Mike Atkinson

Stylus Singles Jukebox, 2nd May 2005

Posted in singles reviews, Stylus by Mike A on May 2, 2005

The Dears – 22: The Death Of All The Romance

A well orchestrated dramatic duet between two unhappy lovers—desperately clinging onto the wreckage of their relationship, fatally locked into a kind of shared conspiracy of denial—the likes of which (in stylistic terms at least) haven’t been heard in the charts since “The Ballad Of Tom Jones”. Although both singers stretch themselves slightly beyond their natural limits, this has the effect of lending a roughly hewn authenticity to the performance, which only serves to increase its power. (9)

The Killers – Smile Like You Mean It 

Not unless you sing it like you mean it, mate. We’re into umpteenth-single-off-the-album diminishing-returns territory here, aren’t we? Difficult to imagine Killers fans going “OH MY GOD IT’S THIS ONE!” at gigs, and punching their fists in the air in recognition, and doing whatever else it is that Killers fans do in such situations (as you can probably tell, I’m having difficulty entering the mindset). It’s too much of a droopy plodder, cautious and conservative in construction, hemmed in by self-imposed limitations, and with a slight but telling weariness in its overly brief chorus, which falls a few steps short of the poignancy that the song half-heartedly seeks to evoke. (4)

Lucie Silvas – The Game Is Won

Regardless of which reality TV pop contest is commissioned next, one thing is certain. At some point during one of the early audition shows, Ant or Dec will introduce a cleverly spliced VT montage, in which a whole sequence of female contestants will be shown remorselessly belting out strained, over-cooked, nearly identical versions of “The Game Is Won”. There will be cuts to shots of Simon Cowell burying his head in his hands, or of Pete Waterman groaning “God, not this one AGAIN.” Because not only is this one of those songs which are all about striving, and being poised on the brink of a breakthrough, and struggling against self-doubt, and believing in your dream and stuff, it is also performed in that particular style—heavy on technique, crammed with ornate embellishments—which so many reality TV hopefuls try so very hard to emulate. Taken on its own terms, this more than adequately fulfils its brief. Taken on the terms which you or I might prefer to employ, it’s little more than a tolerable irrelevance. (5)

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