Safari - I Need You
During a random browse of various global iTunes charts a couple of weeks ago I stumbled across a song that sounded rather lovely in Norway's top 100. The 90 second clip of I Need You was enough to persuade me to download the full song and for the small expense of 99p I was treated to a beautiful gospel/soul song featuring some of the most beautiful harmonies and one of the most timless melodies I've heard since the 90s.
I Need You is a brilliant building ballad that almost sounds like a lost Mariah Carey or 90s girlband classic in parts. Gospel and religious music is something that I generally have little interest in but many pop singles have been improved with a gospel choir aided key change towards the end. And the odd gem still surfaces from the genre, like Caroldene's Time Is A Healer or the catchy new Destiny's Child (technically!) single Say Yes.
American pop punk band Good Charlotte ruled the early 00s with their unrivalled run of earworms including Girls And Boys, The Anthem and Lifestyles Of The Rich And Famous. I was never a particular fan myself but the brothers Madden have clearly always had a way with a tune and their new venture displays this in spades. Joel and Benji, the twin brothers from the group, are back with a new single under the moniker The Madden Brothers, and We Are Done is an unexpected but rather fantastic sonic departure.
The sweet summery song features an irresistible whistling hook and rather subdued but effective verses that lead into a glorious 1960s style anthemic chorus reminiscent of the Beach Boys. But you can still hear the voices and charisma that made Good Charlotte such a success and if there's any justice this will become a huge hit single for the duo. It's already reached the business end of the charts in Australia, where Joel has been a judge on The Voice since 2011, and all bodes well for other territories to soon follow suit.
5 Seconds Of Summer - Rejects
Australian pop/rock boyband 5 Seconds Of Summer have proved an instant hit in the wake of the international success of the likes of One Direction and The Wanted over the past few years. 5SOS have a slightly harder sound than even the rockier leanings from 1D and the group already have Kerrang on side, which is unusual for a boyband.
Their two hit singles so far, She Looks So Perfect and Don't Stop, have been perfectly serviceable pop tunes, the former being a strong statement of a debut single, but Rejects, the b-side to Don't Stop, displays far more future potential. A punchy air guitar intro smashes into an instantly memorable rock song about social rejection with verses and a middle eight that recall Busted and a chorus that has the hallmarks of Sum 41 stamped all over it. Frankly, Rejects should have been the single and Don't Stop the b-side.