Hint: not this one…
Katherine St Asaph: How do you solve a problem like JLS?
Frank Kogan: I called them “warm milk” last year. This time they’re a delicious mist. Just as affectless as before, but now their sweetness is everywhere, carried by buzzes and Autotune, penetrating this club they sing about, seeping into the floorboards, the walls, the motion, the drinks, the sound.
Doug Robertson: Seeing as JLS currently have the levels of obsessive fandom that would send an mp3 of their snoring to the higher echelons of the charts, the actual tune itself is pretty irrelevant. As long as one of them pulls up his t-shirt to reveal an expanse of bony chest in the video, this is pretty much a guaranteed number one.
Martin Skidmore: I can’t think of much that would put me off more than a heavily autotuned quote from “The Sound of Music”, so the start here kills any chance I’d have of enjoying this. They’re not interesting enough singers to thrive without technological help, but that doesn’t help me tolerate this.
Hazel Robinson: PAGING ALL POPSTARS: sampling the Sound of Music is a FUCKING TERRIBLE IDEA. Come on now, we did this with Gwen Stefani a few years back, you can’t say you didn’t know.
Alex Ostroff: Other song titles considered for the Von Trapp Family’s entrance into the dance scene: “How Do You Solve a Problem like Mariah?”, “Do-Lay-Me”, ‘Sixteen Getting On Seventeen”.
Pete Baran: Well, at least Rodgers & Hammerstein’s estate should make a bob out of this. Actually, it is such a weird confection that it works pretty well, in a strange cut and shut way. Though if JLS are the dancefloor, and the young lady in question is the DJ, then what will she be dancing to when she gets up on him? I think JLS would be better off dividing the various club jobs between them: Aston could be a bartender, Oritsé the hatcheck girl, with Marvin as standing DJ and Jonathon as the dancefloor. And then the autotune would swoop in and steal the girl.
Michaelangelo Matos: “You can be the DJ, I can be the dance floor/You can get up on me”. Next time one of my fellow Yanks tries to tell me how much more sophisticated the English are than us, this is what I’ll play them.
Iain Mew: The lyrics are possibly even more hopeless than “Beat Again”, and it’s all a bit too thin to really evoke the club it’s meant to. And yet, a few listens in and it’s still keeping me interested, hanging on for what comes next and rewarding with details like the pleading robot voices repeating “on me”. It almost starts to make a strange kind of sense.
Mark Sinker: Here they are dreaming they’re c00l d00ds picking up chix in a hott nightspot and all the time they’re EVEN COOLER AUTOMATONS in utter polyphonic thrall to the demands of the melody, occasional mistaken glimpses of free will thumped out of true by the throb of the beat, or bewitched by the spangly spinning discoball robo-harmonies.
Kat Stevens: Hooray! JLS have come back with a banger that is only a handful of bpm away from being included on Bonkers DCLXXVII: The Boybandening. I was getting really worried after the last single, but fingers crossed this will seal their place in Boyband History and make sure they don’t end up as lonely goatherds up an alp somewhere.
John Seroff: I can’t see anything this simultaneously homogenized and batty flying too high in American clubs (certainly not in this decade), so I feel a bit less frightened of having to run into “The Club is Alive” in a dark place and more capable of objectifying the experience of listening to a song that, on first contact, was utterly repellent. Over time the Lil Jon clone (I hope?) production stopped grating and the dumb-as-fuck lyrics and computer gimmicks became weird tics that… well, they don’t endear, exactly, but they do grow on you just a bit. It’s a disaster, but one that isn’t too hard to rubberneck.