Songs about rebels, roads and ringtones

Tinchy, Pixie and VV redefine the term 'soul rebel', Cheryl Cole takes some driving metaphors for a spin, and Jay Sean proves that his music is best heard on a mobile phone

Young Soul Rebels – I Got Soul
Despite having a name that references one of the finest albums of the 1980s, Young Soul Rebels actually include Tinchy Stryder, Pixie Lott and VV Brown. Which means two things: a) the definition of rebel has been rewritten to mean "mediocre music proffered by personality voids" and b) it's charity-single time. Just when you think it couldn't get any worse, the chorus – "I've got soul, but I'm not a solider" – samples the Killers, presumably to reference the fact the single is in aid of War Child. It's enough to make Dexy's Kevin Rowland turn in his grave. If he was dead, that is, and not busy maintaining his MySpace page and DJing at the Big Chill.

Alphabeat – Spell
We'd heard Alphabeat had undergone a transformation, but on closer inspection it seems this was just an attention-seeking rouse concocted by a cunning PR. The Spell is the kind of boppy, dancefloor filler you can imagine Sinitta or Debbie Gibson making back in the 80s, but it's hardly a breathtaking new direction. The bigger mystery is why there are about nine people in the group? If there's one thing that the likes of Eurythmics and La Roux have taught us, it's that all you need to make classy synth pop is one knobtwiddler in the background and one charismatic lady in the fore. As Alphabeat prove, any more is just overkill.

Cheryl Cole – Fight for This Love
Cheryl "national treasure" Cole gave this song a live airing last weekend on The X Factor, but like most people I was too distracted by her terrible outfit to notice. A second listen reveals a plethora of driving-based metaphors – "makes it hard to know which road to go down" and "always sitting in reverse" – courtesy of Steve Kipner, who wrote Olivia Newton John's Physical. There is a mellow, synthy background and a repetition of "fight, fight, fight", which is catchier than a coldsore. It's OK, but far from "incredible", Simon Cowell's favourite new adjective, and also quite far from anything Girls Aloud have recorded, which we suppose is the point. The bad news is that the video reveals Sunday night's hideous wardrobe catastrophe was not a one-off.
Watch the video for Fight for This Love

Miike Snow – Black and Blue
Genuinely odd pop music is a rare and precious gem. With jarring rhythms, Beach Boys-esque ascending scales and just a touch of Balearic house, Black and Blue wavers between eccentricity and hookability. It doesn't even matter that, several plays later, I've still no idea what Andrew Wyatt is actually singing about.

Jay Sean – Down
If you're reading this in America, Down has already topped your Billboard chart and Jay Sean is a shining new British star in the making. If you're on this side of the pond, Down's Auto-Tuned goodness may not even have registered on your radar, so pathetic has the response been for the 28-year-old. Why? Well, maybe because British people have ears. This song is bloody awful. Pitched in a monotonous, headache-inducing key, with vocal distortion all over it, Down may be the only song that potentially sounds better as a polyphonic ringtone.
If you really insist, then watch the video to Down


Rosie Swash

The GuardianTramp

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