1000 Albums Project

ALBUM 129

We Started Nothing, by The Ting Tings
Suggested by Dreena Jane

I enjoy a good musical mashup. When done well, they’re so much fun.

If you’ve an internet connection and a spare twenty minutes, check out Michael Jackson vs Ghostbusters with Smooth Criminal, Survivor vs Adele with Rolling With the Tiger, and Gloria Gaynor vs Metallica with One Will Survive. But honestly, just pop to YouTube and search for “Mashup X”, where X is your favourite band or song. Beware, it’s a rabbit hole.

Why am I talking about mashups? Because I’d pay cash money for a mashup of That’s Not My Name and Mambo Number 5. Although I suspect the density of names would bring on the apocalypse, like crossing the streams in front of a Zuuly Lou Bega.

Although there were a whopping six singles cribbed from their debut, the only song I recognised was their biggest hit, in which lead singer Katie White regales us with a collection of things that are not her name. I say “things”, but I mean “names”, of course… she’s not sat there listing random items that no one has called her, although that would be a fantastic adaptation. “They call me Doorbell, they call me Ocelot, they call me Toblerone, they call me Bubble Wrap, That’s not my name (clap clap!)”

It’s a decent pop song, all told, with its infectious bouncing bass and drums. The vocals have a youthful, anarchic feel, like someone singing a Sex Pistols song for their GCSE Music practical exam. It’s chantable, it’s danceable, and it’s memorable, exactly what you want. The electro beats continue throughout the album, as do the catchy lyrics and shiny samples. It’s all a little repetitive, if I’m honest, but I guess if it ain’t broke, then don’t fix it?

I’m an upbeat guy, and so ten tracks of such happy clappy nonsense should raise a smile a mile wide, no? Unfortunately, not. It all feels a little forced, a little polished and contrived, a supply teacher using outdated slang to impress the cringing classroom. It’s a cruise ship Spice Girls tribute band, where there’s only three “Spice Girls” and they’re all over forty.

Frankly, I think I’m not the desired audience for this. The abovementioned youthful and anarchic sound comes over more juvenile than endearing, and the constant upbeat attitude gets rather tiresome. Yes, I like That’s Not My Name, and the others are jaunty enough, but these are summery pop nuggets for an A-Level crowd sat in a gastropub’s beer garden, not for a teetotal forty-something who hates the outside so much he’s looking forward to another lockdown.

Aside from That’s Not My Name, I’d offer up Shut Up and Let Me Go as another highlight, alongside the more swooning and dream-like Be The One. Overall, I give We Stared Nothing a mediocre 5/10. If you’re looking for fun, then you’ll find it here, but it feels a little empty when the giggling stops.

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