ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT
Creepy Clay wants to be teased
The sweetly robotic voice behind Broken Social Scene’s “Anthems
for a Seventeen Year-Old Girl” gets de-robotized on Leslie Feist’s
debut solo record Let It Die, out now in France (the North American release
is planned later this spring). Listening to this first single, you can understand
why Parisians get to enjoy this record first. The song is as breezy and intimate
as early French pop — buoyed by piano, xylophone, guitar and banjo that
lightly dance over shuffling rhythms, brass and a smattering of hand-claps.
But holding all these delicate details together is Feist’s crystal clear
voice, a demure and, at times, ethereal instrument that matches the warm tone
of Cat Power’s Chan Marshall. Startlingly delightful.
Wiry and creepy Idol-nerd Clay Aiken gets inspired by boyband fare with this
new single from his Measure of a Man disc. He starts by copping off a line
from Elton — “There’s something about the way you look tonight” — then
jumps deep into a Backstreet Boys/O-Town/Westlife musical orgy filled with
melodramatic gooeyness. OK, it doesn’t sound that disgusting. In fact,
it’s a pretty worthy piece of generic romantic sappiness, although when
Aiken sings about “the way that you tease” him, you have to wonder
who in their right mind would want to tease him. Oh wait...
ft. Kanye West:
Formed in the mid-’90s, hip-hop group Dilated Peoples are ready to move
up from the less-visible hip-hop underground, with their sights set on some
commercial success. And there’s no better way to do it than by teaming
up with R&B/hip-hop producer and artist-of-the-moment, Kanye West, who
brings his sounds of the streets to the Peoples’ first single off their
Neighbourhood Watch disc. With its “I can’t live my life this way” chorus,
the song takes the long-running hip-hop theme of escaping urban drudgery and
places it on an organic backdrop of piano, record-scratching and piccolo.
“I Want You”
The mighty hand of Kanye West also blesses this new Janet Jackson single from
her just-released Damita Jo album. “I Want You” is an elegant ’70s
soul number that harks back to the Motown era much like Alicia Keys’ “You
Don’t Know My Name” (also produced by West). Strings swoon and
background singers coo — all while Jackson recaptures some of the innocent
sweetness of her earlier work. But listening to the song and watching its accompanying
video are separate things. In the clip, Jackson is seen strolling the streets
and doing everyday things like going to the market. The pop star is trying
really hard to show you how grounded she is, but it all goes bust — literally — since
Jackson’s huge rack is prominently displayed throughout most of the video.