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Alexandra Burke - 'Bad Boys'

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Vicki Vicki | 09:41 UK time, Sunday, 11 October 2009

Alexandra Burke
It's tempting to imagine that Alexandra was especially well-prepared for her time on the X-Factor, simply because of her name. You see, back in the middle ages, to call someone 'a berk' was an insult (well, okay, it was used when my parents were growing up, though that's close enough), which must have made school interesting. Bullying is hard enough to deal with when it's done by children, but their PARENTS?

Anyway, now this one lady is single handedly redefining what it means to be a burke, and ironically - given the bullying thing - it's all thanks to 'Bad Boys'.

(Here's the video - note, it is terrible and features some VERY questionable dance moves, but man, she looks amazing.)

Yes, it's Alexandra's first 'proper' single. I say proper, because to my mind, no WAY did 'Hallelujah' count (I'm sorry, but no one will ever do it better than Jeff Buckley and more to the point, ummm, did she just do a Leona-meets-Snow-Patrol on us? If I'd voted I would have demanded my money back).

'Bad Boys' is a classic example of the X Factor machine whirring into motion. It's a big pop song, with a sassy R&B vibe, a big production and an even bigger chorus - but with so much to prove, there was no way Alexandra would be allowed to release anything less than brilliant. And, despite its 'oooh, I think I've heard it before' recognisability and its strategic flaws (more on that later), this song is exactly that: Brilliant.

It's also a bit of a safe song for Alexandra. It's very contemporary, fits right in and ticks all the boxes. This can be forgiven, because it not only fits in but raises the bar for the Saturdays, Sugababes et al with a massive, catchy chorus, Alexandra's strong voice and that little twinkly bit at the bridge.

One thing that can't be forgiven though is Flo Rida. Urgh. Why is he even involved? His input is ridiculous and totally unnecessary; it's such a blatantly strategic attempt at breaking the American market it makes me want to barf. Interestingly though, it doesn't ruin the song at all - it's like you can listen to it, switch off at the rap bit, and tune back in for the big fat chorus. Great for Alexandra, perhaps not so much for Flo Rida.

It's impossible not to compare this to 'Bleeding Love' which was 2007 X Factor winner Leona Lewis' first single. 'Bad Boys' is good and modern, slotting neatly into the charts and giving people a good excuse to sing along and dance, but will it be a long laster and the 'modern day classic' that James Cordon called 'Bleeding Love'? Doubtful. But sometimes good songs don't have to be about longevity, they can be about the moment.
And right now, it's Alexandra's moment and no one, not a bad boy, not a Flo Rida, not even a Cheryl Cole, is gonna take that away... 'ooh wah'.

Five starsDownload: Out now
CD Released: October 5th
BBC Music page

(Vicki Lutas)


  • Comment number 1.

    The clips I have seen of it make me think that it is a good example of the genre. It is catching, entertaining and full of the sort of moves that many sub teen girls will try to imitate. It's simplicity will make many people think that they could do just as well if they entered that show called the Clone Factor. It is all about giving a section of the population what they want. Others might sneer at its commercialism and lack of originality, but not everything neeeds to be 'cutting edge'. Sometimes you want Masterchef, at other times comfort food is what you want. Alex Burke's contribution to the music scene falls well into the latter category, if slightly less memorable than egg and chips.

  • Comment number 2.

    Check out this great X Factor song For Christmas No1 2009


  • Comment number 3.

    In the title, "Alexandera" should be "Alexandra"; and the quite famous song she sang was "Hallelujah", with a J, not an I.

    Yeah, you might think it's pedantic, but c'mon: the name of the artist and her first single? If I don't proofread your reviews, who will?


  • Comment number 4.

    All amended - thanks for the heads up. I guess I was so keen to get my thoughts out, checking the spelling wasn't really (x) factored in.

    Or something.

    (Yeah, that excuse never went down well with the teachers at school either.)

  • Comment number 5.

    Right , let's get STRAIGHT to the point !

    This song by Alexandra is absolute pop heaven !
    The jewel in this songs crown is the main chorus hook that is "catchier " than a casual high lob to silly mid-on !!!

    Fantastic chorus . Immense.
    Love the video too, with elements of humour.
    Flo-rida's input lifts the song and adds another ingredient to the mix.
    Great bassline , that gives the song real pace and excitement , and gives the song velocity.

    Compare this song to the Saturdays "Forever is over " and you will see why the need for a big chorus hook is so , so important if you want a memorable song and a Number 1 single.
    Bad boys literally beats up and spits out Forever is over.

    Now will Bad Boys go to NUMBER 1 ?

    In an ordinary week yes , but it will have to fight off Robbie's new single which is also quite good , but doesn't have the huge chorus hook that Bad Boys has .
    For this reason , I am tipping Alexandra but expect it to be mighty close.
    If Alexandra can outsell Robbie , she will be NUMBER 1 .

    As a pop single , Bad Boys warrants 5 stars !

  • Comment number 6.

    Hi Reggie here again!
    Hope you're all lovin' YOUR Chart Show, and that you liked my show with Jack Osborne "Extreme Sports for Rich Idiots". We do all these great sports like bungee & Helicopter swinging.
    Jack gets a lot of stick, but he's pulled it round with his series on children of slebs so give the guy a break! He's hilarious!

  • Comment number 7.

    Earlier on Reggie was talking about how he & Jack Osborne (who is related to Ozzie, you know) do extreme sports, yet surely being attached to an elastic & dropped off a bridge is scarcely a sport.
    Ditto the "Helicopter Swing". Surely if an activity can be done just as well by a sack of spuds it is not a sport?

  • Comment number 8.

    Well done to Chipmunk, but Example rather blew the surprise by revealing that the label usually emails the chart positions at 3.
    And the conspiracy theorists were proved right, but for the right reasons?

  • Comment number 9.

    i don't see it guys.. i guess i can see why people like it, and when the goes higher in the second half of the chorus it sounds good... but naa..

    spirit, i thought we had made this clear!: 'Bad boys literally beats up and spits out Forever is over.' it literally does that? what is it with people using that word completely out of context right now?!!??!?!

    stupid word trends, bring back calling people 'berks'

  • Comment number 10.

    This songs a 3 star job I recon. Catchy, polished, good vocals ... just a bit dull and I find it a bit annoying.

    Apparently she mimed it on X Factor??! Ive not seen it yet, but thats embarassing to say the least.

  • Comment number 11.

    i haven't heard such cheap lyrics in many a year... honestly, i don't know who the hell wrote this song, but a 5-year-old could of come up with something better. i know there's been some lyrically-bad songs recently (like Sexy Bitch) but in terms of lyrics being cheap and tacky, this song blows them all away (but closely followed by JLS).

    on first listen this song does seem like a refreshing change from the usual soppy depressing ballads that Cowell's other x factor puppets have done, but look beyond that and i don't think it's all that good, it's just unbelievably cheesy and gimmicky - eurovision style. very annoying.

    it actually sounds like a gay anthem - i don't mean that in a bad or offensive way - just the lyrics and the chorus sound perfect for it. just a random point.

    still hate the song though, cheap as cheap can be! Alex has been manufactured into what Syco think will work for her - there's a surprise. but i suppose they know that the kids who watch x factor will go hysterical at anything that comes from that show.

  • Comment number 12.

    As for saying whether Bad Boys can match Bleeding Love that can only be a fact when it has had the same life span as bleeding before & after it's success. She already is Nokia single of the week, she bit Robbie Williams yesterday to top i tunes chart. The song is very catch and fun but the extent to which we can compare this to bleeding love is kin of limited b/c they're different genres of music.

    BloggingLiam how can you talk about something on a chat site you are not sure about? She did not mime most viewers are not informed about how live performances are done, she simply had a backing track recorded in her voice so she could catch some breath in parts where the dance routine was very heavy.

    When you watch the clip and even watch the original video you will know that she didn't mime. Besides you could hear her breathing slightly in some parts & the her voice going a little flat in some places where the dancing was heavy.

    Most established singers use the same method like Beyonce, Madonna & others, u can't definitely sing 100% of the song with such dance routine or can you?

  • Comment number 13.

    I thought Alexandra's performance on X-Factor was first class , with top notch choreography and a good cameo by Flo-rida .
    It built to a thrilling visual climax .

    Another reason why I tip this song for Number 1 .

  • Comment number 14.

    Yeah, she definitely wasn't lip syncing! She had a backing track but you could definitely tell she was singing it live. Her voice didn't sound like the studio version of the song!

  • Comment number 15.

    i dont watch x factor.. but mismaggi is sounding terrible bias by writing that 'she simply had a backing track recorded in her voice'... that sounds quite a bit like she was lip syncing.... but as other ppl have written she sounded live so i am confizzled to say the least..

    also as much as blogginliam may need to 'get his facts right', he was asking a question mismaggi... as in he did not know whether what he was writing was fact or not. get YOUR facts right.

    this has nothing to do with my plutonic love for spirit, liam, enigma and curtain.

  • Comment number 16.

    Loving the passion on the blog . Alex sang the lead vocal live to a pre recorded backing track that had backing vocals and harmonies already on it . This is a well used technique in the industry for public appearances in night clubs or for tv appearances .

  • Comment number 17.

    "She bit ROBBIE WILLIAMS yesterday " . Look I know they are both battling for number 1 , but surely that is an illegal move !

  • Comment number 18.

    I have had time to reflect , and FK , I have decided that I would like a "platonic " love with you . A "plutonic" love , sounds like a love affair that involves you , me and a cartoon dog !

  • Comment number 19.

    Plutonic - derived from magma that has cooled and solidified below the surface of the earth.

    The kind of love FK is describing used to be REALLY HOT, and is now cold and lumpy. Sad. :-(

  • Comment number 20.

    And another reason why I would prefer " platonic . "

  • Comment number 21.

    .... definitely meant the magma one.......

    also.. death cab for cutie - meet me at the equinox.. its one of the songs for some vampire film called twilight or something... real grower

  • Comment number 22.

    FK , I am gutted that Pluto will not be joining us ! But here is the deal . You can be cold and lumpy with the others , but hot and steamy with me . 0k ?

  • Comment number 23.

    *wipes computer screen* ICK! EVERYTHING IS COVERED IN ICK!

  • Comment number 24.

    The sound of a lover scorned . . .

  • Comment number 25.

    Really? I'm sorry to hear that. It's not really an excuse though...

  • Comment number 26.

    Come on Fraser ! You have missed a bit ! And your computer screen is not going to clean itself .

  • Comment number 27.

    Im still internetless and TVless at home so Ive not watched it yet. But Ive heard both Greg James and Chris Moyles say she mimed, so sorry if she didnt! mismaggi I wasnt aware I needed to footnote source everything I say and only say things I know 100% to be true. Sorry if somebody peed in your corn flakes this morning or something ;)

  • Comment number 28.

    One thing you will always find on chart blog is passionate fans of artists . Certainly makes for interesting chat . Well I have tipped alex for number 1 , due to the fact that although I rate it as a fantastic POP single , my musical radar , which some music lovers have , can pick up the fact that this song has the ingredients to appeal to hundreds of thousands of other people , thus recognising that it will debut in the top spot . Does anyone else feel this ?

  • Comment number 29.

    Sorry there are no paragraphs , I am currently on my phone , in a coach in london , alongside the river thames near chelsea . The view is great , shame the phone doesnt do paragraphs . .

  • Comment number 30.

    Some music lovers have musical radar? Only some of them? I wonder how that works...

    Is it like a jukebox? That would make surveillance more entertaining...

  • Comment number 31.

    yea standard spirit modesty there

  • Comment number 32.

    Thanks for your input Rachel S .
    You should really join us more often and share all your favourite songs and artists.
    Anyway , my musical radar picks up that Bad Boys will appeal to hundreds of thousands of people and debut in the top spot , some will marvel at that killer of a chorus hook while some others will dismiss it as pop nonsense.
    Either way , in my opinion , this song has got the ingredients to go to Number 1 , the chorus , the radio play , the tv play . the nightclub effect , X-Factor , word of mouth , Florida ... etc
    Some people will have heard this as a number 1 single weeks ago , others, like many of my colleagues , won't have .
    Anyway , Rachel , let's hear your likes , I need to stop going on before all the Robbie fans come and lynch me !

    P.s Don't panic Robbie fans , Bodies is a good song , and I like the new album too...

  • Comment number 33.

    And this is me trying to rein it in, Flatknees ...


  • Comment number 34.

    Eew. This sounds like Keri Hilson... and she's even starting to look like Keri Hilson! Alexandra's voice, and self esteem, deserve better.

  • Comment number 35.

    Re: comment 32:

    Well, like most people, I like loads but lately I've loved The Candle Thieves, Goldheart Assembly, Florence And The Machine, The Killers, Paolo Nutini, Wild Beasts (and The Beatles!)... and I'm bound to have forgotten someone else that I liked best of all!

    Robbie Williams is a favourite too, but I'm not sure about this latest song... He can carry off practically anything, but it's a bit something and nothing!

  • Comment number 36.

    Wow Rachel S , someone on this blog really likes The Candle Thieves as well , but I can't quite remember who.
    Hmm .... they liked The Sunshine Song.
    Now who was it ?
    They also like Florence , Paulo and definitely Wild Beasts...

  • Comment number 37.

    I'm with FK. That Death Cab For Cutie song is really good. Bought it at the weekend, along with Flashing Red Light Means Go by the Boxer Rebellion; and The Great Disruptors by Sweethead. Got the new Cribs song in my sights too (We Share The Same Skies).

    Give them a try folks. The Sweethead one's good, cool rock and roll. The Death Cab and Boxer Rebellion ones are a little... I dunno... Bloc Party? But with tunes. The Boxer Rebellion one also made me think of The Temper Trap. And the Cribs - well, in this one, you can definitely tell that the guitarist used to be in The Smiths.

  • Comment number 38.

    Someone else has heard of Sweethead! Praise be the day.
    And Meet Me At The Equinox is more brilliance from Death Cab for Cutie.
    Anyway, the song is boring.
    I really like Alexandra; she doesn't have the annoying vibrato thing going on like Leona, and in my opinion has a nicer tone to her voice. She's moved away from Cowell's dream plan of invading the world with boring (mainly covered) ballads and vacuous expression album covers.
    But she's not quite there with the brilliant songs. It's just this song is good but isn't that great. Song for the moment, I get, but not 5 star. It won't last.
    My dad also interestingly said it's a re-run of Womanizer. I see similarities. But Womanizer is a good song which will last, and deserved a 5 star rating.
    But overall, still a 4 star for me. I agree about Flo Rida. There is actually a No Rap version floating around methinks.

  • Comment number 39.

    Brilliant !
    The gorgeous girl from Wolves returns !

    What songs are you loving at the mo Moz ?

  • Comment number 40.

    Yeah, there is a no rap version where Alexandra sings the bridge herself and it sounds quite nice! But you know what? I LOVE Flo Rida's rap in this song! I really do, I think it just adds an extra element to the song even though it is a ploy for commercial success in the American market! And we all know that I am not exactly Flo's biggest fan but I thought it was cool he performed with her on X-Factor. But didn't steal her thunder either!

    I like this song, Alexandra has a real retro voice, not like Duffy or Amy Winehouse, she sounds every inch the disco diva on this tune!

  • Comment number 41.

    Alexandra is number 1 !
    Robbie is number 2 !
    If you have time, please scroll up to comment 5 which I left last Sunday afternoon , and give it a read.

    I love music with total passion .Some people totally understand this....
    I've enjoyed sharing great moments and chatting to so many great people on this site.

    Love to all....

  • Comment number 42.



    A BEACH BALL gives the mighty SUNDERLAND victory against LIVERPOOL !!! lol

    And ALEXANDRA achieves the highest first week sales of ANY single this year , TO DEBUT AT NUMBER 1 !!!


  • Comment number 43.

    Comment 41 looked like a permenant sign off Spirit, I was worried.


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