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Clean Bandit presents 2014′s first great pop single

9 April 2014 6 Comments
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cleanbanditTo say 2014 has been a slow year for quality pop music so far would be quite the understatement. In 2012, yesteryear’s pop star Limahl made a surprising return with his single “1983” in the second week of the year. In 2013, Justin Timberlake also kicked the year off to a great start with his hit single “Suit and Tie” in January. We have not been that fortunate in 2014. Judging by the fairly lackluster musical output from both veterans and new artists in the last few months, one might have expected to wait till the summer for some real pop music excitement. Interestingly enough, this year’s first great single comes from a band of unlikely pop stars – all of whom graduated from University in the Cambridge, UK. Their career trajectory probably puts a whole new spin on the notion of the “road not taken” relative to their university classmates. They are called Clean Bandit.

Their sonic template undoubtedly represents one of the most innovative blends in modern pop music. It is a potent concoction that borrows elements from classical music overlayed with drum beats that formed the foundation for early 90s dance music. The sound of musical instruments in uptempo pop music is a rare phenomenon – one that Clean Bandit unapologetically showcases in their music. Their hit single “Rather Be” topped the UK singles charts earlier in the year but it is their new single “Extraordinary” that has them poised for success on an even greater scale.

The song opens with featured guest vocalist Sharna Bass singing over a sparse piano and cello arrangement. The beats kick in in the song’s pre-chorus (which is incredibly reminiscent of Cee Cee Peniston’s early 90s hit single “Finally”) and pave for the way for a super-infectious sing-along chorus with a soaring melody. The violin segments in the chorus are bound to induce goose-bumps.

The song’s most sublime moments are on its glorious “Middle 8″.

Just don’t say it will be alright
I’m not holding yourself in your arms tonight
Don’t say it will all be fine
In only a moment you’ll say goodbye
Aay-Aay-Aay-Aay-Aay-Aay-Aay
Aay-Aay-Aay-Aay-Aay-Aay-Aay-Aay

Extraordinary” radiates with a youthful innocence that is rare in today’s pop music and serves as a stark antithesis to music released by the likes of pop starlets like Miley Cyrus. With this single, Clean Bandit defines the golden standard that young artists should aspire to as they hone their craft and prepare for careers in music. Clean Bandit, being the seminal artists that they are, do not shy away from investing in the visual that accompanies their singles. The video for “Extraordinary” showcases vivid imagery from Cuba and truly brings the song to life.

We admire Clean Bandit’s commitment to their artistry and wish them a long and successful career in pop music. Their debut album “New Eyes” is slated for release on May 12, 2014 and we can barely wait. Until then, here is a full-length video clip of “Extraordinary“:

So what do you think? Does our review to justice to the single? Please feel free to comment and share.

STAR RATING: 5/5

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6 Responses to "Clean Bandit presents 2014′s first great pop single"

  1. Frannie says:

    I’m sorry, but I just don’t get it. I don’t see the artistry. It seems pretty bland souless 90′s dance music and their voices lack character.
    Everyone’s down on Miley Cyrus because of the sexual stuff she does on stage, but she actually has some great pop songs. She actually has an interesting deeper slightly raspy voice that to me is more appealing than Clean Bandit. I really like her songs Wrecking Ball and Adore You. They are good pop songs and not that immature lyrically. Listen without prejudice as George Michael says! Don’t shoot me, but I’d rather listen to either of those than this.

  2. @Frannie: Since you are regular reader, if I will give the Miley tracks a chance (although I disliked her long before her sexual antics). The appeal of the song here stems from its blend of classical and early 90s dance music – a period I quite enjoyed and one that we don’t see very many throwbacks to.

  3. Frannie says:

    I’m weird like that. If there’s an artist that everyone seems to dislike, I feel like they are getting an unfair ride and I defend them. I never listened to her music before this album. I know she had a few previous albums but I never heard them. I actually heard Wrecking Ball on the radio. I loved it and I had no idea who the artist was. I was actually surprised it was by Miley since I didn’t think she would be someone I would like. I really didn’t dislike her, but I didn’t like her either. I really didn’t think much about her either way until I heard the song. I try not to judge artists based on their media persona but whether I like their song or their voice.
    I know 90s dance music is making a comeback. but I never liked it too much so perhaps that’s why I’m not into the song. I guess I don’t really hear the classical element to this song.
    Speaking of classically influenced artists, have you heard the new single Trouble’s Lament by Tori Amos? I really love it. It has kind of an acoustic/alt country/Americana feel to it but still quite accessible. Tori is my second favorite female artist of all time after Madonna.
    Back in the 90′s, the three top alternative female singers who I was really into were Tori, Bjork and PJ Harvey. I believe they were all featured on the cover of some magazine as Women of Rock. But now the only one I still like a lot is Tori. For me, Bjork and PJ Harvey kind of went off the deep end in becoming too avant garde for me. Tori has somewhat of an alternative sensibility but she still writes melodies in more of a conventional pop songwriting format which I love.

  4. @Frannie: The classical element is a little more pronounced in their other tracks. I am going to check out Trouble’s Lament by Tori Amos in a few minutes. I’ve actually liked some of her recent output although my first impression of her back in the day was not a particularly positive one. I remember “Cornflake girl” used to be played on MTV a lot – and I remember scratching my head wondering where the appeal was. Somehow, I could never get into Bjork and PJ Harvey. The only song I like by Bjork is “Karvel”. I might never be able to get to a point of liking anything by Miley Cyrus. I am still mad at the fact that I was made to dance to “Party in the USA” at my business school “admit” weekend back in 2010.

  5. Frannie says:

    I pretty much love everything Tori has recorded. She’s an interesting artist in that she does some sort of weird alternative things that aren’t suited for radio and then she does some more pop A/C accessible tracks. In recent years, Tori has become softer and more MOR and AC ballad based. Some of her fans have a big issue with that and think she has sold out, but I like both old and new Tori. Not that I want to stereotype, but I definitely think Tori has a greater appeal to women based on some of the things she sings about. I don’t know too many guys who are into Tori.
    My favorite PJ album is this album called Stories from the City, Stories from the Sea. It’s a rock based album but not too hard but with great melodies. But she completely disowned it and said it was too commercial and she’d never make another album like that. I think she is completely insane for thinking that and I don’t like her recent more avant garde output.
    I like Bjork’s first two albums Debut and Post when she did a combination of electronic and rock, but in recent years her stuff is too atonal for me. I also loved her old band the Sugarcubes.
    I have heard Party in the USA and I have to agree with you I don’t like that at all. But the two recent songs I mentioned from her are a lot better and more mature.

  6. @Frannie: I owe you a huge apology for the delayed response. Life got crazy at my end and I then I was traveling overseas for a while.

    I have a few male friends that are into Tori Amos but you are right, her appeal with females is much stronger mostly due to the lyrical content of the songs. I need to check out the PJ album. Will do my best to get to it this evening. Somehow, besides “Karvel’, nothing by Bjork has really resonated with me. As a result, we don’t even feature much of her music on our station. Once again, my apologies for the delayed response.

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