Each week on the FACT Singles Club, a selection of our writers work their way through the new music of the week gone by.

This week, Queens MC Dai Burger steps up with a new loosie full of vintage video game soundtrack bleeps and beats, Slint guitarist David Pajo drops his first new Papa M material in 15 years, while N-Dubz member Tulisa revives a Shanks and Bigfoot UKG favourite. Oh how we wish she hadn’t.

Also rated and slated: The Black Eyed Peas’ all-star remake of their 2005 smash ‘Where Is The Love’, a new collab between Dawn Richard and Machinedrum, and the broken electronic experiments of Turin-based artist Yves Tumor.


Dai Burger – ‘Current Events’

Chris Kelly: Dai Burger has been on the scene for a few years now, but tracks – usually pairing raunchy raps with club beats by the likes of Darq E Freaker and Mighty Mark – have been few and far between. Hopefully, after an under-the-radar EP on Rinse at the end of the 2015 and now this loosie with Celestial Trax and Orlando Volcano, she’s back on track, because she has a ton of personality and – as proven in the second verse – some versatile flows, as well. (7)

Haley Potiker: I don’t know that I’ve ever hated a beat more than I hate this one. Dai Burger might be a fine rapper but we’d have to hear her on something other than your college roommate’s Soundclick drafts from 2006. (3)

Tayyab Amin: You can definitely feel the tides come and go on this one. Dai Burger’s bars over the beat’s more momentous parts are a strikingly potent coalescence of styles. It’s a combination that’s vastly more interesting than the breakdowns, which the song seems to be centered around. The listening experience is quite segmented, with too much time spent with a fairly bland, forced vocal melody. When it does throw punches, it really rolls with them. (6)

Daniel Montesinos-Donaghy: Over hyper-percussionised takes on the Altered Beast score, Dai acquits herself nicely – in rhymes regarding her sexuality, she advises for anybody interested to “do your homework / get into my references”. (7)

Son Raw: Like post-dubstep, deconstructed club ends up sounding like less than the sum of its parts. Eski leads? Love ‘em. Catty club rap? Dope. Ambient floatiness? Awesome. Patois? Ting. But mashed up together and mixed in high def, it lacks grit and comes off sounding like the forced merger of styles that should be enough to carry an entire track in themselves. (5)

5.6


Tulisa ft. Akelle – ‘Sweet Like Chocolate’

Haley Potiker: I clicked on a link to ‘Sweet Like Chocolate’ and got stuck in one of those long “lifestyle” ads for American Apparel. You know, the ones where the “skip ad” button doesn’t pop up, so you just have to sit there until the end? So I sat there for the full 3 minutes and 37 seconds, and finally it was over, finally I was going to hear ‘Sweet Like Chocolate.’ But I turns out that that WAS the video: 3 minutes and 37 seconds of the one black guy at the beach house being told he’s “sweet like chocolate.” (0)

Tayyab Amin:  I don’t even have the energy to get angry about this Instagram Discovery Page of a tune, I just sit back resigned to the truths of our incompetent species. In the same way that watching the video is like clicking through 200 of the same holiday photos from a Facebook friend you don’t even actually know, the voices on this song have nothing for you to emotionally invest in. The best thing about this cover was finding out Tulisa’s still using the same opening ad-lib a whole decade on from ‘I Swear’. (2)

Daniel Montesinos-Donaghy: The poptimist rediscovery of Tulisa and N-Dubz hopefully isn’t taking place this year, so let us not give us ‘Sweet Like Chocolate’ more than it deserves: it’s a blah dance-pop run through early Noughties two-step nostalgia. (3)

Son Raw: There’s a dope garage song here underneath the candy-floss production, but by that measure, there’s also probably real human beings underneath the make up and photo editing in that video: I just don’t want to bother meeting any of them. Call me if Flava D gets called in for a remix. (3)

Chris Kelly: OK, so this one should come with a disclaimer for non-Brits. I was vaguely aware of Tulisa – she’s like your Lindsay Lohan, right? – and I’m barely more familiar with the Shanks and Bigfoot original. Still, I can’t imagine that a UKG classic needed to be resuscitated via EDM comeback cover. (3)

2.2


Yves Tumor – ‘The Feeling When You Walk Away’

Haley Potiker: ‘The Feeling When You Walk Away’ is more afterthought than song. Maybe that’s the point, but after a minute of expecting a Pretty Lights-style drop, there’s that moment where you realize you’re never going to get it, in fact you’re left with two more minutes of Pretty Lights-style disappointment. (3)

Tayyab Amin:  This is some of the best music to walk away to that I’ve ever heard. If Allah wills for me to make it through the punishing wind tunnel of flying trash and Greggs bags that we euphemistically refer to as ‘2016’, I will turn my back on my troubles with this blaring out. It will channel all of the wistful victories and cathartic self-preservation but actually sound really cool doing it. It’s got a fantastic groove and it reminds me of Dean Blunt’s more soulful side through how fiercely vulnerable it is. A sound that can truly billow in the wind. (8)

Daniel Montesinos-Donaghy: Rahel Ali says that his music is best to be listened to in “an Uber pool”. It’s meant as a joke but the blissful ‘Feeling’ surely sounds better in shared company with all of its wavering AOR glitz, a slyly glamorous piece of pop ambience. (7)

Son Raw: We’re going to look back on this era of arty labels signing R&B artists the same way we now do at the early aughts indie rap boom: with quite a bit of cringing and the sinking realization that we should have been listening to the real stuff. BUT, much like backpack rap, there’s great exceptions scattered amidst the refuse, and Yves Tumor might be one of them. Yep, this song has got the reverb cranked to maximum overdrive, but that guitar lick is synapse-triggering and the results sound intriguingly like classic Stax sent through Mad Professor’s mixing desk. Colour me intrigued. (8)

Chris Kelly: Not what I was expecting from an artist named “Yves Tumor” that has collaborated with Mykki Blanco and is now releasing music on PAN, but I’m pleasantly surprised: this dreamlike collage of soul music memories lives up to its lovelorn title and leaves me excited to hear the rest of Serpent Music. (6)

6.4


The Black Eyed Peas – ‘#WHERESTHELOVE’

Haley Potiker: If someone’s going to change neutral minds about police brutality (or even meaningfully vent about police brutality) it’s not gonna be by rhyming “hate” and “discriminate” a bunch of times. Might sound fine in the GAP. (0)

Tayyab Amin:  Can’t tell your #BlackLivesMatter from your #AllLivesMatter? Struggle no more – get you a song that can do both! Now you too can strain your muscles in a desperate reach to join the dots between all global oppressions and ascribe them to tragedy as opposed to, you know, actual things certain people have done. Be sure to show your office co-workers this one so you can appear to be socially aware and caring without appearing too political! (3)

Daniel Montesinos-Donaghy: If you’re listening to this without will.i.am’s Genius director commentary, you’re doing this wrong: it shows the thought process behind what is a mess of a Hollywood glitz-glimpse of ‘social consciousness’. The instant you hear The Game go All Lives Matter (“black lives, not now, everybody matter to me”) or DJ Khaled yell out his vaguely affirming Snapchat catchphrases or Jaden Smith’s half-lidded ad-libbing to a spectacularly cack A$AP Rocky verse, your immediate response may be to cringe or laugh. Tell the truth, it’s easier to be cynical, with will.i.am and The Game co-opting the grim critical response by stating “Black Eyed Peas do a song about love and y’all hate this?” He digs in deep with an annotation on the website about how everyone’s opinions are difficult to dodge regardless of intent: “Everyone is into social activism when they heart things and retweet things, but we need more from people.” Like the entirety of will.i.am’s career in socially-active music, it’s well-intentioned – inspiring, even! – while also being almost entirely an act of creative and conscious-minded clumsiness. (3)

Son Raw: How have the Black Eyed Peas never released a song called “Where’s the Love?” until now? You’d think they’d have covered that in 05’. This is the kind of cheesy, nauseating pabulum by self-satisfied millionaires that comes directly after angry, nauseating pabulum by guys like Prophets of Rage. (1)

Chris Kelly: And here I thought the Tulisa single would be the week’s worst cover/remix. This one will have you yearning for the cloying original. Which part is the most offensive (to your senses, not in the outrage sense)? Puffy and A$AP Rocky making ham-fisted attempts at political rap? The Harder, Dumber, Fucking Stupid beat? Ty Dolla and Mary J’s wasted studio time? Q: #WHEREISTHELOVE A: #INTHETRASH (0)

1.4


Machinedrum – ‘Do It 4 U’ (ft. D∆WN)

Haley Potiker: This song scared my dog away. She was curled up next to me and she just ran into the other room. Now I have to go convince her that everything is fine and robots are not taking over the world. Dawn Richard is great, though. (4)

Son Raw: I’m a sucker for those chords and D∆WN is a goddess, but this might be just a bit too hyper for its own good. Machinedrum’s been on a path of constant acceleration since Room(s) and I’m intrigued by the new age direction, but those two ideas are only so compatible. Still, D∆WN as a futuristic avatar for our societal overload: ain’t nothing wrong with that. (7)

Chris Kelly: I’ve enjoyed Machinedrum’s productions for Dawn, where his maximalist beats were on more-or-less equal footing with her vocal performances. But when it came time for Dawn to return the favor, her voice is stripped of depth and turned into just another element of an overwrought beat. I appreciate that Machinedrum has found the Power of Positivity, but this one isn’t doing much to help my anxiety. (5)

Daniel Montesinos-Donaghy: On first listen, this sounds like the vanguard of future-pop, with its blastbeat-intense programming, Miami sunshine-tone keys and vocal appearance by 2016 future-pop representative Dawn Richard; on second listen, it’s pure comfort. That’s not as much a problem regarding the construction of the music, but an acknowledgment of its strength. Machinedawn grow more comfortable with each collaboration, crafting excellent, hooky pop. (8)

5.6


Papa M – ‘Walking On Coronado’

Haley Potiker: Could someone please send me a YouTube link to the Wes Anderson montage this was made for? (5)

Tayyab Amin: This is quite the gorgeous arrangement. I get a Sonic Green Hill Zone feeling from this – just coasting. It’s the joy of a continuity that doesn’t linger on the past nor does it look too far ahead. I’ve always found living purely in the present quite impossible, and listening to this feels a little bit like forcing myself to smile. Smiling is much easier on the muscles when it’s natural. As for pretending – well, there are worse ways to make it through the day. (7)

Daniel Montesinos-Donaghy: From the blessed fret-pressed fingers of David Pajo, the perfect lo-fi soundtrack to get me through this hellish hangover I am suffering from as I write this. Each song performed has a purpose: this is to be a warm bath to soak in. (7)

Son Raw: Wait, you mean it’s just guitar playing the whole way through? (4)

5.8


Final scores:

Yves Tumor – ‘The Feeling When You Walk Away’ (6.4)
Papa M – ‘Walking On Coronado’ (5.8)
Dai Burger – ‘Current Events’ (5.6)
Machinedrum – ‘Do It 4 U’ (ft. D∆WN) (5.6)
Tulisa – ‘Sweet Like Chocolate’ (2.2)
The Black Eyed Peas – ‘#WHERESTHELOVE’ (1.4)

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