Monday, November 2nd, 2009

Little Boots – Earthquake

And as is traditional, it’s time for the third single off the album that gets drowned by all the Christmas releases instead…


Doug Robertson: I think I’ve finally worked out why I’m a little cold towards Little Boots. It’s not the music, which is generally pretty good, and it’s not Miss Hesketh herself, who does all the things a pop star should. It’s that all she’s doing, enjoyable though it is, is nothing more than what Annie was doing five years ago. This isn’t as ace as “Remedy”, but at least it’s not calculated as New in Town. It’s fun, but if only it was a bit, well, fresher.

Anthony Miccio: I know I referenced that puff piece in New York about her last time we judged one of her singles, but I honestly can’t remember why they said she’s supposed to be better than your average pop moppet. This song isn’t helping.

Alex Ostroff: I prefer Little Boots when she’s mining the fields of nouveau disco to put a bounce in your step – “New in Town” and “Mathematics” are the big pop moments off Hands to my ears. That said, it’s a GaGa and RedOne world, where brain-bludgeoning repetition and a lack of subtlety are the flavours of the day. To its credit, “Earthquake” has a defter touch and a softer chorus than the lumbering zombie earworm that was “Remedy”. Its lyrics, however, are utterly perplexing. Boots’ constant arguments with her boyfriend, and her unwillingness to drop the poker face and reveal her hurt, make for a compelling portrait. But if this is the case, why does the chorus posit these domestic earthquakes, landslides and setbacks as minor victories in a battle for his heart? She’s no stranger to overextended metaphors, but it would be nice if they made sense.

John Seroff: Too monotonous and lame to be a dance song and too chipper and quick paced to be a broken-heart ballad, “Earthquake” is neither fish nor fowl and winds up mired in its own high concept. The beats are sleepy and the song in toto feels incomplete. Little Boots’s voice is serviceable enough, but there’s precious little to savor on a single that bears an uncanny resemblance to a Kylie 45 being played at 78rpm.

Anthony Easton: Atmospheric and shit.

Edward Okulicz: Little Boots writes very good pop songs but her placid vocals often seem a bit timid for the big brassy backing tracks, which is a problem that I’ve noticed all the more since seeing her confident, brash vocals in a live setting. Fortunately, “Earthquake” is not just one of her catchiest songs and most resonant lyrics, it’s her best vocal performance by miles.

Keane Tzong: “Earthquake” is one long icy vamp nestled above a bed of trance synths, and though that description fairly screams “This is not out of Little Boots’ comfort zone”, I don’t mind. It’s a nice return to form after a singles run that has highlighted more flaws than strengths in the Little Boots “concept”: while the blank-eyed deliveries of her previous singles added to their atmospherics, they never quite seemed intentional, prompting questions about her viability as a pop performer and the degree to which she was comfortable with her songs. There’s something different about the mannered, flat deliveries on “Earthquake” that allow her to reclaim the appearance of agency absent from her previous songs.

Pete Baran: A classic post-album-release single. Not instantly as arresting as “Remedy” or “New in Town”, it cements Bootsies’ ability to craft a killer chorus with her looping, lively delivery. The rest is synths by numbers, but the whole thing is fun and promises repeatability (already proven if you have the album). Not a song that will make her more popular, but the kind that says she may be around for a while.

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