Ting Tings are back with excellent new single ‘Hands’

I’m going to come clean, I never liked the Ting Tings. I was shocked that That’s Not My Name received such a positive reception from both fans and critics and the follow-up Shut Up And Let Me Go was nearly just as bad and moronic if it weren’t saved from those funky guitars and beats. Fact is, the only single I’ve truly liked by the Ting Tings was the softer Be The One which of course bombed at #28 on the UK Chart.

Well onwards and upwards for the British duo who are back with new single Hands, the lead single from their forthcoming second album Massage Kunst (that’s German for Massage Art for all those with dirty or foul mouthed minds).

Hands is a fantastic New Wave track, combining pop smarts, indie sensibilities and a 21st century sound that’s the closest thing reminiscent of Blondie apart from the Yeah Yeah Yeahs It’s Blitz! album. The chorus does get a little irritating after a few listens but the Tings Tings are bringing something fresh to the tired charts at the minute and this former hater (more like disliker) welcomes them back.

Considering certain similarities to Mark Ronson’s Bang Bang Bang, this should be a hit for the duo. Fingers crossed!

The Script return with music video ‘For The First Time’

After premiering their new single For The First Time a few weeks ago, Irish band The Script have just this evening released the accompanying promo clip for said single.

Taken from their second album Science & Faith (out 10th September), the video depicts a young Irish couple living over in New York, trying to make their way in the tough economy with black and white performance scenes intercut. It’s an alright video – very typical of radio friendly rockers. At least it sticks to the lyrical themes of the song. But the acting scenes are rather cringeworthy. They could have cut them out because I don’t need to see schmaltziness and Oirishness over-emphasised in music videos, thanks. I like how it was set in New York though. Considering Ireland’s economic climate at the minute, it seems like all your problems will be wiped away if you move to the US or Australia but the video shows that this economic crisis is a Worldwide theme and things don’t magically fix themselves just because you move to the Land Of Opportunity.

I’ve also grown to like the song – it has a decent Snow Patrolesque hook that should at least keep European and Oceanic audiences happy and see a decent enough chart placing. They need to release a better second single though. What do you think?

WTF? Keri Hilson channeling Lauryn Hill on comeback single?

She may be better known for getting hits off the back of rappers and male singers and in return featuring as the chorus on said rappers singles but it looks like Keri Hilson is serious about being a solo artist guys! While it would be quite easy for her to go down the electropop route as exemplified by hit single I Like and scene stealing parts on Timbaland’s The Way I Are and Scream, Miss Keri Baby has decided to go down the soul route for new doo-wop single Breaking Point.

Confirmed as the lead single from her sophomore album No Boys Allowed, as the album title suggests the album will consist of  “female empowerment anthems” and will be “soul influenced”. Keri also says she inspired by African music, culture and landscape and this is all evidenced on Breaking Point.

Timbaland returns the favor (geddit?) and produces an old school doo-wop R&B tune for the singer-songwriter. Keri mightn’t have the vocal chops of the acclaimed Lauryn Hill but she’s certainly channeling her here, giving us one of her best singing performances yet. It’s also great to see Hilson show a little depth lyrically although female empowerment is nothing new in today’s landscape. Beyoncé’s crazy fans are going to be mad though because Keri sounds practically identical to the sassy entertainer on the spoken middle-eight of this piece.

While Keri is encouraged to go in a pop direction with her music, I’ve always admired how her music is a little more left of field. It’s not true R&B but it’s always influenced by it. I didn’t think much of it at first but her debut album In A Perfect World… is actually a solid collection of songs and I’m anticipating this next one after hearing this.

Could Keri be the dark horse in the battle of the female artists (Britney, Avril, Rihanna) all expected to release new albums at the end of the year? I doubt it but she’s certainly impressed me.

Have a listen to Katy Perry’s third single ‘Firework’?

Oh God! I know my blog has turned into a Katy Perry fansite recently but she’s the only big Worldwide superstar releasing new music at the minute so I feel like I should keep up the posts on her.

So, California Gurls has spent several weeks atop charts across the World and Teenage Dream has got off to a great start so Katy Perry is hardly going to be able to top her two previous singles, right? Wrong! Firework, already confirmed as the third single from the album Teenage Dream, out on Tuesday, is a huge hands in the air anthemic dance rock ballad with a massive chorus. Produced by Stargate, whether you like the track or not, it’s going to be played EVERYWHERE! On the radio, on the music channels, in the dentist’s office, at every major public event until the overexposure of the song drives you crazy and you end up banging your brains out against the nearest hard surface so you can just escape the overplaying of the single. And then it will be played at your funeral.

Anyway, I like the single very much at the minute. Mind you, I said the same about I Gotta Feeling fourteen months ago. Take a listen to the whole Teenage Dream album, which leaked either yesterday or today. Like her previous album, it’s all very hit and miss and sounds like a pop rock version of Ke$ha – which is disappointing because I wanted this album to be great. Oh well, it should have a few decent singles and that will be enough to get Katy through to Album #3. What do you guys think?
Katy Perry – Firework by ileaks
Katy Perry – Teenage Dream (2010) by iwantmorenewmusic

VIDEO MIX: McFly, M.I.A., Scissor Sisters, Jay Sean, Kris Allen and Alexandra Burke

I’m sure it’s probably come to your attention that I’ve been neglecting much of my blogging duties this month. This is partly due to my laptop charger breaking and my laptop being out of action for the first two weeks but it’s also due to me partly being completely disillusioned with the current music scene recently and my new addiction to Buffy The Vampire Slayer. Yes, sadly I’m a sucker for the current vampire craze (no pun intended)! Anyway, a crop of music videos have premiered recently. Some only premiered today, others about a week ago. I’ve wasted enough time already so let’s get started.

Mc Fly: Party Girl

Clearly, it’s not just me that’s being immersed in the vampire craze, McFly are wrapped up in the world of fangs and frighteners also. And as depicted in the image above are here to sell the sex too.

The music video is a fast, frantic piece with some really strong visuals but I’m on the fence about McFly’s contrived new direction. Not only does their new single successfully rip off Lady GaGa’s monster electro hit Bad Romance but the guys have also taken a leaf out of Usher and Trey Songz handbook by placing in some gratuitous sex scenes because – y’know – the supernatural and sex are totally in right now, innit?!

What happened to the superhero theme that was supposed to go along with this album? Instead we get a futuristic fantasy horror? Were the McFly guys vampires or werewolves? Plus its a little too similar to the video for Lies from the Radio:ACTIVE era.

Still this is a sharp and sexy comeback single with a sizable hook so I can’t see this NOT doing well. It just comes across a little contrived.

M.I.A.: XXXO

Saviour for the Third World, M.I.A. has FINALLY DELIVERED the music video for XXXO, the official lead single from her third album /\/\ /\ Y /\. The single was released on 12th July but only last week did the music video appear.

So lemme guess, it’s a hugely ambitious music video to rival the ginger genocide and graphic sex depicted in the clip for noisy promo single Born Free? You guessed wrong, I’m afraid. Directed by Hype Williams, the legend who brought us iconic clips for Mariah Carey’s I Want To Know What Love Is and Christina Aguilera’s Not Myself Tonight, the video sees a stunning M.I.A. poses in front of a Bollywood animated green screen with some Internet and prehistoric MySpace imagery thrown in to highlight the album’s futuristic, computer driven campaign.

It’s a decent enough music video even though M.I.A. looks a little dead behind the eyes (hey, it works for Britney!) and the concept is well executed with M.I.A. acting like a soulless popstar who is forced to release a commercial single by her record label. So true to life. But the long wait for the video has led to a huge disappointment. I wonder what caused the delay to go on so long. I wonder if it was M.I.A. herself who delayed the video so it would hinder the chart position of the song and fight the record label’s system?

Scissor Sisters: Any Which Way

After shocking us all with their serious single and music video for Fire With Fire, Scissor Sisters are back to their campy best in the video for Night Work‘s second single Any Which Way. The song which – to be blunt – is about getting fucked in as many positions and situtaions as possible is reminiscent of the Bee Gees and much like the Bee Gees, I can’t tell whether I love or hate this song. I certainly enjoyed their Glastonbury performance of the song which featured Kylie Minogue. It’s a pity they didn’t take the opportunity to release a remix featuring Ms. Minogue as the single. It would be snapped up by the gays like wildfire! I also much prefer Ana Matronic’s outrageous breakdown on this live. It sounds horribly restrained here.

The video is fun. Nothing extraordinary happens in it but we get to see the band fool around with numerous colourful effects and slow motion shots. Jake Shears has plenty of natural charisma to carry the video anyway.

Jay Sean featuring Nicki Minaj: 2012 (It Ain’t The End)

Jay Sean also premiered the music video for his corporate piece of garbage also known as the dance anthem 2012 (It Ain’t The End). I have no respect for Sean because not only is this formulaic, soulless shit but he also had to rope in Nicki Minaj and a video cameo from Birdman to further highlight his unoriginality. I quite like Nicki Minaj’s over-the-top, fast paced rapping until she threw out a “FREE WEEZY” shoutout as if the horse voiced rapper is some kind of martyr.

The video is your typical club video except it’s all original like – because you see people partying from London to Tokyo which has like never happened before in any music video ever! I will give it one point though because Jay looks like he’s having fun as opposed to his usual robotic self. Taio Cruz, take note! Oh and check out the video at 3.04 when Sean can’t contain himself anymore and jizzes all over the poor girl he’s trying to chat up.

Kris Allen featuring Pat Monahan: The Truth

Who? The winner of American Idol 8? Wasn’t that Adam Lambert? Yes in hindsight, it looks like Glambert was the real winner behind American Idol but Kris Allen hasn’t done as badly as people may have expected – he mightn’t have had international success than his former competitor and his eponymous album mightn’t have sold much but his previous single, his own rendition of a Script B-side Live Like We’re Dying did peak at…uh…#18 in the US. Okay, I’m going to stop defending the Arkansas native’s flagging career but keep in mind that he has only released two proper singles while Lambert has released four. (Lambert also got to do the winners song after AI which I think totally undermined Allen).

Anyway, this new single The Truth featuring Pat Monahan of Train fame is a decent second single, a rousing and powerful pop rock ballad from the two able voiced singers. Of course, I said the B word and we all know how ballads do in the charts these days. Case in point: You Lost Me. That said, the track is a radio friendly number and could do well thanks to Allen loyalists and Train’s resurgence in popularity. Neither the song or video are original but there both redeemed by a rousing angsty production and dramatic visuals respectively. I just can’t tell the difference between Pat and Kris’ voice. :O

Alexandra Burke featuring Laza Morgan: Start Without You

After delaying this single so she (or her managment team) could stick another bloody rap feature on one of her singles, Alexandra Burke premiered  the music video for her new RedOne produced single Start Without You.

WOW! Alexandra looks ABSOLUTELY FUCKING DELICIOUS IN THIS VIDEO! I’m in awe and I think I have someone new to obsess over. While the video is a rushed Recession Special, I couldn’t care less as long as I get to drool over Alexandra dancing around in her see through one-piece. But there’s something for everyone in this video as Alex also makes sure she sexually objectifies a bunch of muscular toned men but manages to pull it off because of her charming, sassy personality. I’m telling you she’s clearly taking a leaf out of her idol Beyoncé’s book with her questionable attitude towards men.

Now, this is where my praise ends. I appreciate the new dancehall direction Burke has gone in but this sounds like it belongs on the soundtrack to The Jungle Book. To add to the generic quality of Alex’s music, she has another bloody rap feature on the track in the form of Laza Morgan, an American rapper doing a Jafakian accent. This is the second single in a row in which the 23-year-old has reworked a song to feature a pointless rap and her third of her five single catalogue to feature a rap ‘artist’. Honestly, it’s all incredibly contrived and desperate looking. Alexandra should be allowed to stand on her own two feet because these rap features don’t improve the quality of the song but actually hinder it. And I don’t think the urban crowd will enjoy a few sparse lines from an unknown rapper either.

The last minute edition of Morgan to the song have reports suggesting that Alex had to re-film her music video to include him and so this clip we’re seeing is rushed out. Others have speculated that the original tropical video, which you can see a still of below, was scrapped because the single would now be released in September instead of August and others have stated that the original music video is being used to promote the video as Alexandra’s first US single. I think the last option is most likely considering most rap features are copied and pasted into the video and record labels rarely care about what season they release a song in. What do you think?

Single Reviews Diary 26 – 30th July 2010

I’m very generous with the ratings today guys but that’s because I pretty much like every song released on 30th July. My Track Of The Week is going to surprise and disgust many people. The Stinker was difficult to choose but received it for disappointing me rather than being a bad song. Read below. So happy that I’m quickly catching up on these SRDs also!!!

Single Reviews Diary 26 – 30th July 2010:

01. Arcade Fire: Month Of May
Critic darlings Arcade Fire are all geared up to release their third album
The Suburbsrather unwisely on the same day they drop the album’s lead single as well as two promo singles. The first of two promo singles is Month Of May, a fast paced chugger with dark lyrics about “killing in the month of May”. It’s a serviceable tune and does the job of engrossing the listener but when it ends, I was just left thinking “Is that it?!” It’s good but a little forgettable to be honest. 3 STARS

02. Arcade Fire: The Suburbs
The title track and second promo single from the album like
Month Of May is another serviceable rock tune but not as great as I expected. The song is slightly reminiscent of The Beatles with its plodding piano keys and ‘60s style, bouncy mid-tempo instrumentation. I was hoping for something with alittle more fire to it but The Suburbsis a pleasant enough Summer tune with some gorgeous falsetto vocals but it still feels somewhat lacking.3.5 STARS

03. Arcade Fire: We Used To Wait
Now this is more like it! AF rediscover their fire on this OFFICIAL lead single from the album. Building up with some energetic plinky plonky pianos and meaty guitars, the song has an ear-snagging catchy chorus, detailed lyrics, layered arena type backing vocals and faintly reminds me of the Eels, which isn’t a bad thing at all. With this single, the band show off the urgency that made me fall in love with their breakout single
Intevention. 4 STARS

04. Ash: Carnal Love
Sigh! I like Ash but I am so glad this A-Z project is nearing its end. It’s getting tiresome reviewing decent yet unexciting pop rock tunes from the band. The band have put a little effort into the single, filming a music video for it but the song is nothing to blab about. The Northern Irish rockers are in angsty mode here with brooding lyrics and a whiny yet very catchy chorus. Credit to the band for keeping a consistent line-up of singles but the lack of hype or vastness surrounding them is just depressing.
3 STARS

05. Corinne Bailey Rae: Closer
Poor Corinne. Long are the days gone by when
Put Your Records On was plastered all over the radio but I guess Bailey Rae has gone ‘too indie’ with her second album The Sea. Proving to casual listeners that the record isn’t made up bleak ballads (the album was inspired by the grief of losing her husband), Corinne releases the funky Mowtown of Closer. In it, the singer purrs seductively amongst an array of funky brass instrumentation. The 31 year old’s vocals sound absolutely gorgeous here and the fun loving lyrics are really suited to Summer time. One of the standout tracks from The Sea.4.5 STARS

06. Erykah Badu: Turn Me Away (Get MuNNY)
While Corinne has gone for a more subtle approach to funk, neo-soul singer Erykah Badu has gone all out on the funk with this mid-tempo squelchy disco tune. Badu sounds like a young macy Gray which I love. Her vocals are high, yelpy, accented yet controlled. This has a wonderful old school feel to it. Really reminds me of the 1990s R&B – soulful – before it became the watered down garbage sang by everyone and their mum today.
5 STARS

TRACK OF THE WEEK!
07. Flo Rida: Club Can’t Handle Me
I really wanted to dislike this song for three reasons.
1) Because I find Flo Rida a completely shallow, fad artist.
2) David Guetta being the attention seeker that he is, has a feature credit on it WHICH I REFUSE TO ACKNOWLEDGE!
3) This is trying to do what Timbaland and Guetta himself tried already in recycling the iconic
I Gotta Feeling structure to score a hit.
But I can’t hate it! Because
Club Can’t Handle Me is actually amazing. And will continue to be after it drops out of the Top 40. It actually manages to sound like I Gotta Feeling- a really feel good party anthem that despite its flaws still manages to sound stellar because it just brings a smile to your face everytime you hear it. Guetta’s production is recycled but immensely danceable with pulsating beats and warm acoustic guitar licks. Flo Rida while remaining as one-dimensional as ever has a great flow that works great against the pounding club beats. And then the chorus comes in and everything slows down – an uncredited female vocal kicks in (seriously give her feature credit instead of Guetta) and combined with Flo provides a singalong anthemic chorus that leaves you with a warm fuzzy feeling inside. This is a party anthem that really inspires you through its sonic energy to enjoy life and the friendships you’ll develop while moving to this with friends/partners on the dancefloor, bedroom or in your car. Okay, I’m talking like this is the greatest thing since Jesus Christ but this has the potential to be iconic. I really believe that. So rather controversially, this is getting Track Of The Week. Rightfully, I should give it to Erykah Badu but since this will most likely be the first and only time Flo is bound to win such a prestigious award from me, I’m going to give it. Despite its flaws, this deserves no less than… 5 STARS

08. Frank Turner: Try This At Home
The singer songwriter tries to integrate himself into pop culture with this short yet sweet folk stadium rocker. Here, Turner encourages the listener to pick up their guitar and sing about relatable things like he does in the accompanying music video for this song. I guess Turner is trying to coax people to host random singalongs in public places (not necessarily a bad idea) but the cynical side of me is thinking he’s trying to get the public to stand up and copy him, hence starting an Internet phenomenon. Still, this track will probably go down a storm at live shows.
4 STARS

09. The Hoosiers: Choices
Haha I love this track! While I always enjoyed The Hoosiers comedic videos, their music has never struck a chord with me, no pun intended. With this lead single from their new album
The Illusion Of Safety, the guys shake things up by adding some vigorous synths (which I LOVE in the intro), some lovely use of falsetto on the verses and a storming chorus. Despite the electro influences, it doesn’t sound like all the other trash in the charts, instead taking on a New Wave feel, something their contemporaries McFly maybe should have taken note off. The Hoosiers have won me over and they’re sure to win over their other sceptics too with this stellar comeback single. 4.5 STARS

10. Marina & The Diamonds: Oh No!
This is my favourite track from Marina’s
The Family Jewels album. It has turned me from a casual Marina fan to a hardcore fun because it’s this song that makes Marina so loveable in the first place. Amongst a carnival of pounding double beats, flowing pianos and squelchy, cartoony synths, Marina sings in a high pitched mock operatic vocal for the irresistible chorus and exudes so much personality on the witty verses, my favourite line being where she sings ”TV thought me how to feel/Now real life has no appeal!” This obviously gets…5 STARS

11. Melanie Fiona: Monday Morning
Canadian soul singer Melanie Fiona actually sounds eerily like Alexandra Burke on this track. However, while Alex is a talented yet manufactured act, Melanie is all about the soul. This is a catchy number with solid vocal work and a funky yet modern sounding production but doesn’t exactly standout from the many other soul singers out there. Still, if this were promoted properly, it would be a hit.
3.5 STARS

STINKER OF THE WEEK!
12. Paloma Faith featuring Ghostface Killah: New York (Remix)
Ugh, re-releases! I have already lamented countless times the pointless re-releases of Florence + The Machine’s
Dog Days Are Over (although that re-release scored her a VMA nomination),Paolo Nutini’s Candy and 3OH!3’s Don’t Trust Me. Paloma is re-releasing her atmospheric single New York, one of her biggest hits. But to make things worse, this re-release will feature rapper Ghostface Killah. Now its normally pretty offensive as a member of the public to have record companies think we’ll buy a single just because it features a random rapper on it but it’s doubly offensive that a guest rapper was added to this song. This track has such an authentic, retro feel to it, like it belongs to some bygone era. Adding Ghostface Killah with his mercifully short yet painful rap just destroys the essence of the song and is an insult to Paloma’s talent. Nothing personal against Ghostface Killah, I’m sure he’s a fine rapper but its clear the record company only care about cashing in because a Ghostface Killah remix of Amy Winehouse’s You Know I’m No Good helped further Amy’s career in the US. How about separating Amy and Paloma and letting them be their own person instead of putting pressure on Faith to score a hit in her fear of being dropped. This is a shame because I didn’t think we’d ever see Paloma Faith on my Stinker list. 2.5 STARS

13. Pearl And The Puppets: Make Me Smile
Oh look! It’s another Scottish folk singer/band. This is a perfectly passable folk pop track with a great “doo-dooo-doo” hook and a repetitively catchy “just let it go, let it go…” chorus which help it to rise above dull. I recommend checking this band out because they appear pretty talented.
3 STARS

14. Sarah Blasko: I Never Knew
Ellie Goulding and Diana Vickers – meet your Australian counterpart. Blasko phrasing during the verses is something your either going to love or hate (“It’s not enurrfff!”). The backdrop of sparse beats and tambourines is interesting and I for one love Blasko’s smoky voice but this doesn’t stand out from many other AC tunes.
3 STARS

15. Sunday Girl: Self Control
This chick is a little too similar to Sky Ferreira if you ask me. This is a moody, atmospheric electro ballad. Think of Sunday Girl as a solo female version of Depeche Mode. She’s certainly an interesting popstar and I’ll keep my eye out for her but it seems that this track may be something that really needs repeat listens to grow on you. I’m not bowled over by the track, I can see the potential in it though and the potential in Sunday Girl so I’m ready to give her a chance.
3 STARS

16. Toni Braxton: Make My Heart
The former Queen Of R&B has struggled with her comeback but unlike Christina Aguilera and Jennifer Lopez, I appreciate that Braxton continues to push ahead with it and promote, keeping her name out there even if she is flopping. It’s no wonder she’s flopping though because this track isn’t very good. The verses are really funky and 1970s but then the chorus is really modern pop R&B with a catchy “dum-dum-dum” hook. It’s really jarring and makes the song feel incomplete and un-single worthy. Best confined to the album.
2.5 STARS

17. Villagers: Ship Of Promises
The Irish rockers recently topped their native Album Chart with new album
Becoming A Jackal. Can they perform as well in the UK? I doubt it. The poetic lyrics are certainly something that deserve that recognition but the song with its changing tempo, downbeat vocals and bounding drumbeats and guitar aren’t enough to draw you into what is essentially a dull song. The outro is rather good though with some epic backing vocals and discordant noises. Good but not as spectacular as most critics would have you believe! 3 STARS

Felicia Day and The Guild encourage you to ‘Game On’ in Bollywood inspired music video!

It’s time I introduced you to one of my future wives biggest celebrity crushes in the actress/writer/singer/director/producer Felicia Day. Felicia Day is the perfect woman, no joke! Not only is she drop dead gorgeous…but she’s funny, smart, talented and not averse to spending hours playing RPG games on her PC. She’s every nerd’s fantasy and is even endearing to guys too cool for gaming and straight girls. YouTube comments don’t lie!

For those of you who don’t know Ms. Day – she’s a professional actress who is best known for starring in works by Joss Whedon, the famously lauded creator of Buffy The Vampire Slayer and Dollhouse. She’s also appearing in an Activia ad, that’s currently doing the rounds on TV I think. But what Felicia is probably best known for is her role in writing, producing and starring in the award winning online series The Guild. The Guild is a web series about six MMORPG gamers who go by their avatar names of Codex (Day), Zaboo (comedian Sandeep Parikh), Vork (comedian Jeff Lewis), Tink, Clara and Bladezz (newcomers Amy Okuda, Robin Thorsen and Vincent Caso). The series has a Whedon-esque humour to it and while some of the characters would likely get irritating fast, they are grounded by Felicia Day’s brilliant comic timing as the cute as a button yet socially awkward Codex. Yep, Felicia really is that amazing!

So I guess your asking: “That’s all very nice but what has this got to do with music?” Well, last year The Guild entered their third season and in order to promote that, they released a song and music video called (Do You Wanna Date My) Avatar? which parodied RPGs through the medium of a mind-numbingly catchy ’90s dance-pop tune, which I found out about the series from on Unreality Shout. They seem to have turned this event into an annual thing because they are now back with a new Bollywood influenced single called Game On and a hilarious video to match, to promote Season #4.

It actually looks quite slick and fancy for what is ultimately a low budget video so well done to all involved in the production. I will once again gush about Felicia and compliment her on her wonderful singing voice (Indian yodelling included), her songwriting skills (alongside chucklesome co-star Parikh) and her overall sexiness. Not to mention the song being another infectious pop song full of Bollywood beats and video game bleeps. My favourite part of the video is where Zaboo plays Codex’s butt like a keyboard. Lucky bastard!

Anyways enough out of me and let the video do the talking. I’ve also included the first ever episode of The Guild so you can get an idea about the series and its overall tone. You can watch the first three seasons on YouTube with the first four episodes of Season 4 being broadcast over on the cast’s badly laid out official website. Enjoy!

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