Mike Atkinson

Stylus Singles Jukebox, 30th January 2006

Posted in singles reviews, Stylus by Mike A on January 30, 2006

Tokio Hotel – Schrei 

On the strength of this stridently yowling, faux-rebellious, pop-metal monstrosity – with a chorus that must have been precision-tooled to annoy the living fuck out of anyone over the age of consent – their chances of international crossover success would seem mercifully slight. Really darlings, it’s quite the most fearfully horrid racket I’ve heard all year. (2)

Chris Brown – Yo (Excuse Me Miss) 

Put together by A Touch Of Jazz productions, who have done some good work with Jill Scott in the past, this tries and fails to transplant “nu classic soul” values onto a wholesome, fresh-faced ode to teenage courtship. Several things let it down: the cloying winsomeness of the song, the unappealingly weedy lisp of young Master Brown (who you just know is only a couple of years away from ripping off the prom suit and the dickie bow, to reveal the usual oiled-n-tatted tits-n-abs), and a horrible loop which sound like two wooden blocks being knocked together, mixed up way too high, which – once you’ve spotted it and locked onto it – all but dominates the whole track. (5)

Elena Paparizou – Mambo! 

Greece’s reigning Eurovision champion returns with a cautious re-jigging of her winning formula, including – oh God, the flashbacks! – copious helpings of those infernal Big Drums which so dominated last year’s contest. (This year, to save us all, the powers-that-be should look at introducing some sort of European Big Drum Quota, impounding all excess percussion at Customs.) Although light on anything which might resemble your actual Mambo as such, this is a cheerfully efficient romp, with plenty to commend it – particularly the Eurodisco-meets-Cossack-wedding-party inflections of the bridging section which follows the chorus. (6)

West End Girls – West End Girls 

No, sorry, I don’t get this. Why, pray, does the world need a Swedish girl duo whose entire act is made up of cover versions of Pet Shop Boys songs? (There’s a whole album of this stuff, I’ll have you know.) Who decided this was a good idea? Which I guess it might have been, had this been re-conceived as, ooh I dunno, boshing Eurotrance or something daft like that. As it is, this disappointingly faithful re-working strips out all the atmosphere and context of the original, leaving nothing but a homogenised sheen of gormless vacuity. (4)

The Go! Team – Ladyflash 

Slap a bit of Cookie Crew/Wee Papas proto-femi-rap on top of the guitar chops from Archie Bell’s “Tighten Up”, shove some late 90s Big Beat underneath for ballast, lighten the mixture with the odd string sample, leave to marinate on a Mercury-nominated album for the thick end of 18 months, and then – just when everyone assumes that every last drop of promotion has been wrung from said album – bung it out as a single and see what happens. Raucous, messy, invigorating… and very, very Brighton. (In any case, most of your sales will come from the Kevin Shields mash-up of this track with “Huddle Formation”, on the CD single and the B-side of the 7-inch. Word to the wise: it’s serviceably catchy, but you’d never know that Shields had anything to do with it.) (7)

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