excited about (barring, maybe, a guitar solo around the two and a half minute mark). There’s also something of a Whitney Houston vibe attached (in ballad form). But there’s a blandness, too, that means once the record is over, it quickly drifts from the memory. And there’s just no sweet talking that feeling.
Rating: 2 out of 5

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Amelia Lily, Shut Up (And Give Me Whatever You Got)

AMELIA LILYSHUT UP (AND GIVE ME WHATEVER YOU GOT): A power pop/dance crossover, the new single from Amelia Lily is one of those tiresome singles that epitomises a lot of what’s bad about the mainstream. Lily belts out soulless lyrics such as “my heart is blowing hot and cold, sending lightning into my soul” over supposedly euphoric synth arrangements and headrush beats. But the whole thing would be nauseating if it wasn’t so boring and generic. Simply put, this isn’t doing anything remotely different from a lot of singles of this nature and chart success will only, sadly, give it more encouragement.
Rating: 1 out of 5

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Conor Maynard, Animal

CONOR MAYNARD feat WILEYANIMAL: Conor Maynard continues to serve notice of his talents as the UK answer to Justin Bieber with the fourth single to be taken from his album, Animal. Featuring a vocal contribution (or rap) from Wiley and some grinding, dark electronics, this is an edgier release than we’ve had from Conor so far but it’s pulled off with considerable ease. Maynard’s vocals are as slick as ever, even channelling the likes of Bruno Mars at times, and help to deliver a punchy chorus that feels ripe for massive chart success on both sides of the Atlantic. If anything, the Wiley moments – which lend it some urban crossover potential – are the song’s weakest element.
Rating: 3 out of 5

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Heard a great single, but yet to buy it? Well, we may have reviewed it. Previous reviews: