As everyone knows by now, Richard Ashcroft’s stadium-dreaming ‘90s Britpop band the Verve were successfully sued by the Rolling Stones over their biggest hit, “Bittersweet Symphony,” which lifted a bit too much of the Stones’ 1965 orchestral composition “The Last Time.” The Verve lost millions over the shifting songwriting credits, even though Mad Richard himself penned the lyrics.
Now, almost 15 years later, with the release of new single “Are You Ready?,” Ashcroft finds himself once again with the threat of legal action over plagiarism. Only this time, it's from himself. Groan.
Seriously, this new single is really more of the same from Ashcroft: overdone, forced-grandiosity shamelessly shacking up with the last dried-up remnants of Britpop's sad final waves, and even still, it's about as exciting as that Cast reunion. On their finer moments, the Verve were a powerhouse rock band (A Northern Soul and Urban Hymns are solid efforts), and even Ashcroft’s debut solo disc, 2000's Alone With Everybody, had a few sporadic gems on it like “C’Mon People (We’re Making It Now),” “A Song For The Lovers,” “New York.” Since then, everything has been a little too flat.
But this is just too much of the same old shit. It's available for download down below if you fancy reasonable facsimiles that aren’t up to par with the originals. It’s like dating a girl who reminds you of an ex because they have the same fashion sense. Looks the same, sounds the same, but ultimately not as good as the one before, and bound to eventually leave you quicker than you met.
Anyway, here’s the teaser track, and Ashcroft’s The United Nations Of Sound drops March 8 off Razor & Tie. It was produced by hip-hop’s No I.D. (Kanye West, Jay-Z, Common), Ashcroft will follow it up with a stateside tour sometime in 2011, catering to the folks who last left their houses back in 1998ish when the Verve played Avalon. Word is “Are You Ready?” has already been featured in Volkswagen ads and 2010 FIFA World Cup promos. Other news outlets are reporting it was aired during FOX broadcasts of MLB postseason games, but I watched about every inning and never heard Richie soundtracking the on-field successes of Brian Wilson or Aubrey Huff. Guess the drugs do work, after all.