Sunday, 20 November 2011

Children In Need: great cause, awful song

For this year’s BBC Children In Need, Gary Barlow has brought together several big names from the urban music world, including Ed Sheeran, Wretch 32, Rizzle Kicks, to cover the Massive Attack classic – Teardrop. Produced by do-no-wrong Labrinth, with the wonderfully talented Tulisa singing the chorus, borrowing powerful lyrics from a sensational teenage poet, what could possibly go wrong?

Everything, that’s what! Under the pressure of Barlow’s impossible task to put their own spin on one of the ultimate nineties trip hop songs, they seem to have forgotten what amazing talents the eleven of them have and resorted to blabbering over a frankly dreadful beat that Labrinth seems to have scraped from the bottom of his shoe. What’s happened to the days of Peter Kay’s hilarious charity fundraisers?

However much I'm against the song, you know I hate to be a misery guts so I should point out that Children In Need is a great cause that does loads to help kids across the UK and I'd hate to take anything away from that. On a more musical level, I do think Tulisa has done the original (sung by Elizabeth Taylor from the Cocteau Twins) justice, the track promotes the less commercial world of poetry and spoken word brilliantly and, of course, I couldn't be more pleased that the people who missed Massive Attack the first time round have the chance to discover their music.

So what should have been done instead of this atrocity? Well, firstly, we could actually use some of the awesome musicians we have out there at the moment. For something that appeals to both Radio 1 and Radio 2 listeners, I think Ed Sheeran should definitely be kept on the record with my other favourite urban act of the moment, Maverick Sabre, doing something incredible as well. And as both lads are at the top of singer-songwriter game then forget any ideas of a cover, just get them to write something epic.

Hey, it shouldn't be the guys who get all the fun, let's have a bit of good old girl power. I reckon Yasmin and Emile Sande will appeal to most of the UK so we can chuck them into the mix as well. And don't just do the chorus; give Sande a verse or two, Yasmin can do the production or maybe even a remix. I'm actually fed up of the male domination in music.What's more, rappers seem to have an obsession with saying dodgy phrases over people singing. Did they sing over your rapping? No, didn't think so, have a bit of common decency, shut up and let the lady sing.

Labrinth would have to be kept as the producer. Ninety-nine percent of the time he comes out with absolute gold and, minus the challenge of having to recreate Massive Attack, I guarantee he'll step up and deliver the goods. As I've said already, Yasmin'll be puting her little spin on the song as well. At the moment all those pop fans out there only know her songs as being put together by Shy FX or Devlin or Labrinth again. But she's actually got mega-skills in that side of the music scene and has done some great stuff for N*E*R*D. So don't go around thinking Yasmin's only a pretty face.

I would rather have everyone who's in The Collective to be on my CIN single but, realistically, it wouldn't appeal to an audience of, say, forty year old women. However a remix with that huge hip-hop crew would do us, the youth, very nicely. Therefore we'd have plays on Radio 1, 2 and 1xtra as well as the telly in order to make as much money for those children worse off than us that live on our doorsteps. Well Barlow, do you want me to judge X Factor for you as well?

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