MSM Singles Digest – July

So, let’s try this out for size. In the absence of any prolonged stretch of free time, a fine layer of dust has been accumulating over the review discs on my desk. This makes me sad – so the new and shiny Monthly Digest is my way of knocking out some words about some singles (you know, the ones that really tickle my pickle!)

Lady Antebellum’s Wanted You More  (7/10) kicks off this latest bright idea at MSM towers. As supports for Bruce Springsteen at Hard Rock Calling, and with seven GRAMMYs tucked under their belts, it’s clear that the trio have their share of endorsements from inside the industry.

WYM is proof, if any were needed, that Lady Antebellum are a very different offering from the waves of lipstick country music that dominated radios and American Idol stages throughout the late naughties. Apparently, all we needed was a twang and a flannel shirt, and we were sold…

Anyway, where was I? Oh yeah… True to their bare-lipped form, Lady Antebellum have sent forth another conservative ballad for our enjoyment. For all the bling on their mantles, Wanted You More is joyfully free from glamour, gregariousness and gloss. It’s just a nice single – just melodies, no fuss.

Up next, it’s Newton Faulkner – a dreadlocked ginger bloke whose appeal to transcend all kinds of boundaries. Bizarrely, Clouds (8/10) is the first song of his I’ve ever really paid attention to. Through no fault of his (or mine, I hasten to add), we’ve always missed each other.

The song is everything his reputation has led me to expect – a slightly more raw version of the bastardised man-with-strings-and-songs music that Ed Sheeran and the like have flogged to the masses.

Whether or not Faulkner likes being mentioned in the same sentences as his apparent successors, I’ll never know. But having gone back through his catalogue, it’s hard not to respect the versatility and reinvention Newton Faulkner has brought to Clouds. He’s a man with strings, songs, ideas, and then some. And, given time, hopefully some more…

On the subject of Faulkner’s musical offspring, Luke Ritchie is another new pretender, with his debut album hitting shelves today (or possibly tomorrow, depending on the post…)

Cover It Up (7/10) is Ritchie’s first offering, and it’s pretty darned good. At the moment, he’s got a nice story, and a growing reputation, but sadly this first single may be destined to comparisons at best.

With the songwriter’s staple of too many syllables per bar, some claps and a nifty tune, the single is a tasty hors d’oeuvre ahead of his debut album The Water’s Edge. It might be hard to see the bigger picture at the moment, but on this evidence Luke Ritchie has a bright future ahead (even if he’s saddled with being the next x or the new y).


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