Alexis Petridis smoking his e-cigaretteHe might have a name that’s one letter + punctuation away from “Alexis Petri-dish”, but when it comes to hitting the nail on the head, the Guardian’s chief rock and pop critic is a veritable Mike Tyson (hey, I never said the nail was going to get nailed in)

“Lest one carp, Hilton has been quick to point out that singing is a vocation for which she is eminently skilled. “I know music,” she reassured the Sunday Times children’s section. “I hear it every single day.” While this obviously gives Hilton a massive advantage over those who have never heard any music and thus believe it to be a variety of cheese, there remains the nagging suspicion that this might not represent sufficient qualification for a career as a singer, in much the same way as knowing what a child is does not fully equip you for a career as a consultant paediatrician.”

“”Bounce,” he pants, “like your ass got the hiccups,” a phrase that somehow seems more redolent of flatulence than wild sexual abandon. (“I got the remedy,” he adds later, emerging from the bathroom brandishing the Wind-Eze.)”

“Alas, all attempts to normalise Jackson are derailed by the arrival of Breaking News, a mind-boggling bit of self-justification with a peculiar muffled vocal. “Am I crazy because I just eloped?” he demands imperiously, rather demanding the answer: no, mate, eloping had nothing to do with it – people started looking at you funny because you dangled your newborn baby over a balcony, had so much plastic surgery that your own mother said your nose “resembled a toothpick”, had your hairline tattooed on your face, and all the other frankly strange stuff.”

“On the one hand, there are the lyrics to Give It 2 U – “I’ve got a big dick for you,” he sings while patting his crotch, as if to clarify that said big dick isn’t sprouting out of his elbow…”

“He can’t even insult people properly. For all the controversy, Piggy Bank’s slurs are witless. He calls Fat Joe fat, which, given that he already calls himself fat, seems unlikely to sting the very core of his being.”

“He is also big on lyrics that convey something other than what he means. “I feel a cold flush going through my hair,” he sings on Let the Sun Shine, which makes it sound like persons unknown have stuck his head down a lavatory and pulled the chain. “Hey you know what, I don’t care,” he adds, defiant in the face of
a bogwashing.”

Wilson has sounded croaky since the mid-1970s, but here he also sounds slurred and halting, as if his efforts are being hampered by an ill-fitting set of dentures and a faulty autocue. More disturbing is his emotional tone. Anyone who has noted that Wilson’s face now seems to arrange itself naturally into an expression of horrified bewilderment – suggesting he isn’t entirely sure what is going on, but is pretty certain he doesn’t like it – might be troubled to learn that on Gettin’ In Over My Head, he sings the way he looks.

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