Wednesday, 19 September 2012

The 2kDozen 500: #317- Lianne La Havas, "Is Your Love Big Enough?"

As Tame Impala's new album is stubbornly refusing to be released until next month, I'm going elsewhere for my next listen - the Mercury Music Prize shortlist. I'm very wary of this being more Brit School "genuine" cachu. The title is not very promising: big enough for what, dickhead? But you know, my ears are open for now.

The opener "Don't Wake Me Up" has all the sleek emptiness that voice-based music seems to basically in, the shiny showcase ready for the execs to take a look. "Lost & Found" contains the lyric "You broke me/And taught me/To truly/Hate myself", which is a neat half-twist. The tune is shimmers glacially. But the emptiness echoes out like a Bond theme. There's a bit of wit here but it's smothered in tastefulness.

"Waste all your time writing love songs/But you don't love me," she almost snarls over a bare electric guitar on "Forget". This is much more like it. It feels like it could be from a genuinely good musical, with dancers throwing themselves around in a theatrical version of Costa Coffee in their office wear and doomed expression. It sketching out in big pop colours with room for some vocal gymnastics but not enough to turn the tune into a dog show. Lyrically, it comes from a slightly tricky place - obviously not a happy one. Don't like the fact the video has her smiling sweetly with posters for her album in the background. But this is commerce.

A whole load of songs about unreliable lovers gets pretty tedious after a while too. It's the Jack Black effect: if all the women in your songs are devil women, do you think you should be looking a bit closer to home for the source of the problem? That might disrupt the coffee table formula a little too much. "Gone" is about seeing through another guy, emoting over smooth piano. Yawn. It's one note Eastenders drama. If you're going to thrash away at one note, at least make it about snorting fun drugs and fucking into the sunset on endless repeat.

Sorry I couldn't keep my ears open for very long. But "Forget" was good, right?

Rating: Tasteful out of Tasteful

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