Saturday, April 7, 2012

StyleSiren and One More Robot presents 'Singles Bar'

In a new colaboration with, One More Robot staff will be writing a weekly column where we review some of the latest pop singles. This week our attention turns to Damon Albarn, Justin Bieber and Toy.
Damon Albarn – ‘The Marvelous Dream’
Damon Albarn’s varied and accomplished career has itself done a lot to remove folksy, Nick Drake-style music from my appetite. Whence the African poly-rhythms, US backpack rap, and iPad synths? Nowhere to be found on his latest, ‘The Marvelous Dream’. The song is premised in part on the life of Elizabethan mathematician and astronomer John Dee. Other than some references to the moon and “god fire”, you’d hardly know it, though. It is, rather, a hypnotic, quiet piece of music: two-and-a-half minutes to pause, turn off my phone, stop checking email, and just listen. ‘Marvelous Dream’ creates a space where hand claps are captivating, and a relatively tuneless tune entrances. It’s a solid reminder that life and music don’t require super-saturated aesthetic pleasure to feel good. Or at least, “not quite dead.” – B. Michael Payne

Justin Bieber – ‘Boyfriend’
[Island/Def Jam]
A decade ago teen idol Justin Timberlake made a run for adulthood with acoustic-driven pop tracks about hooking up with grown-up girls. Cut to 2012 and this Justin seems eager to repeat the formula. Unfortunately, everything about ‘Boyfriend’ feels a bit Timbo-lite, from the awkward spoken word/rap segments to the wayyyy toned down sexuality. I was as guilty as anyone for enjoying the adolescent Bieber’s weird collaborations with hip-hop’s elite, but hearing the now 18-year-old’s deepened voice for the first time, it’s evident that he’s growing into a sluggish, soul-less singer. – Dean Van Nguyen

Toy – ‘Motoring’
Channelling the spirits of seventies post-punk and their 21st century successors in equal measure, London’s Toy have a strong formula that also exudes a love of seventies psychedelic with their heavy Korg-driven sound. Unfortunately, that formula is bastardised a little too obviously and single ‘Motoring’ is actually just plain pedestrian. – Jonathan Keane

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