Little Boots – ‘Nocturnes’ and ‘Motorway’

Little Boots – Nocturnes,
Motorway review &
Recent developments regarding the new album

 

Releasing an album that nobody thought would see the light of day: Priceless

Releasing an album that nobody thought would see the light of day: Priceless

 

I’ve been looking forward to this album for a while, as you can see HERE, but in news that will shock even her closest relatives, Victoria ‘Little Boots’ Hesketh has quite literally ‘got on with it’ and officially released some details of her four-years-in-the-making sophomore effort. Here’s what we now know:

It has a name.

As we’ve known for several weeks, the album is called ‘Nocturnes’, which according to our good friend, Google, means: 
“A short composition of a romantic or dreamy character suggestive of night, typically for piano.” So far I haven’t heard much piano but basically it’s an album characteristic of the night, which presumably is best enjoyed at night. See: ‘Tonight, Franz Ferdinand’ and ‘Night Work’ by Scissor Sisters, other very good night-themed works, but not exactly worldwide smashes.

It has a release date.

‘Nocturnes’ will be released on 5th May 2013.

It has some crap artwork (see top).

Boots released a picture a little while ago, which people said was a bad choice of album cover, but now she has released the actual cover, which is actually worse. Parallels have been made between the Nocturnes cover and Ellie Goulding’s ‘Halcyon’ cover as well as numerous others, but to me it just looks like a Mastercard logo, perhaps suggesting that Boots is aiming for the Mastercard Album of the Year award at the 2014 Brit Awards and for that, we should commend her ambition.

There are 10 songs on it. (BOO!)

Back to the drawing board...

Back to the drawing board…

This tracklisting was announced to the music consumer of today via Instagram (what else!), but as a list of tracks written on a blackboard rather than iced onto cupcakes. That picture can be found below, but in case you’re not good at discerning information from crap photographs, or you can’t see chalk, that track list is:

Motorway (4:59)
Confusion (5:01)
Broken Record (4:33)
Shake (5:31)*
Beat Beat (4:18)**
Every Night I Say a Prayer *** (3:38)
Crescendo (5:42)
Strangers (6:39)
All For You (4:21)
Satellites (5:25)

*As you can see, previously released single ‘Shake’ is there, but its running time has been reduced by around 40 seconds.

** ‘Beat Beat’ and ‘Shake appear’ to be the other way around to that listed on the blackboard.

**‘Every Night I Say a Prayer’ is also there. There was rumour beforehand that the track’s title had been changed to ‘Every Night’ and in the blackboard photo it is listed as ‘Prayer’. To confuse matters further, the iTunes track list gives the full original title, and that’s the one we will stick with, as it is the better one. This is a tell-tale sign of the inconsistency that has marred this whole campaign.

 There is an obvious omission in the track listing

Confirming what had already been discussed in various online locations, the most upbeat ‘single’ of the three released, ‘Headphones’ , the one with a proper video and everything, has been left off the album, probably because it was too cheery. ‘Superstitious Heart’ is also missing, but I’ll let her off there. Back to ‘Headphones’, it is available to download from reputable online sources if you are made of money, but there are remixes available for free, which are very good, especially the Moon Boots remix, so that’s an option if you don’t have Adele’s bank balance, or if you have Little Boots’ bank balance.

[Side rant: This is just like what happened with Marina and the Diamonds leaving first single ‘Radioactive’ off the album but releasing it on a ‘deluxe version’. This kind of behaviour shouldn’t be encouraged. It’s just winding people up really. Just decide on a definitive track list and release that on one album. Why does everything always have to be standard / deluxe / re-released / with bonus tracks / reloaded / special edition / with extra remixes!? For one thing, it makes labelling on iTunes more complicated than it needs to be and secondly, it makes the artist look indecisive. I’m not going to buy one copy of each version; I’ll buy the cheapest anyway so nobody is fooling me into spending more than I need to.]

Little Boots has left 679 Records.

In news that will surprise nobody, Boots has changed label, leaving behind terribly-organised 679 Records, which is probably why the album plans are actually in motion now. The album is released on ‘On Repeat’, whatever the hell that is. It sounds like Little Boots is self-releasing them. Lord knows if this means she will be releasing it into shops (if record shops still exist by then) or simply selling it out the back of a VW campervan, but she is apparently signing 1000 copies so she’s ambitious sales-wise, we’ll give her that.

Continuing the artwork theme of 'Terrible'

Continuing the artwork theme of ‘Terrible’

You can hear ‘Motorway’ now.

The opening track, ‘Motorway’, for which you can see the artwork above (which is continuing the newly-introduced theme of ‘terrible’), can be listened to now. Even better, you can download it for free from her website HERE. There is a little box where you can enter your email to sign up to (and quickly unsubscribe from) her mailing list. We don’t need to be on that, since we follow her on Instagram, right? Here it is:

Here is a brief review:

You can’t exactly dance to it, but don’t let you put that off. Whereas this would normally mean that it’s no good, the song is a perfectly pleasant listen and it sounds even better when listened to at night and in the dark. I suppose that’s why she’s called the album Nocturnes. The song starts out pretty slow but does pick up as it goes along, with a drum beat eventually coming in, but it never really kicks off. At the start it sounds like it is going to lead into Marina’s ‘Fear and Loathing’, but that obviously doesn’t happen, although a mash-up of the two would be welcome.

The song seems to be about Victoria wanting to elope with somebody via the motorway. She sings ‘Meet me on the motorway, together we can make our great escape”. Although this is more or less fine as a lyric, I can’t help but think about how inconvenient it would be to meet somebody on the motorway.  Surely the thrill of eloping would be bigger if you were in the same car, or TOGETHER. With the price of petrol today, fleeing in two separate cars is going to cause you a lot of financial hassle, not to mention any potential tolls and subsequent parking. At one point you will have to ditch one of the cars, so what’s the point in taking it? Perhaps it would be quite romantic racing round the M25 and looking out of your windows at each other, but I’m a man of convenience so that doesn’t suit me at all.

The vocals are dreamy, there are lots of bleepy noises and the lyrics are not grating, although when she sings of her ‘heavy eyes on the road’ I can’t help thinking that if they were driving together, then they could take it in turns at the wheel, giving the other and opportunity to sleep and thereby avoiding any unnecessary stops at service stations, which would give the fuzz a chance to catch up with you. Music-wise, the song could do with a bit of a kick up the bum with a big middle-eight break down, like in Scissor Sister’s Night Work buzz single and career highlight ‘Invisible Light’ with lots of crashes and loud back ground chanting (Sir Ian McKellen monologue optional) but even without that it sounds pretty good anyway. Note: obviously by crashes I mean cymbals, not car crashes. However, in the tragic event of one of the cars crashing, which would clearly be terrible,, there would be half as many casualties as the two were, of course, riding separately. Silver linings… I’ve cracked the code!

I’ve mocked up a better single cover on MS Paint for everyone’s benefit, which embodies all the beauty of motorways.

"Together we can make out great escape..."

“Together we can make our great escape…”

Arbitrary rating: 8/10, very good but could explode a bit more towards the end.

With three good songs on it already, Nocturnes is probably worth buying already, but if you want to confirm this, or if you’re just a fan of ruining surprises, 1:30 long clips are available of all tracks on iTunes. You can also pre-order the album now in the obvious places, but you usually get it late when you do that, which is against the point really, isn’t it? Still if you fancy Little Boots scrawling an emotionless message on your CD case, go for it.

Don’t le me down, Hesketh.

 

 

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Robbie Williams’ Brit Awards performance review and 5 better things to spend your money on.

Five things you could buy for 99p that are better than the video of Robbie Williams’ live BRITs performance.

This morning, upon the Twitter, I received this hugely welcome piece of information from the marketing intern at Universal Music who is officially masquerading as Robbie Williams: 

Barking up the wrong tree

Barking up the wrong tree

 Robbie Williams used to be one of our greatest pop entertainers, but he hasn’t really released anything good enough since Escapology in 2003 and he has been dead behind the eyes for as long as I can remember, despite the fact he has something to live for now. Here is a link to Robbie’s live effort: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=geJ4qcVYgIM

Obviously it would be easier to embed that link, but the awkward folks at the BRIT Awards have prohibited that, as it would make it to convenient for people to enjoy and share the performance.

I made my views on Candy clear when I reviewed it upon release, saying it was definitely hummable and could have been a great track were it not for the lyrics, where Candy is not only let down, but completely deflated.

Robbie has never been a great live singer, finding it easier to  just shout and hold his hands in the air, telling the audience to sing the words for him. SHE’S GOT LOTS OF DIFFERENT HORSES BY LOTS OF DIFFERENT MEN! Yet Robbie stands out because he has enough personality to match that of every other performer and winner at last night’s BRIT Awards, which was a completely charisma-free affair. This could have been remedied by handing one of Emeli ‘The Underdog’ Sandé’s awards to Paloma Faith, who would have given us the chance to see a proper speech as she was one of the few nominees with enough energy to make it the whole way through the show.  Sandé must have been taking naps in between awards to merely keep her strength up.

Sadly, the truth, Universal intern, is that I didn’t love the Candy performance. It sounded like Robbie had forgotten how Candy actually goes and he shouted ONE! TWO! THREE! FOUR! whenever he couldn’t remember which nonsensical line came next. It also took Robbie two minutes to shout ‘Come on!’ and try to get the audience to sing a line, which must be near to a new record for him. At the end of the performance glitter rained down on the stage like when somebody wins the big money on Deal Or No Deal, but the only thing Robbie was earning was a collective sympathetic look from the audience. Despite all that, the stage looked great and the brass-wielding backing band/dancers were well choreographed, so it wasn’t all bad.

Would you watch it again though? No, of course you bloody wouldn’t. It was one of those ‘of the time’ performances that will not be remembered past the original week of broadcast. If you look through the history of Brit Awards performances there are plenty you had forgotten about. For instance, above is a video from 2005 of one-time Best British Urban Act, Lemar, and professional panel show contestant, Jamelia, delivering a flaccid and completely inexplicable rendition of Robert Palmer’s ‘Addicted To Love’, in a year where Lemar released soul classic ‘If There’s Any Justice’ and Jamelia released the song that famously ended domestic abuse for good, ‘Thank You’.

So, the truth is that I won’t be spending 99p on Robbie’s live video (not that I’ve ever bought a music video. Why would you?) Just in case you were considering it and you are prospering so well in this economic climate that you have 99p to just throw away, here are a handful of things you could better spend that money on.

1.    TLC’s Waterfalls on 12″ Vinyl

12" singles, the height of convenience.

12″ singles, the height of convenience.

It’s a great song, with a great chorus and meaningful lyrics!
It would look cool hanging on your wall if you don’t have a record player!

It’s ‘Collection Only’ from Romford!

2.    Kurt Cobain All Apologies:

‘A tribute to the man and his music’ from 99p Stores  

A reputation booster, for sure.

A reputation booster, for sure.

What better way to show your teenage angst than by owning a Kurt Cobain DVD?

I hope it would be more of an ITV2 talking heads show with Michelle Bass and Jedward sharing their memories of when Kurt went ‘dead mental’, but it appears to include music. Viewer beware! 

Did you know that the ‘All Apologies’ single by Nirvana featured the double A-Side classic ‘Rape Me’ and B-Side ‘Moist Vagina’? You wouldn’t get that kind of rock authenticity from Robbie, would you? Despite those hardly charming track names, you can’t help miss the B-Side tradition. 

‘Candy’ actually had a CD single but the B-Side was a remix. Sad face indeed.

3. A pastry from Greggs.

Haute cuisine

Haute cuisine

 

You may think you can’t compare buying a snack to a media item that you can keep forever and ever (or at least until digital media becomes obsolete), but think about it how many uses will you get out of a sausage roll?

One. Or more if you’re doing something unorthodox… 

How many uses will you get out of the video of Robbie’s BRIT Awards performance? One? None?

Maybe you’ll want to watch it and relive the historic moment every time you’re on the bus, but it’s unlikely.

4. ‘BONO on Bono’ from eBay 

He's just trying to be a good guy, OK!?

He’s just trying to be a good guy, OK!?

The seller describes this, in all capitals to help the message sink in, as “PAPERBACK BOOK FROM THE MOUTH OF THE U2 FRONT MAN AND ALL ROUND GOOD GUY… THIS BOOK IS A GREAT ADDITION TO YOUR U2 BOOK COLLECTION.” 

What music memorabilia could you want more than a book of transcribed conversations with rock’s number one good guy, spectacle enthusiast and Captain Modest?

And all for a bargain 1p. Buy 99 copies and hand them out to your nearest and dearest, or to your city’s homeless population, to give them hope. 

Frankly, you’d be a fool to buy Robbie’s video when your U2 book collection is still incomplete.

5. Walkers Salt & Vinegar Crisps with Scary Spice! 

Tracked down, at last!

Tracked down, at last!

Remember all those years you have spent regretting ever throwing away your limited edition Spice Girls crisp packets in 1997? Well, stop worrying, pop enthusiast, as somebody had held onto them!

The seller helpfully adds that the Best Before Date of the crisps (which s/he has eaten) was 27/12/97, so that’s good news if that’s the one you needed!

Other choices include Salt and Vinegar French Fries with Mel C. From a smoke and pet free home, no less!

 

6. Give the money to someone who really needs it.

 

iTunes probably isn’t in desperate need of your money and they won’t miss it, so if you are affluent enough to chuck your Pound around like it’s as worthless as a Best Live Act BRIT Award, give it to someone who needs it.

Head down to your local charity shop and you can surely get something that is far less one-use than Robbie’s video for 99p. A book, a Robbie Williams CD with decent songs on it, an ornament that might turn out to be worth something.

Perhaps just donate it to the Brit Awards committee so they can afford to put on a bigger budgeted show in 2014? Maybe they will finally be able to upgrade from their presenters of James ‘Gay Joke’ Corden and Rizzle Kicks.

(Personally I’d get the sausage roll though. And you’d still have change for the Bono book.
Holy Valance, there is a lot of crap on the internet.)

 

BRIT Awards 2013: The Emeli Sandé show

Gearing up to watch The BRIT Awards 2013:
(It’s either that or The Best of You’ve Been Framed on ITV2…)

 

"Won't somebody PLEASE pay attention to me for once??"

“Won’t somebody PLEASE pay attention to me for once??”

 

That special time of year has rolled around again, no, not the birthday of Yulia from t.A.T.u, it’s the BRIT Awards! Celebrating the music of our tiny little nation for the 33rd time, an opportunity to award the celestial genius of those, such as dear Olly Murs, who were so cruelly overlooked at the all-encompassing Grammy Awards.
Who needs a Grammy when you have a BRIT Award? Just ask Best British Male 2004 winner, Daniel Bedingfield, who has been nominated five times in total, including Best British Urban Act in 2003, before being upgraded to a Pop Act nominee in 2004. Bedingfield, who is still active in the industry and last year revealed the NSFW video for a new song to universal apathy (the name of which I cannot remember and will not search for) in which he appeared naked, which was just such a treat for everyone, has won the Best Male award as many times as Best British Male in Any Field of All Time, David Bowie.  This is how much the BRIT Awards matter: very much indeed. Girls Aloud regularly refer to winning a BRIT Award when asked for their career highlight, despite meeting the Queen and putting their names to false eyelashes. It’s a big deal.
And this year is no exception! Merely looking at the list of nominees for the BRITS 2013 is enough to make your grandmother put down her knitting, mouth agape. Finally, some recognition for the oft-neglected Emeli Sandé, she cries!
In an effort to drum up more publicity, for the past three years the BRITs organisers have invited a British artist to redesign the statuette to be handed out to winners. 2011 saw Vivienne Westwood deliver a kind of Union Jack Dress-wearing statuette, perhaps inspired by Geri Halliwell’s iconic attire, or not, and 2012 saw Peter Blake design a primary-coloured abomination that a class of primary school students could have come up with. This year the task was handed to everyone’s favourite purveyor of fine art, Damien Hirst, which could have gone terribly wrong. I was half-expecting a statue based on a cross-section of Elton John frozen in formaldehyde, but instead his minimal effort design (probably actually designed by an assistant) looks like a Children in Need candlestick. Then again, it is the best of the three, in my eyes. Who can we expect for next year after this year’s choice? My money would be on thoroughly likeable character, Tracey Emin. Below is how I imagine her design to look. It’s not pretty but it’s a fitting choice and wouldn’t look out of place in Tulisa’s hand.
The evolution of the BRIT award...

The evolution of the BRIT award…

For budgetary reasons, James Corden has been chosen to host the awards for the fourth time and will be sure to deliver laughs and joy throughout, with his cracking wit and charm. That was actually sarcasm and for that I apologise, but it seems that the organisers have got fed up with looking and are just keen to avoid controversy, as in previous years. But just imagine how good a gig it would be for Simon Amstell, delivering all his Popworld and Never Mind the Buzzcocks bitterness, perhaps paired up with British pop’s very own funny hat-wearer, Paloma Faith, who incidentally has publicly abandoned all hope of winning everything, since she she is pitted against the messianic Emile Sandé in both her nominated categories. Amstell and Faith for 2014! I’ll forward this to the organisers. It would be nice to inject the proceedings with some entertainment without having to rely on drunken brawls.

So what can we make of the nominations this year? They’re for the most part quite tiresome and obvious choices, with an evident winner in each category before the winners have even been announced. It’s almost as if they picked their winners and then padded out the list with some fellow nominees who don’t stand a chance and are just there for the ‘indie’ credentials (I’m looking at you, four-time nominee Bat For Lashes).

Before we get into the miserable looking lists, let’s just appreciate the nomination list for Best British Single of 2003:
Liberty X — “Just a Little”
Atomic Kitten — “The Tide Is High”
Gareth Gates — “Anyone of Us (Stupid Mistake)”
Gareth Gates — “Unchained Melody”
Will Young — “Anything Is Possible”
5 songs, 2 covers, 2 Gareth Gates (oddly absent from 2013’s list) singles, 4 reality TV acts, 1 song that still (or ever did) sounds decent after ten years. Well done everybody.

Let’s have a look then:

MALE SOLO ARTIST: Ben Howard, Calvin Harris, Olly Murs, Plan B, Richard Hawley.
Obvious winner: Calvin Harris. He’s released about 40 singles this year, with most of them charting in the upper echelons of the chart.
Deserved winner: I’m not really a fan of the repetitive nature of Harris’ keyboard hooks, or his trademark crescendo-pop-thunderclap, but I can’t help singing along to gurning fool, Olly Murs’, ‘Troublemaker’, so I’d give it to him and help us all avoid a 2-second long Calvin Harris speech.
Sympathy nominations?: Ben Howard: Ed Sheeran without the success; Richard Hawley: The ‘cool’ nomination.
FEMALE SOLO ARTIST: Amy Winehouse, Bat For Lashes, Emeli Sandé, Jessie Ware, Paloma Faith.
Obvious winner: If national treasure and ‘Critics’ Choice’ Sandé doesn’t win this, I will not only eat my hat, but every piece of knitwear in the vicinity. Even if you’re not into Sandé’s schtick, the BBC and ITV will have you believe you are, and she’ll just keep singing until you give in and buy her bloody album.
Deserved winner:  Marina and the Diamonds. Maybe she didn’t have enough success with Electra Heart, but the album charted at #1 and lead single ‘Primadonna’  at #11, while Bat For Lashes album charted at #6, and the lead single at #144, so Marina’s omission is absolute bollocks, really.  Out of the nominations I would give it to Paloma for ‘Picking Up The Pieces’, alone.
Sympathy nominations?:  Amy Winehouse: Look here, I adored Amy, she was excellent and stunning when at her best, but a posthumous nomination for an underwhelming, swiftly cobbled together rarities album just reeks of publicity more than anything. Bat for Lashes, Jessie Ware, ‘cool’ nominations.
"Shall I just stay at bloody home then?"

“Shall I just stay at bloody home then?”

BRITISH BREAKTHROUGH ACT: Alt-J, Ben Howard, Jake Bugg, Jessie Ware, Rita Ora.
Obvious winner: I wouldn’t bet on this one, as I wouldn’t say any were especially deserving, but poor man’s Rihanna, Rita Ora, has definitely broken through more than the rest, and that’s what we’re awarding here (I think so anyway, I’m not sure if that’s the case).
Sympathy nominations: Alt-J would not have been nominated were it not for winning the Mercury Prize, that’s glaringly obvious. If Jake Bugg, current holder of worst name in music, wins, it will be a waste of time and money for everyone, since, being the ROCK STAR he is, he has announced he will decide whether to turn up or not depending on how he feels at the time. He has the evening off, but he might just skip it, because he’s that laid back. What an idiot.
BRITISH GROUP: Alt-J, Mumford & Sons, Muse, One Direction, The xx.
Obvious winner: Mumford & Sons: The banjo botherers won the Grammy for album of the year, so this is a given. That is assuming the ‘committee’ chooses the winner, of course. If any kind of public vote is involved you can assure One Direction will win by a landslide, thanks to their millions of terrorising, spamming, obsessive fangirls.
Sympathy nominations: Muse are a ‘cool’ nomination again, despite everyone (INCLUDING THEIR FANS) knowing that the quality of music has reached an all time low and Matt Bellamy has descended so far into his conspiratorial state of m-m-m-m-madness that his mental health is now a serious concern, but not as much so as the fact he is bringing up a child.
BRITISH SINGLE OF THE YEAR:
Adele – “Skyfall”
Alex Clare – “Too Close”
Coldplay & Rihanna – “Princess of China”
DJ Fresh featuring Rita Ora – “Hot Right Now”
Emeli Sandé – “Next to Me”
Florence and the Machine – “Spectrum (Say My Name)”
James Arthur – “Impossible”
Jessie J – “Domino”
Labrinth featuring Emeli Sandé – “Beneath Your Beautiful”
Olly Murs featuring Flo Rida – “Troublemaker”
Rita Ora featuring Tinie Tempah – “R.I.P.”
Rizzle Kicks – “Mama Do the Hump”
Robbie Williams – “Candy”
Rudimental featuring John Newman – “Feel the Love”
Stooshe – “Black Heart”
Obvious winner: This one is voted for by the public, so anything is possible really. However it is nice to see underexposed Emeli Sandé making the list twice.  People voted for James Arthur on X Factor, so I expect they will vote again in this instance, so he might win, but then again, TV personality Jessie J has an obsessive fan base, so her ear-piercing single might take it. Oh yes, Adele is in it. It’s been weeks since she won something, and a speech from her will get more follow-up press attention than most of the awards, so she’ll get it, won’t she?
Deserved winner: Primadonna not nominated… Olly’s single was good, Stooshe’s single was good and Florence’s single was good, so I’d happily take any of those.
ALBUM OF THE YEAR: Alt-J, Emeli Sandé (who?), Mumford & Songs, Paloma Faith, Plan B.
Obvious winner: Read all about it! Read all about it! Emeli Sandé in award win shocker! (Though it could be Mumford again. I once handed my sister a copy of ‘Babel’ and asked her to guess which one was the dad. It took her ages.) None of these are deserving winners.
"Oh go on then, just the once, mind"

“Oh go on then, just the once, mind”

INTERNATIONAL MALE SOLO ARTIST: Bruce Springsteen, Frank Ocean, Gotye, Jack White, Michael Buble.
Winner: Nobody’s here for the international awards! They’re the BRIT awards! This may seem a narrow-minded view, but the Best International Album award hasn’t been handed out for a couple of years now, seemingly to cut down on awards for non-British artists. Frank Ocean had a lot of hype about him so I’d go for him.
INTERNATIONAL FEMALE SOLO ARTIST: Alicia Keys, Cat Power, Lana Del Rey, Rihanna, Taylor Swift.
Winner: Proving year after year that women are dominating the pop music scene, this list is about 50x more interesting than the male list and it could go either way between the posable and fully lifelike, Lana Del Rey, Best International Role Model, Rihanna and Most Effective Succubus, Taylor Swift.
Deserved winner: Taylor. ‘We Are Never Ever Ever Ever Ever Getting Back Together’ and ‘I Knew You Were Trouble’ were both excellent singles. Lana would get the award for worst singing on potentially good songs, and ‘Ri-Ri’ would surely get an award for quickest churning out of an album, for the seventh year in a row.
INTERNATIONAL GROUP: Alabama Shakes, The Black Keys, Fun., The Killers, The Script.
Winner: The Black Keys cleaned up at the Grammys and are on every advert going, but then The Script (featuring Danny from The Script) features TV personality Danny From The Script, so he could get a sympathy award as a collective ‘Sorry The Voice didn’t turn out to be a game changer’.
Critics’ Choice Winner: Tom Odell. There is no need announcing other nominees at the same time you announce the winner, is there? I would’ve given it to Arlissa, personally. I can’t help feeling that we are in March now and Tom Odell hasn’t been shoved down our ears and throats as much as previous winners of this award, so maybe he will break the curse of Over-Exposed Artist of the year. Maybe it’s because he’s the first male winner of this award. END SEXISM IN POP.
BEST LIVE ACT: Coldplay, Mumford & Sons, Muse, The Rolling Stones, The Vaccines.
Obvious winner: Coldplay. They are so good live that they cured all disability or something when the Paralympics closing ceremony was chosen to support them at one gig/publicity stunt this year.
"You are now all healed! All thanks to the power of music!"

“You are now all healed! All thanks to the power of music!”

THERE WE HAVE IT. Those are the main awards. The Outstanding Contribution to British Music award has been left out this year, since there is nobody left to award it to, which is a shame for the female boss, Tulisa, who not only literally released an album and singles this year, but also claims she wrote two lines on Will.I.Am and Britney’s work of art, Scream and Shout, so Tulisa surely would have got it.
Finally, you can look forward to performances from Muse (tea break), Ben Howard, (tea break), shy, retiring wallflower Emeli Sandé (FOR THE LOVE OF JESUS AND MARY CHRIST) singing her dreary ‘Clown’, Mumford & Sons (tea break), One Direction covering Blondie (tea break), Robbie Williams, he might be worth staying for, unless he is singing Nursery Rhyme of the Year, Candy, Best International Male turned Actor turned Myspace Creative Director turned Actor turned Underwhelming Pop Star, Justin Timberlake, and finally most Effective Succubus, Taylor Swift, who will be scanning the audience for a piece of meat to take back to her hotel room and devour, before devoting a single to how he turned out to be a scumbag and not actually ‘the one’.
That all sounds jolly interesting doesn’t it! With all those tea breaks, I’m going to be in the bathroom all night, by the sounds of it. I might even miss the James Corden segments if I’m lucky.
Let’s at least hope there’s a good duet to open the show, maybe Beyoncé will turn up and do that Hulk pose to lighten the mood…

Albums Named After the Worst Track on Them

Albums Named After the Worst Track on Them

When I was writing about my anticipation of the new Little Boots album a little while ago, I re-listened to the original, rather than just listening to some choice cuts, and realised how bad the title track, Hands, is. So, I’ve dug a little deeper into my music library to see where pop and rock history could be rewritten to make everything a little neater.

Image

Subject A. Little Boots’ ‘Hands’

Although the debut Boots album had many good electropop songs on it, this dodgy piano ballad lent its name to the entire album, despite sounding like a Kate Nash demo. There is no Tenori-On, some of the vocals are pretty rough and, most worryingly, the lyrics are awful. EXAMPLE:

I said ‘Why don’t you go to the clouds,
I hear they’ve got a really good laboratory up there’,
So she went up to the heavens,
About quarter past eleven,
And they said ‘Now what seems to be the problem?’

A far superior name for the album would be ‘Stuck On Repeat’, which makes far too much sense for it to be bypassed, really. It was the name of one of the best songs on the album, for sure, and just imagine having an album called Stuck on Repeat! It would make it sound like it was so good that you couldn’t help listening again and again. That’s obviously not the case, what with the dip in quality to the end, but people might have been fooled into buying more copies.

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SUBJECT B. Arcade Fire’s ‘Neon Bible’

Arcade Fire’s second album had some huge depressing indie-rock tunes on it, all the way from opening track ‘Black Mirror’ right through to organ and accordion heavy closing tracks ‘No Cars Go’ and ‘My Body is a Cage’. Yet there was one huge blip in the middle of it all, track 3, ‘Neon Bible’, a 2:17 long blip, a needless whispery interlude, which simply plodded along with its ‘ne-on-bi-ble-ne-on-bi-ble’s until a real track comes on, one with some kind of power behind it, unlike Neon Bible, which has all the power of a wind-up torch.

A good name for the album would have been ‘Intervention’, named after one of the many songs on the album better than the real title track, and typical Arcade Fire, with heavy organs and Régine’s wailing backing vocals ‘YOUR LIFE WILL FALL APART’ etc. It would have also nicely followed debut album ‘Funeral’ and be a good start to a list of albums all named after depressing family events, perhaps followed by albums 3 to 5,  ‘Divorce’, ‘Family Reunion’ and ‘Conjugal Visit’.

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SUBJECT C. Marina and the Diamonds’ ‘The Family Jewels’

The Family Jewels being on the album depends on which album you’ve got; if you have the standard edition, the worst track is of course ‘Girls’, but if you have the iTunes version or the American version,  TFJ takes that particular biscuit. It could probably be improved as a track if it had a bit more work done to it, but it’s just Marina plonking a piano, and not in a good way, like in ‘Obsessions’. There is lots of bad rhyming, particularly in one bridge where Marina rhymes ‘it’ with ‘it’ and ‘fit’ with ‘unfit’. I understand the whole jewels/diamonds thing but I think my main problem with The Family Jewels is that as a title it is very genital. I suppose in a way it is a relief that she didn’t name the album ‘Shampain’, and ‘Oh No!’ would be as off-putting an album title as Franz Ferdinand’s ‘You Could Have It So Much Better’.

A better title for the album, from the selection presented by Miss Diamandis, would be ‘Obsessions’. I think it pretty much sums up all of the themes covered in this album, from being famous, to choosing crackers, to her obsession with America, or to her constant feeling of being an outcast. This obsessive aspect of her personality became quite clear when the album didn’t sell as much as she wanted it to and she did approximately 100 interviews complaining how crap she was and how she wanted to be a star. It is telling enough when you read an article about Marina on NME and the related articles have names such as “I worried people wouldn’t allow me to become a pop star” and “UK didn’t understand Electra Heart”, but that might just be the old NME making everything sound more dramatic than it is.

A further note: ‘I Am Not a Robot’ would be a great name for an album in today’s world of faceless, auto-tuned, disposable pop whores, but I’d rather that be saved for the next Nadia Oh album.

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SUBJECT D:  Lady Gaga’s ‘Born This Way’.

It’s not a great song, what with it being lyrically abysmal, allegedly plagiarising and graphically overblown, but it’s definitely not the worst on the album (COUGH – HIGHWAY UNICORN). The problem was that everything about the whole album campaign and content was so fake and completely unnatural: stage name, weird  facial implants, endless wigs, motorbike body and banal, shallow, faux-emotional lyrics, that Born This Way was unbelievably far from the truth and ‘Entirely Fictitious Construct’ would have been a more fitting name. Perhaps it was ironic? But then, I don’t think anything Lady Gaga does is ironic anymore.

By far the best possible title track on the album, ignoring the obvious Scheiße jokes, would be ‘Edge of Glory’. It would perfectly express how she had come so close to being the perfect new pop star, on the edge of glory, if you will, but then royally cocked it all up.

 

Is there anything I’ve missed?

Are there any more albums where the title track is piss poor and there
is in fact a more suitable one lurking in the track listing?