Whoa, Nelly! After disappointing sales of her sombre, primarily acoustic Folklore album, Nelly Furtado’s hooked up with R&B uber-producer Timbaland (Aaliyah, Missy Elliott, Justin Timberlake) for the dancefloor stormer of the year so far. What next, we wonder, a Neptunes/Jewel collaboration? Maneater struts like an ageing hooker from bass-driven verses to immaculate eighties synth pop choruses and even manages to find room for the immortal lyric: “Move your body around like a nympho.” Maneater is sexy, infectious and a thoroughly bad influence: the song you wish you’d been listening to the first time you drank too much Strongbow and fell into Mrs Gordon-from-up-the-road’s mulberry bush.
Everybody loves singles reviews, don't they? Especially when they're about Morrissey, Mariah Carey, The Streets, Sugababes and Embrace. And that's what you'll be getting, right after the jump…
The Youngest Was The Most Loved
Has he found love? Has he been banging on about animal rights again? Has he finally started to play hide the purple love parsnip? It’s exhausting following the Morrissey rumour mill, it really is. What makes it all worthwhile is the continued quality of Uncle Misery’s music. The Youngest Was The Most Loved – the second single from his number one Ringleader Of The Tormentors album – is a punchy, catchy slice of guitar pop about – wait for it! – a serial killer. The stirring chorus features a choir of Italian kiddies chanting: “There is no such thing in life as normal,” which is sure to become something of a mantra for Morrissey’s legions of disciples. Tattooists in student towns/ suicide hotspots/ Manchester generally, we hope you’ve got steady hands.
A collaboration between the resurgent Queen of R&B and the most innovative urban producers of the noughties should be a musical event. But Say Somethin’, the fifth single from Mazza’s blockbuster Emancipation Of Mimi album, is a big disappointment. It’s like waking up and realising that no, you’re not the new fifth member of Take That and, no, Noel Edmonds didn’t pop round for tea last night. Mariah coos and trills over a stuttering Neptunes beat and Snoop Dogg adds a sprightly rap but the chorus is anaemic and the groove as forgettable as an evening with Imogen from Big Brother. But when you’re in a position to insure your pins for a billion – yes, one bill-ee-yun – dollars, we suppose you can get away with releasing the odd duff single now and again.
Never Went To Church
In the summer of 2004 Dry Your Eyes transformed The Streets from a music press favourite to a buy-the-album-at-Tescos household name. If you were a lad, you loved it ‘cause it brought a lump to your throat but not, y’know, in a gay way. If you were a laydee, you loved it ‘cause it showed that the useless sod in the corner had a sensitive side. And, if you were a TV producer, you loved it because it was the perfect song to use when things went a bit tits-up in the football. Never Went To Church is essentially the Dry Your Eyes from Mike Skinner’s current The Hardest Way To Make An Easy Living album: a regretful, pleading ode to his late father. The lads and laydees should like it, but- with lyrics like “I'm gonna see a priest, a rabbi and a Protestant clergyman; you always said I should hedge my bets”– those TV producers might not be so enamoured.
Follow Me Home
Can you believe it’s been six months since the fierce, feisty and farkin’ scary Mutya Buena left the Sugababes? Rumour has it that she’ll be dueting with George Michael soon enough, so we’re starting to move on now. Follow Me Home, the fourth single from the Babes’ chart-topping Taller In More Ways album, is an R&B-tinged ballad which benefits from some lovely strings and gorgeous, sultry vocals from the girls. It’s not as exciting as the album’s previous singles, but it’ll inevitably provoke an “Oh yeah, that one was pretty decent too” when we rediscover it on the girls’ Greatest Hits some time in December 2007. Did someone mention a Sugababes’ Greatest Hits? To quote Kate Bush, “Ooh, we’ve just come!”
World At Your Feet
This World Cup business. It takes over the papers; it dominates the telly, and now it wants to muscle in on the pop charts too. What a bloody cheek! By the time the whole shebang kicks off on Friday we’ll all have Wayne Rooney’s metatarsal coming out of our earholes*. England’s official World Cup song – performed by Embrace – is pretty much what you’d expect: meaningless lyrics like “With the world at your feet there’s no heart you can’t reach” and a chorus that’s slightly less rousing than a bubble bath. That’s right, it’s a bit rubbish in a very Embrace kinda way. But, if your one record purchase this year has to be a football tune, please choose this over Tony Christie’s Is This The Way To The World Cup.
*Disclaimer: please try not to think about how this might physically be possible
[story by Nick Levine]