Repetitive But Not Entirely Without Appeal
Jack Peñate's newest single, "Have I Been A Fool?" opens with a rowdy and frolicking guitar line and a rather saccharine and toe-tapping piano part; however, the strength of the single wavers somewhere during the enormous chorus and feels as if it lacks guts. Essentially, the repetition of lyrics grows tiresome, and detracts from the fantastic nature of the music itself. The passion we feel upon hearing the gut-wrenching and uplifting quality of the opening guitar is mishandled when lyrics are repeated. Passion is better expressed with a free-form, and, unfortunately, Peñate's tune is basically one long chorus, so all the bittersweet pain and fervour he draws out of us with the song's perfect opening is utterly wasted because there's no story outside of the chorus, no words with which to break through to us.
Peñate's vocals are deliciously British with his charming accent shining through to good effect, but the song needs more of an Elvis Costello lyrical touch, rather than a McCartney sing-a-long 'heyhey' aspect. There is space within this song for another verse about another failed romance, or some bitter-but-clever inanity, but there shouldn't be space for words he's spoken before. In fact, there are only about four lines of un-repeated lyrics in the whole piece, the rest is chorus. Verse has been somehow forgotten along the way to song-dom.
"If I'd Known" opens in the same perfectly charming way, but lyrical repetition again flaws the song. The first fifteen seconds is so danceable it makes your head want to explode (in a good way), but the body of the song suffers from formula. A sonic return to the overwhelming fun-ness of the song's intro is necessary to reinvigorate the magic and passion of the piece, but we never hear the intro again. Even the most passionate moment of the tune - when Peñate's cry of "I didn't know how much I loved you 'till I met them!" breaks through the established pattern - is sacrificed by a return to choral OhOhOhs that we've all heard before.
If you want to dance to either of these songs with the part of your heart that doesn't buy things then you'll have to wait for MSTRCRFT to re-mix it, and after that it'll probably just make you want to have sex with strangers.