Tuesday, January 21, 2014

This is not the Little Mix single

Hooray! Popular beat combo Little Mix premiered their Sport Relief single this morning on Radio 1.

Boo! They've only gone and done Cameo's Word Up, a song that's 100% immune to cover versions.

You see, Word Up balances upon twin pillars of brilliance: The funkiest drumbeat of the 1980s, and Larry Blackmon's "unique" vocal technique, in which he rolls every syllable over his tongue like he's tasting it for the first time. Anyone who interferes with those foundations brings the roof crashing down on their head.

Mel B was the first to get covered in rubble, back in 1999. Her hopeless attempt was let down by a surprisingly leaden beat from Timbaland (who should have known better). Five years later, Korn's rock overhaul started off well, until a pile-up of dismal guitar "licks" broke the song's backbone.

Amazingly, then, Little Mix just about get away with it. Yes, they add a pointless "look, everyone, we can sing" section to the intro but the rest of their embellishments - the harmonies, the cowbell, the snippet of Fix Up, Look Sharp - are broadly respectful of the original. All that's really missing is the sample from Ennio Morricone's The Good, The Bad and The Ugly.

Sadly, the band have not seen fit to put the song online today, so all we're left with are "radio rips" by fans who've blatantly just held their phone up to a loudspeaker. So, with regret, here's Damon Albarn's new solo record instead.

Damon Albarn - Everyday Robots

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