Nice Boys - Amy Studt Single Review
You may recognise Amy Studt from her hit singles 'Just a Little Girl' and 'Misfit', released in 2002 and 2003. (If these titles and years don't ring a bell, listening to the tracks themselves will probably bring something back. Youtube her. Go on. Right after you finish reading this review.) Amy was then dropped from her record label when her debut album, 'False Smiles', produced disappointing sales. Since then, Amy's kept herself to herself, touring occasionally, most notably with Razorlight under the alias of Jane Wails.
'Nice Boys' is Amy's most recent release since 'Chasing the Light' in March last year. (Don't remember it? That's because it reached UK chart position 277.) The start of the track is slight and is reminiscent of the delicate beginning of 'Just a Little Girl'. It is at this point that you notice the distinctive bird song of Studt's voice.
As the track progresses, there is a feeling of increasing excitement as more layers of voices pitter-patter their way through and add to the pace. The ball carries on rolling faster and faster until it reaches the gutsy chorus which utterly consumes you as the dainty tones of Amy surround you.
Whereas other songs of any pace seem to run and gallop along, 'Nice Boys' is far more majestic. The gradual introduction and layering builds up and up until the chorus is reached when it feels like the track is actually taking off. The sensation of flying is so beautifully created that the verses glide and the choruses soar. You can almost feel the air rushing past your ears.
When Amy was just a wee nipper, barely a teenager, her lyrics were rather predictably about a youth rebelling which, as the chart positions will show, was not necessarily a bad thing. Now that she has grown to the ripe old age of 22 (I use the term 'old' loosely), the lyrics too seem to have grown in maturity. The tunes still remain as fresh and poppy as Amy's first release which is what is so interesting. The track shouldn't work: it juxtaposes an elegant voice with really quite angry and fed up lyrics that would be typical of a sour old fish wife. But it does work.
There is no doubt over what the track is called: the words 'nice boys' are repeated 41 times and the message, 'nice boys finish last', 27 times. This is what worries me. The track is a tad repetitive. Now this isn't too much cause for concern as the song is ever so catchy and so the repetition probably won't do too much damage. However, not only is the track repetitive in itself, but it is very similar to Amy's earlier work. That was a huge success in the early noughties, but now the decade has aged. Maybe now it's too old to be listening to this kind of pop. Maybe it should've left home by now. Maybe it wants something new.
The other songs that come on the CD are two different remixes, each with their own edit, and an instrumental. The remixes are good and will probably get the crowd going at a night club, but it is unlikely that you will prefer them to the single itself. The instrumental is just that: 'Nice Boys', sans the lyrics. Lovely, but a bit boring.
Personally, I like the track; it's a nice little song. The layers of Amy's graceful voice dazzle but the cleverly rhymed lyrics stop it from becoming overpoweringly sweet. It sparkles, but is not mundanely overwhelming: a black diamond of a track. Buy this song and you will find yourself listening to it obsessively over and over again, wondering how you ever lived without it. But, come a month or two, you will have found a new song and 'Nice Boys' will slowly drop out of your Top 25 Most Played playlist on iTunes. You may come back to it, you may not. Either way, 'Nice Boys' is a good, well-produced song, but it's not an anthem.