Mike Atkinson

Stylus Singles Jukebox, 31st May 2005

Posted in singles reviews, Stylus by Mike A on May 31, 2005

Faithless ft. Estelle – Why Go

A distressingly unsympathetic re-working of the 1999 collaboration with Boy George (scheduled for single release at the time, but withdrawn at the last moment), in which all the plaintive, affecting tenderness of the original is brutally ripped out and replaced by manky old dance beats, with phoned-in vocals carelessly plonked over the top. (Note to the otherwise unimpeachable Estelle: you really don’t need to do this.) Shameful as it is to admit in polite circles, Faithless actually used to be my favourite band. Coming to terms with their inexorable artistic decline was hard enough; having them off-handedly piss all over my memories verges on the unforgivable. (3)

MC Lars – Signing Emo 

Maybe it’s just because I’m as jaded as the hapless A&R guy in the song, but for all its studiedly hip insider references, doesn’t this would-be sharp-as-a-knife satire on the follies of the US music biz follow a rather predictable, well-worn trajectory? Yes, the cycle of fashion is a fickle one. Yes, fame is transitory, and today’s hot new act is tomorrow’s dumper-bound anachronism. So tell us something new! And anyway, what’s with the paradigm here? “Emo” is hot, but “industrial” is hotter? It’s like the Noughties never happened! Roll over Casablancas, and tell Kapranos the news! (5)

Groove Coverage – Poison 

Objectivity be damned; I have an unshakeable fondness for low-rent, camp-as-tits, dizzyingly inappropriate dance cover versions – selected at random, knocked off in an afternoon, and bearing no signs of any experimental deviation from the classic Motiv8/Almighty template. Because once you’ve perfected a formula, why tamper with it further? Just give us a steady diet of gleefully sacriligeous variations on the same theme, and we will chow down contentedly upon them until kingdom come. As Prince once said: there’s joy in repetition. (6)

Ben Adams – Sorry 

As debut solo efforts from former boyband members go, Ben out of A1 has made a pretty decent fist of the whole “maturing with my audience” ploy, turning in a competent piece of interestingly textured (mariachi trumpets, radio static, layered background wailings, sudden thunderblasts of percussion), agreeably sophisticated modern pop. OK, so the steadily chugging dynamic might be a shade too turn-of-the-decade Britney for fickle modern ears, and the lack of progression makes for a rather boring final minute – but there’s still plenty here to suggest that, despite a dangerously long time away from the public eye, Ben might be in it for a longer haul than most. (7)

White Stripes – Blue Orchid

The yardstick against which this must be judged is, of course, “Seven Nation Army”. Does it have the Big Riff? Oh yes. Is the riff big enough? Potentially – but with its arena-filling potential as yet untested, it is difficult to say for certain. That aside, the familiar Jack/Meg dynamic is as engrossing as ever, and the overt Led Zep-isms (with Jack cast as a screeching Page/Plant hydra) are pulled off with aplomb. (8)

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