2016 Singles Round-Up – M83, Santigold, Primal Scream, Andrew Bird

M83 – Do It, Try It

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A bunch of upvoted YouTube comments tell me that “This band is all about experimentation. If you can’t appreciate new things, then you’re not a fan of the roots of M83” and also, that this song in particular, is “a love child of Crystal Castles and Neon Indian.” Honestly, there are parts of this that I like: the disco bass (the only thing remotely “new” about this song) and the arpeggiating synths (which is the only thing anthemic about this, in comparison to their singles starting in 2005), but the whole thing sounds like it should be played in Wal-Mart during Black Friday, or was purchased in Wal-Mart during Black Friday; just Wal-Mart and Black Friday-related in some fucking way, which are two of the worst things on Earth. More like “Do It, Try Shit,” which is the name of the copraphilia porn parody.

D

Santigold – Chasing Shadows

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I imagine in another universe, where 99¢ wasn’t a disappointment, that there would be a ton of people clamoring over this song who also hate Vampire Weekend when it sounds like this could’ve slotted on Vampire Weekend’s debut if you switched the singer. Of course, the album didn’t catch fire, so here we are, with this harmless Graceland-inspired thing that adds nothing. I’ve yet to hear anything by Rostam Batmanglij to suggest his leaving Vampire Weekend was a good idea for him or Vampire Weekend, and yes, I’m including “Warm Blood.”

C+

Primal Scream – Where The Light Gets In (feat. Sky Ferreira)

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I have a fondness for Sky Ferreira: Ghost’s “Sad Dream” was one of the best cases of a pop artist pulling off an acoustic ballad with finesse and emotion (better than “Everyhing Is Embarrassing”!); Night Time, My Time’s “24 Hours” was one of the best pop songs of that year: exhilaratingly sung choruses. This is Primal Scream’s first song since 2013’s incredibly and surprisingly solid More Light, and it seems like an obvious move towards pop after that album’s rather anti-pop sound (with the exception of throwback “It’s Alright, It’s Ok”) and it’s a load of euhhhhhhh. It’s the like only idea they had was to split the vocal duties between Gillespie and Ferreira a.k.a. oldest trick in the book, and what results is an over-use of Gillespie’s completely generic voice and an under-use of Ferreira’s more powerful one resulting in her sounding completely generic. Is there a tune? Sure there is, but with one so slight who cares?

B-

Andrew Bird – Left-Handed Kisses (feat. Fiona Apple)

6033315.jpgVery likeable, with Fiona Apple’s harder, harsher, more theatrical vocals balancing out Andrew Bird’s sweeter one – interestingly, that’s the reverse of typical boy-girl duets. What results is something reminiscent of the cover; two older or old-minded lovebirds, dancing in a dusty attic. As expected for Bird, it’s well-orchestrated, with the occasional click-clack of percussion and bells to provide color. Coda seemed tacked-on (in fact, I naturally assumed YouTube had loaded the next song on the playlist), but it’s a handsome little bookend all the same. My thoughts on Bird was that he reached his peak when he broke-through (around the same time as other folkies like Sufjan Stevens and the Mountain Goats and Joanna Newsom), released two respectable pieces of work in 2007 and 2009 and hasn’t released anything much of note since. Here’s hoping for his new one.

B+

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