Sugababes – Push The Button [Island Records – CID911 / 987 395-5]
The Sugababes quickly became a cheap joke in the pop industry, mostly in regards to the ever changing line up. I never had any issues with the girl band, I can say this that the formula the Sugababes utilised throughout their successful career is still alive and kicking today with bands such as Little Mix
. This is music for girls pretty much, so lest not forget I am not exactly the target audience for any of their records.
Push The Button is a #1 UK Chart single and it shows, once again it fulfills that perfect pop formula of not being too adventurous yet being shallow enough for everyone to enjoy. The lyrical content is just another ambiguous love song at the end of the day, that people can mould and make it feel like its about them and their current situation.
The B side on this single is pretty naff, but does demonstrate the girls were certainly tempted by experimentation.
Rachel Stevens – More, More, More [Polydor / 19 Recordings – 9868324]
A curious record. The title track, “More, More, More” harks back to Rachel’s roots within S Club 7 and sounds like something that could have been released by the band. An extremely light and easy pop tune with a catchy chorus. However the B side on this release for me is much better than the title track, and carries a more serious and mature attitude for the singer – further separating her from her teeny-bopper past. What doesn’t compute is that this track would have worked as a follow up from her previous release Sweet Dreams My LA Ex, continuing this new persona of a grown woman with a mature attitude.
So some strange trivia about this song is that it was originally intended for Britney Spears but label Jiverejected it. The song is meant to be a reaction to Justin Timberlake‘s extremely popular “Cry Me A River”. How this song would have performed if pop monolith Spears ended up with it is difficult to say but I think Rachel did it justice, bringing it to position 2 on the top 40 chart.
The second track (which also features on the album Funky Dory) is reasonably forgettable. The mandatory remix on track 3 is painful and uninspired electro take on the original.
Oasis – Wonderwall [Creation Records – CRESCD 215]
Let’s not be stupid here. This is a fantastic song. Regardless of what genre, decade, period, scene or culture it stood for, it’s just a near perfect song. How do I know this? Everyone knows this song. Everyone.
The joke is that when someone is taking requests for songs everyone shouts “PLAY WONDERWALL!” or that a new amateur busker will confidently walk up to the mic and say “Here’s Wonderwall”. It’s a great joke, but it only works because people are so familiar with the song. It’s universal appeal and its simplicity only add towards how valuable this song is to modern music history.
A fine point in British Rock music for sure.
Not only do you get this classic track, Creation are nice enough to give us three additional tracks including the wonderful The Masterplan.
McFly – The Heart Never Lies [Universal / Island Records Group – 1750108]
I never really dug McFly
‘s music, it always felt like an even more watered down radio friendly version of Busted (3)
. By 2007 when this record was released I thought McFly were very uncool, producing shallow radio friendly rock for your gran to listen to. Today I still feel that way about them, which is odd because there are plenty of “pop rock” acts that I actively enjoy who some could argue are much worse than McFly. I think again it comes down to how and when I ended up encountering the band, and that I grew up with them that causes me to give them such criticisms.
This track for me came out at a point when the McFly star was fading fast, soon to become old news and all their old teeny-bopper fans were growing up and feasting on heavier (both acoustically and emotionally) music.
The second track you get on this album is a cover of the legendary Umbrella by R&B superstar Rihanna. I usually like rock covers of songs that aren’t rock, and this cover is not bad – to be honest I might enjoy it more if you told me it was a band other than McFly performing it. Personally I prefer All Time Low‘s take on the track which features on the Pop Goes Crunk compilation, but then again I am a big sucka for US Pop Punk in the 00s – even though strictly speaking All Time Low are really no better than McFly in the lameness race.
Vengaboys – We Like To Party! (The Vengabus) [Positiva – CDTIVS108 / 7243 8 8590 2 4]
Surprisingly I do not recall hearing this song as a child. I guess mainly because at the time of being 6 years old my listening habits were dictated by my mother who didn’t exactly indulge in electronic music. Only until much later at the age of 14 when I met my first real girlfriend’s mum did I end up exploring the wonderful world of electronic music. I do wonder what would have happened if I had never met that girl or her mum, and how it would have affected my music tastes.
Music like this, up-beat, carefree, bouncy electronic that is radio friendly, kid friendly and just plain fun – I don’t know if we’ll ever be able to create music like this again. It is just so pure, you have nothing to worry about when listening to this music. I guess many kids of the generation after me will never know, or understand this music like I do and even then my understanding and connection to this music is weak at best.
I do like this song, yes it is annoying. So annoying in fact that one of my previous bosses got it stuck in his head and would always hum the tune when the office was quiet. Knowing it annoyed me, during my holiday time he left me a few voicemails of the song. This song brings back happy memories of this harmless joke, and I think for many this song brings back happy memories too. It’s just that a happy song.
You don’t get the popular mix on this CD single that you find on many of the compilation albums of the time, instead you get an extended cut of the original song for the first track. The second is your standard hardcore house remix with thumping bass, if that is your kind of thing. The third track is a completely new take on the original song by legendary Tin Tin Out, which could stand up as a separate release on its own. But does kind of loose a bit of the silliness of the original with this heavy handed edit.
Alexandra Burke – Hallelujah [Syco Music / Sony Music – 88697446252]
There are not many music contestants that make it big in the harsh pop world. It doesn’t matter if they found fame from Pop Idol, X Factor or whatever else you can think of (Fame Academy?). By 2008 when Alexandra won X Factor the majority of the UK general public were no longer interested in underdogs winning a possibly rigged game show. Alas all of the grannies and little girls who watched the show gathered around and bought the only CD single they would buy that year. And to great effect as it did reach #1.
What I don’t like about this is that firstly it gives a false impression of how easy it may be to make a hit pop single to the winner (I’ve only been on the earth just over 20 years and I can tell you it isn’t easy!) and secondly it simply strokes Simon Cowell’s ego boner providing him weight to get another cookie-cutter show on the air next year to keep the bank happy.
The song, is a cover – they’re always covers, rarely ever are they original songs and are usually chosen by the producers of the show not the singer themselves. The cover is fine, but nothing special. The original song by Jeff Buckley is painfully beautiful, yet this rendition seems to lose a lot of that power.
The additional tracks are lacking. The second track is a piss poor recording taken directly from the TV broadcast and sounds terrible on any hi-fi system. The third track seems to follow suit with another poor flat sounding recording, and is terribly short.
These singles, and the albums that come with them, slowly fill up landfills, boot sales and charity shops alike – worth nothing, not even their weight in polymer plastic. This is no different, and it appears that Alexandra has decided to take the route so many of these contestant winners do – theatre, where they should have probably started in the first place.
Ron Atkinson – It’s Christmas – Let’s Give Love A Try [N2K Publishing Ltd. – N2KS004]
Sometimes you come across a record and simply exclaim, WHY?
I don’t follow football, so have no idea who Ron Atkinson is – but that doesn’t detract from the fact as to why on earth he decided to make a bloody christmas single. I get it, its christmas lets have some fun and create a novelty record. But why on earth create THIS, its not even an album – its just the same track 3 times over.
I’m not a big fan of festive music, I often find it crass and annoying with only a few minor exceptions. But this is neither good, nor bad, nor interesting or exciting its just pointless. Futile is this release.
K7 – Hi De Ho [Big Life – BLRD 108]
Rap was still finding its feet back in the early 90s, at this time there were two main contenders in the arena – gangsta rap and pop rap. This release, new to me at the time of writing, fits into the latter. Both genres at the time had issues with producing a lot of sub-par records that sounded very similar to each other, and this record fits into this category.
This is your typical cringe-worthy pop rap that is nice enough for mainstream radio play, doesn’t upset grandma and is fun for the kids. With nonsensical lyrics, a stupid chorus and uninspired beats this track is just naff – pure and simple. I think what annoys me most is that this type of innocent rap is intended to be marketed towards people like me, young white guys. Yet I find it horribly boring and much prefer the harder lines found in gangsta rap of the same period.
Luckily this style died out by the turn of the millennium, with a few stragglers into the 2000s. And honestly this is one style I never want to have the pleasure of a revival.
Tina Barrett – Fire (Remixes) [Diamond Eyes Records]
This shouldn’t exist. This is another example of an artist who had previously seen immense fame in a larger group (S Club 7
) trying to find the same success on their own. Most will do this the sensible way, and start this after the previous groups disbandment. Striking while the iron is hot allows the new solo artist ride the wave of the groups disbandment for air play and cost-free promotion.
The sad thing is that Tina did not get this memo, and decided to start giving a crap almost 10 years after the band went down the toilet. Why did she take this long? Maybe she wanted to quit the business, or maybe she was bitter from the split but why on earth she created this I don’t know. Its so revolting it has caused me to come all this way to write this damning review.
Like I said in my review of Rachel Stevens (another S Club member chasing a solo career) most can afford high quality musicians and songwriters to try and ignite their solo career and sadly usually fail not because the music they are making is sub-par but that it cannot compete with all of the other mediocre shit that floats atop the pop landscape.
Well Tina clearly does not have the money to spend on such luxuries, and instead has made a song with the same budget a 16-year old has when making his hot new EDM tracks on SoundCloud. Tina is trying to tap into the popular EDM-pop market that was and still is very popular in the chart at the moment, but has created a mess of a song. With strained vocals (stop going RAHHHHHHHHH), terrible mixing, strange double-tracking that doesn’t work, lame as fuck lyrics, and the most uninspired backing beat I have heard in a while all you (the listener) end up with is a headache and maybe some mild confusion as to why such a monstrosity exists. The music video that goes along with the track is also complete garbage and looks like a students first attempt at Adobe After Effects.
Tina clearly has no pride or confidence in this song as she disabled both ratings and comments on the video, knowing that the public were likely going to dismiss this song and tell her to do something more worthwhile with her time.
Anyway, I’m sure she’ll recover the £80 she lost making this track with the upcoming S Club 7 reunion tour.