SINGLE REVIEWS: Released 18.08.14

A big hand please for Gigslutz Features Editor, Elliott Homer, who has taken time out from trawling through YouTube, tallying Top Tens and deciding what needs to be discussed via All Talk to take on the upcoming single releases. Shake off your maps and don’t look big as chart dominators Maroon 5, Taylor Swift, Ed Sheeran and Duke Dumont – as well as new girl-group M.O. – unleash their latest creations for Elliott’s (and your) listening pleasure/pain:

Maroon 5 ‘Maps’

Those of you who already know some of my musical preferences will not be surprised when I say Maroon 5 aren’t really my jam. I’ll confess almost total unfamiliarity with their catalogue from the past decade beyond that innocent summer of 2004 when their music was so ubiquitous. (‘She Will Be Loved’, the one that sounds a bit like Billy Joel, the other one, etc.) The only exception to that is 2012’s ‘Payphone’, a bland, hideously commercial tune insidious enough that it remained in my head for weeks after first hearing it. Of course it sold truckloads. This latest offering from the rather confusingly named sextet is neither wilfully bad nor offensive and yet annoyingly memorable, so can I only assume that’s job done and collect your gold record on the way out chaps.

M.O ‘Dance on My Own’

Little Mix, Stooshe, G.R.L., Neon Jungle, Fifth Harmony and now M.O. The girl-group would appear to be as strong as ever before. Building on a sample of Sweet Female Attitude’s overlooked classic ‘Flowers’, this British trio takes you back in time to the genre’s peak period of lean, hook-filled Destiny’s Child, TLC and Aaliyah releases with flawless harmonising on put-downs such as “Won’t waste my time fighting for you like before… cos I’m in heaven, just me and the dance floor.” This is female empowerment the way it’s meant to be done.

Taylor Swift ‘Shake It Off’

Can you hear that? No, not the song. That. That is the unmistakeable sound of outrage, ignorance and moral superiority. Like the modern equivalent of pitchforks sharpening, keyboards clicking furiously, parents tutting soberly in disapproval and MailOnline readers inhaling sharply the minute there is even the faintest whiff of controversy. We’ve heard it all before and frankly, it’s exhausting. The amount of column inches, time and oxygen wasted talking about what is, in the end, a very mediocre pop song and its video is just sad. Swift can do better, kids deserve better and everyone writing about it should know better. We can all do better.

Ed Sheeran ‘Don’t’

Following up the über-smash ‘Sing’, Sheeran broadens his white boy R&B horizons further still adding G-funk keys on this second single from his best-selling x record. The singer made his name with mawkish heartbreakers on his debut but here he raps spitefully at being jilted by one of the popstar paramours he dated (Taylor Swift or Ellie Goulding, take your pick) during his last world-encompassing tour. Lines like “I never saw him as a threat until you disappeared with him to have sex” aren’t likely to alter his fresh-faced image but they will sell a few gossip mags. Another top quality tune and another shift in direction expertly handled with platinum-standard production courtesy of Ke$ha collaborator Benny Blanco. There’s only one problem in Sheeran’s foreseeable future: when Justin Timberlake eventually decides he wants his sound back.

Duke Dumont ‘Won’t Look Back’

Adam Dyment, or as he’s better known Duke Dumont, wants to do you a favour. The London-based DJ/producer has only released two singles and had two number ones, so having experienced all the benefits of the British public shelling out for his music, he’s decided to help save you a few quid. Instead of wasting your hard earned cash on one of the many ‘90s house compilations available featuring the likes of Black Box, N-Trance, SNAP! and the rest, Dumont has handily combined all your favourite bits of those hits into one track, available now on iTunes! Seriously though, this record is nothing more than a lazy, exploitative exercise in consumerism. It also shows some pretty poor logic: simply minimising things to try to make them better is the same thinking that gave us the MiniDisc, mini-cheeseburgers, S Club Juniors and Scrappy-Doo. If you thought any of those were good ideas, you might enjoy this song.

Elliott Homer

Elliott Homer
Elliott Homer is an undisputed master of understatement, a black belt holder in mixed metaphors and long-time deserving of some such award for length of time spent chatting rubbish about music down the pub. Studies show prolonged exposure to his scribblings can cause migraines, hysterical pregnancy, night terrors and/or acne, yet seldom encourages readers to agree with the author, in fact quite the reverse, much to his eternal frustration.