Five Tracks // Right Said Fred

by Kyle McCormick
Kyle McCormick
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on 15 June 2016 in Features

On July 15th 1991, Right Said Fred released their phenomenal and world-conquering single 'I'm Too Sexy', and 25 years later they're eager to celebrate it and their widely successful career to date. Therefore, to commerorate this special occasion they are releasing a 25th Anniversary EP and new album entitled Exactly through PledgeMusic. Brothers Fred and Richard Fairbrass have had an exciting musical lifetime so far, and 2016 is set to be the year they celebrate the past and look to dominating the future.

Getting in on a piece of the pop action, we have asked Right Said Fred to review some of the popular and up-and-coming tracks of the day, from the chart-smashing Justin Timberlake to promising Glaswegian synth-pop star KLOE. Putting their years of experience and knowledge from the music industry to work, they offer their verdict on the tracks, as well as their production and accompanying music video where appropriate. The results are below, and beware, it's not all sunshine and pretty flowers:

1. James Blake - 'Radio Silence' (Fred)

I have to be honest, I'm not that familiar with James Blake. I really like the production of this track, it's very confident and that's a hook in itself, well it is to me. I love the mantra effect of the repeated lyrics against the rising pads and pulsating keys, it has a very effective dream like quality. It doesn't feel pressured into adopting more standard production techniques. I wonder if James is a Bill Withers fan, the repeated lyric "I can't believe this you don't wanna see me" is borrowed or inspired by the Bill Withers song 'Hope She'll Be Happier'. I'm always bitching online about corporate, homogenised pop, well, this isn't that. which is a very good place to start. I will be exploring James Blake further...

2. Justin Timberlake - 'Can't Stop The Feeling' (Rich)

Well... there's a title for you! Never heard that before! It was difficult for me to get past the smugness of the video. Truly saccharine. It would perhaps have been easier if the track itself had more to recommend it but sadly it didn't. A very good example I felt of everything that's typical of pop today, banal, predictable, polished and safe. There is today a lot of talk about the parlous state of the music industry. The blame laid regularly at the feet of streaming, downloads, etc. Rarely if ever are artists themselves held in anyway responsible for the decline in the industry. Well, this offering from Justin Timberlake is part of the problem. Focus group music, which is what this sounds like to me is very tedious. You guessed, I didn't dig it.

3. Tegan and Sara - 'Boyfriend' (Fred)

This is a really well produced and put together pop track. The writing is solid and they know where their strongest hooks are. That said it leaves me cold, it sounds like it's been through 20 A&R guys, too polite and self-conscious. I'm not sure if I'm meant to be be reviewing the video but it looks like it was shot in 1984. I worked as an assistant director in the early 1980s on many pop videos, this video reminds me of those days. The girls look like they hate the whole video process. I think this track will do well but it's not for me.

4. Red Hot Chili Peppers - 'Dark Necessities' (Rich)

Before I say anything I'd like to make it clear that I'm sure all the artists I'm about to mention are loving family members, generous and kind. There, that's litigation out the way! I loved the opening of this. Very tense. The piano, which also features later in the track is very powerful in the intro. As the song moves forward to the opening verse it's preceded by a bass line which it seems to me had more to do with technique than empathy with the song. The chorus is strong although I felt the production let it done a little and failed to ram home the melody. There's some lovely guitar work towards the end and as always the singer puts his stamp on the track, there's no mistaking it's a Red Hot Chili Peppers track.

5. KLOE - 'Touch' (Fred)

This is a cool track, it's got some touches that I personally like. The big drop before the chorus is a well trodden path but it's effective and works well here. The timpani rolls in the choruses are really nice and the vocal sounds good but over-produced which takes away it's character and de-personalises it. The song is a bit songwriting by numbers but sometimes that can work and it has on this occasion and the absence of guitars for me is always a drag. The video is rubbish.

Despite not taking themselves entirely seriously 100% of the time, those are some pretty serious feedback comments, and scathing comments on the state of the industry more generally. Now that Right Said Fred are back on your radar, you can get involved in the PledgeMusic campaign or just buy their awesome record Up and relive those days. But whatever you do, check out the 'I'm Too Sexy' video below, because it would be rude not to:


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