Friday, September 24th, 2010

Alexandra Burke ft. Laza Morgan – Start Without You

It’s still number one, it’s…


Katherine St Asaph: Pop quiz: You’re a songwriter, and you’ve got to come up with a single for Alexandra Burke. She’s built up a bit of name recognition and she’s an X Factor alum, and you’ve even got a set of fantastic, ’90s referent-packed verses. How would you write the chorus? This quiz is on a curve, by the way. Most any answer is acceptable except “Polly Wolly Doodle.”

Frank Kogan: Last week I called this an asparagus butterscotch sundae, and it hasn’t gotten any more delectable since then. There’s an overmuscled but inept attempt at aerobic Beyoncé that segues inexplicably into a half-crippled sing-songy kiddie-dance shot at “Hooray! Hooray! It’s A Holi-Holiday,” while munchkins are diced and sprinkled atop everything, inanely going “Oh uh-oh oh.” I mean, what the hell is RedOne doing?

Doug Robertson: This is, without a doubt, going to be the soundtrack of the summer! As bright and playful as a beach picnic, when this comes out in June people will be rushing out to buy Frisbees, just so they can throw them while this plays in the background and… What’s that? You’re going to wait until September to release it?! Oh, Alexandra…

Martin Skidmore: She sings it as well as you’d expect, but the half-hearted steel band backing is weak, and it all seems rather a mess. There are good moments, but it feels incoherent.

Iain Mew: Dancing-as-sex is of course an age old lyrical tactic, sometimes replaced by sex-as-sex. I can’t think of another song so badly in need of someone sitting down with the lyrics and deciding which of the two approaches they really mean to take. It does say “Get on the dancefloor”, but then “You’re the only one and I’m all on my back/The only one I want on my back”, apart from being spacially problematic in itself, doesn’t fit any dancing-as-sex meaning. Combined with other suggestive lines, the result is that absolutely everything starts to read as sex-as-sex. Sort of at odds with the breezy and not all that sexy sound, but it might still be ok if it was only fixing the filthier meanings to the likes of “drip-dropping way down low”. But come the chorus and the resultant image of Alexandra telling a guy to “put down [his] cup” or else she’s going to start masturbating, we’re in territory too bizarre for any song to stand.

Alfred Soto: The pneumatic moves of this electro “Iko Iko” retread promise exercise, not release. Whoever “Alexandra Burke” is, she has a promising career as a nullity.

Alex Macpherson: A song designed for frothy lightness forced through a filter of clunk and blare. Burke herself has yet to release a notably worthwhile song post-X Factor (with the exception of the Ne-Yo-penned album track “Nothing But The Girl”); the relentless, unimaginative way in which she tries to jolly this mess along indicates that the problem may not entirely be the material she’s given.

3 Responses to “Alexandra Burke ft. Laza Morgan – Start Without You”

  1. but then “You’re the only one and I’m all on my back/The only one I want on my back”, apart from being spacially problematic in itself, doesn’t fit any dancing-as-sex meaning

    Well it would if someone’s model of dancing as sex is slam-dancing while on piggyback – which I once saw people doing at the A7 Annex, though it didn’t seem at all sexy.

    Katherine, believe it or not I once got into an argument with someone when I said that “Hooray! Hooray! It’s A Holi-Holiday” was based on “Polly Wolly Doodle.” (Of course, “Hooray! Hooray! It’s A Holi-Holiday” is in my top 100. Don’t know if I’ve ever heard a recording of “Polly Wolly Doodle,” except I think Barrymore and friend launch into it at the end of the screen version of You Can’t Take It With You [unless it was the Robards TV version].)

  2. Never heard the Boney M., but I’m sure it’s less congruous than this.

    Yay for Iain’s blurb, too.

  3. By which I mean less INcongruous, naturally. (WordPress has now told me I’m posting comments too quickly and to slow down. Don’t I know it.)