Pete Baran

Not the first person you would imagine knocking out an anti-American political song - George Michael. Certainly it is not the first time George has wandered down the route of po-facedness - both Songs From The Twentieth Century and Listen Without Predjudice (Volume 1 lest we forget) were excrutiatingly self important, but it is probably the first time he has attempted satire. At least that is what he says he is doing in Shoot The Dog, a lighthearted funk workout on the so-called special relationship between George W.Bush and Tony Blair. The only discernable lyric which seems to refer to this is the lame double entendre of George telling “Tony, there’s something ’bout that Bush that ain’t right”.

Apparently written before September 11th and shelved until now the song is a wholesale rip of the Human Leagues ‘Love Action’. Indeed the fact that it has the stylings of a bootleg and plays to the electroclash camp is something that suggests that actually it was written about two months ago. Not that George has done much writing here, he does his “not even cool enough to be crap Prince” gruntings, mumbles over a loop of the dullest part of Love Action and completely misses out anything resembling a chorus or a breakdown. Indeed the track is so desperate that for its grand finale George - just plays a big chunk of Love Action. Its always nice to hear Phil - but it merely reminds you how bereft of ideas Shoot The Dog is and also conjures up the spectre of other so-called political singles. Like The Lebanon.

In the end George is trying to court controversy again, and as savvy a media manipulator that he is, there is not much left of the outrage-o-meter for him to try. We’ve don’t the polysexual bondage video (to cod funk workout) now its not very radical political views (to cod funk workout) - with a scrapily animated video that portrays him in bed with Cherie Blair - the threat is what there George? This will limp into the top ten at best and only deserves such a high placing because it contains at least one line of political comment that might resonate with modern politics. And it comes from Phil Oakey when he says “I believe in truth though I lie a lot” - and no beating about the bush. July 2002 new
Michael Hubbarb

...Shoot The Dog was written, arranged, performed and produced by Michael, albeit with the help of a sample of
Human League
's Love Action (I Believe In Love). The final result is a somewhat flaccid mish-mash of vocals, sampled synths and rhythm which borders on being funky.

But the deep-end vocals are largely illegible, while Michael's characteristic high-end work lands somewhere between self-parody and Barry Gibb. And the music seems like a genetic fusion of Outside and his earlier controversial hit I Want Your Sex.

Despite that, with the lack of perceptible hooks of any kind, the whole affair largely washes over the listener, leaving one wondering what all the fuss was about. But we know, of course. Good marketing, a politically motivated video and an attempt to maintain his A-list credentials lie behind Shoot The Dog. But really, this mut is barking up the wrong tree.