Hecklerspray’s Monday Music Mango: Stereophonics, Ronan Keating And N-Dubz

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l_d81290df72e64f6180ec33b6d8d14d3aSeparating the sweet, juicy flesh from the stone and skin of this week’s major label releases.

Another week, another Monday. Another soul-grinding day of pretending to like your colleagues. Even Dave in security, who will tell you all about his weekend’s sexploits despite the whole office knowing he hasn’t seen any ladybits in fifteen years.

Well come ye here, settle down in front of the glowing slavemaster, and bury your face in this week’s Mango…

Three reviews, each represented as a thought that the thought-havers who buy them might have thought.

Firstly: Keep Calm And Carry On, Stereophonics. We’re unsure, but the title of this latest album from the Welsh subpubrockers may have been chosen as a message to someone browsing the racks of a music store. A moment of blind panic, as he sees the word ‘Stereophonics’, and wonders whether the band’s continuing existence is a sign of The End Times. The innocent browser, frozen in his horror.

Then, those soothing words catch his eye: ‘keep calm and carry on’. Ah, yes. Released from his binds of terror, the man is free to move on.

Because they really are terrible, aren’t they? Most of the songs on this album wouldn’t be too bad, in the right context. I Got Your Number, for instance, might be quite catchy if it had been sung by McFly. But when Kelly Jones gets his raspy, smoky, constipationy vocal cords around it, the thing goes downhill quicker than a fat man in a barrel.

But do you know what’s the worst thing about this album? Well, we give to you the words of Trouble:

I’m in trouble, you’re in trouble. Deep, deep trouble’s gonna burst our bubble.

Stereophonics: now taking inspiration from Shampoo. This album is represented by the thought:

Christ, those lasses from the 90s have really aged badly. On this song, which I can only assume is a re-release of their biggest hit, the blond one sings like a constipated Ent.

I hate myself, please take me to this album on Amazon.

Secondly, Winter Songs, Ronan Keating. Ronan, who Wikipedia claims is 32 years old, releases an album of Christmas-themed songs. There is no way this can end well.

Softer than an angel’s feather. Sweeter than fudge dipped in icing sugar. More shit than the elephant enclosure at Whipsnade the day after an accidental release of Dulcolax into their drinking water.

None of these comments made it into the album’s press release, and that’s a shame. Because people do need to be warned about albums like this. “Parental Advisory: Terrible Lyrics“, perhaps. Or, “Do not drive or operate heavy machinery while listening to this album, as it may cause you to enter a psychotic fugue state and plow your car or heavy machinery into innocent people”.

Oh, but it’s a stinker. How the hell do you suck every last atom of emotion from the classic Homeward Bound? How do you make Little Drummer Boy even more sickly cloying than anyone else has previously managed? That includes the saxophone version by Kenny fricking G.

In fact, that’s the absolute worst thing we can say about this album. Keep the snark, here’s your take-home message. Ronan Keating’s new album: worse than a recording of Little Drummer Boy by Kenny fricking G.

Here’s your thought:

Okay, I’ve got all my little pottery dolls lined up here. Each one’s got a little cup of tea, lol so cute! And I’m sucking on a lovely fudge-wrapped sugarcube. Now let’s listen to the new album by Ronan Keating, my fave, I love him lol! Oh. Oh God. Oh my God. That is even worse than the sax version of Little Drummer Boy by Kenny fricking G.

I promise I will not drive or operate heavy machinery, please take me to this album.

Thirdly, Against All Odds, N-Dubz. Ah, the Dubz. Riding in on a big, strong horse to rescue this week’s reviews from total tedium (presumably, a tricked-out horse, with green LEDs under its belly and 18 inch chrome horseshoes).

Grime, garage, urban, nuskool flip flop: call it what you will, it is presented here with levels of charm and – steady yourself – sophistication that put it well beyond their competitors. And if you don’t agree, our very own Stuart Heritage can tell you that Dappy will be round your house to make you look small, then bury you. Scary.

This album is represented by the thought:

Dappy’s got a silly hat! It’s silly! He’s the nuskool flip flop version of that knobfiddle from Jamiroquai.

I enjoy music for the emotions it makes me feel, like happiness and giddiness. Please take me to this album.

Have a good week, Mangons.

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