Topping the charts in the UK for the past fortnight, so…
Iain Mew: Radio 1. A couple of weekends ago. A DJ whose identity escapes me has decided to make a feature of trying to track down former Fame Academy champion and number one artist David Sneddon. It’s all fairly good natured and passing the time in an agreeable way. Until… the opening bars of his hit get played. It’s abruptly cut off with a sneer. “We’re only joking, of course”. And instead? THIS FUCKING SONG. As if Scouting For Girls are in any way better than “Stop Living the Lie”, in any way not just the same thing in a more annoyingly matey package.
Hillary Brown: Smashmouth plus strings and accents.
Alfred Soto: No doubt a considerable chunk of the British isles regretted that Matchbox 20 and Train never really caught the imaginations of their citizens. This London act ably makes up for the error.
Martin Skidmore: Slowed down from their first hit, with smooth strings added, but it’s still completely uninteresting, and I am astonished at its reaching number one. Then again, I hate almost all MOR indie, so what do I know?
Alex Ostroff: Would that they’d gone a bit more over the top — the histrionics of The Fray (for example) occasionally hit my sweet spot, but Scouting for Girls are too restrained to capture my attention. If you’re not willing to risk seeming completely ridiculous and commit to the angst, then you’re worse than bad — you’re boring.
Ian Mathers: This is a bit too generically Sweeping Ballad for me, and the lyrics are outright dodgy, but I sincerely appreciate its succinctness and the wordless refrain is pretty compelling. Just barely on the side of the angels, then.
Anthony Easton: Negation is a positive force, and absence manifests via presence. So, this is a love song.
Frank Kogan: Is tuneful in the chorus, which makes it better than any other Scouting For Girls song I’ve heard. Which raises this to the level of tired, dogged mainstream mediocrity that better singers such as, I don’t know, Sting or Rob Thomas could make sound passable. The lyrics are realistic in that confused guys post-breakup do actually reach for contrary and clumsy abstractions like “I’m a bloody big mess inside” and “you can try but you’ll never keep me down,” but genuine self-insight and evocativeness is more interesting than the inarticulateness of the average guy.
Michaelangelo Matos: “I never thought that we threw it all away/But we threw it all away” strikes me as the kind of line the person writing it thinks is both plainspoken and clever. It’s kind of neither. Everything else follows suit.
John Seroff: If there’s anything here that improves on forty years of friendly puppy, easily digestible, heavily produced, camera ready, “girl I miss you” pop, I’m missing it.