YO. It is time for Jay-Z, The Horrors, Julian Casablancas, St Vincent and tUnE-YaRdS to get the treatment. It is time for FHM’s Singles Club to tell it like it is. It is time for you and us to trawl through five of this week’s single releases and tell you exactly what we think of them. CAN YOU HANDLE IT?
1/ The biggie: Jay-Z – Empire State Of Mind
Jay-Z is THE MAN and this song is THE BOMB and the best track on his latest quite-good-but-definitely-not-great album The Blueprint 3. It's an ode to the city he lives in and loves: New York. The chorus sung by Alicia Keys is MONSTROUS, and as ever the man called Shawn Corey Carter by his mum wraps his raps around beats like a man who finds his unparalleled vocal dexterity quite boring, really, but is happy to show off every now and then just to keep his minions happy. “I’m the new Sinatra,” he claims with traditional levels of modesty. COOL. (BTW: Step right this way to learn more about Alicia Keys.)
2/ The arty indie goth chaps: The Horrors – Whole New Way
The Horrors are lucky they’re talented. They’re easily the most contrived band we can think of RIGHT NOW but it’s so damn easy to forgive people their failings if they can make epic-sounding, post-punk fuzz-pop sound like it should be busting out of speakers in indie clubs on the hour every hour for the rest of time.
3/ The coolest member of The Strokes: Julian Casablancas – 11th Dimension
Like Jarvis Cocker, James Cameron, John Carew, Julius Caesar, Jackie Chan, John Cleese, John Cusack, Jeremy Clarkson, John Candy, Jim Carrey, Joan Collins, Johnny Cash and Jimmy Carter, Julian Casablancas is not Jesus but he has the same initials. And 11th Dimension, unlike most of Casablancas’ fairly disappointing first solo album Phrazes For The Young
(out NOW), is an entertaining slice of synth-pop that is improved immeasurably by a vocal so cool it could reverse the effects of global warming if it were only administered properly.
4/ This week’s leading lady: St Vincent – Marrow
St Vincent is a lady called we-don’t know-what who’s very good looking and has a single called Marrow which makes the most of a squelchy, percussive bass sound. There’s more than a little Bjork going on here, and that’s no bad thing. Especially when you consider it’s mixed with some twisted-disco and a sharp and angular guitar solo that sounds like the work of Jack White when he’s forgotten to take his medicine.
5/ This week’s almost leading lady: tUnE-YaRdS – Hatari
You might love this. But equally, you might hate this. It’s that kind of song. tUnE-yArDs have that kind of vibe. But it’s difficult not to be impressed by Merrill Garbus, a lady who can be so entertaining for so long with just a banjo, a voice, and nothing that even comes close to a chorus. But seriously: her voice. What a voice! And she’s doing it all in her bedroom. Kudos. Much love. tUnE-YaRdS totes FTW etc.