Two of today’s entries are by X Factor alumni…
Frank Kogan: Quirky debutantes, subdebs, and alley cats galore are among the all and sundry throwing themselves atop the modern dance amalgam, and there’s no reason in principle to lament this. I mean, would we want them on worse tracks? I prefer it when they don’t sound clinically distracted, but it takes all types and moods to make a dance floor.
Hazel Robinson: I really, really liked “Once”; I am a sucker for anything I can enjoy singing as much as the slurred “I’m only gonna let you kill me” bit, and something with a nice bit of quirkgoth chuggy build around fairytale vocals is never going to get a bad mark from me. This does the same. In fact, it does exactly the same, down to the ‘one word repeated’ chorus. Awkward, if not unpleasant.
Michaelangelo Matos: Catchy, in that repeat-the-same-line-over-and-over-again kind of way. I like her phlegmy voice OK, though; it has some Muppety character. But there’s not much long-term impact, murder or no murder.
Iain Mew: Diana would probably have been better served with a second single that did something a bit different (maybe the barking cover of “Hit”?), rather than treading the same musical and lyrical ground as “Once” with a little more poise. “Once” didn’t need poise, thanks, and while this is still a good backdrop to her voice and the verses have a definite cracked beauty to them, the chorus has no impact by comparison.
John Seroff: I’m pretty sure I already listened to this song once already… actually, iTunes tells me fourteen times and I guess I didn’t have much to say the first time around either. Kinda wish I had, then I could just pithily point out that Vickers didn’t bother to make two songs, so why should I write two blurbs? As it is, here’s one to stand for both “Once” retroactively and for the current meat and potatoes on the plate: standard, highly mannered ice-queen vocals over generic pop balladry makes for unmemorable fare, but that’s no excuse for releasing the same single twice.
Martin Skidmore: I like this much better than “Once” — the electropop is anonymous enough, pumping along at a medium pace, but at least it doesn’t overpower her odd croaky voice, which I really like. The chorus is pretty catchy too.
Alfred Soto: Smothered in this antiseptic recording is a voice that could roar like Shakira instead of mewling like Beth Orton.
Kat Stevens: Vickers continues to amaze by being less annoying than she was on X Factor, but still distinguishable enough to be interesting. I really like her yo-yoing “love, love, love” on the chorus, but sadly the verse and overall production is so weak that she may as well not have bothered. This is crying out for a nice meaty bosh remix.
Doug Robertson: Well it’s all a bit sub-SEB, sub-Florence, sub-Goldfrapp and sub-any vaguely electronic and ‘quirky’ female you might care to think of — indeed, it wears its influences so blatantly she might as well have released a list of her top ten songs in iTunes instead of an actual record — but she picks the elements with care and combines them in a way which is undoubtedly enjoyable, even if it’s about as stimulating as a rug.
Katherine St Asaph: A title like “The Boy Who Murdered Love” demands excess: thrusting, ripping, enough force to crush spines and flay jugulars and testify that yes, her ex really did kill love, it’s not just hyperbole. Diana’s over-enunciated, Ellie Goulding-lite chirping only convinces me that she’s never even read a police blotter, let alone witnessed a murder of love or otherwise. Someone should also tell her that a Midas in reverse would bring people to life.
Alex Ostroff: Phrases like “You’re a Midas in reverse” and “You’re a tainted cherry tree” are evocative but ultimately empty. On “Once”, Diana rewarded repeated listens, unfolding layers of guarded vulnerability, distance, calculation and determination. Here, she treads water with blank platitudes for three minutes without ever letting us glimpse inside her mind or heart.