By Tom Reardon, February 2020 Issue.
For the first edition of this column for the new
decade, I’m switching things up a bit. This month, I’m going to look at singles
that have recently come out and give you thoughts on them, for better and/or
worse. Most people don’t listen to full records anymore, anyway, so it’s time
to add a new wrinkle. So, without further ado …
Justin Bieber – “Yummy”
More like yucky! I am just not down with the Bieber.
“Yeah, you got that yum-my, yum-my, yummy, yummy” will just never be a
compelling lyric. For example, what is “Yummy” about the person or people in
question? Do they taste good? Are they attractive? I need to know if I am going
to feel anything but repulsed by this song. Yep, fuck this song and the
frosted-tip horse it rode in on.
T.S.O.L. – “Ghost
Released by local label, Slope Records, T.S.O.L’s
“Ghost Train” sounds so much like love child of ‘80s new wave/alternative kings
Simple Minds and Psychedelic Furs that I would swear the two bands fornicated
beneath a Billy Idol poster. Got a visual on that yet? Anyway, while it’s not
anywhere close to as powerful as their early ‘80s punk rock fury, “Ghost Train”
is actually a really fun listen and shows that the boys from Long Beach were
listening to more than just punk in the old days.
Bombay Bicycle Club – “I Can Hardly Speak”
So much better than Bieber and that is not saying a
whole lot. This tired indie-pop kind of lays there inviting you to climb on
board and maybe rub something against it, but you know, deep down, it doesn’t
care if you’re there or not. There is some cool instrumentation happening by
Bombay Bicycle Club and it will stick with you, but so does the extra ten
pounds you gained over the holidays from all that fudge.
Rat Boy – “Victim Of A System”
Surprisingly catchy, this song was not at all what I
expected when I saw the name of the band. Got to love that Spotify new music
list for throwing on something that gets the toes tapping a bit. Definitely not
my usual cup of tea, but I didn’t hate it and will probably listen a few more
times, as well as see what else these kids got. I’m assuming they are kids.
Maybe not. Maybe Rat Boy is half-rat, half-manchild, and is coming to take over
the world. Catchy stuff (and now that I’ve looked him up, seems like a
wonderful NYC boy who likes to rock out while cranking out pop gems. Good on
you, Rat Boy, good on you).
Foo Fighters – “Winnebago”
This is the first track off a new Foo Fighters EP and
I like it. I forget that the whole concept of Foo Fighters was pretty cool at
first. Dave Grohl was in one of my all-time favorite bands, Nirvana, when he
started Foo Fighters, it was certainly exciting to see what he could do on his
own. Of course, we know now that he’s an incredibly talented songwriter and an
engaging front man who seems to also have no problem putting his money where
his mouth is in supporting other musicians, as well. “Winnebago” is a definite
rocker with some great guitar work and drumming. The whole package is quite
Howard Jones – “The One To Love You (The
I think I’ve openly declared my love for Howard Jones
a few times in the last year and here I will do so again. While I cannot put my
finger on exactly why this is, I love pretty much everything the polite, older
Englishman does. This mix of “The One To Love You” is danceable 80s Britpop at
its finest. Timeless, really, as old folks like me are easily transported by
Jones’ fine voice and rhythms to our days of dancing at Tommy’s and Hot Bods
before we were 21, taking in the sights and sounds and smells of adolescent
angst mixed with hormone (and Strawberry Hill) fueled desire.