The Black Keys... Mercifully not shit
Singles: The Black Keys, Ed Sheeran, Dappy, Tinchy Stryder and several others!
Published on February 29th, 2012 | Jonny Abrams
…in which Rocksucker attempts to claw its way back into the loop by checking out the very latest chart fodder and spewing our bilious, irredeemably snobbish reactions onto your screen. Take it away, us…
Birdy – “1901”
Wahey, we have a new Dido! This is a slick product – textbook warbling, polished production, ‘heartbreak’-depicting video – and no doubt a lot of tremendously dull people were patting each other on the back and giving each other thumbs-up in the studio when this Scrubs-ready weepie came to fruition. It’s easy to see how this could become immensely popular, and that’s far more depressing than whatever emotional breakup inspired this coffee table bilge. Actually, to be fair, there are a couple of junctures at which the song sounds like it’s about to break into a colossal, shoegazing wall of sound; naturally, it remembers itself, and peters out again. Let’s keep this clean and slick, folks.
Rocksucker says: Not so much a piece of music as it is a favour to television production companies. Inoffensive guff that will probably make its perpetrator spectacularly successful. Nice one, world.
Three-and-a-half Quails out of Ten!
The Black Keys – “Gold on the Ceiling”
Now this is much more like it; blues-y, bouncy, crunchy, fun, mischievous, psych-tinged and featuring fizzy synth sounds that sound organically integrated, which is all too much of a rarity in these “hey, let’s whack a beat on this and make it, like, dance-rock or something” times. These guys have been attracting praise from all quarters, and it’s more refreshing than it should be to say that they jolly well deserve it.
Rocksucker says: Jolly good stuff.
Eight Quails out of Ten!
Chiddy Bang – “Ray Charles”
Inconsequential, and bound to get on some people’s tits, but endearingly unaffected fun in Rocksucker’s book. On this evidence, the Philadelphia duo are hardly destined for a place amongst the pantheon of hip-hop’s greats – basically, they sound like Ugly Duckling with less incisive rhyming schemes – but this is nevertheless worthy of a place on anyone’s party playlist.
Edit: Upon reviewing the lyrics in isolation, it’s hard not to deduct a lot of points for that thick-as-pigshit drivel.
Rocksucker says: In dire need of a half-decent lyricist.
Four Quails out of Ten!
Dappy feat. Brian May – “Rockstar”
Dappy tries his hand at ‘rock’ with a little help from the ever-indulgent Queen guitarist. Sounds a bit like Linkin Park, and if you think that’s a good thing then you’re definitely on the wrong blog.
Rocksucker says: This is a joke, right?
Three Quails out of Ten!
The Drums – “Days”
Boring band name, boring song title, boring video, boring monotone bassline, but strangely a decent enough song, especially when the mild, heavily reverbed cacophony kicks in towards the end. Certainly not worthy of contempt, but if you can listen to a whole album of this without attempting risky surgery on yourself out of boredom then you should probably be in line for some sort of official recognition, perhaps involving a reception at Buckingham Palace.
Rocksucker says: The NME must be all over this. Still, it’s quite tolerable.
Six Quails out of Ten!
Dry the River – “The Chambers & The Valves”
Geographical band name, a familiar whine to the lead vocal, and a cutesy video; this lot should be thoroughly irritating, but there’s an elegance to their lush harmonies and clattering drums that’s actually rather appealing. Bonus points too for the inscrutability of the song title and/or subject matter, because some things should be left to the listener to decipher from time to time. Sunrise-evoking strings give this a sort of mini-epic feel, and the way it bounds along energetically yet reflectively marks Dry the River out as a sort of Mumford & Sons that you can listen to without feeling as if someone or everyone is about to wet themselves, and not out of excitement. Perhaps that’s what inspired the band name.
Rocksucker says: Promising fare.
Seven-and-a-half Quails out of Ten!
Ed Sheeran – “Drunk”
The song’s okay-ish, but the cat in the video is way more entertaining. From what Rocksucker can glean, Ed Sheeran is about as popular as oxygen, beer, The Beatles, The Simpsons, sandwiches and Lionel Messi all put together. Our question to you is: why? (Hormonal teenage girls need not reply.) This isn’t bad, but it is pretty dull. Ladies and gentlemen, meet Man Dido.
Rocksucker says: Thoroughly underwhelming, in a typical sort of way. Cute cat, though.
Four-and-a-half Quails out of Ten!
Rebecca Ferguson – “Too Good to Lose”
Several rungs above the usual anodyne dross spewed forth by these X-Factor types, “Too Good to Lose” has an oddly jittery sort of charm that makes good use of Ferguson’s forceful pipes. With any luck, decent pop like this will in time enable the teenyboppers to sort some sort of wheat from the chaff, this being very much in the ‘chaff’ category of this sort of thing. Still far too cliché-ridden to describe as sensational, but it’s a step in the right direction.
Rocksucker says: Surprisingly decent.
Six Quails out of Ten!
Four Year Strong – “The Security of the Familiar, The Tranquility of Repetition”
Typically lumpen, overproduced American punk-pop, the likes of which could only possibly sound new to you if you were born literally yesterday. It’s even got a reference to “falling off the edge” in its lyrics, which is kind of like the skater-rock equivalent of a retro Manchester indie band going “sun sssshhhheeeee-yiiiiine!”. Devoid of imagination to the point that it’s almost fascinating.
Rocksucker says: Massachusetts’s answer to All the Young.
Two Quails out of Ten!
Niki & The Dove – “DJ, Ease My Mind”
Decent, clattering electro-pop from Sweden, with just enough shade to it to override the hackneyed chorus exhortation for an unnamed DJ to play some song or other again. A ‘wob wob’ synth bass gets sporadically involved, and why that’s worthy of mention I couldn’t really tell you. I guess it’s still kind of new. Anyway, this is alright.
Rocksucker says: Perfectly tolerable fare, and that’s a ringing endorsement given some of the utter toss dealt with above.
Five-and-a-half Quails out of Ten!
Tinchy Stryder feat. Pixie Lott – “Bright Lights”
This Tinchy chap has a pretty good flow and a listenable voice, and that’s just as well because a) Pixie Lott’s warbling is ghastly, and b) his Nando’s/The Apprentice-referencing lyrics read like they were written by a footballer on Twitter. This sounds like hundreds of other songs, so it probably ticks all sorts of boxes and constitutes a successful formula in the minds of record label execs who honestly couldn’t care less what it sounds like as long as the gullible minions are falling over each other to make it their new ringtone. Hurrah for the music industry!
Rocksucker says: NEXT!
Four Quails out of Ten!