Singers and bands generally take any chance they get to say that they don't read reviews but, I think we all know they only mean the bad ones.
We all like to make a song and dance about good ones and then, like some, protective cloak of invisibleness, the old 'ah, what do they know anyway' line comes out for any bad one. So reviewing other people's singles has an element of poacher turned gamekeeper about it. Throw in the chance of someone running their keys down the side of your tourbus when they see you at a festival after you've given them a mauling, and you can see there's quite a responsibility with this.
Before I jump in I thought I'd get my positive music groove on with a bit of Prince Fatty before I go in. If every song does to me what his version of 'Shimmy Shimmy Ya' is doing just now then we're laughing.
OK, let's start with Mika's 'Celebrate'. I feel a bit like a doctor that has to deliver a pretty heavy diagnosis and, I'm sorry Mika, I'm afraid the results don't look good. If some songs have a sprinkling of sweetness in order to keep you coming back then this a saccharine drip at the same time you're being fed sugar lumps like one of them poor geese that's fattened up for foie gras. The only way it would work is if some crazed masked killer sang it before despatching people in a slasher film. I think I best check if I'm on at any festivals that Mika is anytime soon. Not a good start but let's stick with it.
One Direction? OK. Righto. 'Live While We're Young' is the song. So, this one starts with the riff from 'Should I Stay or Should I Go'. and then just disappears into a shouty arms round each other generic guff that boybands seem to have been firing at us for years. I'm sure their promise that they'll 'keep doing what they do' is relief to children the world over. To me it sounds like something between a taunt and a threat.
Now for Beth Orton. If we can say that the previous two were like the baddies in a slasher film then 'Magpie' by Beth Orton is the song that you wake up hearing in the hospital after defeating the pop zombie hordes. As the titles roll and the fear dissipates. It's not new territory for Beth but neither it should be. She's always been this good.
Simian Mobile Disco have become the offshoot band that nobody can remember who they're offshoot of. They flew so high that expectations are pretty big these days. 'A Form of Change' is a belearic bleepy rumble that's ideal for listening to while writing a singles review. You forget you're listening to it but in the best possible way and it builds into maybe not a fist in the air stomp but maybe the next one down. A finger in the air groove.
So, there might be more than one suspect if there's any tour bus defacement and I'll get back to Prince Fatty now...
Words by Tim BurgessEmilie Bailey