Chris’s Weekly Single Reviews Vol. 4

Note: Post written by Chris Lockett

This week’s singles include new music from Damon Albarn, Silversun Pickups, Avatar, Stellar Revival, and Garbage. Some are amazing and some are terrible, but only one can be chosen as my pick for “Single Of The Week”. So which single gets the crown? Hit the jump to find out!

Damon Albarn – “The Marvelous Dream
Damon Albarn is a visionary. It doesn’t matter if you like his music, he’s a visionary. Whether it be creating and fronting the world’s first animated band (Gorillaz), fronting one of the UK’s most popular bands (Blur), or trying his hand at a solo career, the man has essentially become a living legend. And now, for his latest endeavor, he has opted to compose an opera about the life of John Dee, who was the medical and scientific advisor to Elizabeth I!!!!!……Please, give that last statement a moment to soak in. Feel the excitement wash over as you try to conceal that hard on. Are you finished? Good. Now let’s get real here for a second. WHO ON EARTH, thought that telling the story of Elizabeth I’ advisor would be an interesting or good idea. Furthermore, WHO thought that it would be a good idea to turn such a pretentious story into an opera? Oh, well that credit would have to be given to the aforementioned visionary. Okay, well the idea is stupid, but considering he’s also composing the music, it has to be good, right? WRONG! This is quite frankly one of the most boring songs that I have ever heard, and no, I’m not exaggerating. It’s just about the most bland slice of soft folk music that you can imagine. But hey, to be fair, considering the subject matter I honestly shouldn’t have been expecting anything even remotely entertaining, much less listenable. Well, at least the song is only a little over two minutes long, thereby proving that there in fact IS a God, and that he is indeed merciful.

Silversun Pickups – “Bloody Mary (Nerve Endings)(Single Of The Week)
With the amount of music that’s released on a daily basis, it’s hard for a band to have their own unique sound. Silversun Pickups are a band that has broken the mold, and have never been afraid to be different. Much like The Smashing Pumpkins, this is due in part to an insanely unique lead vocalist, and the band’s unwillingness to make the same album twice. So essentially, it’s pretty much close to impossible to predict how the band will sound from one album to the next. That’s not to say that they don’t have a set sound, (they do), it’s just hard to pinpoint where exactly they’re going to go with that sound next. BUT, one trend that I am starting to pick up on from album to album is that the band is getting progressively more and more atmospheric and synth heavy. And with this natural progression, they are also becoming less radio friendly. But DO NOT mistake that for being a bad thing, because the band’s latest single is an absolute masterpiece and is easily the best song they’ve ever made. The song sees the band’s signature sound coming full circle in that every single synth, instrument, and vocal is there not to stand out, but rather to contribute to the song as a whole. Every band member utilizes their talents to help create a fuller and thereby more beautiful and natural portrait of sound. And the final product is nothing short of breathtaking. To put it plainly, this song is one of the most beautiful and organic sounding songs that I have ever heard. It’s not very radio friendly like the band’s past singles, but it’s pure bliss to listen to, and will be remembered more than any of the band’s previous efforts despite the unfortunate lack of airplay that it will probably receive. The bottom line is, this song is a real gift to the ears. It’s a song that can’t be heard just once, because the more you listen to it, the more beautiful layers you will uncover. It truly is the best kind of gift. One that keeps on giving.

Avatar – “Let It Burn
Let’s go ahead and get this out of the way. There is absolutely NOTHING original about this band and thereby this song. Just about everything is derived from far better bands. For instance, the lead singer sounds, and looks like, a Marilyn Manson wannabe, with a little bit of Dave Gahan thrown in for good measure. And the song’s main riff that is used for most of the song, bears a striking resemblance to the main riff from the Eagles’ “Life In The Fast Lane”. So essentially these guys have nothing new to bring to the table, plus they’re not even very good musicians, so this song should just be a straight out wash, right? Well actually, wrong. Sure the band technically kind of sucks, and they pretty much make a living out of copying other far better musicians, but you know what, the song somehow manages to work in spite of itself. It’s catchy, it’s fun, and it will have your foot tapping in no time. Let’s put it this way, knowing that Christina Hendricks is married, if she wanted to do the nasty with you, can you honestly say that you would pass her up? You may feel bad for doing it, but you’d do it nonetheless. In other words, you may not like this song, but at the end of the day you’re still going to crank it up when it comes on the radio.

Stellar Revival – “The Crazy Ones
When you write a song about how unique and different you and your band are, and in the song you use lyrics like “We march to the beat of a different drum”, or “We are the new school, no rules, needle in the haystack”, or “We are the heartbreakers, risk takers, anything but boring”, I would naturally expect you and your band to be pretty good and to sound at least somewhat original and a little bit different. So how does the band fare? Let’s put it this way, listening to this song is like listening to Nickelback and a baby crying all at once. Seriously, this lumbering pile of stupid is insulting to my intelligence. Not only do these douchebags make the crappiest, cookie cutter hard rock imaginable, but they are also under the oh so false impression that they are unique and break the mold. Bless their useless little hearts.

Garbage – “Battle In Me
It’s only been two weeks since Garbage released their first single off of their upcoming fifth studio album. But now the band has opted to release yet another single to promote in the UK, and boy is it different than “Blood For Poppies” (the US single). Where “Blood For Poppies” was a different sound for the band, “Battle In Me” is 100% unmistakably Garbage. The song sees the band at their most raw, complete with crunchy guitars and unpolished vocals. However, the band has also included their signature atmospherics. So what we’re left with, is the perfect balance between grit and gorgeous. It’s a hard line to tread, but the band does it with ease. But hey, what else would you expect from Shirley Manson and the crew. They deliver every time!