Some quick observations about forthcoming music:
Suede: Beautiful Loser
Three tracks off the forthcoming Suede album. Overall, the sound is a bit beefier than the last two albums, more guitars, less keyboards. More, er, Britpop. Clocking in at just under three minutes, new single Positivity is a tiny delight. It breezes along in a jangly way, and suddenly it's summer 1986. Brett has been leafing through Marc Almond's Big Book of Lyrical Cliches: "you can feel like you're in Dynasty", "your diamonds are drops of rain, your smile is your credit card". While the title of new track Beautiful Loser nicks its title from Marc, the sound is pure Oasis. When the hits dry up [er, haven't they already?] Brett can always do Liam on Stars In Their Eyes. The opening couplet of Obsessions is familiar too: "It's the way you pick your clothes up from the floor". Then Brett falls into the Sting pretension trap: "It's the way you don't read Camus or Brett Easton Ellis".
Tracey Cole: Anyone Of Us (Stupid Mistake)
Yes, it's another cheap, tacky Almighty cover version. But wait, this is better than the original. Instead of Gareth Gates's wide-eyed, gap-toothed, slack-jawed crooning on his current number one, we have some gutsy bird giving it her all. Where Gareth manages to make this tale of infidelity sound like a love song, the Almighty Definitive remix pushes forward lines like "Giving into temptation". And repeating all the way through is a line that seems designed to make more sense when off your face at the RVT, "Must have altered my senses". Okay, so this was never meant to stand up to over-analysis, but it is a rare case of the Almighty cover being less flimsy than the original.
Soft Cell: Cruelty Without Beauty
The best thing Marc Almond has done in well over a decade. This album does raise the question: "What is Soft Cell?" Just because Marc and Dave are working together again, does that make it Soft Cell? This album sounds nothing like the Soft Cell of old, and - thankfully - doesn't head into the druggy rock areas they were heading into when they disbanded. This is a wonderful, uplifting Marc Almond album, produced by Dave Ball. Highlights: On An Up, Together Alone and the first single Monoculture. A full review will follow shortly.