30/09/2016 12:17 BST | Updated 01/10/2017 06:12 BST

'The Big Three': Niall Horan's 'This Town', Plus New Music From Robbie Williams And Solange

Remember when I included James Arthur in 'The Big Three' a couple of weeks ago and everyone asked me why? CHECK THE CHARTS NOW, FOLKS. Check. The charts. Who fancies some new music..?


Remember when I included James Arthur in 'The Big Three' a couple of weeks ago and everyone asked me why? CHECK THE CHARTS NOW, FOLKS. Check. The charts.

Who fancies some new music..?

Solange - 'Scales', feat. Keelela

Solange doesn't appear to be doing singles for her new album, 'A Seat At The Table', but I wanted to write something about her anyway, because I like her a lot. If you're not happy with that, tweet me (except don't really, because I'm going to say something disparaging about Niall Horan's new song in a second, and I can do without that kind of aggro).

SO ANYWAY. I'm going to chat specifically about 'Scales', because it's the last proper song on the album, and so it's the grand finale. When you stick a song on the end of your album, it's because it's the one you want to stick in people's minds. Or, at least, I assume it is. I've not made an album before.

'Scales' is the perfect song for an artist like Solange, who toes the line between being mainstream and underground, because there are bits that are... well... a bit weird, really, but they don't stay weird for very long.

It opens with some isolated piano chords, which very nearly almost go on a bit too long, but then in comes the bass, and just when that feels like it's going on a bit too long, in come the vocals, and then eventually the drums. It's a very well-crafted song, I'll give it that. And, time signature fans, it's in 3/4 time. So we can look forward to Judge Rinder waltzing to it on 'Strictly Come Dancing' in a couple of weeks time.

It could probably do with some class of chorus, but then again, as previously discussed, it's not a single, is it?

Give it a listen below:

This week I'm rating the songs out of five emergency lift buttons. I think Solange went in once or something, I'm not sure. Here's how many 'Scales' gets, anyway:

Moving on.

Niall Horan - 'This Town'

When I heard Niall Horan was working with Greg Kurstin, I got quite excited, if I'm honest. Greg Kurstin has been responsible for some very cool-sounding pop as of late, with his recent production credits including Tegan and Sara, Sia and Shura.

"This could be interesting," I thought. "This could be a chance for Niall Horan to prove he's got more in him than a predictable guitar ballad. He could do a very sincere and very serious debut, that's still very much a pop song."

That is not what we got. Instead we got 'This Town', a guitar ballad that made its debut with a stripped-back performance in a black-and-white video so by-the-numbers you could set your watch to it.

The fact of the matter is, folks, that I am a man in my mid-20s. It would be unfair for me to sit here and be cynical about 'This Town', because it is so abundantly apparent that I am not the target audience for Niall Horan's solo effort. And the fact is, he's not hurting anyone, is he? If 'This Town' puts a smile on a lonely teenager's face then who am I to sit here and slate it?

Still... no 'Pillowtalk' is it?

Have a listen to it in the video below:

And how many lift buttons out of five does it get..?

My Photoshopping isn't getting any stronger, mind you, is it? And finally...

Robbie Williams - 'Party Like A Russian'

Robbie Williams is a properly brilliant popstar. Sometimes the world forgets this, and sometimes, indeed, he forgets it. Fortunately, with the campaign for his new album 'Heavy Entertainment Show', it seems he's very much remembered, and has committed himself to jogging everyone else's memories as well.

The album's first single is called 'Party Like A Russian', which gets full marks for the single title if nothing else, but also manages to encompass everything great about Robbie Williams' best music. It's catchy! It's theatrical! Yes, it's - brace yourself - cheeky!

Lyrically, it sees Robbie rhyme 'Putin' with 'Louboutin', and 'Stoli, Bolly, molly' with 'off my trolley', while also throwing in random cries of 'spasiba', which any 'Sex And The City' fan will tell you means 'thank you'.

Sometimes when a big popstar releases a comeback single, they do their best to make it sound as casual as possible, so you think they were never away, but that's not what this is. This is stomping, chanting, doing everything you can to let you know that Robbie is properly, properly back. And he's ready to "have it like an oligarch".

The video's really good as well, as you can see for yourself:

How many help-I'm-in-a-lift-and-will-be-splashed-all-over-TMZ-this-time-in-a-week buttons out of five does it rack up, though?

All well and good, Robbie, but if you could just give us a black-and-white version on an acoustic guitar, that'd be JUST SWELL.