Singles Club - Songs of bisexual boyfriends and Sixties soul

In this week's batch, Mystery Jets are quietly beguiling, Missy Elliott is bereft of ideas, and Bryn Christopher sounds nothing like the new, male Amy Winehouse

Japanese Happening, Black Affair
Is there a more beleaguered man in pop than Steve Mason? Well probably, but add to the ex-Beta Band singer's list of woes the fact his latest album nearly didn't see the light of day after his record label folded, and the 37-year-old Scot makes a reasonable contender.
Thankfully, this glacial take on the current trend for Italo-disco, given a sinister edge by Mason's haunting vocals, has emerged despite all the aforementioned nonsense. The powers that be can't hold back synth pop this good.
Watch the video for Japanese Happening

Half in Love With Elizabeth, Mystery Jets

Buy the latest Mystery Jets album. I'm not on any sort of record label payroll and you won't see me at their next gig selling merch (honest), but sometimes you have to extol upon others, in no uncertain terms, just how quietly lovely an album is. The band evoke Jeff Buckley, the Smiths and many a whimsical indie group, and they sing about post-adolescent worries like bisexual boyfriends and casual sex, and make it sound somehow poetic. What more could you want from indie pop? The LP is called 21. Buy it.
Watch the video for Half in Love With Elizabeth

The World Should Revolve Around Me, Little Jackie
Little Jackie are the most contrived thing to happen to pop music since the last X Factor winner went to No 1. Everything about this horns-heavy, retro-referencing song feels totally contrived: the irritatingly jaunty melody, the naked ambition (and lack of authenticity) behind the song's "keeping it real" sentiment, the assertion that it's sassy simply because it is vaguely R&B and the singer has an afro. If further proof is needed, see their confession in a recent interview that: "What we really love is rock. But, if this album is a huge hit, we won't be changing the formula."
Watch the video for The World Should Revolve Around Me

Best Best, Missy Elliott
Best Best, it's called, but it is far from Missy's greatest achievement. How ironic! Etc etc. "I'm gonna flip a new melody on these suckerssss!" bellows Missy, before singing a tune entirely derivative of just about every other R&B melody ever made over a clunky, mundane beat that sounds like just about every other track producer Danja has conjured up. Hard to believe this is the work of the woman behind Get Ur Freak On.
Watch the video for Best Best

Smilin', Bryn Christopher
Be warned: Brummie singer-songwriter Bryn Christopher is being touted as the new, male, Amy Winehouse. Lord knows why, neither he nor his song sound anything like her and, if any comparison is to be made, it's that Smilin' sounds like a leisurely, less expensively produced version of Gnarls Barkley's Crazy. There are enough vague references in melody and vocal range to 60s soul artists such as Otis Redding and Sam and Dave, those from the era so pillaged by Winehouse, but these are artists who have influenced numerous contemporary soul singers and there's really no need to use Winehouse as a reference point other than the fact it packages well.
Watch the video for Smilin'


Rosie Swash

The GuardianTramp

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