katstevens: (michaela)
Cor everything is a bit hectic at the moment. Yet I found the time to play Lady Gaga bingo!

Here is what I said about 'Telephone' on Singles Jukebox:

"Bad Romance" may have been an all-conquering stand-alone masterpiece, but at first "Telephone" really does sound like it was cobbled together for a bonus album at the last minute. The lyrics are shoe-horned into the delicate opening melody like a square peg in a dodecagonal hole, and there is no universe in which 'And-I can-not text-you with-a drink-in my-hand, eh' scans well, even over the most basic three-chord off-the-shelf progression. But the awkward, annoying delivery sticks - in fact, it's as awkward and annoying as someone ringing you up moaning about their FEELINGS when you're concentrating on the important business of i) recreating the dance routine to "Tragedy" with your chums ii) managing not to spill your pint over everyone.

The rest of the song is a jumble of brilliant choruses ('call when you want/cos there's no-one home/and you're not gonna reach my telephone') and rep-rep-rep-repeating syllables, which seems to be the closest thing Gaga has to a trademark sound. Most importantly, the guest spot proves key: Beyoncé rises to the bait and throws a massive strop at the caller (backed by her marching band) but Gaga keeps focused, no histrionics, not wanting to waste her time or energy on puny human emotion when there's drunken dancing to be had. Fire and Ice! Doing the Macarena together round their handbags! What better way to let off steam?

A selection of my recent Singles Jukebox reviews:

JLS - One Shot
It’s rather defeatist for JLS to claim there is only 'one shot' at success (whether it be in love or singing competitions), perhaps even hypocritical. Dudes, you came second yet are still doing Quite Well! The lyrics are worryingly similar to all the other obstacle-overcoming goal-achieving winner’s songs we’ve had to suffer for the last decade - it makes one wonder if this is a Louis Walsh Special. The trance synths weaving around the mushy platitudes don’t have enough momentum to stop everyone nodding off at the back, stopping and starting like they can’t remember whether they left the gas on or not. JLS are lovely boys and good singers, but with this unimaginative chart ballast they are fast using up all my reserves of goodwill. (2/10)

Jennifer Lopez - Louboutins
I can't quite work out the logic behind this wronged-woman brass stomper. Jen is angry at a dude for not paying her enough attention; Jen also is angry with herself for putting up with him for so long. Fair enough. But as an international megastar, Jen is certainly rich enough to afford her own Louboutins (throw your heels up at me) and talented enough to be able to walk in them. So you'd think that either the chap would be aware that he was punching above his weight (and therefore wouldn't be quite so neglectful of Jen) or she would have been outta there long before it got to the 'stressing out on the phone' stage. (6/10)

Joy Orbison - BRKLN CLLN
Same chef, same ingredients, but this time the recipe calls for gas mark 6 instead of a low simmer: "Hyph Mngo" took nearly two minutes for the handclaps to burst through the dry clicks, but "BRKLN CLLN" drops the same handclaps after 58 seconds, ensuring the main course doesn't get cold while we're eating the starter. (8/10)

Plan B - Stay Too Long
The BBC have been using an instrumental version of this track for their Winter Olympics coverage - the cheery ragbag hammond organ bit that is, not the belligerent swearing drunken bit at the end. Plan B is better at rapping than he is at singing, but he is a little too good at capturing the essence of a hard-partying lad who has outstayed his welcome, spoiling what had been until then a fun night out. Thus I prefer the track with neither rapping nor singing, but in their place is a jolly Hemulen teaching me the difference between a Lutz and a Salchow. (6/10)

The Bangz ft. New Boyz - Found My Swag
Child celebrities tend to be either inane or terrifying. Soulja Boy's lot have the former category sewn up at the moment, so I guess that means jerk kidz are about to turn around to face their parents - staring with vacant glassy pupils - to chant in unison "We know your secrets. Unless you obey our commands we will sell them to Take A Break magazine." Their mums and dads will hear the bone-chilling choir in the background, recall the decapitation scene in The Omen with a shudder, and cough up for an Xbox. (7/10)

These New Puritans - We Want War
Three minutes too long, but the mournful colliery brass band at the end is a fitting armistice to the grinding trench warfare. I'm crossing my fingers that the new Massive Attack album will sound like this, but with better vocals. Though it'll probably still just be a big old stoned 'oooo-eeee-ooo' mess, won't it? (7/10)

Wiley ft. Emeli Sande - Never Be Your Woman
This is a queasy old claustrophobe of a track. No snare or kick drum, the barest hint of the original synth melody slipping through the cracks, a ghostly Emeli dancing around her words like she's never heard Jyoti's miserable monotone. Wiley's matter-of-fact yabbering about recognising the flavour of a particular Glade Plug-In is the only solid element that makes this a song, as opposed to a mirage. (4/10)

Adam Lambert - Whataya Want From Me
Adam is stressing out over his homework: doodling gothic cobwebs in the corner of his A4 pad, not-so-subtly trying to copy off his neighbour then having a go at the teacher for asking the impossible of him. But what is the lesson here? Emo 101 is obviously the most likely candidate but "need a second to breathe" suggests Adam's been running around the football pitch for PE, and "I'm working it out" sounds like Trigonometric Functions to me. Then right near the end he wails in a slightly different key and sounds just like Marcella Detroit in "You're History". Aha! (5/10)

Rihanna ft. Young Jeezy - Hard
There's hardly anything that stands out here except RiRi's snarl and the plinky piano, but they twist around each other and create a compelling atmosphere: any remaining image of Rihanna as the cute young lovebird offering up her parasol is long gone, all that's left is a steely Terminatrix striding through the rain. With a sword where her left arm should be. (8/10)

Gucci Mane - Lemonade
Gucci has run smack bang into a troop of Girl Scouts who are innocently skipping on hopscotch squares while lemons are falling from the ceiling. Their chirruping "Chopsticks" piano riff is the exactly opposite of Gucci's awkward moody bassline, and the resulting confusion reduces him to muttering incoherently about piss. Poor Gucci. (6/10)

The-Dream - Love King
A pop question that has long puzzled me: bragging about the quantity and quality of ladies (or men) you attract - what audience is this meant to appeal to? Has anyone ever been impressed enough by a chat-up line that consists of a long list of other types of people whom the describer is likely to cheat on you with? If Terius is trying to win a cock-measuring contest with the lads (i.e. anyone listening to this record - I'm assuming he doesn't actually want to sleep with me personally) then he'd be better off showing, not telling, otherwise I'll assume he's all talk and no trousers. This tune, while fairly pretty, certainly does nothing to disprove that theory. (2/10)


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