Sting, Shaggy – Don’t Make Me Wait

“Sting, at no point, attempts anything even close to a Jamaican accent, which I think we can all agree is for the best.”

Tim: Wait, what? How? Just…whuh?

Tom: If you’d like to know how this incredibly unlikely-sounding collaboration happened, Rolling Stone has the details. But to sum up: they met at a studio in LA, they’ve made a full LP, and this – the first single – is described by Shaggy as “something that hundreds of women would get pregnant to”.

Tim: Oh God.

Tom: Okay, so good news first: Sting, at no point, attempts anything even close to a Jamaican accent, which I think we can all agree is for the best.

Tim: Yes, yes. In fact, he turns in a really rather good performance, which I’m pleasantly surprised about.

Tom: The most surprising thing to me — apart from the fact that it exists at all — is just how good the two stars’ styles work together. This is a good track. It’ll struggle to find airplay, because there’s too much Shaggy for Radio 2 and too much Sting for… er, anywhere that’d play Shaggy.

Tim: Thing is, it reminds me a lot of what Shaggy always used to do: take a featured artist, get them to do most of the singing, and throw in a few words here and there of his own. And it works as well as it always did.

Tom: You’re right. Now I come to think of it, he rarely sang the hooks. Still, I get the feeling that reviews are somewhat irrelevant here. They’ve made an LP. They like the LP enough to release it. Given that they’re both doing pretty well for themselves, I suspect that — as long as someone out there likes it — they’ll be just fine.

RedOne feat. Enrique Iglesias, R. City, Serayah & Shaggy – Don’t You Need Somebody

“A full basketball team”

Tom: Wait, what? He’s got first billing, not just out a shoutout?

Tim: Indeed – despite being quite possibly second only to Max Martin in terms of people who are Big In Pop but mostly staying behind the scenes, he has for this track stuck himself right on the front, along with quite the supporting cast, and…well, have a listen.

Tim: So let’s start with the obligatory introductions, which I particularly like as we meet RedOne, Enrique, R. City and Seraya by name or initials, and Shaggy as “Mister Lover”.

Tom: Which, oddly, probably makes him the most famous in there. Enrique, despite his worldwide following, still needs both names. Shaggy doesn’t even need his one.

Tim: We’ve got lyrics that immediately go start talking about you-know-what, and then we’ve got a line about “mouth to mouth without speaking” which is fine, because obviously it refers to vigorous kissing, but it’s hardly as though medical mouth to mouth typically involves in depth conversation.

Tom: Trying to talk while you’re making out with someone is basically a recipe for disaster anyway. Or for breaking into laughter, depending on the relationship.

Tim: But anyway: lyrics are all about doing it, and let’s be honest that’s hardly surprising. What is surprising, though, given the line up, is that’s it’s actually a fairly decent and listenable song. I think it’s the sheer variety creating by having a full basketball team in it – bit like Band Aid really, in that if one act ever gets a bit annoying, you know it won’t be long until they’re binned off in favour of someone else.

Tom: It looks like RedOne got the credit because it really is his song: he assembled the group and produced it. This is a song with just featured artists, and that’s fine.

Tim: Yep, and so unlikely as I may have thought originally: I like this.

Kylie + Garibay feat. Shaggy – Black and White

Tom: Good grief, Shaggy’s actually having a full, proper comeback. Did anyone see that coming? Did even Shaggy see that coming? Because I’m guessing “providing the middle eight for a Kylie single” probably wasn’t in his diary a couple of years ago.

Tom: But what the hell was that? I really hope that high-frequency hiss through those choruses is YouTube compression rather than the actual single, because that’s almost painful to listen to.

Tim: Sorry to disappoint you, Tom, but nope – studio version as well. I don’t find it quite so difficult as you, but you’re right, it’s still a bit jarring.

Tom: Actually, never mind that: the rest of the track, while it’s clearly Kylie’s sound, is an album track at best.

Tim: Yes – the verses are too…suddenly the word ‘damp’ springs to mind, and I suppose that’ll do. It just about picks up for the chorus, but loses it right after. And Shaggy’s bit? Nuh-uh.

Tom: And it’s all paired with a weird, low-budget video where the director’s inexplicably sometimes forgotten to add the dust-and-grain effects, making the whole thing look like it’s been cobbled together in a copy of Windows Movie Maker. What were they thinking?

Tim: Oh, I don’t know. Let’s just pretend it’s not happened.

Shaggy – GFY

“Unsurprisingly, this is not the lead single.”

Tom: We heard this when we were in Norway; Shaggy’s now actually released his new album and is doing the press tours rather than the “anyone who’ll pay” tours. Unsurprisingly, this is not the lead single.

Tom: Which is a shame, because it’s really catchy — more than the actual single — and the fact it’s sweary will help it stand out, too. And in a world where Cee-Lo can have an international hit with something in the same profane-but-uplifting genre, I reckon this could have done very well in the UK.

Tim: Oh yes. I’d wager, though, that not even Shaggy himself predicted the success he’d get with I Need Your Love, mind, so it’s easy. But yes, I can certainly see it happening, for reasons varying from the style itself, the singalongability and the general message.

Tom: Listen to that middle eight! You’ll remember the crowd, hearing this song for the first time, singing along to those na-na-na-hey bits. This is exactly the sort of not-quite-novelty song that’d do very well in clubs when the DJ isn’t being too serious, and it’d grab enough attention, if given airplay, to get itself nicely in the Top 40. It won’t get that airplay, and that’s a shame.

Tim: I don’t know – this could still be a second single, because you’re very right. In fact, I remember the crowd singing along to the second half of the first chorus, and you’re right, this is the perfect song for people wanting to shout up at their boss, and who doesn’t?