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VV Brown - 'Shark In The Water'

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Fraser McAlpine | 19:03 UK time, Saturday, 4 July 2009

VV BrownOh blimey, my spider-sense is tingling...

Now, it's fair to say there's a certain overlap between the vocal work on the verses of this pretty pop song and that of Ms. Amy Winehouse, and by rights, Paloma Faith could come over here and start some trouble, especially after the way I treated her, not that long ago.

BUT, the thing to bear in mind before laying siege to Castle ChartBlog is that I was making a point about the marketing of Paloma, especially in the video. It seemed to be a deliberate attempt to make a link between her and Amy in the minds of the record-buying public, and that it's a shame to taint a new artist with another, bigger artist's vital essence.

There is no such problem with VV Brown, as her bubbly, fizzy personality takes her laughing and skipping away from the smeared-lipstick, decadent-lifestyle, faded glamour thing and into a much more fun area.

(Here's the video. Oi! Who dropped that telly?)

So, before the Paloma vs VV vs Amy-off gets started, can I bring your attention to the following items?

Things Which Are Always Welcome In Pop Songs:

Bo Diddley-type strums on an acoustic guitar (ask a teddy boy). See George Michael's 'Faith' for details. Tell him I sent you.

Good singing by a singer who has a pleasant voice and does not overdo the vocal mannerisms.

Handclaps. I cannot stress this enough.

"Do, do-do, do-do-do" backing vocals straight out of Lou Reed's 'Walk On The Wild' side (ask your palest uncle, the one with the Sonic Youth T-shirts). Actually the backing vocals on this are pretty damn perfect throughout.

An arrangement in which the song seems to get bigger and bigger as it goes on, and then suddenly ends with a little 'ting!' on a glockenspiel. Smart!

It's worth an extra mention for the harmonic arrangement, particularly the little melodic swoop up just before the second chorus kicks in. That's brilliant.

Now, if anyone needs me, I shall be hiding under the skirt of Paloma's metal umbrella dress. Don't panic, no-one's wearing it...

Four starsDownload: Out now
CD Released: July 6th
BBC Music page

(Fraser McAlpine)


  • Comment number 1.

    Haha, I liike the way you are trying to be all careful and talk about the song and all it's technicalities after getting slammed for the last review you did.

    (um, can you hear me under that dress? what IS a metal umbrella dress anyway? does it have a convenient umbrella attached?)

  • Comment number 2.

    Good review , the intro on the acoustic is definitely "Faith " a la Bo Diddley.
    What stops this song from being placed in the box with A.W and P.F is that really powerful , catchy chorus which is the main selling point of the song . It is open to question whether this has enough originality and wow factor to be a big hit and the profile of VV needs to be raised a lot higher in terms of airplay.
    Nonetheless , I cannot deny that the chorus shows a lot of potential.

    p.s VV reminds me a little of Santogold who released one of my favourite albums of 2008 ! Les Artistes is one hell of a great song !
    p.p.s I can imagine playing hide and seek with Fraser would be quite fun !

  • Comment number 3.

    VV Brown is headlining the Bristol Harbour Festival very soon.


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