Hon Jiun Wong
Fans of the song “That’s Not My Name” should have been happy when indie pop duo, The Ting Tings announced that they were going to be releasing a new album. The Ting Tings, made up of Katie White and Jules De Martino, were formed in December 2007 and released their debut album, ‘We Started Nothing’ in 2008 and ‘Sounds from Nowheresville’ in 2012. “Super Critical” is their 30 minute third album released in late October.
The album starts with the title track ‘Super Critical’ and it’s a funky, upbeat song, not unlike “That’s Not My Name”. While the instrumentation of the song is actually quite good and great for dancing to, it seems that The Ting Tings still haven’t progressed much lyrically. The song is incredibly repetitive and doesn’t offer much of a narrative.
The introduction to the next song “Daughter” is exciting, with a delicious guitar riff. However, that's where the compliments end. Repeating both the chorus and the verse, one has to wonder whether The Ting Tings are just inherently lazy or they’re not creative enough to write a second verse. Thankfully, they do change it up a bit in “Do It Again”; the Nile Rodgers-sounding song is driven by a funky disco groove and is actually quite likeable. However, that could also be because of its similarity to Daft Punk’s Get Lucky.
‘Wrong Club’ is clearly the best song of the album as Katie White decides to show more of her surprisingly likeable voice. The fade-in does detract from the song: it’s only 15 seconds in that the song actually takes full form. Singing about how she doesn’t like the DJ nor the club she’s in, ‘Wrong Club’ is bound to catch on. ‘Wabi Sabi’ follows after and is clearly a 'WTF-moment': the ballad is surprising in such a disco and funk-heavy album. While one can understand why they threw the song in there - to stop the album from sounding too 'disco-ey' - but it was clearly the wrong decision.
‘Only Love’ and ‘Communication’ pick up the pace again and it’s a welcome change, even though the lyrics and the story are still repetitive. ‘Only Love’ sounds like something Kylie Minogue may have recorded, and while ‘Communication’ has a great synth beat, the lyrics don’t make much sense, which is a shame. The album's penultimate track ‘Green Poison’ is an ode to marijuana and has a slight Motown feel, but still lacks complexity. ‘Failure’ , the final track, is a weird one: starting with a chant spelling out ‘F-A-I-L-U-R-E’, the song has Jules singing first and then Katie jumping in to hog the microphone. It's isn’t too bad-sounding but it’s nothing to celebrate over.
One would have thought that after two albums, the Ting Tings might have changed their approach to lyric writing, but it seems old habits die hard. The overall sound never achieves greatness but nor does it reach shoddiness. ‘Super Critical’ is an enjoyable album to listen to but nothing really to make it stand out. It was made for the disco and that’s hopefully where it will stay.
2.5 / 5