Monthly Archives: August 2013

SZA – Time Travel Untrue

Everything’s a little blurry this morning. SZA is helping. We can clump it together with the ‘post- R’n’B’ movement if we have to, but it’s just plain good. I know nothing of the backstory right now and am a little too hungover to try, so let’s just talk about the sounds.

The first I heard of SZA was ‘Time Travel Undone’. The production is smart and savvy, but it’s the voice that gives the record its soul. It lends itself to the ethereal nature of the project so well. Marry that with a trippy ‘You’re not in Kansas anymore’ visual that filters through the video, and it’s all incredibly captivating.

Part of the post-R’n’B aesthetic is to show off your indie credentials, so I did chuckle when I heard an Empire of The Sun loop being used in another track, but it’s not a token measure. It works, again with some smooth beats and SZA’s voice reverberating over the top.

There’s also some Frank Ocean comparisons that could be made. ‘Crack Dreams’ draws a lazy likeness to Frank’s ‘Crack Rock’ in name only, but beyond that there’s a storytelling element to the lyrics that’s interesting. And again, it just sounds so good. Excited to hear more.


Scouting For Girls – “Greatest Hits”

Scouting For Girls, overpowering a dummy. A fitting metaphor.

Scouting For Girls, overpowering a dummy. A fitting metaphor.

Superman has kryptonite. The Human Torch has asbestos. Iron Man has too many women, probably. Of course, those who know me know I suffer from none of these afflictions. Mine is Scouting For Girls.

Imagine The Human Torch clambering around a particularly dusty old attic, filled with asbestos. Now, imagine a Scouting For Girls equivalent. You’ve guessed it. The five words I never wanted to hear. Scouting For Girls Greatest Hits. This is no misnomer. This really exists. And it got to number 8 in the UK Album Chart last week. God save us all.

In Year 7 of secondary school, our music class got split up into groups and had to write and perform a Christmas song. I still remember ours well. I had a farmer’s son in my group whose percussion efforts sounded akin to a tractor engine. I ended up performing crimes against xylophones, and we wrote a song that had nothing to do with Christmas. “Sweeties, lollies, cake and tea / sweeties are so good for me.” That was our chorus. First, not Christmassy in the slightest, and second, sweeties are so good for me? That just sounds like the ramblings of some very naive diabetics.

I can remember the melody in my head. Notice how the first sentence of the chorus differs to the second sentence of the chorus. Clever that, right? It’s no magnum opus, but sat alongside: “She’s so lovely / she’s so lovely / she’s so lovely / (keychange) she’s so lovely,” it makes a Christmas song not about Christmas sound like Beethoven’s fifth. Or how about “Elvis ain’t dead / Elvis ain’t dead / Elvis ain’t dead / Elvis ain’t dead.” Throw a little cowbell in there and you’ve got yourself a Scouting For Girls hit.

The Fly Magazine recently listed five things that are the same as a Scouting For Girls Greatest Hits album. Suggestions included A DVD entitled ‘The Best Of ITV1′s The Cube’ and someone giving you a list of the things you’ve bought in small branches of large UK supermarket chains on the way home from work over the past four years. This all sounds a little too nice, so I’ve endeavoured to write my own list.

Number 1: Finding spit in your food.

Number 2: Finding spit in your food.

Number 3: Finding spit in your fo…..

Sorry, I accidently just channelled the spirit of Scouting For Girls in my writing for a moment there. Maybe the world doesn’t need another list, as much as it doesn’t need another Scouting For Girls record. To cap it all off, ‘The Lads’ are on tour in autumn, cowbell and all. Fancy going to see them? It’ll set you back £22.50. They must get through an awful lot of cowbells at that price. Or perhaps they need that money to pay for counselling. Forget that. I need counselling.

Who we really should be blaming is the A&R person who first ‘spotted them’. They probably thought, “oh this is catchy”. No, it’s not catchy. Crap is still crap, even if you’ve been eating copious amounts of edible glitter. It’s the repetition that makes their music get wedged into people’s brain. So we can’t blame the A&R person, and we can’t blame you, humble listening public. Instead, we can only do one thing. Blame Scouting for Girls. The weird thing is, after writing all this, maybe they are the smart ones. They’ve unlocked the secret behind how to get a song stuck in your head. Repetition. Repetition. Repetition. And cowbell.