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Each week on the FACT Singles Club, a selection of our writers work their way through the new music of the week gone by.

With the way individual tracks are now consumed, the idea of what constitutes a single has shifted dramatically in the last half a decade, and its for this reason that the songs reviewed across the next pages are a combination of 12″ vinyl releases, mixtape cuts, Soundcloud uploads and more. Up this week: the return of Disclosure, Britney and Iggy, Stellar OM Source and more.

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Britney Spears & Iggy Azalea – ‘Pretty Girls’

Anupa Mistry: Britney Spears is a survivor and deserves better than an F-grade collab with Iggy, who is quickly tanking. I can’t decide whether the vocal effect on Britney’s voice, which makes it sound like she’s singing from the inside of a helium tank, is kind of cool or terrifying. This is literally the third time in my life I have listened to a song with Iggy Azalea on it all the way through. Why did I sign up to join you guys? (3)

Son Raw: Pretty ugly. From the near-plagiaristic Mustard knock-off on the production to a noxious zombie Britney clawing back from the grave to Igloo Australia somehow sticking around like VD or our decade’s Vanilla Ice, this song’s sole purpose is to identify basic tendencies in your midst: don’t associate with anyone who fucks with it.  Poptimism is dead and I don’t have to pretend this has even a modicum of value. (0)

Mikey IQ Jones: Oh, Britney. Between the disaster that was your incredibly unnecessary ‘Tom’s Diner’ cover with Moroder, and now this — which lazily cribs from both ‘Hollaback Girl’ and Nelly’s ‘Must Be The Money’ — is this the end? Where did it all go wrong? The single art is a misguided homage to 80’s camp film Earth Girls Are Easy, and the song itself just reeks of insipid shallowness; instead of a witty, intelligent dissection of the moronic neanderthal agendas of the hetero male, the song’s entire message gets reduced to what will only be a whooping and hollering banger when its listeners are inebriated on beverages seemingly purchased by the chump gents described in the song. Please let me never hear this ever again; it makes me feel like I’m stuck in an overcrowded bar that has no exit doors, waiting to order drinks that will never, never arrive. (2)

Claire Lobenfeld: I have been terrified of this track since the collab was announced, but this is much less of a problem than I was expecting it to be. Iggy comes in and spits a middling 8 clearly written by T.I. and is hardly present. The beat could be worse. I am slightly embarrassed for Britney on the hook. But the thing I like about this track is how much white people are going to bemoan its Song Of The Summer potential while swooning over the romance embedded in ‘Trap Queen’ even though it’s Twilight with crack instead of vampires. Get it together, literally everyone. (3)

Brad Stabler: As far as career resurrections and makeovers go, there hasn’t been a more poorly conceived Hail Mary pass since last year’s Raiders. There’s been some serious contenders for worst song of 2015, but this one takes the crown so effortlessly I almost want to love it. (0)


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Miguel – ‘Coffee (Fucking)’ ft. Wale

Claire Lobenfeld: Sigh. I loved this cut, a song named after two of my favorite things, when I heard it for the first time on the floor of my New Orleans hotel room when I was down there last December for my birthday. Miguel’s three-track EP felt like a present just for me. But now, in album release mode, Miguel has added Wale. It’s not just that Wale’s whole steez being snooze-worthy that makes this a misguided idea, but it’s that he is patently unsexy when it comes to rapping about sex. Comparing your dick to a scone, especially on a song called ‘Coffee’ is crazy-making and corny as hell. Someone send him to go sit in the corner with J.Cole after his ‘Planes’ verse. Sheesh. (6 for Miguel, -6 for Wale, so I guess that’s a 0)

Brad Stabler: Was all set up to fly the 10 flag again by the time Wale made his third coffee pun and settled back into the chorus – and it’s a fine one, at that – but that last minute really has to go. It turns the song from “fucking anthem” into “wait, you’re not close to done yet?” Make your own custom snip and add two points. (7)

Son Raw: This one’s a creeper. It’s not Miguel’s best and you have to sit through a so-so Wale verse, but it’s all worth it once you hit that soaring coda and the vocal really lets loose. Ultimately, I’m not convinced at the yacht rock beat and there’s an Omarion/Ross remix out this week that’s my pick as far as Maybach Music R&B collabs go, but hey – it’s better than Britney. (6)

Anupa Mistry: Musically, we’ve been able to count on Miguel dropping heat since ‘Sure Thing’ came out in 2010. His songs are so lush, ambitious and Prince-lite. But the concepts are consistently OTT and ‘Coffee’, which is an allusion to morning sex, is no exception. This song makes me feel like I’m hate-scrolling through someone’s overly-curated Instagram feed. No one cares about your opinions on art bruh, just sing us through the spectrum of human emotion! (6)

Mikey IQ Jones: Congratulations to Miguel for giving us one of the most unnecessary Wale verses in history on a song that REALLY didn’t need one on the first place, but that’s not the real issue here. The original version of ‘Coffee’ runs miles around this, and is actually a jam that I really love; this one seems like it was made only to show the “he-said” perspective of the idiot men who are profiled in the Britney/Iggy song reviewed this week. This isn’t a song about how intimacy rules anymore, it’s now a song about how a sociopathic creep wants that but doesn’t know how to reach it. Fucking hell. The original ‘Coffee’ gets a (9), but this is awful. (0)


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Stellar Om Source – ‘Sudden’

Brad Stabler: Grooved so hard in my chair that I went out and bought a Club Mate after. Gauldi really can’t do any wrong. (8)

Mikey IQ Jones: I can get with the throwback acid vibes here, but aside from that vaporous exhalation echoing throughout the track, I’m not getting anything here that’s bringing the vibe into 2015. When you’re releasing on RVNG, I’m expecting you to bring some next-level interpretations, and while this is solid, it’s a bit of a let down. Here’s hoping that the rest of the EP delivers more of the goods, because otherwise this is just some nostalgia that I don’t have enough shelf space to store. (6)

Anupa Mistry: OH MY GOD. This is incredible. That little wub-synth that starts lurking in back around the one-minute mark just knocks. Minimal stuff so often lacks in personality, but ‘Sudden’ has it by the bucketloads. Is it Friday yet? (8)

Claire Lobenfeld: This is so worth the commitment. There are flourishes in here that feel emotional and slightly heart-wrenching, almost the aural equivalent of when you feel alone even when you’re in a crowded club. By the time I go to the end, I felt that dichotomous combo of sorrow and hope, but that’s why we love electronic music, right? Because when it makes you feel without any words, it’s so, so good. (6)

Son Raw: I said the acid comeback was at the tail end of its hype in last week’s Singles Club – clearly I was wrong since we’re listening to one a week. I wonder if 20 years down the line, our descendants will be reviewing live Massive-emulator jams full of dubstep wubs by classically trained musicians? It’s a scary, Tory-led future we’re heading towards. As far as I’m concerned, this really comes to life about 5 minutes in when those pads hit, but the road there is lively and energetic. A fine club tool. (7)


David Duchovny – ‘Positively Madison Avenue’

Mikey IQ Jones: Duchovny should have cast his musical net in the direction of X-Files-inspired Gary Numanesque sci-fi bleeps and technophilia. Instead, we’ve got him in Hank Moody mode channeling Don Johnson’s ‘Heartbeat’, which is honestly kind of a jam. This is unfortunately not, and it sadly doesn’t even feature a Runkle guest verse or some coked-up Kathleen Turner sex rhymes and a “Collini OUT” parting shot. Such a tragic bummer that this exhudes the wrong energies of Californication: the ones that appeal to Red Hot Chili Pepper fans who pretend that rock is still dangerous, but who also fear the sex drugs & danger aesthetics of rap music. Sigh. (3)

Brad Stabler: No idea how they missed the prime marketing opportunity to release this closer to Father’s Day. (Dad Rock)

Anupa Mistry: Has no one told Mulder that he is a terrible singer? (1)

Son Raw: Kirk Van Houten, is that you? (1, to spite Britney)

Claire Lobenfeld: Hank Moody is bae, but c’mon bruh. You’re doing mid-90s alt-rock pantomime to sing about how Bob Dylan doing a car commercial for the Super Bowl bummed you out? I’m 29, but I am pretty sure Dylan already had his crowning moment of egregiousness when he went electric. I think the biggest issue I have with the track isn’t even that he’s calling Dylan a sell out (which is very, very pointless; rap over ‘Can I Get Open’ about Jay Z launching TIDAL or something), but that the tagline of that Chrysler ad was, “You can’t fake cool.” Well…  (3)


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Disclosure – ‘Bang That’

Claire Lobenfeld: Awww! Disclosure discovered ghettotech! (1)

Son Raw: Numerically speaking, I’ve heard a lot worse this week because watered down, bandulu ghetto house from these lads is still better than dad rock and ZomBritney, but this is also deeply insulting in its political correctness. What kind of sad human being wants to listen to a fake Dance Mania record with all the vulgarity and sex scrubbed out? Honestly? Tipper Gore could get down to this. (4)

Brad Stabler: There’s not enough “oomph” for the EDM set, and at this point not enough love to get this played in a packed basement. Disclosure just sounds kind of lost and bored here – the most telling part of all is the double back to Annie Mac; this was a single, but now it isn’t an “official single.” Don’t know what that’s all about, but good save, boys. (4)

Anupa Mistry: I never drank the Kool-Aid on Disclosure, all that nu-two-step stuff felt like a soulless take on music that was done better in the early 2000s. Same goes for ‘Bang That’, which leans a little too heavily on the Shamou sample to the point of sounding derivative – though I guess the point is that for Disclosure it’s all new. Festival fodder. This is the most EDM-friendly thing they’ve ever done and, tbh, I like the idea of them moving into a more aggressive direction. (5)

Mikey IQ Jones: Ugh, no. Thank goodness this isn’t an “official single,” because it’s terrible. I have a theory that Settle was such a huge success because it was one of the best gym workout albums released during a renewed and increased fitness craze. This pointless dud doesn’t really work either in the gym OR the club. At least they managed to release something new without a superfluous guest star, though perhaps now that’s exactly what they need in order to survive. (1)


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JME ft. Giggs – ‘Man Don’t Care’

Son Raw: Integrity> feels like less than the sum of its parts, given that it’s 16 tracks of JME shelling over fairly simple beats, but individually, the tunes all bang. ‘Man Don’t Care’ benefits from that quasi-gothic production and a Giggs verse, but JME still steals the scene and he somehow manages to make a list of threats worth listening to. But you don’t care and have a bank balance to wave in our faces as proof of concept, why do you sound so angry, Jamie? The emcee doth protest too much. (7)

Anupa Mistry: Somewhat subdued production – the drums and bassline are mere spectres – but I like how that puts the percussive emphasis on JME and Giggs. Don’t need any convincing with these two really, but I was ready to rewind once that Harry Potter reference hit. (9)

Mikey IQ Jones: Confident and uncomplicated flow with solid lyrics, clever multilayered cultural references, and a banger of a beat that bobs and rides like fluid waves. Why can’t we get tunes like this in Singles Club every week? Fucking hell, this one saved me from going full-on Statler & Waldorf. This track effortlessly pulled off the simple task that each entry in the column attempts with wildly varying degrees of success: it made me (a neophyte) want to check out the rest of his album without any hesitation or doubt. That’s a solid (9) out of me, then.

Brad Stabler: Tastier than a day spent eating peanut butter and chocolate. (9)

Claire Lobenfeld: *100 flame emojis* I have never heard a JME verse that didn’t make me growl. The beat works for me because it is somewhere between grime and southern rap and the perfect permutation of both to make me feel like I am learning but also at home. Just stay away from me when this song is on because it might make me punch you. (8)


Final scores:

JME ft. Giggs – ‘Man Don’t Care’ (8.4)
Stellar Om Source – ‘Sudden’ (7)
Miguel – ‘Coffee (Fucking)’ ft. Wale (3.8)
Disclosure – ‘Bang That’ (3)
Britney Spears & Iggy Azalea – ‘Pretty Girls’ (1.6)
David Duchovny – ‘Positively Madison Avenue’ (1.6)

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