Singles Roundup: Kanye West, Bat For Lashes, Taken by Trees, Matt & Kim
Fri, 06 Jul 2007 11:39:00
This week's roundup is all about rebellion. The city's getting sticky, and we're all bubbling up with mischievous ideas to shake us out of our summer slump. Take your cue from the latest rabble rousers in music like the political rap-punk of Lethal Bizzle, Kanye's not-so-subtle arrogance and the liberated, UK lady-pop of newcomer Kate Nash.
Kate Nash - "Foundations"
Move over, Lily Allen. There's another UK popstress hot on your tail. After finding her hidden songwrtiting talent while recovering from an injury, she released an ode to sticking around in a doomed relationship sung with unmistakable London lady spunk.
Lethal Bizzle - "Babylon's Burning the Ghetto" [video]
When a rapper blurs the lines of rap and rock completely, you've got a whole new genre on your hands: grindie. Grime-meets-indie is Bizzle's thang. He takes the political snarl of punk in his lyrics and lashes them at a blitzkrieg pace atop a snotty punk jam ala the Buzzcocks.
Zac Efron (from the Hairspray Soundtrack) - "Ladies' Choice" [video]
Just because it's from the '60s doesn't mean it's dwoo-wop and squeaky clean. And just because Zac Efron, of High School Musical fame, is singing it, doesn't mean you can't like it. This hand-jivin' track has all the guts 'n' lust of '60s teen-sensations, but the slick production reminds you it's not nostalgia, it's just a movie.
Bat For Lashes - "What's a Girl to Do?" [video]
Natasha Khan brings a cinematic chill to her latest single, and the video mimics her film noir appeal with a spin on Donnie Darko's time-space-freak-out plot. Haunting vocals delivered with femme fatale confidence lure you in, but chills run down your spine with the track's echoing drum machine hand-claps and funeral parlor organ riff.
Rihanna - "Shut Up & Drive" [video]
Rihanna is pop's chameleon. She's R&B/hip-hop/pop... and rock rebel. This track starts off as an electroclash anthem that could be a remix of "Blue Monday," but the guitars fade and the diva dips into syncopated, pop seduction enhanced with double-tracked vocals and swirling synths.
Taken By Trees - "Lost and Found" [video]
The voice behind Peter, Bjorn & John's hit "Young Folks," Victoria Bergsman (formerly of The Concretes), is going solo. As Taken by Trees, we see her doing heartbreak-pop more intimately, without the hoopla of an 8-piece band. She waltzes through the song, on the edge of tears, to an escalating piano melody and castanet clicks, matching the video's south of the border feel.
Matt & Kim - "Yea Yeah (Flosstradamus Remix)" [video]"
Smash-pop duo Matt & Kim get the remix treatment from DJ duo Flosstradamus. Their understated creation is built on fuzzing out Matt's one-key melody and adding cartoonish whistles and zings to the party anthem. It's no wonder they opted to have this video look like Sesame Street on acid, complete with a demonic Elmo clone as their host.
Kanye West - "Stronger" [video]
Kayne West for President. He can take anything, call it his own, say he did it better and all of America would agree. This Daft Punk (who sampled someone else)-sampled track has Kanye adopting the robot melody of the original track, reminding us he's "been on [us] since OJ had Isotoners." Yes you have, Mr. President, yes you have.
Click here to read last week's installment of Listen Up!