A Week In Music - Justin Timberlake Makes A Smooth Return, Les Miserables Soundtrack Baffles Reviewer, A$AP Rocky Leaves Bad Taste In The Mouth
Videos of the Week... Flanked with a letter to the fans, Justin Timberlake’s new song, ‘Suit & Tie’ featuring Jay-Z has the former ‘N Sync star bring sexy back once more. The “open letter to the fans” read: “…Back in June of last year, I quietly started working on what is now my next journey with that thing I love called music… I hope you enjoy listening to it as much as I enjoyed making it.”
‘Suit & Tie’ is a slick R&B number, timeless in the sense that it doesn’t feel like much time has passed since Timberlake last released any music (his last album came out in 2006). As a precursor to his expected album later this year, this is a pretty neat little taster of what to expect from Timberlake.
Scottish indie group Frightened Rabbit have gone for a pretty bleak video to match the downbeat patterns of their latest track ‘Woodpile.’ Taken from their next album, Pedestrian Verse and features a video of a crime scene, a convenience store with a recently deceased corpse slumped in the fridge. As a news reporter arrives to report on the scene, however, the corpse begins to move. We wont spoil the ending; it’s worth waiting for. Needless to say, it’s fitting accompaniment to the brooding, typically Scottish indie-folk song.
Perfecting the art of the dance-rock crossover, Swiss Lips have been making waves with ‘Lost,’ with its psychedelic montage video – looking not entirely unlike the BBC test card, played out in the hands of a drug fiend. Following tours with Ladyhawke and Bastille, the band are ready to break out on their own, following their recent string of free gigs at their temporary home in East London, The Union. Now that the band have signed to Epic Records, you can expect a full-length album from them pretty soon.
Formerly known as The Morning Benders, Pop Etc perform the video for their track ‘Keep It For Your Own’ inside a kaleidoscopic hall of mirrors, taken from their 2012 self-titled album. Another blend of pop and dance, it’s an easy listen, with tinges of disco. The lighter shots of the band in the mirrored room are interspersed with creepy black and white footage of them, with just a single spotlight moving over their faces.
Albums of Note... Our reviewer took a sideways glance at the soundtrack to Les Miserables, which has been a phenomenal success on both sides of the pond. A novice, when it comes to Schonberg’s musical, our writer listens to the album through the ears of somebody that has absolutely no idea of what is going on in any individual song, let alone what might be happening in the movie, overall. In summary, it was decided that you can’t really use the soundtrack to the movie to side-step the viewing of the movie. And Russell Crowe isn’t a great singer. Fair play to Hugh Jackman and Anne Hathaway for holding the whole thing together, though – even if it does make a fairly terrifying listen to the untrained ear.“Frankly, my nerves are shattered; there are a lot of very emotional people involved in the making of the soundtrack and some of them have a wonderful set of lungs and a decent vibrato but I'm not sure that I have the nerve to sit through all the drama again. It has made me want to buy Susan Boyle's new album, though.”
A$AP Rocky’s major label debut, Long.Live.A$AP left us with mixed emotions. Sixteen tracks that begin with bravado and machismo and eventually wind down to heartfelt confessions, with a dose of Santigold-led tropical pop somewhere in the mix. The dichotomy comes with the contrast between the quality of the songs and the production and the coarseness of A$AP’s lyrical content, which goes beyond being crude, to simply being offensive. Though his temper seems to wane, with time, it still leaves a bitter taste.“If it was in any way possible to extract the dubious meaning and message from A$AP Rocky's music; it would make for a rousing listen. You can't un-hear misogyny though. You can't un-hear the bravado or the machismo and that's what lingers, not the production, or the flow, or the craft.”
Music in the News... Britney Spears sparked a Las Vegas bidding war when word got out that she was planning a stint in Vegas to revive her career. The American Idol judge announced that she would not be re-signing to stay on the show and now, it seems her imminent future is up for grabs, to the highest bidder.
It looks as though Beyonce could well be the star of this years BRIT awards ceremony, which take place at London’s O2 arena next month. If these news reports carry weight, not only will the Destiny’s Child singer be performing for President Barack Obama at his inauguration and at the Super-time half bowl, she’ll also head over to the UK for the annual awards ceremony, where she’s tipped to be putting in an appearance, even though she’s not up for any awards.
In the UK, the music industry faced the grim news of HMV closing down. Described by many as the death of physical music sales on the high street, for many others, it has sparked hope for renewed interest in independent record stores up and down the country.