Nowheresville is Everywhere
Some time last month, The Ting Tings, a British duo that you swear is two women, but is actually a woman and a man, released their sophomore album, Sounds From Nowheresville. This title is fitting because after listening to it, there is no discernable cohesion to it whatsoever and one should question if they were trying to make an album at all. I think they just got bored and threw some decent songs together and decided to release it to the public. One album under their belt and a Best New Artist Grammy nomination (not win) must allow them to be as free as they want, even if the music suffers. The sounds heard on this album range from forgettable dance and subtle indie-pop to reggae-rap and glam-punk rock.
Songs like “Silence” and “One By One” are the most upbeat yet boring songs that should be ashamed to call themselves dance. Any listener can easily skip over them and not have missed anything significant. “Hit Me Down Sonny” had a very nice 90s throwback feel, but still very modern. With traces of TLC and a little of Nicki Minaj, the rhythm made me groove along with it. As most raps do, as well as some pop songs, the rhymes really drove the song home. The lyrics didn’t have emotional depth, but the hook and repetition of “Speedy Gonzalez” was stuck in my head long after the song was over.
“Give It Back” and “Guggenheim” are alternative rock songs, which is mainly in The Ting Tings’ wheel house. These songs are about empowerment and not needing anyone else to make them a better person. “Give It Back” is an angsty song about broken love and how the woman will get on with her life without the man who dumped her. “Guggenheim” is an anthem for all of those who want to pursue their dreams, but someone was holding them back until recently. My favorite thing about “Guggenheim,” besides its craziness, is that it can sound like The Supremes one minute in the verses and be punk in the chorus.
The airy pop songs like “Day To Day” and “Help” show off not only Katie White’s pretty good vocals, but they show versatility. The feel of both songs is very similar to something done by Marie Digby or Lisa Loeb. When listening to “In Your Life” I heard Christina Perri, specifically the song “1000 Years,” one of her emotive tunes about lost love. This song stood out to me as being the most unique in sound, because although there are different genres on this album, most of them you could tell it was the same singer, except “In Your Life.” It had a sophistication I had not yet heard, and it was a breath of fresh air. It made White sound like an adult who was taking her career seriously instead of a child who was outspoken.
Where in the past I have written off repetition as something that should not be done because songwriters should think of something more clever, on this album it worked. “Soul Killing” had a haunting chorus that reminded me very much of P.O.D’s “Youth Of The Nation.” The singing kids on this 2001 song drove the point home, and while it didn’t quite have the same effect for “Soul Killing,” it was a nice touch. And finally, “Hang It Up” basically repeated those lyrics numerous time in its chorus, but in a way that was far less obnoxious than most other songs. While there are four different remixes of the song on the deluxe album, a bit excessive in my opinion, the song is good enough to warrant an early placement on the album (the same cannot be said for “Silence”).