Friday, March 26th, 2010

Hot Chip – I Feel Better

Sorry, work’s been a bit heavy this week so we’ve fallen a bit behind schedule. Have some geeks getting lasered by way of apology…



[Video][Website]
[5.90]

Michaelangelo Matos: The crisscrossing string pads are as Pet Shop Boys as they are Rhythim Is Rhythim, and so is the vocal melody, something the Auto-Tune only enhances. I like the way it builds for nearly two minutes before a beat proper comes in: complete unto itself, only to shift a gear. The strings just get louder, occupy more space, become more of the point, and when it ends it’s like a bubble bursting.
[8]

Iain Mew: The graceful synth strings set the scene perfectly for a return to something that they haven’t really done much since “Boy From School”. It’s smoother and slower to unfold than they’ve done since, but pop through and through. It effectively pieces together triumphant steel drum bliss and a haunting, uneasy edge that’s always lurking (Note “we will not be leaving tonight” and that it’s not “I feel good”, but “I feel better“). Plus the video might be silly, but actually does an excellent job of playing up the different facets of the song.
[8]

Alfred Soto: Orchestral synths announce their intentions to get pompous real quick. While Hot Chip have often mixed wit and pomp almost as well as early Pet Shop Boys, the decision to filter the their twee vocals is a mistake; what made “It’s A Sin” so funny-serious was Neil Tennant’s seizing the moment as if he really brandished a crown and mitre.
[5]

Martin Skidmore: There’s not quite enough body in the music to overcome the generally lame singing.
[4]

Hillary Brown: Maybe the band is mellowing into something more yacht rocky, but I hope not.
[5]

John Seroff: For me, Hot Chip suffers from a bit of little-girl-with-a-curl syndrome: when they are good, they are very very good, but when they are bad, they’re mediocre. “I Feel Better” is not very very good; it’s sort of moribund. The cha-cha-cha preset into the house preset, the listless layering of sounds over the central, almost amelodic hook, the aimless autotuned vocals… everything feels leaden and uninspired. That said, Peter Serafinowicz’s video is easily the best music video I’ve seen this year and that’s got to count for something.
[6]

Edward Okulicz: The music’s a 10, the vocals are a 0, and the video isn’t actually clever at all, it’s pretty juvenile.
[5]

Tal Rosenberg: The video for this is downright strange, which, in a way, exposes this song’s faults. It sounds like Hot Chip is going for boy band, but they can’t escape sounding like indie-pop. The culprit seems to be the singer, whose winsomeness has always been a bulwark to the bubbly inventiveness of the music. And since they’re trying to go for Robbie Williams, just imagine Robbie Williams sung by an adenoidal faux-soprano.
[4]

Chuck Eddy: I get the idea from its boy-band video that maybe this is supposed to be their pop move? Only, you know, subversive — you can tell, because that sickly bald freakshow dude comes in and scares all the teenyboppers away. Of course, they didn’t have the balls to make him as anywhere near as freaky as Die Antwoord’s freakshow dude. Regardless, whether regular pop or the subversive kind, the music’s still completely forgettable.
[4]

Ian Mathers: You know what? Forget the insane genius of that video, because even before that “I Feel Better” was an easy 10 for me. It’s no secret that I love the album more than most, and that goes double for this song. As far as I’m concerned “I Feel Better” is a perfect example of why AutoTune can be good, why obviously fake strings are awesome, and further proof that steel drums sound like sunshine. Hell, what with “Nothing is wasted and life is worth living / Heaven is nowhere, just look to the stars / There is a day that is yours for embracing / Everything’s nothing, and nothing is ours” I’d even say that atheists were wasting their time with posters; just play this instead, because rarely has that kind of sentiment sounded so joyful and life-affirming.
[10]

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