This week has seen a mixture of releases getting mixed reviews. In this four-piece special, Music editor Amy Pollock critiques the latest from RAT BOY, Sigma ft Birdy, Laura Mvula and Bruno Mars.
‘Lover’s Law’ by RAT BOY
In case you haven’t heard, RAT BOY is a hybrid hip-hop/punk/indie artist who is never afraid to break boundaries, singing about real-life scenarios, and resembling Britpop in one of the most impeccable and fitting ways.
This year, RAT BOY’s increasing acclaim has been matched with a successful surge in award nominations. He’s won Best New Artist at the NME Awards and was nominated as Best Newcomer at the Q Awards – and it’s understandable why.
‘Lover’s Law’ takes a slightly different route from RAT BOY’s energetic Beastie Boys-meets-Fatboy Slim-meets Jamie T sound. When comparing it to ‘Move’ which is an unapologetically in-your-face and boisterous song – ‘Lover’s Law’ has more of a catchy 80’s feel and is the sort of song I would rarely expect to hear in today’s current music scene – but am glad I have.
I give it a 3.5/5.
‘Find Me’ by Sigma ft Birdy
Drum and bass duo Sigma have had quite the successful streak of unlikely collaborations, with their last release ‘Cry’ consisting of an unpredictable team-up with Take That. Now, they’re back alongside Birdy, an artist whose voice you wouldn’t normally associate with an upbeat dance track.
It’s clear where Birdy’s influence has taken charge, as the song starts off with gentle vocals and delicate piano – nothing you’d expect from your typical Sigma song. Then, before we know it, Birdy’s voice is luring us in, and we’ve entered a realm of echoing drum beats and instrumental infused dance rhythm.
Despite being an interesting and exciting musical partnership, the song itself is merely okay; a song I’d predict from the likes of Sigma or even more so Clean Bandit.
I give it 3/5.
However, check out the music video which features Millie Bobby Brown from Netflix’s hit series ‘Stranger Things’:
‘Ready or Not’ by Laura Mvula
Laura Mvula’s cover of ‘Ready or Not’, which was originally written by The Delfonics in the 1960s and later sampled by the Fugees in the 1990s, is fresh from last week’s ‘Strictly Come Dancing’ results show performance, and is the first new Christmas-themed song to feature on our screens this year.
Laura’s voice brings a unique, lovely and simple twist to this classic song. Updating it with a suitably cheery feel for this time of year, it could definitely be a big player in 2016’s Christmas song entries, which I’m sure will come pouring in once John Lewis and other supermarkets and retailers decide on their songs for the season.
The single appears on House of Fraser’s Christmas advertising campaign – which to be honest is a little strange and slightly sinister looking. Does this mean it’s officially Christmas then? Or are House of Fraser confusingly trying to kill two birds with one stone regarding Halloween and Christmas? Who knows.
I give it another respectable 3.5/5. Here’s Laura Mvula’s audio track of ‘Ready or Not’:
And here’s House of Fraser’s Christmas ad:
‘Versace on The Floor’ by Bruno Mars
A much slower and complete contrast from his fun comeback track ’24K Magic’ which seemed slightly like a try-hard emulation of ‘Uptown Funk’, Bruno’s latest song ‘Versace on The Floor’ has a nostalgic 90’s Michael Jackson feel to it.
With lyrics such as: “I love that dress but you won’t need it anymore” – the song’s meaning is pretty obvious. Despite the cheesey, on-the-nose lyrics – it’s actually an extremely catchy song that makes you wish old-school songs like this would come back more often than once in a blue moon.
So, if you’re missing what a smooth R&B tune sounds like, then give ‘Versace on The Floor’ a listen. Or if you’re like me and are a bit sick of Bruno Mars not showing off his vocal’s true potential enough on these busy, funky, crowd-pleasing songs – this song is the perfect fix for Bruno’s effortless and dreamy vocals.
I give it a 4/5, but see what you think here: