Duffy - 'Mercy'
It'd be too easy to dismiss this lady as another post-Winehouse cash-in. Another attempt by money-starved record labels to re-create a sales landslide which started a year and a half ago, by getting in a young female singer with impressive soul pipes, give her an authentic sounding Motown workover with a name producer (in this case Bernard Butler, who has some experience in this regard), and praying to God that 2008 isn't the year that everyone goes metal, or something.
But that wouldn't really be fair, especially as there's real personality in Duffy's voice, and this is a much sparkier affair than the slight, dreary 'Rockferry', which just seemed like the musical equivalent of model railway building - a scaled down version of something which made far more sense in its original context.
And there's no doubt that she's done better out of her deal with Mr Butler than Adele did with James Morrison's producer, in that the whole production seems to serve her, rather than the other way around.
Also, shrugging off the advances of any new British female soul singers is hardly fair in a climate of massively similar male acoustic troubadours, is it? A point which the Realplayer blog has already made very forcibly...
So...having listed all the reasons why this deserves a fair listen, what's it like? Well, assuming you haven't already played the video above - seriously, what are you doing coming here to read a description of the music using words, when the actual music is freely available on the same page? We've got other things to talk about! - it's like 'Stand By Me' by Ben E. King (last heard being ironed flat by Sean Kingston) crossed with 'Chain Of Fools' by Aretha Franklin, crossed with 'Where Are You Baby?' by Betty Boo, only livelier.
It's also a brilliant way of proving that less is more, given that Duffy only really sings one note throughout, with those soul inflections taking her hither and thither. Looks like this gold rush might be won or lost on a song-by-song basis, which involves using our taste glands for sifting purposes and not accepting things which should be precious but aren't.
We're panning for nuggets, people! Yee-HA!