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Devlin - 'Brainwashed'

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Fraser McAlpine | 08:02 UK time, Wednesday, 11 August 2010


Honestly, some people can be so NEEDY.

I mean sure, if you're going to be a pop star, it helps to have the kind of self-regard which occasionally finds you checking out your reflection in the taps on the sink. But to actually BEG your audience to remember who you are - even to go to the lengths of spelling out your name* - and then brag that anyone who does actually bother to do this is clearly being brainwashed by your astonishing talent...

Well that doesn't just take the cake. That takes the cake, the cake-dish, the cake-slice, the table-cloth AND the pretty little seaside teashop.

(Here's the video. That's not Mutya, is it?)

That's not to say Devlin doesn't HAVE astonishing talent, of course. If throwing in funny references to celebrities was an Olympic sport, he'd be up on the podium with Eminem. And as a calling-card for newbies, this does rather do the thing it is supposed to do, which is leave a mark on the memory.

Although, say it quietly, but the most memorable bit doesn't feature Devlin at all. There's an N-Dubz-y kind of "ayo ayo" moment in the chorus, without which the whole thing would probably start to sag under the weight of it it's own desperate need for attention. It would probably also help if the music wasn't quite so deliberately serious and focussed. We are, after all, talking about a rapper wanting to become more well-known.

And it leaves us with a conundrum: what are you supposed to DO to a song like this? It's too demanding to have on as background music, and too desperate for attention to work as an accompaniment to the sexy dancing...unless you're the kind of dance-floor pest who goes up to people you fancy and BEGS THEM TO REMEMBER YOU.

I guess it's the kind of *self-conscious cough* anthem which demands a baying crowd of people howling along - especially with the "ayo ayo" bit - all giving Devlin 100% of their attention and love and support.

And what does he do in return? Tell them they're brainwashed, and beg them not to forget him.

It's official. Pop stars: hard to please.

Three starsDownload: Out now

BBC Music page

(Fraser McAlpine)

* The temptation to spell it 'Delvin' has been almost overwhelming.

House Of Grime says: "After its numerous daytime radio plays, irony plays its part in the affair - I'm literally Brainwashed now."

Soundfiends says: "His name is Devlin, and he's the latest "it" guy from the UK.."

Unreality Shout says: "Whilst on the surface it appears as a shallow song about making you remember Devlin because he's got more to come, it actually speaks a bit louder than that."


  • Comment number 1.

    I've checked - it's not Mutya - she has a piercing in a different place above her lip. Annoyingly, at times it sounds like it could be either Mutya, Tulisa, Mutya, Jodie Connor, or even INNA. My money's on Jodie though.

    OMG! I've just noticed Fraser has referenced me in the speech marks at the end of his review! Where it says: "Unreality Shout says". :O I wrote that review! I'm touched.

    For anyone interested in my review - here it is: http://unrealityshout.com/blogs/single-review-devlin-brainwashed

    By the way: Sound review Fraser, but in my opinion this song, despite how arrogant it may seem, has a lot more to say than "I'm going to brainwash you"; the music sounds near-hypnotic and the chorus is irresistably good - he's put the idea of "brainwashing" into elements further than just the lyrics.

  • Comment number 2.

    I Like Music is an official online music magazine and I've just seen that they've got an exclusive interview with the one and only Devlin! You guys should check it out if you're a fan at http://www.ilikemusic.com/interviews/Devlin_Interview_2010-11433


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