Single Reviews Diary 23 – 9th July 2010

I know I’m actually incredibly late with this diary and should rightfully be publishing the 24th rather than the 23rd but I’m busy, y’know! This week is actually quite a great week for singles. Singles 01-12 on this list are all fantastic tunes, only ruined by Kate Nash who starts a short trend of bad tunes, making 13-15 pretty much unbearable. However, Mark Ronson then glides into save the day with Singles 16-19 being pretty good until we meet Professor Green who starts a trend of average tunes with singles 20-24. So yeah – the singles go from fantastic, bad, good, average. As usual I want comments and feedback etc. etc. Read my reviews below.

Single Reviews Diary 23 – 9th July 2010:

01. Alan Pownall: Colourful Day


After Britain’s last hyped up male pop singer Alex Gardner underwhelmed commercial audiences, could the newest hyped up British male pop artist fill that gap? I sadly think not. London singer songwriter Alan Pownall releases his second single from his debut EP
True Love Stories, a pristine pop ballad that’s sung with rich vocals well beyond his 25 years. The vocals and string and guitar based production showcase much emotion. This is one great pop ballad to listen to this Summer. Emotion packed, yes! But relaxing enough to play outside in the back garden whilst sunbathing. However, this track will likely not do so well because Pownall lacks anything that truly stands out about him from his average Joe name to the genre of music he’s doing. Still, a hidden gem if you do come across it. 4 STARS

02. Avenged Sevenfold: Nightmare

Avenged Sevenfold - Nightmare
Angsty rock/metal band Avenged Sevenfold are back with their recent US Top 60 hit
Nightmare. The lead single from their fifth album of the same name starts off intriguing with dreamy chimes before crashing into the trademark metal, crunching guitars, deafening drum beats and harsh vocals from lead singer M. Shadows. There’s novelty evil laugh effects and a pop hook hidden in amongst all the heavy instrumentation too which probably explains its high-ish charting position on the mainly rock-less US Billboard Chart. Apart from the expletive word shouted before the title of the track, I find certain parts of this song hard to get out of my head. Well done Avenged Sevenfold on a terrific comeback! 4 STARS

03. Crystal Castles: Celstica

Crystal Castles - Celestica
Canadian duo Crystal Castles present us with this obscure piece of trancey electronica. Atmospheric and ethereal, this proves to be just as good to dance to when ]on a night out in the town. This has a real retro ‘90s Eurotrance sound to it with a mournful, religious, more organic undertone to it. What’s not to love about it?! I feel like I possibly say this every week but one of the best dance tracks of the year!
5 STARS

04. Crystal Fighters: In The Summer


Much like their similar namesake Crystal Castles, Spanish quintet Crystal Fighters make similarly brilliant alternative dance tracks. This has pretty chirpy vocals amongst retro video game type synths and basque instruments. I’m sure I heard some flutes in amongst the drum machines and electronics there. A delightful hipster track, these guys remind me a lot of MGMT and they need to find away to break through to the mainstream.
4.5 STARS

05. Darwin Deez: Up In The Clouds

Darwin Deez - Up In The Clouds
Quirky singer Darwin Deez really impressed me with his last single
Radar Detector and he’s managed to do it again! Amongst Summery, jangly guitars and happy finger snaps, this is yet another fun track for the hot weather ahead. The song falls into the quirky category more than the commercial category and it’s not near as catchy as his previous single but this is still a fun track to listen to when you’re feeling down. 3.5 STARS

06. Esmée Denters featuring Justin Timberlake: Love Dealer

Esmée Denters / Justin Timberlake - Love Dealer (Featuring Justin Timberlake)
Dutch songbird Esmée Denters might be pretty and have a great voice but major pop success has eluded her so far. Is getting her mentor Justin Timberlake a cynical ploy to score a hit? Maybe so. Justin barely deserves a credit on this song, all he does is mumble seductively over the backing track to drive the ladies crazy and add his shining star power. He did a similar thing on Rihanna’s
Rehab last year, uttering only about two words and enjoying a full feature credit when the ladies who do most of the work on new tracks by Basshunter and Dan Bãlan barely get a mention at all. Anyways, I digress. Love Dealer is really refreshing, it really is! Not only is it sunny with a killer melody but it ditches the current dance craze for the more funky edged, Timba-pop that preceded the current trend. Sure it’s in no way original, the lyrics are just begging to be parodied and Esmée lacks the vocal sex appeal of her contemporaries but this is a likeable, light track with some great vocals from Esmée, slick yet giddy production from Timberlake and an overall sense of fun that’s missing in a lot of today’s pop songs. This deserves its inevitable hit status. 3.5 STARS

07. Fight Like Apes: Hoo Ha Henry


The much hyped Irish band (as hyped as Irish artists can get anyway with our crappy promotion techniques in music) have returned with the first single from their as of yet untitled second album. It’s a nice return for the band with lead singer MayKay in top form singing over a bouncy keyboard riff before breaking into a restrained yet still somehow angry chorus while the production remains the same the whole way through. The lyrics are also quintessentially Irish too with lines such as “drinking cans in bed” and namechecking MayKay’s unfortunate love interest’s friends with names like Tagdh. Should keep FLA fans happy and gain them some new ones too.
4 STARS

08. I Blame Coco: Self Machine

I Blame Coco - Selfmachine
Sting’s daughter Coco has to live up to her famous dad’s name and prove to music fans that she’s not a spoiled little brat who just wants to cash in on Daddy’s fame. Well, she’s doing things right so far. Setting up her own band and going for an alternative yet still engaging sound, Coco proves herself as having the talent to back up to her famous family connection. Amongst dizzying synths, Coco’s distinctive vocals are the real ear-snagging part of this song. I’m not quite as bowled over by this track has some others. The vocal distortions are overused and unnecessary and I really don’t think this song sounds immensely different from a lot of other tracks out there but what it does show is promise and I eagerly await Ms. Sumner’s next single,
Quicker. 3.5 STARS

09. Jamie Foxx featuring Justin Timberlake and T.I.: Winner

Jamie Foxx featuring Justin Timberlake & T.I. - Winner
Oscar winner Jamie Foxx shows so much promise as a singer but he often neglects his musicality for terrible urban tracks such as the nasty Auto-Tuned mess of
Blame It. Arguably a scene stealer on Kanye West’s mega-hit Gold Digger, Foxx once again sells himself short on this single, the lead from his fourth studio album. While not as bad asBlame It and mercifully ditching the Auto-Tune, Winner is still a run-of-the-mill R&B track. Featuring some brass instrumentation, classy little piano lines and hip-hop beats, it may sound like I’m saying the production sounds similar to Jay-Z’s Empire State Of Mind or Madonna’s 4 Minutes but it’s actually the typical R&B production that has been done to death. JT is barely noticeable on this track as seems to be the norm for him, if Esmée Denters new single is to be used as an example; and T.I.’s rapping, while more than up to the job is just tiresome, and disjointed from the rest of the song. When will this rent-a-rapper trend end? Everyone’s sick of it and NO-ONE sees it as an incentive to buy a single just because it has a rapper on it. The chorus is anthemic, which is why its been used as an NBA theme tune but overall another disappointing track from the deceptively soulful Jamie Foxx. 2.5 STARS

10. Jerry Fish & The Mudbug Club featuring Imelda May: The Hole In The Boat


The brass intro to this track sounds like the theme to some sinister ‘70s cop drama just before the police uncover the murder. The ominous, sonically pleasing jazzy backing continues as Jerry Fish breathily sings over the production. When powerhouse Imelda May joins in with her soulful harmonies, the song quickly turns into this dramatic yet classic sounding magic. Honestly, this for the next James Bond soundtrack (when MGM are no longer bankrupt, that is)!
4.5 STARS

11. Jet: Seventeen

JET - Seventeen
Australian rock band Jet caused quite a buzz last year with their single
She’s A Genius. Although it only cracked the Top 20 in its native continent of Oceania, the song certainly got them noticed elsewhere. Much like SAG, Seventeen sounds very similar to that track. Crunching indie-pop guitars, an irresistible riff after the chorus, a catchy chorus and an “oooh-oooh” hook, this is a brilliant Summer rock track. My only problem is that these guys might just be one-trick ponies and their Summery rock tracks with pop sensibilities may get a little tiresome after a while. Still, no-one’s complaining now. 4 STARS

12. Joshua Radin: Brand New Day

Joshua Radin - I'd Rather Be With You
Snooze! Come on now, we have enough inoffensive, acoustic radio rock singers, thank you! Jack Johnson has that position filled with his tired material already, thanks! We don’t need an exact carbon copy. There’s nothing horrible about this track, it’s sang nicely but it’s so bland, clichéd and unoriginal. I just hated it from the moment I heard it when I first saw the self depreciating, ‘humorous’ video.
2 STARS

13. Kate Nash: Kiss That Grrrl

Kate Nash - Kiss That Grrrl
Kate Nash has done it again! So impressed am I with the breakthrough singles from your albums, that I forget the follow-ups are always completely dire. Seriously another girl is being catty and stealing your man, Kate? Just have it out with her in the parking lot or use your brain to think of a more underhand way of offing…I mean dealing…with her. This is basically the theme of
Do-Wah-Doo rehashed all over again but without the big pop hooks and with all the lyrical prowess of that ginger Bianca from EastEnders. Kiss that grrrl and I will shrink her!” WTH does that mean? Or are you just throwing it in there for the sake of rhyming. With the word “Grrrl” in the title, I thought this would be one of those punk tracks I heard Nash recorded for the album, which I incidentally haven’t listened too. Yet again it’s more brassy ‘60s pop production, which is difficult to differentiate from DWD. I’ll give her half a point though for the vulnerability at the end of the track. 1.5 STARS

STINKER OF THE WEEK!
14. Katie Price: Free To Love Again

Katie Price - Free To Love Again
Before writing this review, I have not yet heard Katie Price’s new single yet. I wonder if I’ll be pleasantly surprised. *sticks on Katie Price’s
Free To Love Again on YouTube.* KILL ME! KILL ME NOW! Eurovision wouldn’t allow this monstrous, corny dance anthem, which sounds like it was recorded in Katie back shed with her children on backing vocals. Hell, the ‘80s wouldn’t allow it or the ‘90s or any other naff decade in music. Steps, Scooch and Margi Clarke would turn their noses up at it! Is Jordan still relevant enough to get this track published? ‘Cause its about time people got tired off her. She laughably said she wasn’t an attention seeker today. She’s a businesswoman, int’she? Now let’s hope that this song slips even further down the chart and we NEVER EVER have to hear it again!!! 1 STAR

15. Kyrah: Uh Oh

Kyrah1jpg
I’m actually of the opinion that Ke$ha is a great popstar and has some talent, which often leads to me getting the side-eye and sneers from my more hipster friends. God knows though, we don’t need another one and that’s what Kryah is! If you check out the $2 budget music video for her debut single
Uh Oh, you’ll realise that Kryah is also a lady who looks like she just climbed out of a skip, put her make-up on in the dark, stumbled into some strange man’s bedroom and started singing about being so intoxicated that she can barely see and packed a good dose of Auto-Tune in her penniless purse. While Ke$ha’s voice has a yodel-esque, Valley Girl lilt to it which is somewhat bearable or even pleasing, Kyrah doesn’t! Her voice is completely flat and sounds absolutely hideous during the verses. Thankfully for her, the chorus is incredibly catchy. But really, chorus aside, this track does nothing new from the current electropop phenomenon and we have enough trashy popstars already. So unless Kyrah changes her sound and image, I want her to disappear completely. Bring back class (or at least subliminal sexiness) to music! 2 STARS

TRACK OF THE WEEK!
16. Mark Ronson & The Business Intl. featuring Q-Tip and MNDR: Bang Bang Bang

Mark Ronson - Bang Bang Bang
It’s official. Mark Ronson is the standout producer of our generation. After a number of jazzy covers on mega successful album
Version with Lily Allen and Amy Winehouse, Ronson knows that jazz is not where it’s at now and has embraced the new ‘80s trend we’re experiencing at the minute. I would accuse Ronson of jumping on bandwagons but I can’t bring myself to it because this is bloody brilliant! Teaming up with his band The Business Intl., Marky is also joined by sexy secretary type hipster Amanda Warner of electronic duo MNDR and one of the more low-key American rappers Q-Tip. Bang Bang Bang epitomises the ‘80s from its retro, ill-fashioned video to those bouncy synth riffs. But it sounds absolutely flawless. Everything from the infectious synths to the genius sampling of French nursery rhyme Alouette sound perfect. Warner’s scuzzy, catchy vocal suggests that we should all keep an eye on MNDR in the future and Q-Tip’s rapping never sounds phoned in or disjointed, but rather fits with the song as a whole. One of the best mainstream pop songs of the decade, one that both the mainstream public and the hipster groups can all enjoy. I thoroughly look forward to Ronson’s cover free Record Collection on 27th September. 5 STARS

17. M.I.A.: XXXO

M.I.A. - XXXO
I’m wondering when the heck the music video for this track will be released because lack of the Hype Williams directed video will effect its sales. Not that M.I.A. normally cares about sales but with a single as unusually catchy as this, it just has to do well. After the controversial and noisy promo single
Born Free, this – the official lead single from M.I.A.’s third studio album /\/\ /\ Y /\ is one of the few radio friendly songs in her back catalogue. The catchy, melodic and futuristic love song may be more than it appears though with the song’s deceptively catchy hook going ”You want me be somebody/who I’m really not”. Is this a jibe at her record company for making her release a commercial lead single? All the same, M.I.A. definitely hasn’t sold out with this one as the lyrics are ambiguous for the most part and the Rusko and Blaqstarr produced jam has a sense of paranoia about it that fits in with the whole concept of the album. Still, for those of you who don’t care about M.I.A.’s political and conspiracy theory jargon, then this is probably one of the lightest songs she’s released. If you fancy rent-a-rappers, you can check out the Jay-Z remix with a stamped in rap from himself. He’s rumoured to be appearing in the video as a matter of fact. 4 STARS

18. Millionaires: Stay The Night


The Ke$ha imitators are out in full force this week. California trio Millionaires have released a song called
Stay The Night. Like Ke$ha, it’s a little naughty, has Auto-Tuned vocals and is performed in singy/rap voices. It even has a rap breakdown stolen straight from TiK ToK during the middle eight. However, unlike the other Ke$ha imitator Kyrah, Stay The Night is a pretty decent pop tune. The feel good guitar backing track helps, the light yet sticky chorus infiltrates your brain and provided the Millionaires get enough promotion (which I doubt), this could easily be a song of the Summer. It sounds like it samples something too because that chorus is familiar. Plus the band has two cute Asian girls and Asians are rarely ever seen in pop music so I have fingers crossed that this will be a hit. 4 STARS

19. Paramore: Careful

Paramore - Careful
With
Brand New Eyes, Paramore’s third studio album, the band, especially Hayley, progressed massively in maturity and lyrical quality. The male members are often overshadowed (much to their displeasure) by their charismatic and beautiful lead singer Hayley but with this track, the guys overshadow Hayley. Okay, not exactly. But this is instrumentally the strongest track on Brand New Eyes while Hayley is on auto-pilot. With break-neck guitar riffs by Josh Farro and Taylor York, crunchy bass by Jeremy Davis and pounding drum beats by the band’s baby Josh Farro, this is a track that just makes you want to leap around your room, swinging your head around, and probably causing grievous bodily harm to yourself in the process. The instrumentation can best be described as fast, angry and spiky. But the chorus is a bit of a let-down as are the lyrics which are the full on emo of Paramore’s earlier records. Don’t get me wrong, I love Paramore’s earlier records but with other songs on BNE being far more honest, this always disinterests me somewhat. Hayley’s vocals are back to their wail-some self after trying out a bit of restrained melancholy with her cameo on B.o.B.’s soon to be #1 hit Airplanes, but the chorus doesn’t have the massive draw to it that other tracks had and sounds a little samey. Oh well. Hopefully it does well all the same. 3 STARS

20. Professor Green featuring Lily Allen: Just Be Good To Green

Professor Green Feat. Lily Allen - Just Be Good To Green
I don’t believe this is Lily’s last hurrah in music…because let’s face it…pop artists retire all the time. They quickly become irrelevant and their back in the music game quicker than you can say “Jay-Z” or “Eminem”. Basically, I’m in a minority that doesn’t care for this song much. Sure The SOS Band’s sample
Just Be Good To Me is ear-snagging and Lily’s girly, melodic vocals really add to the song but this is more boring radio-rap that has to rely on a guest vocalist, samples and more clichéd raps without a shred of originality. Professor Green’s cheeky personality is quickly grating on my nerves and I can’t stand his helium voiced rapping. Basically, a song that will do for the time being but will quickly be forgotten about by the time Prof. Green moves onto his next gimmicky single. 2.5 STARS

21. Seth Lakeman: Tiny World

Seth Lakeman - Tiny World
One of the many talented folk musicians of the Lakeman family, Seth gets his organic sounding viola out. Unlike many folk musicians, Seth has a really deep and powerful voice that’s just as suited to pop or rock music as it is to folk. As for the track itself, it’s a decent and rousing vocal performance against some creaky violin strings. This won’t set the World alight, not even the folk World but it’s a decent folk track by a talented musician…who’s created a decent comeback single.
3.5 STARS

22. Trey Songz: Already Taken

Trey Songz - Already Taken
R&B singer and judging by his many softcore music videos, sex addict Trey Songz releases this single to correspond with the third
Step Up flick. If you’re expecting a certified club banger like Flo Rida’s Low then prepare to be disappointed. This mid-tempo track is probably played in the movie around the time when the guy realises what a douche he is and runs to the airport/defining event in the girl’s life to please her/make things up to her for being such a douche. This track will probably provide a tense moment at the climax for the film but as far as a standalone single, it fails.Already Taken has no real definable hook and the production and lyrics don’t stand out in any way whatsoever. For Trey Songz fangirls and boys only. 2 STARS

23. Two Door Cinema Club: Come Back Home

Two Door Cinema Club - Come Back Home
After a series of high profile advertising endorsements, it looks like TDCC’s star is rising. Following on from the success of their re-released
Something Good Can Work, the boys return with another bouncy indie pop song. It’s a perfectly fine tune with sharp guitars and an instant enough chorus but it still feels rather run-of-the-mill. Nothing stands out about it really and I sadly think that this single will fail to replicate the success of the last. All the same a pleasant enough listen. 3 STARS

24. We Have Band: Oh!

We Have Band - Oh! EP
The Bloc Party-esque band release this strange little tune. The hook naturally comprises of the word ‘Oh’ but it’s repeated almost to irritation against an electro backing in a number of different voices. The verses are fantastic though with
Crash Bandicoot style blips and bleeps running through it. Add bouncy guitars and an instantly catchy hook, this track might be too weird for the mainstream but once you hear it, you’ll have trouble getting it out of your head! 3.5 STARS

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