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Album review: Ting Ting's 'Songs From Nowheresville'

March 13, 2012 |  1:17 pm

Tingtings

Can a single song on a 10-track record ruin an entire album? Can one three-minute tune be so ill-conceived that its terribleness eclipses what’s good in the other nine songs?

Yes. When popping on the British duo the Ting Tings’ sophomore album, whatever you do, don’t put on “Hang It Up” first, because the utterly baffling rap by singer Katie White is tough to stomach and revives a subgenre — rock/rap — that should remained buried. Though the British duo, also featuring producer-instrumentalist Jules de Martino, partly resurrected that style on its 2008 debut, it did so with catchy gusto via the breakout hit “That’s Not My Name,” a defiant ditty about self-respect with a memorable shout-along chorus.

Actually, avoid “Soul Killing” while you’ve got your finger on the button, with its bedspring-bouncing rasta beat that sounds like a post-No Doubt commercial grab. Avoid the watered-down bummer that is “One by One” too.

What’s left? A few decent songs. The opener “Silence” is a nice tease that this record might have been better, and “Give it Back” has a Foster the People-suggestive groove that’s undeniable. But those aren’t good enough to make up for the bad songs; on the contrary, the mediocrity taints the entire record and makes one wonder how it all went so wrong.

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— Randall Roberts

“Songs From Nowheresville”
Ting Tings
(Columbia)
One star (out of four)

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