In a week which sees the release of fantastic new singles by Madonna, The Knife and the Pet Shop Boys – all reviewed in this week’s Stylus Singles Jukebox – the singles assigned to me for review came from these (cough) Major Artists: Nadiya, Ne-Yo, Beatriz Luengo, Ze Pequino, The Similou… and, er, George Michael. Well, you can’t win them all.
For the sake of completeness – and because I abhor waste – here are the two reviews of mine which didn’t make it to the finished article. (They have to commission more than they need, so it’s an occupational hazard.) Particular apologies to George Michael: one doesn’t like to kick a man when he’s down, but a dud single is still a dud single.
Update (1): Ah well, at least my spoken word recital of the Ze Pequeno review made this week’s accompanying podcast for the Stylus Jukebox, along with my recital of the Similou review. Goodness, what a smug smart-ass I sound.
Ze Pequeno – Ze Phenomene.
Reggaeton en Français, somewhat inevitably rendered in a Manu Chao-esque style, avec accordion (naturellement). Probably huge in back-packer beach bars; markedly less essential anywhere else.
George Michael – An Easier Affair.
Nope: this one isn’t going to arrest the long slow artistic/commercial decline, either. Over the same tired old suburban-wine-bar soul/funk backing that he has been peddling ever since “Fast Love”, George recycles the same tired old post-coming-out “revelations” that have peppered his interviews since being busted for cottaging eight years ago. Whereas 1998’s “Outside” handled much the same issues with wit, aplomb, and a boldness which was genuinely ground-breaking for its time, “An Easier Affair” has nothing to say that we haven’t heard before, and says it with the sort of narrow, self-absorbed literalism that even Madonna at her most solipsistic manages to swerve clear of. Hell, some of this half-digested self-help piffle (“Don’t let them tell you who you are is not enough!”) would make even Geri Halliwell cringe. In the words of the wise old gay saying: get over yourself, Mary.
Update (2): Tell you what: here’s my spoken word recital of the George Michael review, which didn’t make the Stylus podcast.