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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    Review: ScarJo, ‘The Singles’ extra sweet song

    Courtesy+of+The+Singles

    Courtesy of The Singles

    Kitschy synths and toothachingly sweet, silly lyrics — Scarlett Johansson’s newest musical effort plays with clichés that have accompanied all-girl bands since the beginning. Her new band, called The Singles (even though the actress and mother married in October), is all about boys, sugar and synths. Their first single, “Candy,” attempts to pay tribute to ’80s, all-female new wave groups from The Bangles (“Eternal Flame,” “Walk Like an Egyptian”) to The Go-Go’s (“We Got the Beat”) mixed with newer, more avant-garde influences, such as Canadian musician Grimes.

    According to a press release, Johansson wanted to create something that mixes irony and girl power. If that’s what “Candy” aims to do, it definitely succeeds: “You’re the candy to my heart,” Johansson sings breathily over catchy electro beats. There’s even a brief rap part, but it’s the saccharine lyrics that stand out. “Boy, you’re my chocolate from above,” Johansson sings in a song that could have come from the Sugababes.

    Johansson’s all-girl crew furthermore features Este Haim, the bass player of successful sister-combo Haim, on the drums as well as singer-songwriters Kendra Morris, Julia Haltigan and Holly Miranda for backup and instrumentation. According to Haim, the song was recorded no less than three years ago but has only been released as of Friday.

    “Candy” is Johansson’s first musical output since 2009’s poorly reviewed Pete Yorn collaboration, Break Up. This song, however, was produced by Dave Sitek of TV on the Radio, whom Johansson had previously worked with for her solid debut Anywhere I Lay My Head in 2008. Whereas these outputs were calmer and less pop-emphasized, “Candy” lays it on thick.

    “The idea was to write super-pop dance music written and performed by girls,” Johansson stated in a press release.

    The 30-year-old actress, whose career seems to be picking up pace again after giving birth to a daughter last year, showed her girl power on Monday, giving a touchy-feely John Travolta a dramatic side-eye at the Academy Awards.

    While “Candy” is catchy and serves as a good, sugary bridge until the next “Avengers” film comes to cinemas in May, the song’s sweet exterior disguises a monotonous, going-nowhere vibe. Nothing’s really happening in “Candy,” making it more like sweetener than actual sugar. Fortunately, like sweetener, this first release still leaves us craving.

    While with “Candy,” The Singles try a bit too hard to deliver a fresh dose of modern-times ’80s new wave, the lineup is promising enough to have us hoping for more.

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    Follow Caren Badtke on Twitter.

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