Usually, when I go for my Song of the Week winner, there is a clear choice for the prize. I go onto my iTunes, look at the newly released tracks and there is usually a great piece of music, followed by some more generic songs. Nothing awful, but stuff that does not deserve the top spot. The winner usually takes the top place without too much trouble. However, this week, I have to choose between four really great songs and I have been racking my brain since Sunday, trying to pick the best one. It took me so long to make a decision that I thought, before I upload the winner on the site tomorrow, I would talk you all over my reasoning on an article today.
4 – WILKINSON FT. TALAY RILEY – DIRTY LOVE
Wilkinson blew us all away not long ago with Afterglow, a fantastic debut single. It was everything the clubbing crowd wanted, yet it had this lingering beauty and elegance to it that made it a great song to chill out too. It is actually a lot harder to come up with a piece of music that works as a workout tune, an easy-going Sunday morning piece of ambience and an anthem for the party-lovers, but Wilkinson somehow managed to do all three. It is still a song that keeps dragging itself to the top of my playlist, unable to let me forget it too quickly. Dirty Love is another good example of why Wilkinson deserves more attention. It is another atmospheric tune that has that little kick to it to make it work on a more active level.
It just doesn’t really compare to Afterglow. It suffers from a follow-up song syndrome, where you cannot help but wish that you were listening to something in the same vein as that first piece of music. Talay’s vocals work well, clear and complete with good lyrics, but it doesn’t have the same power as Afterglow’s beautiful singing. On top of that, the other three songs kind of stamp out any potential Dirty Love did have. It is a great tune, but it is forgotten as soon as you listen to the other three, which have a little more power and resonance to them. It also hurts Wilkinson’s cause that I want to move away from club music as Song of the Week each time, as it makes my choices feel stale and biased. Sure, it is hard for me to keep to that, but I like to enter the decision with an open mind.
3 – EMINEM FT. SIA – GUTS OVER FEAR
Eminem is back. And as ever, he comes out with a hard-hitting piece of music that just cuts straight to the core, instantly reminding you why he is at the top of his game. His words are so precise and clear that no matter how hectic or quick his rap gets, we still understand every word that comes out of his mouth, which is more important with his music than other rappers, because Eminem does more than write music, he tells stories. You are enchanted by his music, hanging on every word. It is the usual case of letting yourself sink into Eminem’s capable hands and just giving into his music, as he does what he does best.
There are problems with the music. It is hard to discuss the main flaw as criticism, when Eminem actually brings it up himself, during the first verse. “How many times can I say the same thing different ways that rhyme?” There is a sense that we are listening to any other Eminem song, as he brings up the usual topics and tears them apart in front of you with the precision of a professional. It is a tribute to Eminem that he can make the same routine feel exciting and powerful each and every time, but it still stands that there is no new ground broken here. It is always hard to tell which Eminem songs will stick around as well. It takes a few years before the great ones are really separated from the pack. One day you will realise that that one song you overlooked is now one of the key highlights in Eminem’s Greatest Hits. With this rapper, it is all about legacy and atmosphere, rather than immediate gratification. Therefore, I will hold back on awarding this one Song of the Week, until further judgement can be made.
2 – SLIPKNOT – XIX
I was not expecting this return. When I saw Slipknot’s latest one sitting on the iTunes top ten, I had no choice but to snap it up immediately. We all thought they were done for good, but like any good, old-fashioned horror movie monster (a comparison I am sure Slipknot would like me to draw), they return with a vengeance. The first thing you note about Slipknot’s comeback song is that it is a quieter affair. We have no heavy metal thrashing or throaty screaming. In fact, it might take you a few moments to realise that this is actually Slipknot singing on this track. It is not bad, but not what you expect from Slipknot.
Does that make it bad? Absolutely not. Quite the opposite. It is a very atmospheric opening track, captivating and powerful. It is over before it begins and you will be surprised when the three minute song comes to an end. In many ways, it feels like the calm before the storm, a taster before Slipknot follow up with their powerhouse punch to the gut. It is a weird one to open with, potentially scaring off a few older customers, who want a more stereotypical Slipknot experience, but we will see what other tricks the band have up their sleeve. At the moment, we are just happy to have them back.
1 – CHARLI XCX – BREAK THE RULES
Yes, yes! I know I said I would move away from the clubbing winners, but after a week of debating, this one keeps coming back on top, sticking with me far longer than the others do. It stays in your mind with one of the catchiest bridges going that opens up into a terrific drop. I cannot help myself; I am a man of simple tastes and despite this song coming across as a little shallow, compared to the other three on the list, it just works for me and I predict it will be making a major appearance at whatever nightclub you find yourself in this Halloween. It is just, in simple terms, a fist pumper. You can just stand there, punching the air and screaming the lyrics at the top of your lungs. The younger crowds, just starting out in clubs and in their last few years at school, will love this, the song devoted mainly to them. The only downside to this song is that it makes me feel bloody old!