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Scouting For Girls - 'Famous'

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Fraser McAlpine | 10:12 UK time, Friday, 16 July 2010

Scouting For Girls

Let's get the biggest issue out of the way first: I don't like it when singers criticise people who aren't singers for what they choose to do with their lives.

That applies just as much to anyone who writes a song sneering at people who work in nine-to-five jobs, as it does to people singing about how awful it is to want to be famous in this day and age. It's just plain bad manners.

The problem is, for a song like that to work you've got to take the person who is singing it out of the equation. It's fine to choose not to have a boring job, if that's in your power to do. It's fine to decide that you don't want to chase a life in the limelight, and to worry about a society that elevates public profile over talent and ability.

But it's a bit rich to be told off for being boring by a pop star (who is lucky enough to have a job which is not boring, paid for by boring people with jobs), and it's even MORE rich to be told society is daft because people want to be famous, by someone who wants to be famous.

I would take it from a doctor, or a teacher, but only if they did not put it into song form, as a way of launching a new career in entertainment.

(Here's the video. It's VERY literal.)

That aside, there are things which are quite good about this - mainly the churning 'Music Sounds Better With You' chords and the "whoo-hoo"s - and things which are not so great. Like the fact that it runs out of ideas two-thirds of the way through.

For a band who could previously hang their hat on being able to mix extreme sugary hookishness with emotive howlery (let me know if I'm getting technical here), this is too featherlight and silly to be convincing. And remember, I was the one saying 'This Ain't A Love Song' was a bit of a disappointment because it is too mature. I can take a LOT of silly.

I guess I like it better when the silly doesn't seem to be there to mask something more unpleasant, like a boorish dig at people who haven't paid their dues. The thing is, when it comes to fame, no-one has paid their dues. The good stuff you get is so far beyond a reward for what you did to get it, it's obscene, and the bad stuff (the REALLY bad stuff) is the kind of thing you wouldn't wish on your worst enemy.

The reality of being famous has got to be something like being psychic, and having to go about your business while listening to what everyone thinks about you all the time. No wonder you lose your sense of reality. Meanwhile, a man in a band is complaining because there's nothing on TV that he wants to watch.

Well, might I suggest he gets a DVD player? I hear The Wire is really good.

Two starsDownload: Out now

BBC Music page

(Fraser McAlpine)

Teen First says: "has all the makings of a Summer anthem for the festival stages and beyond"

Popjustice says: We love how an attack on superficiality can be so crass and depthless."

Nickolarse says: "Less incisive, perhaps, than Lily Allen's lyrics on 'The Fear' but it still hits a few marks."


  • Comment number 1.

    It's tinny, spineless rubbish like every one of their singles to date.

    And the "Whoo-hoo"s have been stolen directly from Passion Pit's 'Folds in Your Hands'.

  • Comment number 2.

    It's a typical, cheesy sing-a-long pop record, it's catchy and has a memorable chorus, even if it is badly written and sounds exactly like everything else they've previously released.
    It'll probably do quite well in the charts though.

    2 stars for the lack of originality.

  • Comment number 3.

    Haaa this song antifundamentalisticly fails (coining that phrase)! So do scouting for girl to be honest. 1 Star.

  • Comment number 4.

    I don't like the fact they referenced James Dean, when he was never a 'fake' celebrity was he? Nor did he have anything to do with the fake celebrity culture.

    As a song, it's a great summer tune, but it's very haphazard and some parts just sound a little disjointed... 3 stars.

  • Comment number 5.

    I always want to like Scouting for Girls, their name makes me smile. I feel they've used all their cleverness up on the name though. This feels like a poor man's Streets without much of a tune.

  • Comment number 6.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 7.

    Has Fraser ever given any song a 1 star?

  • Comment number 8.

  • Comment number 9.

    I believe that was done to Mika's 'Big Girl (You Are Beautiful' too, and to asnwer the question of a one star song... Eoghan Quigg's '28,000 Friends' has got that one filled.

    Now ask yourself, if you had to, which of the above songs would you rather listen to?

  • Comment number 10.

    yeah its a no brainer ! Now how did the chorus go again ? "you and your 28,000 friends " lol

  • Comment number 11.

    To be honest, I'd rather listen to eggnog quigglet than the painful wailings of Mika, I cannot stand that man, one of the most overhyped singers. around at the moment. At least eggnog had the decency to disappear

  • Comment number 12.

    And poor Leon Jackson... NO STARS?!? A little harsh Fraser (well I didn't see any stars, might be my phone lol)

  • Comment number 13.


    So you call this overhyped...

    'Rain' charting at #72
    'Blame It On The Girls' also charting at #72
    'Kick Ass (We Are Young)' charting at #84

    Granted 'Big Girl (You Are Beutiful)' is an awful song but he's an amazing song-writer and a true gentleman, who's not getting half the recognition he deserves these days.

  • Comment number 14.

    Maybe I did drop the ball on the overhyped comment, what I meant by it, was out of the 6 top twenty hits he's had, only one was actually any good (in my opinion)
    'Blame it on the girls' should have made top ten though.

  • Comment number 15.

    Yes but OddOne.

    'Grace Kelly' charted at #1.
    'Love Today' charted at #6.
    'Big Girl (You Are Beautiful)' charted at #9.
    'Happy Ending' charted at #7.
    'Relax (Take It Easy)' at #18. (This was released with little promotion as his first single and failed to chart in the Top 10 at its re-release because the album had been released several months previous).
    'Lollipop' at #59. (This was only a promo single).
    'We Are Golden' at #4.
    'Blame It On The Girls' at #72.
    'Rain' at #72.
    'Kick Ass (We Are Young)' at #84.

    Poor old Mika has suffered the sophomore slump like many artists such as Leona Lewis. But clearly there's some hype surrounding him. Out of the 10 singles Mika has released, five of them (half) were Top 10 hits. Its Mika's own fault for releasing the absolutely horrific 'Blame It On The Girls'. I know you think 'Rain' is amazing, OddOne, but I find it just about bearable. 'Kick Ass' is quite the choon though but the two dud singles before it probably put people off listening to another song. Here are my star ratings for Mika's singles.

    01. Grace Kelly - 3.5 STARS
    02. Love Today - 5 STARS
    03. Big Girl (You Are Beautiful) - 2.5 STARS
    04. Happy Ending - 3 STARS
    05. Relax (Take It Easy) - 2 STARS
    06. Lollipop - 1 STAR
    07. We Are Golden - 3 STARS
    08. Rain - 2.5 STARS
    09. Blame It On The Girls - 1 STAR
    10. Kick Ass (We Are Young) - 4.5 STARS

    Which brings the quality of Mika's singles, as registered by me, an average of 2.8 STARS.

    And I agree with Haducon, I would much rather listen to Eggnog's 28,000 Friends than listen to Scheecha or Leon 'He Wishes He Was Michael' Jackson. (Sorry they were terrible puns).

    I do think Mika is talented though despite a lot of his music not being for me and hope he does well with the third album.

  • Comment number 16.

    Either 'Touches You' and 'I See You' would've been far better choices for a second single, I strongly suggest you look them up because these were the song (along with 'Dr. John' and 'Rain') which made me grow onto Mika.

    And just for the hell of it - here's my rating of the singles:

    Grace Kelly - 4.0 STARS
    Love Today - 5.0 STARS
    Big Girl (You Are Beautiful) - 1.5 STARS
    Happy Ending - 5.0 STARS
    Relax (Take It Easy) - 4.5 STARS
    Lollipop - 1.0 STAR
    We Are Golden - 3.5 STARS
    Blame It On The Girls - 2.0 STARS
    Rain - 5.0 STARS
    Kick Ass (We Are Young) - 5.0 STARS

    'Touches You' and 'I See You' are also 5 star songs... one is hilariously George Michael-esque with an excellent charm about it not previously heard on any Mika single.

    And as for 'I See You', well if people wanted Mika to strip down (not literaly, he's already done that) his fancy artistry and calm down the skrieking falsetto to a point where it feels as if Mika's finally grown up - this is the song: less Mika-ish than 'Happy Ending' so it's very listenable, but very upsetting because you can Mika's giving it his all, whilst remaining dignified and composed throughout.

  • Comment number 17.

  • Comment number 18.

    To my mind in terms of pop songs that need to infiltrate the public to make the public buy them , the songs on "Life In Cartoon Motion" are far stronger in terms of hooks and radio/t.v profile than the songs on his second .

    It's almost the like the old saying :

    "You get your whole life to write your first album and three months to write your second ! "

  • Comment number 19.

    The Boy Who Knew Too Much was actually much better received critically than Life In Cartoon Motion.

    Mika was almost unavoidable when he burst onto the scene in 2007, the hype was amazing (and rightly so imo). I don't think the singles from the 2nd album were bad at all, just that the ones from LICM had more commercial swing going for them. And a lot of commercial radio stations never played any of his 2nd album singles at all which didn't help - neither does the fact that Radio 1 have abandoned him.

  • Comment number 20.

    @19. Lets face it, they Radio 1 have abandoned most people they tipped for 'success'. For example: Mika, Corrine Bailey Rae, Delphic, Empire of the Sun (to a certain extent), Amy Macdonald, VV Brown and Keane. (They didn't playlist 'Stop for a minute', WHY?)

  • Comment number 21.

    I could probably answer that , but the answer may prove upsetting to fans of the above artists .

  • Comment number 22.

    @ 20, Not to mention the gorgeous Sophie Ellis-Bextor - she's had to seek refuge on Radio 2 now! And even then it was only a live appearance of an unheard new single! I'm sorry but is 31 too old to be 'hip' now? In that case should we call Eminem, Shakira, Beyoncé, and all of Take That to just pack it in now?

    Okay then.

  • Comment number 23.

    Beyoncé is 28, OddOne.

  • Comment number 24.

    Re Sophie Ellis Bexter , Heartbreak Make Me A Dancer was a fantastic pop single that had a huge chorus hook and was rightly A listed .

    Bittersweet , however , as I said at the time had an extremely weak chorus hook and did NOT sound like a Radio 1 song .Probably one of the weakest choruses of Sophie's career , and the song was pedestrian compared to a lot of her previous work. Nowhere in the same league as Heartbreak .

    Empire Of The Sun
    We Are The People and Walking On A Dream are great radio songs and were rightly playlisted , whereas the remix of Without You sounded weak in comparison and was rightly passed. I am a huge fan of this band , but can see clearly the reason for this . The SONG was not good enough .

    Mika - I have said it many times but Rain was the downturn , a very lightweight radio song , that to my mind was rightly passed.
    We Are Golden , on the other hand was a fantastic single with strong hooks and a real bombastic chorus . Sounded great on the radio .

    Delphic had their first 3 singles playlisted , but the public failed to make any of them chart .

    VV Brown . Her best song and the biggest radio sounding hit was the fantastic Shark in The Water . Unfortunately all her other singles were not of the same standard and just passed me by . Not surprised they were passed over .

    Shakira - She Wolf was an immense single and rightly playlisted .
    Gypsy however did not deserve a playlist . Far too weak in it's hooks , and was far too rambling . It had nowhere near the impact of the first single .

    It is clear that the panel focus on the merits of each song. It is ALL about the individual track.

  • Comment number 25.

    I take back the Mika thing, he's always A-listed to be honest.

    The thing is, Delphic did indeed have their songs playlisted, but for about 3 Weeks! The same goes with Foals who I ADORE.

    But Spirit; PLEASE explain for the rest of the artists you didn't mention. I'm pretty sure your idea that 'each song is playlisted upon its own merits' DOES NOT apply to Amy Macdonald. 'Don't tell me that its over' had a HUGE chorus and so did 'Spark'.

  • Comment number 26.

    This is where I must apologise . I don't have enough knowledge of Amy MacDonald's work to comment .
    I am aware that This Is The Life is an absolutely fantastic song though.

  • Comment number 27.

    I loved Keane's Stop For A Minute with K'Naan , which peaked at number 40 , although the Night Train album peaked at number 1 , albeit with a very low first week total. (under 35,000).

    Stop For A Minute sounded more Radio 2 than Radio 1, if I'm honest .

  • Comment number 28.

    Don't apologise, there's no need to haha! But 'Stop For A Minute' had rapping in! RAPPING I TELL YOU! Which Radio 2 cut out cause the Gold Oldies would go spare ('Damn Kids these days with their Hippidy Hop music and their I-peas!)

  • Comment number 29.

    I have lots of knowledge on Amy Macdonald and I'll tell you why she's not being A-listed. Okay, this is simply my opinion and I know its controversial but the songs from A Curious Thing are just not as good as This Is The Life.

    Don't Tell Me That It's Over has a huge chorus - agreed! But it takes several listens to truly get into it. It's very much a grower track.

    Spark has an instantly catchy chorus but due to DTTIO failing to make the Top 40 and a lack of a music video probably prevented it from being A-listed.

    This Pretty Face has some great lyrics on our obsession with fame and Amy comes across throughly likeable but the song is lacking in a chorus and is largely unmemorable.

    Amy's first single from This Is The Life was Poison Prince. Amy had a lot of critical hype behind her plus the song was a brooding toe-tapper. The song still only peaked at a dismal #136 though.

    Mr Rock & Roll was a catchy folk toe-tapper with a heavenly chorus. It cracked the Top 20 at #12.

    My personal favourite single by Amy, L.A. flopped in at #48.

    This Is The Life, the title track, did better at #28.

    Run flopped at #75.

    Don't Tell Me That It's Over went to a disappointing #48.

    Spark failed to chart.

    And I doubt This Pretty Face will chart very high either.

    I know I sound harsh but I feel as a MASSIVE FAN of her first album that her second album just felt very samey and lacked any freshness. I know her first album sold something like a million copies but with only one Top 20 single in her catalogue, it seems a little ridiculous that Amy would be playlisted. Sorry!

    *runs and hides*

  • Comment number 30.

    But on the bright side, it's good to see that A Curious Thing has been certified Gold in the UK, Austria and Belgium while going Platinum in Germany and Switerland.

  • Comment number 31.

    Randy answered that little random enigma about AMY MACDONALD with the swagger of a champion . But will ADAM and ODD agree ?

  • Comment number 32.

    True true, she's still selling reasonably well (my 10-year old brother bought A curious thing a bit ago, he's failed to listen to it as of yet). Were Mr rock & Roll/LA/This Is the life A-Listed? Cause I don't know haha.

    I agree that the 2nd album is VERY same-y musically wise, but lyrically it's a lot deeper and she seems to have a lot to say at such a young age! But the genre of music she is doesn't allow for much variety. I think she could do with a Paolo Nutini makeover! Imagine Amy doing 'Pencil full of Lead', I'm sure she'd still manage to fit a line or two about consumerist culture ('the only drinks you buy are coca-cola, and all your pencils are Crayola?)

    Anyway, The only reason songs get into the Top 40 is due to Airplay. I'm pretty sure if 'Don't tell me that its over' had been play-listed, she would have ad a Top 20 single on her hands.

    But lets move onto another artist - Multi Platinum selling, BBC Sound of 2006 topping, BRIT Nominated, Grammy-Award WINNING and more recently nominated for the Mercury Prize ... CORRINE BAILEY RAE!

  • Comment number 33.

    I'm not from the UK and so the playlisting issue doesn't effect me. I forget that Corrine Bailey Rae has a new album sometimes. I think this is purely down to bad promotion by her record company.

  • Comment number 34.

    @32 " the only reason songs get into the top 40 is because of airplay . " I agree that in many cases it is a big factor , but I could also list many songs that have charted with no radio air play at all . Eg you're gone by marillion which went top ten . Acts with huge fan bases can chart an act with no airplay . But I totally agree that airplay can be a huge factor in contributing to retail success . Songs from films ,tv series , charity singles etc sometimes chart with no radio airplay but in the grand scheme of things radio and tv airplay is a huge shot in the arm for singles .


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