Mike Atkinson

Stylus Singles Jukebox, 21st March 2005

Posted in singles reviews, Stylus by Mike A on March 21, 2005

50 Cent – Candy Shop

I’m trying to explain, baby, the best way I can; I’ll melt in your mouth girl, not in your hand, ha ha!” YES YES OK WE GET THE POINT. IT’S A METAPHOR. YOU’RE NOT REALLY TALKING ABOUT LICKING LOLLIPOPS. And did no-one tell you it’s bad form to laugh at your own jokes? Smacks of desperation, don’t you know. Much like the rest of this thigh-rubbing “knickers knackers knockers” claptrap, which displays a half-assed puerility that even the likes of Roy “Chubby” Brown would have baulked at. Worse still, Fiddy sounds as bored as the rest of us; and ultimately, it’s this lifeless lack of enthusiasm (for both the quality of the music and the sexual favour in question) that offends most of all. (1)

British Sea Power – It Ended On An Oily Stage

John Cleese once observed that the main aim of the English was to successfully conduct themselves from cradle to grave without ever encountering any serious embarrassment along the way. In which case, British Sea Power—whose live show sticks in the memory for having successfully extinguished any emotional response whatsoever, positive or negative—might just be the most quintessentially English band of all time. (5)

Dizzee Rascal – Off To Work

Happy talk, keep talking happy talk. Here’s to you, raise a glass for everyone. Hi ho, hi ho, it’s off to work I go. The transformation of Dizzee “Proper Bow” Rascal from iconoclastic eminence noir to the Timmy Mallett of grime is now complete. No flow. No show. No go. (4)

The Faders – No Sleep Tonight

This all pivots around one glorious focal point: the thousand-yard-deep double-thumping head-rush which launches its chorus. “You can’t stop this DOOMPH DOOMPH fee-ling…” WA-HEY! WALLOP! God hits world! World hits back! Entire solar system shudders from the aftershock! That aside, “No Sleep Tonight” is a worthy addition to the Quatro-Nena-Republica-Portobella canon of plastic trashbeat teenpop. Recreation is indeed its destination. So don’t wait up. (9)

Natalie Imbruglia – Shiver

Some rubbish singles are such fun to hate that they end up being vaguely enjoyable, in a twisted sort of way. In this respect, Natalie Imbruglia still has some way to go. A clear case of Could Do Worse, then. (2)

Mario – Let Me Love You

Mid-Eighties Eugene/Luther/Alexander seduction-job corniness, redeemed by a touching hesitancy and vulnerability. Once Mario has set out his pitch (he’s a bastard, drop him, I’ll treat you right), you’re left with a certain ambivalence as to the likely outcome. If he’s even addressing her directly in the first place, that is; for it is difficult to say whether this is a public entreaty or a private prayer. (7)

Million Dead – Living The Dream

Now look here, all you retro-rock “proper music” Luddites: for all its admittedly off-putting nu-metal trappings, there’s more craftsmanship, dexterity and range in this (not to mention those other dread rockist qualities: sincerity, authenticity and passion) than in all your Razorlights, Kasabians and Killers put together. I’m particularly taken by the way that the full-tilt shoutiness of the chorus is offset by the softly tumbling Johnny Marr-ish guitar runs of the verses, and by the self-questioning “meta” qualities of the lyric. (8)

Roots Manuva – Too Cold

Humility? Self-doubt? A questioning attitude to materialism? Oh my dears, how frightfully un-hip-hop! Throw him to the Guardian readers! (8)

Tom Vek – I Ain’t Saying My Goodbyes

As with Bloc Party, there’s a strained histrionic stridency to the vocals that will either thrill or grate; and as with Bloc Party, I’m in the latter camp. Like so many of its ilk, this strives to emulate The Cure and the Gang Of Four, but ends up falling somewhere between Modern English, The Comsat Angels, and one of those regional compilation albums that were all the rage in 1980-81. “The Sound Of Rotherham: 20 Urgent Urban Dispatches From The New South Yorkshire Underground.” Older readers will know of what I speak. (5)

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