Great Sounds Great; Bad Sounds Bad: L.A. Mitchell ‘Lose The Game’

L.A. Mitchell

Great Sounds Great; Bad Sounds Bad is a column which sees a panel of writers for The Corner review a range of local singles and grade them out of 10. Check out the song below, read through their opinions and let us know in the comments section your own thoughts and what you’d like to see reviewed next time around.

[YouTube / iTunes]

[Grade: 5.7]

Maddie Collier: Hello, L.A. Mitchell, we meet again. I see you’re still making swaggerless music for suburban mums in their early 40s. Okay, girl, keep doing you, just don’t expect me to care about it. Four points because your nails match your skirt. [4]

Michael Kerby: Remember Sara Bareilles? I do. Well, not really. I had to look up her name. But I remembered her fuck-awful song, ‘I’m Not Gonna Write You A Love Song’, which completely ruined my life for at least two years whenever I was at work. When the song finally died off, she came out with another one, and the agony began anew. This effort from L.A. Mitchell reminds me so much of Bareilles and her ad-jingle sound that it’s almost impossible for me to judge this on its own merits. I hear the whistling and I instantly think of Contact Energy. I hear the jaunty piano and I can see the camera pull back and pan across the latest Vodafone guff, while a voice-over tells me how great 4G is. It’s not L.A. Mitchell’s fault, but it’s kind of her fault for choosing to use a sound that is forever linked with the ad world. That’s a negative for me, but if you decide that L.A. Mitchell actually wants and embraces all these jingle-associated sounds and set out to write a pop song that sits nicely within that field – well, then she’s succeeded. Which surely deserves, at least, a [5]

Lauren Clark: This is quality stuff, and pretty much technically perfect. It’s texturally awesome, like there’s nothing lacking at all – it’s meaty, enthusiastic and stuffed, like the Christmas lunch of pop songs, but brief, unlike Christmas lunch…. It has a solid structure and little enough repetition to keep it upbeat and interesting. It’s pretty much textbook good quirky pop music (if whistling connotes quirkiness)… it seems unfair to fault a song for being textbook perfect, but I personally find that pretty boring most of the time, as is the case here, but I think she’s done/is doing a great job. [8]

Sean Quay: Upbeat pllncky-plink. So contemporary. The objective side of me says this is well put together and produced and conveys a bouncy exuberance appropriate to the song. The subjective side of me doesn’t care and just wants it to stop. [4]

Hayden Currie: This is catchy and charming as hell. Not really my thing (maybe I’m not at the right stage in life to feel the sentiment) but it’s a pretty good pop song. Video is okay too. [7]

Alex Lyall: L.A.’s last single was unfairly slain by The Corner. ‘Apple Heart’ had everything I could ask for in a ballad, it was elegant and it soared! This is nothing like that song. I got the point of that song and I get the point of this one. Obviously, she wrote it with the aim of cheering us all up. The pace is fast, the piano has a staccato sound and –ohmygod – is that whistling in the background? But by no means do I feel happy, and currently I’m stuck at school soaking wet – my mood can only go up. This song’s problem is that everything is so perfect; it comes across as unreal, irrelevant and all these feel-good devices clash, making it super cheesy. Oh yeah, and the whistling. Fuck the whistling! [3]

Vincent Michaelsen: I’m finding it really difficult to make a call on this. On the one hand this is just the variety of perky love song I cannot stand. It’s annoyingly good-natured and buoyant. So much so that I’m surprised not to have heard this on a Vodafone ad first. But on the other, L.A. Mitchell clearly has loads more talent than most and here she’s doing everything right. To mark this down would be genuine snobbery, so I give it an objective [8]

Warren Smart: This is a bright sing a sing-a-long song with L.A. Mitchell’s distinctive voice. It’s not as whimsical as her last single ‘Apple Heart’ but this one does, nevertheless, get under your skin. On first listening I wasn’t taken by this, but on the second and third listens the melody and lyrics had me hooked in. Not sure if many Kiwis would lose that game for someone – I don’t know if it is in our competitive nature – but hey, maybe that really shows the strength of this love song. [7]

Luke Jacobs: 2007 and Feist was on top of the world. She had it all – really catchy melodies, a delicate yet surprisingly brittle vocal style and no fear of being gutsy with artistic direction. That was six years ago and ‘Lose The Game’ feels very much like a late contender to this sound. Feist moved on and her imitators either gave up or faded away.

L.A. Mitchell is no slouch on the songwriting front but it seems like she is pushing in the entirely wrong direction. There is nothing wrong what she has written but it feels like a re-invention rather than a re-interpretation and not even close to a revolution. She needs to add some danger to her music because right now it feels safe as houses and I know that I have used this comparison a bunch in this review and the one for ‘Apple Heart’, but if you look at what Feist is doing these days it may not be the most original, and at times not even that great, but it comes across as a bit more messy and tangled. It sounds clean and easy but comes across with a little bit of grime. I doubt Mitchell will ever change or try that but if she did I think she would make some good stuff. [5]

7 Comments

  1. Benza says:

    Lol @ Maddie….was thinking the same thing.

    Can you’s review a few more hip hop/soul records? Just notice a trend in alt/pop songs.

  2. Luke Jacobs says:

    “I hear the jaunty piano and I can see the camera pull back and pan across the latest Vodafone guff, while a voice-over tells me how great 4G is.”

    I wish I could write like that.

  3. klane says:

    “L.A.Mitchell’s latest single ‘Lose The Game’ suggests that sometimes you have to concede for the sake of love. It is anchored by a whistle that sits with you long after the song has finished.”

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