The Ting Tings – We Started Nothing (2008)

FrontCover1In pop music, catchiness and obnoxiousness often go hand in hand, but on the Ting Tings’ debut album, We Started Nothing, they’re locked in a death grip. The duo’s new wave-worshiping mix of dance and indie pop — which grafts chugging guitar and bashed drums onto looping structures and proudly plastic keyboards — is polished, but far from polite. In fact, the way the Ting Tings repeat their cheap and cheerful hooks until their listeners’ ears are about to break often borders on annoying. Singer/guitarist Katie White’s snotty, singsong vocal delivery and flat rhymes are part cheerleader, part playground chant, and a tiny bit of punk snarl; “That’s Not My Name,” on which White sneers “Are you calling me darling? Are you calling me bird?,” even sounds a little like riot grrrl sloganeering filtered through a decade’s worth of pop. Even when White sings more melodically, as on “Traffic Light” and “We Walk,” the energy, attitude, and — above all — the repetition can still grate, even if you’re tapping your foot to the songs.

TheRingTings01However, the Ting Tings manage to stay on the catchy side with “Fruit Machine,” a Lily Allen-ish bit of cheeky bordering on vindictive pop, and on “Keep Your Head” and “Be the One,” which tone down the Ting Tings’ energy to more manageable but still lively levels. “Great DJ” and “Shut Up and Let Me Go” (which sounds like a Yeah Yeah Yeahs parody/tribute) are also standouts, and it’s no surprise they’ve been used in commercials — they’re so short and memorable, they feel like jingles waiting for products to endorse. Since they’ve got a real knack for writing songs that stick in your head whether you want them to or not, the Ting Tings’ songs are fun in very small doses. They’re a singles band at heart, though, and they wear out their welcome all too quickly on We Started Nothing. (by Heather Phares)

Jules De Martino (vocals, drums, guitar, bass, keyboards)
Katie White (vocals, guitar, keyboards)

01. Great DJ 3.23
02. That’s Not My Name 5.11
03. Fruit Machine 2.54
04. Traffic Light 2.59
05. Shut Up And Let Me Go 2.52
06. Keep Your Head 3.23
07. Be the One 2.58
08. We Walk 4.04
09. Impacilla Carpisung 3.41
10. We Started Nothing 6.22

All songs written and composed by Jules De Martino and Katie White


FrontCover (Japan)Japanese frontcover

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