Singles Round-up, May week three

Mutoid Man | “Bandages”
It’s a twin (or sorts) to Bleeder‘s title track, though this is the gentlest thing MM have ever written. Features contemplative, wandering guitar, “Bandages” still manages to be MM by having a memorable melody and rocking out at the end with a sorta flashy solo. The song appears to be about heartbreak, which is in line with the overall theme of War Moans (and its cover).  Moans looks to be every bit as solid as its precessor.

Rancid | “Telegraph Avenue”
Much like their first single – and, really, their whole career – it’s another earnest punk offering. This time, though, you get a sing-songy, rockabilly tune complete with handclaps and a na-na-na chorus. It’s more mindless fun (and typically left-of-center, shout-along politicking) from one of the truly great veteran punk acts.

Grizzly Bear | “Mourning Sound”
With “Mourning” picking up from where the spacier aspects of Shields left off, it’s like they never left. GB continue to make the prettiest indie-rock around, though “Mourning” feels a bit odd. A nervously pulsing bassline attempts to ride an uneasy synth wave, while Ed Droste’s verses and Daniel Rossen’s chorus don’t so much work together as walk beside each other.  This is a rare miss for them.

Muse | “Dig Down”
This stand-alone single sees Muse return to electronic experimentation. “Dig” slinks around on a stuttering belch of a synth while Bellamy offers optimistic pap like, “We won’t let them divide/ We will never abide/ We will find a way”. Bellamy’s vocals almost save the song singlehandedly – almost. At this point, Muse make music for its own sake, since they can’t piss off their fans or convert detractors.

Danger Mouse feat. Big Boi and Run the Jewels | “Chase Me”
A Danger Mouse beat that basically rides the guitar jabs of “Bellbottoms” by the Jon Spencer Blues Explosion allows El-P, Killer Mike, and Big Boi to do what they do best: talk shit. El dazzles with his assonance (“Small talkers get launched on, clobbered and tossed off/ Knock ’em on just to get rocks off/ Put a pause on all of that soft talk, chop chop”); Mike, as usual, pairs an odd pop culture reference with sex (“A bad bitch gave me bomb head to Bad Brains”); and Big Boi slings his usual braggadocio nonsense (“Made man, I’m made already, nobody safe from petty/ 450 horse up in the Porsche, 600 in the Chevy”). The point is just to have fun, and nobody does it better than this trio.

Katy Perry featuring Nicki Minaj | “Swish Swish”
Given the singles she’s released in 2017, I have to assume it’s Perry’s goal to continually find new ways to lower the bar, because Jesus Christ, this is shit. The production is awkward pairing of strutting EDM nonsense and a shoehorned Fatboy Slim sample. Minaj comes damn close to saving the song by herself, despite dumbing down her rapping abilities to match the song (and that unncessary “Juicy” reference). There’s nothing to suggest Witness will be anything but soulless, trend-chasing pap for the masses, and I don’t see that changing.

Singles Round-up, April 28

Arcadea | “Infinite End”
Synthesizer-powered psychedelic outfit fronted by Brann Dailor and featuring Core Atoms and Raheem Amlani. Apparently, the record will only have synths, live drums, and vocals. Atoms’ vocals sound like they might be torn apart by the gravity from the black hole of synths. Between this and the other single “Gas Giant,” it sounds like Arcadea have decided to weaponize the synthesizer.  Light one up and blast this.

Fall Out Boy | “Young and Menace”
This is a joke, right? This is just terrible pop EDM nonsense. It’s like what would happen if FOB tried to rip off The Chainsmokers, who themselves are ripping off the Top 40. It’s a Möbius strip mindfuck. What was the goal here?

Prince | “Electric Intercourse”
Lovely piano and synth ballad from the Purple Rain sessions with typical ’80s Prince-isms like “Our bodies want to be together” and “I want to shock you with my lips”. “Electric” further demonstrates that few artists do more with space than him. I wanna go listen to Purple Rain right now – that’s how great this is. Prince, you are deeply missed.

Katy Perry feat. Migos | “Bon Appétit”
It’s about oral sex, we get it. Over disco-esque strobe light production, Perry sings lines like, “So you want some more/ Well I’m open 24/ Wanna keep you satisfied/ Customer’s always right,” making you wonder if she’s capable of feeling embarassment. Meanwhile, Migos phones in a bunch’a nonsense, and is here simply because they’re the “it” thing right now. Max Martin, you can do so much better.


Singles Round-up, February 10

Power Trip | “Nightmare Logic”
The third single, and title track, from the crossover thrashers’ forthcoming record is the best yet. Vocalist Riley Gale has always borrowed Chuck Schuldiner’s tortured snarl, but here he sounds utterly terrified. It’s difficult to sound scared over catchy metal, but somehow PT pull it off. Without the needless reverb of their debut, their new material demonstrates the true potential of the band. Better songwriting and clearer production? Yes, please.

Katy Perry | “Chained To The Rhythm”
We’ve finally hit peak ’70s music nostalgia worship with Perry’s bouncing ball synth-laden disco comeback single, and since Max Martin is involved you know it’s catchy and immaculately-constructed. Meanwile, Skip Marley is featured seemingly to give the song’s reggae flavor some back door legitmacy. It’ll likely hit number one, so let’s deal with being sick of hearing it now.

Desiigner | “Outlet”
I still don’t get his appeal. He’s this bizarre amalgamation of Future, Young Thug, and Fetty Wap, but his music just makes me wanna listen to those artists instead. On the plus side it’s (slightly) less repetitive than his previous single, and, of course, the hook will burrow into your head with shocking immediacy. As with most of his songs, though, the production is the best part. Here, he rides an arena-trap beat with lyrical brilliance such as, “That’s that guy snake/ Watch out for that guy snake/ Big bullets with the U-Haul truck/ So we move his ass ’round my place”. Can he go away now?

Fetty Wap | “Flip Phone”
It’s not as hook-tastic as his previous offerings, but as pedestrian pop-trap it’ll do. As trap music continues its total domination over radio hip-hop, guys like Fetty will have careers. Perhaps “Flip Phone” is most notable for its unusual song structure: hook, verse, bridge, outro. It’s unclear where this song gets its title from, and that seems oddly fitting for him.

Bush | “Mad Love”
What happened to the guy who wrote “Glycerine”? Sadly, this is further proof that Gavin Rossdale is a shell of his former songwriting self.  “Mad Love” continues where Man on the Run left off, which is to say: milquetoast radio rock. Lyrically, it’s tempting to read this song (especially the chorus) as Rossdale addressing his former wife. But with such a lifeless melody, who cares what he’s singing about?