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Scissor Sisters - 'Fire With Fire'

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Fraser McAlpine | 08:57 UK time, Friday, 18 June 2010

Scissor Sisters

I always loved the expression "fight fire with fire", because it really takes some thinking about. "An eye for an eye" has a certainly grisly logic to it, and implies that revenge is about swapping places with the person who has wronged you, leaving you both disfigured. But to fight a fire - metaphorical or real - with with another fire, just makes for a big fire. It doesn't make the fire go away, just ask anyone who ever got into a flame war with an idiot on YouTube.

A full list of the things that fire IS good at fighting would include the following: wood, the cold, raw food, over-inquisitive grizzly bears, paper, the deceased (in a respectful way, naturally), an unfriendly ambiance in a living room, marshmellows, the Guy, potatoes in foil, the lack of a sing-song in a campsite situation.

But I guess most of those wouldn't scan.

(No video, cos of the ads.)

Am I the only one who can hear something of Westlife's 'World Of Our Own' to the chorus here? It's definitely pitched somewhere between that's songs billowy lurch and Take That's more recent booming hugery. Which might be a sticking point for anyone still pining for that '70s rehash glam-trash thing that made the band famous in the first place.

Me, I was never that bothered. Too much Thomas The Tank Engine, too many deliberate, knowing steals from other (and let's face it, better) artists of the past. Even their one unshakeably great pop moment to date - 'I Don't Feel Like Dancin' - sounds better with a lot of space around it, so the mind has a chance to recover.

AND, apart from 'World Of Our Own', I could never stick Westlife, try as I might. So it comes as something of a shock to be won over by a more sincere, more open-hearted, more WESTLIFEY version of a band who previously were all haughty flash and cliquey cool.

Not that it's automatically true that anything which seems to ask big questions about we and us is automatically more sincere than a song about taking your mother out dancing. And you could just as easily argue that the thing the band used to do well was NOT take a leaf out of every other returning boyband and do a bit of a Coldplay arena shuffle.

But for me that would deny the glory of the chorus. Which is grand.

Who says two wrongs can't make a right?

Four starsDownload: Out now

BBC Music page

(Fraser McAlpine)

The Chemistry Is Dead says: "It's always nice to hear Jake Shears singing properly."

Muu Muse says: "The Sisters' [new] single is an abridged dance-rock anthem for the new decade."

The Pop Web says: "There's a real danger of this single just being a little too soft an option and thus killing the momentum of the album campaign before it's even got going."


  • Comment number 1.

    I LOVE this song!!! It definitely takes a few plays to get used to, but now it just get better and better with every listen.

    I love the way it builds slowly then by the 2nd chorus it reaches full flow. The verses are just as huge as the chorus too. It's a real anthem. It's been a long time coming but well worth the wait.

    Invisible Light is great too - teaming up with the brilliant Stuart Price can only be a good thing, and everything I've read and heard about the new album has been unanimously-positive so far. I'm so excited to hear it. Already got it pre-ordered! It is fantastic to have the Scissor Sisters back doing what they do best.

  • Comment number 2.

    Anthem alert!

    In a way it´s got the same feel to it as Kylies newie, ie lighters in the air kinda thing. Both are on the slower side, and they almost REQUIRE an extatic audience. You feel a bit lonesome if you listen to them on your own, don´t you?

    I´m actually a bit torn. I love this song, but I have a feeling it will feel very old very soon. Huge anthems usually get boring after a while. But that´s alright, it´s pop innit?

  • Comment number 3.

    I agree with the above comments! This song is gunna be HUGE! And the great thing is, it's only real competition on it's week of release is 'California Gurls', which is currently receiving mixed reviews for critics and public alike.

    But as for this song, Jake Shears gives his best vocal performance yet if you ask me; I was never that interested in the Scissor Sisters but didn't mind 'Filthy/Gorgeous' or 'I Don't Feel Like Dancing', but otherwise I never really appreciated them... until now.

    This song is a fantastic taster of what we can expect from their much anticipated third album 'Night Work'. I for one love this song and how it gradually transforms itself from a ballad into a fully-throbbing, anthemic, euphoric, all-guns-blazing chorus that's bound to get people dancing and singing along in the clubs.

    And there's, once again, a slight hint of a very young Elton John in Shears' vocals... but who can say no to a bit of Elton right?

    5 stars.

  • Comment number 4.

    Sadly I do think this will be beaten to no.1 by California Gurls, purely because of Katy Perry's popularity at the moment. But hopefully Scissor Sisters' performance on Jonathan Ross will give them a boost.

  • Comment number 5.

    I hope so too, kutox! Jake Shears is amazing live! Are they performing next friday or did I miss it? (OH NO!)

    I do like Katy Perry, and another #1 could only be a good thing for her, but I would prefer 'Fire With Fire' to top the charts, it's just got more to it, and I can listen to it knowing the lyrics mean more than having a good time yet it still manages to encapsulate a certain summer feel to it... unusually. AND there's no rediculous has-been rapper who's about 50-odd and who still thinks he's a pimp.

    I don't get why she did it? It's not like she needs to crack the States by shoving some random rapper who was big in America ten years ago. I'd like 'California Gurls' more if I could get a version with out him on it.

  • Comment number 6.

    Night Work sounds like it's gonna be an amazing album. I've heard some of the live performances on youtube and the 30 second previews on Itunes and it sounds brilliant, can't wait to hear the full versions of Night Work and Running Out.

  • Comment number 7.

    Hey OddOne, leave Snoop alone! I'm not his biggest fan but he's no has-been. He's put his name to lots of stinkers but he's also put his name to lots of great work, most recently Welcome To The World Of The Plastic Beach by Gorillaz.

  • Comment number 8.

    OddOne I'm afraid you did miss it, but it's on the BBC iPlayer and it's also repeated at 11:40 tonight on BBC 1. They didn't chat, they just performed Fire With Fire at the end of the show.

  • Comment number 9.

    All that needs saying, everything else has already been said

    5 stars

  • Comment number 10.

    To prove my point about Night Work being amazing here are three tunes from that very album, thanks to The Hype Machine.

    Any Which Way (Brilliant)

    Skin Tight (Slightly More Brilliant)

    Invisible Light (The Most Brilliant, It's Got Ian McKellen In It For Crying Out Loud!)

  • Comment number 11.

    I'm a little dubious about their new album actually. Someone postede me the leaks and until then I was certain I'd hold back until I'd bought it. But I have to say, I'm less than impressed.

    They are gunna have the hardest jobs in the world picking single from that album, everything is so sleazy and in-your-face. It's obvious which is to be the next single because there's only one other song that could pass as 'radio-friendly', which (quite surprisingly) is 'Night Work' itself.

    As for reviews, from what I've read they've been very positive with the stand-out tracks hailed as 'Sex And Violence', 'Invisible Light', 'Running Out', 'Skin Tight', and 'Any Which Way'. Of these only 'Any Which Way' and 'Invisible Light' interested me, so I really hope this album is a grower because as of now I won't be buying it, which is a shame after months of waiting.

    But what concerns me the most is the lead single, 'Fire With Fire'. It's a stand-out track, but only because it's so much more commercial than the others, and makes me wonder whether their record label made them put it on the album and ultimately made it the lead single because all the other songs were too provocative (and believe me, I felt I needed a shower after listening to the whole thing).

    So to conclude, only one track impresses me so far:

    Fire With Fire

    And three other vaguely interest me:

    Invisible Light
    Night Work
    Any Which Way

    'Something Like This', 'Skin Tight', 'Sex And Violence', 'Skin This Cat', 'Whole New Way', 'Nightlife', 'Running Out', and 'Harder You Get' do absolutely nothing for me at the moment. It's such a shame though, I wish I could like... maybe prolonged repeating will do something about it?

  • Comment number 12.

    I don't think being sleazy and in-your-face is a problem for Scissor Sisters, I'm pretty sure their biggest hit off the first album was Filthy/Gorgeous.

  • Comment number 13.

    I'd also like to add that I'm not fussed by Something Like This at the moment but it's growing on me.

  • Comment number 14.

    And on a note of leaks... I have an exclusive.

    An leaked track from Lady GaGa's third album has been released. The song in question is the re-worked and re-produced version of the originally acoustic piano track 'Then You Love Me'. This version, whilst being much dancier, is very intriguing, as I can't pinpoint anything about it to suggest that it's taking influence from her previous work, despite the fact it's the same genre. Very odd indeed.

    I also heard that the reason it was leaked was because someone paid a rediculous amount of money to hear it, but when the Haus of GaGa heard this person wanted to share the track, they edited a verse out and repeated the first one, the also edited the ending and the production was dampened.

    This also happened to 'Alejandro', although it was the other way around: the track was leaked but then RedOne re-produced it so that the official single which featured on the album was different, so sales wouldn't be hindered.

    You can find 'Then You Love Me' at YouTube.com etc... I really do hope it's included on her third album.

  • Comment number 15.

    And thanks, kutox, I watch the Scissor Sisters' performance on 'Friday Night with Jonathon Ross' earlier today on iPlayer. Well worth the search!

  • Comment number 16.

    Yeah it was harry, but it's odd that I liked that song, but these new songs are a bit on and off... hopefully they will begin to grow on me, like 'Any Which Way'.

  • Comment number 17.

    Oh bum :( Like I said before, everything I've heard and read from many sources about Night Work has so far been unanimously-positive... until now! Well, I already have it pre-ordered, so I'll just have to hope you're wrong and everyone else is right :P

    But seriously, what you say about it being sleazy and in-yer-face doesn't surprise me - I think the clue is in the cover art. I've listened through the 30-second previews on iTunes (although I'm not a fan of doing that, I guess it's ok as long as you only listen once or twice) and I have to say I LOVED what I heard.

  • Comment number 18.

    You can definately tell that Then You'd Love Me is a demo; the lyrics are too simple and the production is lacking in that glossy pop sound that Gaga always has, nevertheless it's got me interested in the new album.

  • Comment number 19.

    Yeah, it's probably one of the demos for a song that may actually appear on the third album so here's hoping bevause it's much better than the acoustic version.

    But as for 'Night Work', well it is growing on me I'll admit, but some of the songs are a bit too disturbing (even for me!) like 'Whole New Way', for example.

    Anyway, I'm gunna keep giving it time to soak in before I pass final judgment.

  • Comment number 20.

    Just finished listening to Night Work and have to say it's amazing definately in my top 5 albums for 2010, and it's got some tough competition. Fans of the first album shouldn't be disappointed as they gone back to their roots on this album whilst adding in some new electronic influences, there's also some big David Bowie influences especially on the 'heroes' style guitars the pop up on a couple of songs.

    If you enjoyed the 30 second previews then you should enjoy the whole album as the songs sound a lot better in full.


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