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Jordin Sparks - 'Battlefield'

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Fraser McAlpine | 14:11 UK time, Tuesday, 23 June 2009

Jordin SparksNot wishing to name names, but there were those who, when Jordin Sparks was declared the winner of season six of American Idol, sniffed that her career would be over in a matter of months. I insisted she'd most likely do quite well overseas at the very least, and while the battle clearly isn't over yet, the chance of me turning out to be right is looking promising, at least.

Speaking of battles, Jordin would know why love has to feel like a battlefield. My suggestion would be that she should ask Pat Benatar, who first noticed the similarity back in 1985, four years before Jordin was even born. I suddenly feel very old.

(Here's the video, which seems to be set in a Mariah Carey version of Glastonbury.)

Anyway, the single: it begins as a breathy, earnest ballad led by piano and a drum loop, with Jordin musing about a difficult relationship ("one word turns into a war/why is it the smallest things that tear us down?") and then just when you think you've got the measure of it, the chorus kicks in in a BMM-BMM-TISCH sort of way and everything gets much louder and pleading./

Then again, just when you think you've got the measure of it, it does ANOTHER switcharoo on you and turns into some kind of battle charge with Jordin bellowing "why does love always feel like a BATTLEFIELD? A BATTLEFIELD? A BATTLEFIELD?" in a way that compels you to punch your arm in the air as though you're lining up ready to storm the Houses of Parliament to demand that they table a new law to outlaw love ever having to be like a battlefield, or something.

So far, so awesome. Surely it can't get better than that? Oh, but it does: we repeat the above pattern for the second verse and chorus, the effect of which is lessened a little bit now that we all know what's coming, but then just when we think we've figured it all out (again), all of the backing crashes out and Jordin informs us that "you'd better go and get your armour" and then the bells come crashing in and you half expect a tank to come crashing through the wall, it's that brilliant.

Clearly this song takes the expectations brought on by the title 'Battlefield' very seriously.

Essentially it's about four different songs all mashed together and jostling for space, but the only thing that's stopping this from being a five star song is that after the initial novelty wore off, I tended to find myself mentally hurrying the song along for the first two minutes because I wanted it to get to the "better go and get your armour" bit, which remains amazing.

If the rest of the track was up to that standard, I'd probably be asking Fraser if he could make a seven-star graphic for me to give this song. Not that the rest of it isn't good, because it is, but it's just not amazing, and if you can be amazing for about a minute's worth of song, I don't see why you can't be equally amazing for the other three. Possibly a bit harsh, but frankly it's the only way she'll learn.

Four starsDownload: Out now
CD Released: June 29th
BBC Music page

(Steve Perkins)

Idolator says: "It still sounds somewhat odd to these ears, like her voice has been dosed with a double shot of Splenda because that was the only way it could match up to the bombast surrounding her."
The Singles Jukebox says: "You wouldn't expect a songwriter to give Jordin a better song than they gave Beyoncé, but it seems to have happened!"


  • Comment number 1.

    awwh i like your review. But i would give it 5 stars cause i love this song :D x

  • Comment number 2.

    Yeah Battlefield's got a lot going fot it , and the review is very good . Jordin has talent for the future i, especially if she keeps releasing good songs .

    Talking of future songs, here comes some predictions......

    Calvin Harris - Ready for the weekend Top 5.

    Jls - Beat again - top 10

    Chipmunk- Diamond rings- Top 20

    The playlist updated today and Mr Hudson moves up to the B list..... momentum builds..

    Yo Nosh.. what do you think of JLS - Beat again ?

  • Comment number 3.

    heyy! i didnt like it at first but now i do.. what do u think of it? x x

  • Comment number 4.

    Well the Jls song is not really my thing.. but being objective and from a business point of view, it's a good pop song.

    They look good , sing good and dance good !

    Their management have done well.They have resisted the temptation to make a quick buck with rushed inferior product , and worked on the first song being a bit of a corker with commercial strength, which will bode well for an album.

    Whisper it quietly Nosh , I predict a top 5 for this song, but it might even go right to the top. Maybe !

  • Comment number 5.

    This song should be no 1 for months, just like Umbrella! Just imagine it coming out the car stereo really loud and singing along...

  • Comment number 6.

    The constant switches of pace and tempo and instrumentation after the second verse raise this up from being a straightforward R'n'B ballad to being a genuinely diverting pop song.

    I like the portamento effect on the keyboard during the main chorus and the (off key) bell which strikes announcing the full band's reappearance. The moments of calm later on take the song elsewhere still..

    In artistic terms, the song represents turmoil quite well, along with the moments of false calm that pepper it.

    Pat Benatar sang of Love being a Battlefield and many have sung "what are we fighting for" for one reason or another, and one of the things we are fighting here is predictable pop, which this is not.


  • Comment number 7.

    Battle-feeee-uhhld! Y
    Yes, the "bettagoangetchahmah" makes the entire song :)

  • Comment number 8.

    I just have one question about the video.

    Why would she drive a big expensive car into the middle of a field and then get out and sing!

    Oh I guess it's a music video so it doesn't have to make sense!

  • Comment number 9.

    Subtle use of the word "Switcharoo" there!

    Cracking review! 4Stars seems about right for Jordin Sparks, although No Air remains my favourite song of hers.


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