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Razorlight - 'Wire To Wire'

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Fraser McAlpine | 09:00 UK time, Tuesday, 21 October 2008

RazorlightWe are all reasonable people, aren't we? Slow to anger, quick to forgive, all that stuff, that's how we roll. And it's not nice to automatically dismiss the hard work musicians put into creating their latest hot waxings, unless you're just trying to make a name for yourself as some sort of written-down version of Simon Cowell. But there are limits to what we, as a music-loving nation, should be expected to put up with, and the slow transformation of Razorlight into Meat Loaf is so far across that line that the sign reading 'Abandon Hope All Ye Who Enter Here' is now a mere speck on the horizon behind us.

The reasons for this are many, so before we get into that, here's what's good about the new song by Razorlight. It has a decent tune, memorable and stirring (and not a million miles away from this). The tune is definitely worth a star on its own.

That's it as far as good news is concerned. From here on in, preposterousness reigns, and not the good kind, as you would find in 'Knights Of Cydonia' by Muse. That's so-crazy-it-shouldn't-work-but-it-does preposterous, this is...not.

It starts pretty well, a piano with a slight swing to it, not too stiff, not too deliberately epic. Johnny Borrell sings in a pleasing low growl about the nature of love, and although he runs out of melody by the end of the first line - the second line has none at all - there's nothing going on which could pain the ear. That's reserved for the second verse.

Oh, and here it is, Johnny is now singing an octave higher, and all it does is prove that his voice does not stretch in a sonically appealing way. It's thin, it's reedy, it quacks out some of the notes, and worst of all, it's a cold, harsh, spiky sort of noise. The fact that he is using this noise to sing a line as rubbish as "she lives on Disillusion Row" just makes everything ten times worse.

Bob Dylan had a song called 'Desolation Row' you see. So what has happened here is that Johnny has made a pun. But not a funny pun. No, Johnny is trying to add the weight and influence of Dylan's song to his own, so that people think he is worthy of taking on Dylan's Crown Of Influence In The Rock World. He's even talking about getting the line tattooed on his person, to really seal the deal.

It's not unlike Oasis when they throw Beatles references into their un-Beatley rock noise. It's also not unlike David Beckham attempting to play football in a Georgie Best wig, or Alex Zane attempting to be funny on Popworld after Simon Amstell left. All it says is that these artists know they don't measure up to other people from the past, and it should NOT be encouraged. Get your own words! Be your own people, people!

Anyway, from here it's just variations on a theme, only getting progressively louder. Johnny emotes, spits out his try-hard poetry, shirt carefully open to the waist, beads dangling, and some people well up and hug each other at the glorious majesty of sound, and some people get migraines whenever he hits that high note.

Now, if you'll excuse me, I need to lie in a dark, quiet room for a while...

One starsDownload: Out now
CD Released:
October 27th

(Fraser McAlpine)


  • Comment number 1.

    Desolation Row, Disillusion Row, Heartbreak Avenue, Boulevard of Broken Dreams, Skid Row, Highway to Hell, Road to Hell, Dead End Street.. Whatever place it is that Rock lives in, the town planners need a good kick up the arse,


  • Comment number 2.

    The Pop town planners, on the other hand, need to get more imaginitive....I mean "Warwick Avenue"? That's already a place!

  • Comment number 3.

    I'm going down to Alphabet Street.

    I've got to post a letter...

  • Comment number 4.

    The tune is great, could have been a classic.

    But I don't know, this just dosnt fit together for me.

    The first few lines (the low part) is much the better sound, that should be 75% of the track, perhaps through a higher bit in the 'change' verse (you know that bit where westlife change key and get up of the stools).

    More than that though is that the lyrics just don't fit with the rhythm on most lines, there seems to be a syllabel or two missing or extra on all of them and that really destroys the flow. A real pity because with a bit o lyrical tweaking and a more reserved performance it could have been very good.

  • Comment number 5.

    Forgot one: Desolation Highway.

    Pop Town seems to be generally more cheerful: Alphabet Street, Fascination Street, Walking Back to Happiness (Happiness being the residential district of Funky Town).

    Probably the worst place to live would be Norwegian Death metal town, to judge by their band names and song names.


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