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

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Single Reviews Diary 25 – 23rd July 2010

I’MMMMMM BACCCCKKKKKK!!!!!!

Anyway for those of you wondering where I was – my laptop charger broke and I was left Internet-less for a whole two and a half weeks! You won’t believe the trouble I have had trying to find a laptop charger. Thankfully my dad is quite handy with electronics and he managed to do a rather crude job of fixing my laptop charger. Still, the charger seems to be stable, intact and powering up my computer again so time for me to power up my writing skills and catch up on the three SRDs that I’ve missed so far.

Naturally, these reviews are going to be shorter than usual because I simply have so many things to get out of the way. At least, there will be a lack of my infamous rambling. There will also be no single artwork or video links because I have no time. Go search yourself, you lazy bums! 😛

Lots of 5 STAR singles this week! 😀

Single Reviews Diary 25 – 23rd July 2010:

01. Ali Love: Smoke & Mirrors
This British singer provides something a little different to the dancefloor with this tune from his sophomore album
Love Harder. Rather than overly Auto-Tuned Europop, instead we get some funky disco. The skittering ‘80s synths of this track are the real standout of this song. While the verses and chorus are relatively catchy, it doesn’t sound very different from anything Pet Shop Boys, MGMT or Sam Sparro would do. Still, this is something I’ll have no problem bopping to on the tiles this Saturday night. 3.5 STARS

02. Amy Macdonald: This Pretty Face
I was a massive fan of Amy Macdonald’s debut album
This Is The Life but her sophomore effort A Curious Thing has failed to live up to my standards. The whole project just feels tired and like a rocked up rehash of her first LP with the whole tracklisting just feeling stale in comparison to her older songs. While her previous two singles Don’t Tell Me That It’s Over and Spark grew on me immensely, I haven’t enjoyed this track at all. Sounding like her album track Footballer’s Wife, Amy’s rich voice is not enough to save this ultimately dull song. The chorus is weak and meandering, the instrumentation is nothing extraordinary and the lyrical content, while true, is just more tired celeb bashing. I find Amy likeable, talented and wise beyond her years but she’s really going to have to come up with something more exciting for her next musical project.2.5 STARS

03. Chicane featuring Owl City: Middledistancerunner
There’s a definite case of recycling going on here. While Chicane’s trademark euphoric synths and Owl City’s (a.k.a. Adam Young’s) trademark emotive whining work well together on this track to provide a lonely dancefloor anthem, the two are on autopilot for this track, never straying outside their comfort zone. This sounds more like a mash-up of
Hiding All The Stars and Umbrella Beach rather than a brand new single. Granted both songs were pretty cool so… 3.5 STARS

04. Crystal Castles: Baptism
After releasing their brilliant promo single
Celestica over here, Canadian duo Crystal Castles are releasing their first proper brand of ethereal trance over here. UnlikeCelestica, this track is unlikely to have any crossover appeal because the song barely contains any vocals apart from a icy pulsing dance beats and high pitched, barely distinguishable screaming from singer Alice Glass who reminds me of Yeah Yeahs Yeahs Karen O on this track. While this is not a song for the radio, it is actually an IMMENSE club track and will definitely go down a storm with me when it’s played there or pumping out of my car like the boy racer I so desperately want to be. 4.5 STARS

05. Drake: Find Your Love
Drake is without a doubt one of the most exciting rappers to climb out of the woodworks recently, reminding many of a young Kanye West. The only problem is that Drake sounds a little to like Kanye and this track sounds like a cut from West’s Auto-Tune heavy album
808s & Heartbreak. Despite, Drake’s eerily similar flow to Kanye’s and Kanye’s production credits on this song which push the track into unoriginality, Drake makes this song his own by crooning out a vulnerable, heartfelt chorus. While he doesn’t have one of the strongest vocals about, Drake ditches the rappingand sounds nothing but sincere as he sings all melancholicon the track. The laidback yet primal production on the track give it a warm Summery feel that still grabs your attention thanks to its loud squelchy beats. Now if only I didn’t keep going to my 808s & Heartbreak CD everytime I listen to this song, it might score higher. 3.5 STARS

06. Fugative: Bad Girl
Fugative is basically a puberty conquering Justin Bieber meets Chipmunk. He’s quickly causing the hearts of girls to race with his youthful, 16 year old looks but sounds nearly exactly like Chimpunk, in both his flow and musicality. Which is not really a good thing. I am so sick of this urban pop crap trying to get its way into the charts. These guys are hailed as the new princes of grimes and then they go along and rap about shallow subject matters and get someone else to sing a dreadfully Auto-Tuned catchy chorus on their song, without even crediting said vocalist, which I think is just plain rude. It’s clear Fugative is looking for crossover appeal, judging by this single and its predecessor
Crush but he’s going to need to do something a little more original if he wants to get noticed. Unlike Bieber, Fugative doesn’t have the best team or Usher behind him to ensure his looks allow him to go all the way. 3 STARS

07. Goldfrapp: Alive
Okay so this single was cancelled but since the duo went to the trouble of filming a video for it and with its ascent to the top of the US Dance Charts, I feel it’s only fair that it deserves a review. This track is gorgeous and heavenly with Alison’s sweet, soaring vocals providing a magical chorus that is far catchier than you’d first give it credit. It’s not as infectious or singalong as their floptastic
Rocket but it does the job of keeping up with their consistent singles catalogue. 4 STARS

TRACK OF THE WEEK!
08. Gorillaz: On Melancholy Hill
A simply marvellous laidback Summer pop tune with enough organic quirkiness to make you feel like you’re transported to another World – which is where the Gorillaz ingenious appeal applies. Damon Albarn’s soft mumbling works perfectly against the skittering chirpy synths and epic backing vocals of the track. It’s official, Gorillaz are one of the most innovative, sonic pleasing bands of our time.
5 STARS

09. Grafitti6: Annie You Saved Me
A really promising new band. Okay, so indie singer Jamie Scott and TommyD are no strangers to the music industry but now that they’ve teamed up, they’ve managed to create a really appealing song. Scott (sure to set many a female heart a flutter) is a mighty vocalist and TommyD manages to produce a song that marries rock and electro perfectly. What we get is a song that manages to have an indie sound to it but enough pop smarts to please casual listeners. If only the track had a catchier chorus…
4 STARS

10. Katie Melua: A Happy Place
Katie Melua has quickly become one of my most favourite female artists with her latest album
The House. Following on from the sonic masterpiece that is The Flood, A Happy Place doesn’t quite live up to the standards set by its predecessor but still contains plenty of charm and avant garde influences. Seriously I think KM is the new Bjork! This track sounds a little like her earlier work, which is either a mildly bad thing or a very good thing. The verses are sang in a whimsical, run-on way and the lyrics have an other-worldly feel to them and although I am reminded slightly of her irritating signature hit Nine Million Bicylces with this song, the music has enough quality to stand on its own and almost erase that memory from my head. 4 STARS

11. LCD Soundsystem: I Can Change
LCD Soundsystem, a.k.a. James Murphy’s latest single from
This Is Happening lacks the energy of previous single Drunk Girls. While the sparse wonky electro and Murphy’s vocals are on point, the song isn’t particularly exciting or interesting. It sounds like strong album filler and probably shouldn’t have been chosen as a single. 3 STARS

12. Lissie: When I’m Alone
This single was released a while back but I didn’t bother reviewing it because…y’know…I can’t review everything. Since Lissie has been met with much hype and critical acclaim since, I feel like I have to throw my two cents into the mix. I’m glad I listened to this tune because the former YouTube star from Illinois lives up to the height. Starting off in stunning acapella, Lissie reminds one of Fleetwood Mac’s legendary Stevie Nicks but can stand on her own with a building folk backing and a powerful, catchy chorus which sounds like a raspier Florence Welch. Definitely checking out this chick’s album if the songs are as good as this.
5 STARS

13. The Pipettes: Call Me
Unlike Girls Don’t Catch (RIP) and Mini Viva, The Pipettes are unlike them as they don’t appear to be interested in cracking into the mainstream with any of their singles. The ladies don’t have a Top 20 hit to their name but that actually makes them appear less manufactured than the other competitive girlbands such as The Saturdays, Girls Aloud, Mini Viva and Sugababes. Mini Viva are a rather posh band you see and the second single from their album
Earth Vs. Pipettes is another slice of shameless ABBA-esque pop that is a little cheesy for my taste but I know would appeal to certain major pop enthusiast so I’d recommend if ABBA, Spice Girls and early Take That are at the top of your record collection, giving this single and its parent album a try. 3.5 STARS

14. Plan B: Prayin’
This is a rousing dramatic third single from Plan B. I recently bought his
The Defamation Of Strickland Banks LP and I’m in love with it. This is the album’s standout track, being a large orchestral ballad that is simply epic, no question! The prison riot video that accompanies the track only further highlights the cinematic nature of the song and fits with it perfectly. 5 STARS

15. Preeya Kalidas featuring Mumzy Stranger: Shimmy
Ugh, this is terribly generic. While former EastEnder Preeya Kalidas, better known to some as Amira Masood (the only hot person in
EE), doesn’t take the overused Auto-Tuned dance route, her music is still lacking in soul. With clichéd lyrics about “not frontin’” and a tired Middle-Eastern urban pop backing, I just can’t get behind this song. While the bhangra influences are apt considering Preeya’s and guest rapper, the unfortunately named Mumzy Stranger’s, ethnicities, the song just comes across as a completely corporate and comparable to Alesha Dixon or Sugababes 4.0 – which isn’t very good to be honest. Mumzy’s guest rap, where he does his best Sean Paul impression, is completely uncalled for too. I will say this though, Preeya has a much better voice than I expected from her – her vocals are really strong and commanding. Perhaps with the release of her album this September and a better second single, she might be able to turn this cheap mess around. She’s got the looks, fame and talent to do it! 2 STARS

16. RPA & The United Nations Of Sound: Born Again
The Verve’s Richard Ashcroft has set out on a new project with his brand spanking new band The United Nations Of Sound. Unlike his work with The Verve which was generally cold symphonic rock, his new music sees him embrace some Gospel style rock with an uplifting sound and harsh yet impassioned vocals. While this is nowhere near as good as anything the Verve have put out and with the album receiving mainly negative reviews, things don’t look good for Ashcroft’s little venture but this isn’t a bad lead single at all.
3.5 STARS

17. Swedish House Mafia featuring Pharrell: One (Your Name)
The Swedes are basically running pop and mainstream dance music at the minute so it’s about time three Swedish producers in Axwell, Steve Angello and Sebastian Ingrosso teamed up with American rapper/producer Pharrell for a masterful dance smash. This is screaming at you to get that thang popping on the dancefloor because those massive pounding synths, bassline and Pharrell’s surprisingly commanding, sometimes warped vocals are just the perfect tonic to forget your troubles and just dance. Wow that line was clichéd and sounds like I’ve taken it from every pop song circa 2009 to 2010 but I’m tired. Great dance tune, a little unoriginal but completely thumping. Great work to all involved.
4.5 STARS

18. Tom Jones: Did Trouble Me
Wow! Tom Jones is certainly impressive with his second A-side single from his latest album
Praise And Blame. Ditching the guilty pleasure naff pop of his earlier records, Jones is really suited to the stripped back Gospel rock of this new album. Rousing yet intimate and undoubtedly sounds great live, Tom sings the lyrics of this song with great passion. 5 STARS

19. Tom Jones: Don’t Knock
Jones is in upbeat mode for this foot-tapping country tune. This is really very good with some great female backing vocals and shows that Tom has plenty of energy for his age. If you’re not a fan of country music, this is hardly going to peak your interest and it doesn’t really standout from other country tracks but it still will prove to go down a storm at Tom’s live shows.
4 STARS

20. Travie McCoy featuring Bruno Mars: Billionaire
This song isn’t going to change the World but it’s a fun and beautiful Summer pop tune. Bruno Mars continues to be a scene stealer on the two singalong choruses of this song, having last won us over with his romantic vocals on B.o.B.’s
Nothin’ On You and Travie’s cheeky chappy rapping against a bouncy reggae backing is completely charming. Unlike the majority of rap tunes, Travie doesn’t just about material possessions and getting in girls’ panties, although, they understandably are part of the lyrical content too, but also rhymes about adopting kids that ain’t as fortunate as him and donating money to the victims of Hurricane Katrina. No doubt, radio is going to play this to death and perhaps Travie could have delved deeper lyrically and less superficially into the track but as a fun, relatable Summer pop tune, this does the trick! 4 STARS

21. Wallis Bird: An Idea About Mary
Hippie chick Wallis Bird sings in an Irish accented voice for this autobiographical, folk track with some witty, relatable lyrics that are odds with the morbid subject matter which detail the death of a woman named Mary. Wallis manages to really appeal with the anguished chorus and climax of the song but the humdrum production and verses sadly suck the momentum out of that stunning chorus and hence ruin this from being a defining single. Sad.
3 STARS

22. The Wanted: All Time Low
I’m sorry but this song is completely lame. Okay, not
completely lame but not much better from what JLS are inflicting upon. I’m not exactly excited about the sudden resurgence of popularity in boy and girl bands because boy and girl bands are just corny, products of sex that make shoddy, manufactured music. I do quite like the pompous strings during the first minute or two of the song, some of the guys have interesting voices and the chorus does quickly bury itself in your head but the song just feels very clunky, random 😉 and unfinished. Like a demo or something. The way the song builds up from pompous indie ballad to ravey pop tune just brings back too many bad memories of JLS’ One Shot and the video has to go down as one of the worst clips of 2010. They look so corny jumping around in the air with flares, repeating ”low-a-low-a-low-a-low” over and over and over again. Aren’t they supposed to be in the throes of depression? Why are they dancing in a crumbling warehouse? Probably hoping the building falls on them, I guess. 2.5 STARS

23. Yolanda Be Cool and D-Cup: We No Speak Americano
Please, one
Riverside (Let’s Go) is enough! I do not want another gimmicky, irritating dance tune, thanks! You can call me boring and humourless but even when off my face in a club, this headwrecking tune still remains unappealing to me. I researched last weekend, y’see. And Yolanda Be Cool have lost all credibility as a starting out band. 1 STAR

STINKER OF THE WEEK!
24. Young Money: Every Girl In The World
Originally released as the record crew’s first single in the US back in April 2009, the song has now been released over here for a bid at Irish and British stardom. Well it’s not going to get it because unlike there previous hit
Bedrock, this song lacks a strong chorus or an interesting production. This is your typical misogynist hip-hop track with pain-wrenching use of Auto-Tune from Lil’ Wayne, Drake, Jae Millz, Gudda Gudda and Mack Maine (“Who?” at the latter three). There is absolutely nothing redeemable about this track. 1 STAR

I will hopefully have next week’s SRD tomorrow evening and the week after the day after – hopefully! 😀

Single Reviews Diary 24 – 16th July 2010

You know the drill by now. This week there are 19 singles. I review them. You comment/give feedback etc.

Single Reviews Diary 24 – 16th July 2010:

01. 30 Seconds To Mars: Closer To The Edge

File:30 Seconds to Mars-Closer to the Edge s.jpg
This is SONIC EARGASM!!! Seriously, if your looking for true depth or subtlety in music by 30 Seconds To Mars, look elsewhere because Jared Leto and co. are making unapologetic stadium rock with massive choruses, crowd chanting and epic sprawling productions. After the brilliant previous single This Is War, I went in and bought the album of the same name last week and I love it from start to finish. This is my favourite track – a fantastic stadium rocker! Jared’s wailing rather ironically brings hope to the listener. This has a real inspirational feel to it. 4.5 STARS

02. Adam Lambert: Whataya Want From Me

Adam Lambert - Whataya Want From Me
Another one who knows how to deliver the sonic eargasms, Glambert (or rather his label) took a bit of a misstep by releasing the dreadful For Your Entertainment as his first proper single. Seriously, not only was the song completely tedious but it just screamed “Look! I’m the male version of Lady GaGa!” Thankfully with his second proper single, Adam delivers the pop rock and that amazing voice we all fell in love with onAmerican Idol. In my opinion anything P!nk writes is dead catchy and this single is exactly that! Starting off brooding and vulnerable, the ballad breaks into an irresistible chorus absolutely dripping with angst and melody. You’ll soon be singing “Just don’t give up/I’m working out/Please don’t give up/I won’t let you down” at the top of your voice although good luck trying to emulate Lambo’s screeching at the end. Despite the misstep of his first single, Adam shows that if he keeps pushing out singles as good as this, us males will have a worthy pop superstar to go against the Lady GaGas, Beyoncés and Rihannas of this World. 4.5 STARS

03. Ash: Summer Snow

Ash - U
First off, I love the title off this track. Only five more
A-Z singles after this one, this track is a simple enough pop rock track with crunchy guitars, bass and impassioned vocals from frontman Tim. There’s also a slight folk influence. The chorus is good enough but nothing groundbreaking or dead catchy. Like the majority of singles from this era, a decent but ultimately passable track. Buy it if you’re an Ash fan. 3 STARS

04. Basshunter: Saturday

Basshunter - Saturday
Basshunter has probably figured out that his breakthrough
Now You’re Gone sound has probably started to grate on the public’s nerve so the horny DJ has gone ahead and made music just like everyone else. This is probably Basshunter’s best single but that’s not really saying much considering his past offerings. Comprised of a club beat, catchy uncredited female vocalist(s) and plenty of Auto-Tune with the lyrical theme of partying, Basshunter joins JLS, Usher, Enrique and Taio in the ranks for tired, corporate dance music that is going to be swallowed up by the masses. 2.5 STARS

05. Diana Vickers: The Boy Who Murdered Love

File:TBWML.jpg
This girl is obsessed with the macabre…perhaps she should see a therapist? Or front an emo band? But Diana’s musical output is at odds with her dark lyrics because this is such a cheery, upbeat song. Diana’s whispery vocals are still intact but used in a more commercial way than her risky debut
Once. The chorus is ten times catchier than the aforementioned single, which simply comprised of the word “Once” being repeated over and over again. The song is cute, catchy and 100% pop without sounding manufactured. Plus I’m starting to develop a huge crush on Diana Vickers…almost obsessive! 4 STARS

06. Faithless: Tweak Your Nipple

Dance
Faithless seem to have a new single out each week. It’s rather crazy! This new track is lyrically philosophical and intelligent with mind provoking lyrics such as “I see genius in everybody to perceive it in yourself is the difficulty” and “Your individuality overflows with quality, it manifests solidly if you believe”. But do we really want to think while we’re on the dancefloor. I don’t think so. The beat only picks up as we come to the end of the track and the spoken word run of the song is grating. For die hard only Faithless fans.
2 STARS

07. Giggs featuring Shola Ama: Blow ‘Em Away


Another artist just firing out the singles, I think Giggs is fast morphing into the British 50 Cent. The deep and ominous voiced rapper shows plenty of ‘swagga’ (I feel so weird saying that) on this beat heavy track while Shola Ama does her best Keri Hilson impression on the mildly catchy chorus. If you’ve missed 50 Cent during his time relevant, then you should enjoy this.
3 STARS

08. Goldhawks: Keep This Fire


I’d recommend keeping an eye on this band. They definitely show much promise and remind me at times of Arcade Fire or Kings Of Leon. This anthemic indie rock song has Summer appeal and also would make a decent climactic soundtrack song. It has to lose points for a lack of originality though.
3.5 STARS

09. Inna: Amazing

File:Inna-amazing-promo-cover.jpg
After the surprise Top 10 placing of her previous single
Hot, I was hoping Romanian pop tart Inna would disappear as quickly as she came. Not a chance, she’s releasing her second single Amazing and I have a feeling it’s going to be another hit. Amazing it most definitely isn’t but with its Ibiza style production, it certainly miles better than the steaming hot mess that was Hot. This conjures up thoughts of Mediterranean holiday camps, something you’ll gladly dance drunkedly to on a Saturday night. Plus Inna looks good in a bikini. 2.5 STARS

STINKER OF THE WEEK!
10. Jedward: All The Small Things

Jedward - All The Small Things
Basically, to rant about this would be pointless. You’ll either love or hate Jedward or actually find yourself warming to them but I still find them one of the most pointless, idiotic, talentless and manufactured acts to ever grace the music industry. I do not find them funny, I do not find them cute and I do not find them entertaining. Everything from their ridiculous hair to their faux American accents to their blatant lack of originality, brains, vocal and dance ability just annoys me!!! With their cover of Blink-182’s
All The Small Things, the gruesome twosome shout over the original instrumentation with some cheap synths added for contemporary effect. You don’t need a good voice to cover this song but you need some singing ability which Jedward clearly lack. If you think the original sounds bad, you should hear their breathless live rendition. I know I’m not the kiddie target market for this duo but if this is what kids grow up listening too then I seriously fear for the future of mankind. No joke. Ooops, looks like I ranted. 1 STAR

11. Kill Krinkle Club: Airport

Kill Krinkle Club - Airport
The Irish/Swedish duo and real life couple Kill Krinkle Club are back with the first single from their forthcoming album
Abandon. Much like its official music video, this track is a dreamy slice of experimental electronica. Not exactly a bad tune but I’ve heard this kind of music a hundred times before. The icy beats are nice though. 3 STARS

12. Pendulum: Witchcraft

Pendulum - Witchcraft
The Aussie industrial rockers are back with the second single from album
Immersion. Don’t let the subdued opening fool you, this is yet another fast paced break neck speed track with some powerful meaty vocals. I’m sure this would sound absolutely immense live. However, it does sound a bit samey doesn’t it. Like they’ve done it all before. Oh well, I’ll let them off this time. 3.5 STARS

13. Placebo: I Feel You

Placebo - I Feel You
The British more heavier R.E.M. soundalikes Placebo have released their Depeche Mode cover of
I Feel You, a track which appears on a bonus disc of their 2003 album Sleeping With Ghosts. It’s a bit strange that the band would go back and release a song from two albums before (even if it is only a special edition) but then when have Placebo been conventional. Instrumentally this is very good. Lead singer Brian Molko’s slithery voice though is another thing altogether. Some find it sexy and addictive; others find it nasal and whiny! I think his voice is better suited to some songs than they are to others. While Molko really makes this his own which is something to be commended, the original trumps this skin crawling version by far. 2.5 STARS

14. Sandi Thom: Gold Dust

Sandi Thom - Gold Dust
The Punk Rocker With Flowers In Her Hair has actually released her third solo album back in May but you’d never know because the Scottish singer was forced out of the limelight as quickly as she came into it back in 2005 when her irritatingly catchy debut was all over the airwaves. With the second single from album
Merchants And Thiefs, Thom takes on an American blues feel with her music. In this sultry ballad with some great guitars, the singer actually sounds like a female Dylan albeit a little clichéd. It’s just a shame very few people will hear this. 4 STARS

15. Sarah McLachlan: Loving You Is Easy

Sarah McLachlan - Loving You Is Easy
The Canadian singer, known best for her large catalogue of miserable piano ballads, decides to up the tempo a little bit for her comeback single, taken from her new album
Laws Of Illusion. It’s a nice little pop ditty that should please her fans and keep the AC crowd happy but with its bouncy piano melody and uplifting chorus, it just sounds like a carbon copy of Sarah Bareilles’ Love Song. At least McLachlan looks HOT aged 42. 2.5 STARS

16. Sheryl Crow: Summer Day

File:Summerday.jpg
All the female folk singers are coming out in their droves this week. To promote her new album
100 Miles From Memphis, Sheryl Crow has ditched the catchy folk she’s more closely associated for relaxed Summer blues music. This song is just sublime. Don’t expect anything as radio friendly as Soak Up The Sun or Everyday Is A Winding Road, with this track, Crow captures that feeling of intense love on a breezy Summer day thanks to an impassioned yet restrained vocal performance and some light guitar backing. A+ for making an effort and succeeding. 5 STARS

17. Usher featuring Pitbull: DJ Got Us Fallin’ In Love

Usher featuring Pitbull - DJ Got Us Fallin' In Love
The lead single from Usher’s March album
Raymond V. Raymond, OMG was a surprise smash hit. Many deemed his career over in the lead up to the release but the atrocity managed to surprise everyone and spend weeks atop the charts across the World for the weeks and even now is still lying about the Top 10. Realising that selling his soul works, Usher has struck while the iron is hot and tacked together a new album EP with another corporate dance track that will get the masses moving but lacks in any real passion or drive. Lyrically this is juvenile and cheesy and would be much better suited to his protégé Justin Bieber. Pitbull spews out more of his tiresome bilingual verses which cashing his $1 million dollar cheque for nothing. It’s the god of pop songwriting Max Martin who is the real star of this song who makes what would be an otherwise tired and boring song decent with some giant pop hooks and a euphoric production. I demand a feature credit. 3 STARS

18. Usher featuring Nicki Minaj: Lil’ Freak

File:Lil Freak Official single cover.png
Ush still hasn’t stopped promoting
Raymond V. Raymond though. This track acts as a promo single here and it’s a shame it wasn’t put in the place of OMG as lead single from the project. It’s not half as annoying and just as catchy. Much like its accompanying promo clip, it sounds and looks like Nelly Furtado’s Maneater but I guess the wimpy record label feared it would be too urban for the mainstream crowd. Now much like Usher’s recent output, this track is far from perfect. Lyrically it’s as misogynist as many R&B/hip-hop songs these days and Nicki Minaj, normally a scene stealer, has one of the most unbearable rap verses of the year. Seriously, what’s with the Santa’s reindeer rap runthrough in that over-the-top accent for? Still, this track is a more than decent club banger with a minimum backbeat and massive symphonic synths that start up in the chorus, which strangely reminds me of the 1990s movie Men In Black. Something fun and gritty to grind to on the Saturday night dancefloor – or in the house when no-one is looking. 3.5 STARS

TRACK OF THE WEEK!
19. Vanessa Amorosi: I Am Who I Am

Vanessa Amorosi - This Is Who I Am
Australia answer to a more universally liked Katy Perry releases her debut single over here. It’s pretty sad that this track is unlikely to chart because this is an explosive power pop stomper that sounds like Katy Perry’s
Hot ‘N’ Cold meets Kelly Clarkson’s Since U Been Gone. Seriously it’s that good! Featuring a stuttering electronic guitar hook, an instantly infectious chorus and a whole lot of grrrl power with witty lyrics, maybe it’s time to start a campaign to get radio to playlist this too. Give it a listen…go on! You’re missing out! 5 STARS

I’ll try and get Diary 25 done before Monday. Not promising though! 😉

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

Single Reviews Diary 22 – 2nd July 2010

Again, I’ll have to apologise for my lateness with this one – the twenty-second edition of my Single Reviews Diaries. So this week is actually the week of my 19th birthday and the singles are actually rather interesting. It wasn’t hard to pick my Track Of The Week and Stinker Of The Week because not only are they the best and worst songs of the week but probably the best and worst songs of the WHOLE ENTIRE YEAR. 3 is a magic number and magic begins with the letter M so it’s also intriguing to see that two artists, both beginning with M have released three promo singles each for our listening pleasure. So yep, it’s a peculiar week. Read my reviews below and give me comments and opinions on what you think of this week’s selection.

Single Reviews Diary 22 – 2nd July 2010:

01. 3OH!3 featuring Ke$ha: My First Kiss

3OH!3 - My First Kiss
Eurrgh! These 3OH!3 losers had me guiltily singing along to
Don’t Trust Me andStarstrukk featuring Katy Perry but at least I could admit to myself despite the guys’ obvious stupidity, there were some pop smarts underneath the tripe. Not with this – the lead single from their sophomore album Streets Of Gold. Following off the back of their last Ke$ha collaboration Blah Blah Blah, My First Kiss is just completely dumb. Starting off with a shouty “My first kiss went a little like this” followed by kissing effects, the song continues in the same annoying manner with the boys shouting tunelessly over a cascade of guitars and synths. Ke$ha’s role is pointless, only providing a brief female slant to the track and to attract some additional star power. Sure, this will make all the sweaty pre-pubescents at the teenage disco go crazy but for anyone who has moved well beyond their first kiss, this is pop at its dumbest and most senseless. And clearly 3OH!3 are becoming one trick ponies – using silly sound effects in order to sell their songs seems to be their thing. Plus the blond one (not Ke$ha) comes across totally desperate for attention in the accompanying video. I’ll give it half a point extra for the oooh-oooh hook though. 1.5 STARS

02. Ash: Instinct

Ash - Instinct: 7-inch + Download: £5.00 packshot


Single Letter T (we’re finally getting to the end of them) is a decent pop rock tune with a huge electro influence. It’s perfectly enjoyable radio fodder (not that it will get the airplay) but doesn’t boast any sizeable hook or anything really special. A pleasant listen with a nice long guitar solo towards the end.
3 STARS

03. Bombay Bicycle Club: Ivy And Gold

Bombay Bicycle Club - Ivy & Gold / Flaws
Quirky rockers Bombay Bicycle Club are yet another band with a single that recalls sunshine and school’s out. This has a very folky sound which is pleasant to listen to but I’m constantly reminded of Mumford & Sons. Decent but BBC probably need to broaden their sound out a bit more.
3 STARS

04. Cathy Davey: Army Of Tears


The extremely talented singer songwriter that is Cathy Davey has returned with the second single from her brilliant new album
The Nameless. Amidst marching band beats, ominous guitar and banjo and dramatic strings, Cathy manages once again to take the listener away from their own World and into her own otherworldly one with her soft, endearing vocals. Another excellent single, surely international success beckons. 4 STARS

05. Ciara featuring Ludacris: Ride

Ciara - Ride
Following an underwhelming foray into pop with her last album
Fantasy Ride, the Queen of Crunk Ciara returns to her raunchy roots from her first album with forthcoming fourth album, the aptly titled Basic Instinct. This song seems to be doing relatively well in her native US. Despite the sexual but “nothing new in this day and age” music video being banned in many territories, the song has cracked the US Top 50 and hit the Top 5 on the US R&B/Hip-Hop charts so clearly many urban fans have welcomed back the old Ciara. I enjoy urban music myself but this is a pretty poor comeback single. Ludacris shows up for his fifth CiCi collaboration but really this guy will rap on anything these days! He spends most of the time talking in the robot from Boom Boom Pow’s voice while Ciara croons in the only way she knows how…soft and breathy which sounds sexy alright but shows how limited her vocal range. With a title called Ride, this is clearly a bedroom jam but it’s a very run-of-the-mill bedroom jam rather than a hot steamy one. Maybe on Ciara and Ludacris’ sixth collaboration, they might surprise us? 2 STARS

06. Eliza Doolittle featuring Lloyd Wade: Pack Up

Eliza Doolittle - Pack Up
I think Eliza Doolittle is an awfully contrived singer – one of those ‘kooky’ singer-songwriter types who writes chirpy indie tracks, their bubbly vocals just perfect for the next Apple ad. That’s exactly what Eliza is on this single – chirpy. She even “tweets” halfway through the song. Not actually tweet as in write short messages on Twitter but actually imitates a bird. However, I can’t deny the catchy Summery draw of this track and the fact that Ms. Doolittle thinks outside the box a little by sampling an old World War I tune originally sang by George Asaf. Her friend Lloyd Wade gives a positive and raspy vocals work as a good catalyst to Doolittle’s “love it or hate it” singing voice. I think for this, Doolittle deserves a chance at the Top 20.
3.5 STARS

TRACK OF THE WEEK!
07. Florence + The Machine: Cosmic Love

Florence + The Machine - Cosmic Love
This track continues to give me goosebumps everytime I listen to it, even a year on from first hearing it. One could compare it to
Dog Days Are Over as it has that same Florence structure – starting off all subdued with quiet vocals and tinkling harps before exploding into a flood of heavenly vocals, tribal drumbeats and bombastic production. However, while Dog Days is a great track – it feels more like the type of song you’d dance along to at a festival. It has a real joyous celebratory feel but it never feels extraordinary – at least I don’t think so anyway. Cosmic Love has an ethereal feel to it – like it comes from another planet! Florence sounds like some otherworldly spectre as she bellows out this explosive, romantic tune with a Celtic lilt. The production matches the epic vocals and lyrics perfectly and the oooh-ooohs are beautifully haunting. When Florence hits those two high notes towards the end of song – you realise this song is nothing short of magic. This is without a doubt one of the most underappreciated mainstream releases of our time and it baffles me that it was picked as the seventh single from the album. 5 STARS

08. Foals: Miami

Foals - Miami
Following on from the brilliant
This Orient, the alternative rockers return with a song so sweaty and muscular, it matches the accompanying video to perfection. To be honest, I find this track a little lacking. Despite some funky guitar work, it’s all a bit too plodding and doesn’t pack much bite or promise. The vocals are background noise and the song should have ended 2 minutes earlier than it does. I would definitely check out there other stuff though because, unlike this, it sounds like anything but album filler. 2 STARS

09. Ham Sandwich: The Naturist


The talented band with an unfortunate name return with this soft sing-along track from their upcoming second album Natural Causes. It’s a lot softer than what we’re used to from the group with Niamh Farrel, the band’s frontwoman, packing in lots of angst and vulnerability into this acoustic track which lyrically could be compared to Robyn’s
Dancing On My Own. Irish radio needs to start playing this. 4 STARS

10. Kelis: 4th Of July (Fireworks)


I do believe I said over on the review for this song that I didn’t like this track much but I’m glad I gave it a few more listens before I reviewed it. Because
4th Of July is clearly a grower. It doesn’t have any real discernible hook but Kelis sounds like a lost ‘90s dance diva on this well produced, squelchy house track, yet another lyrical ode to her son Knight. Tying in with the American holiday, this has a misleading euphoric feel – and while it doesn’t quite reach the standards of Acapella – Kelis shows that you can jump on the dance bandwagon without sounding like everyone else out there. 4 STARS

11. Kevin Rudolf featuring Jay Sean, Lil’ Wayne and Birdman: I Made It (Cash Money Heroes)

Kevin Rudolf / Lil Wayne / Jay Sean / Birdman - I Made It (Cash Money Heroes) (Edited Version)
One hit wonder Kevin Rudolf returns with another catchy urban pop rock tune which features old cohort, the incarcerated Lil’ Wayne, pointless music video cameo staple Birdman and US flavour of the month Jay Sean. The track has an upbeat anthemic feel, no doubt helped by Sean’s smooth vocals, and is sort of likeable but is unoriginal with some clichéd and tired lyrics about artists getting to the top. Sorry guys, B.o.B. did it better.
3 STARS

12. Janelle Monáe featuring Big Boi: Tightrope

Janelle Monáe - Tightrope [feat. Big Boi]
Janelle is definitely going to be the next big global star. And well deserved…rather than posing as an oversexed avant garde artist, Monáe is a good old fashioned funky soul babe, dressed in an androgynous suit who sings at a rapid pace amongst some toe-tapping production of guitars, drumbeats and rhythmic trumpets. As much as I enjoy Big Boi for his innovative approach to hip-hop music, his appearance on this track is not worthwhile at all. That being said, Monáe is very special indeed and all eyes are on her to see what she’ll bring out next.
4 STARS

STINKER OF THE WEEK!
13. JLS: The Club Is Alive

JLS - The Club Is Alive
Complete garbage. I don’t care how many hooks this track has, I don’t care how hard JLS have worked, I don’t care how club friendly this track is and I don’t care that many teenage girls will be wetting their panties over how many times JLS pout moodily into the camera or flash their abs. We have enough bland, generic and Auto-Tuned electropop in the charts at the minute – JLS use this template but add some cringeworthy and clichéd lyrics on top of that and their voices remain indistinguishable from each other due to the Auto-Tune “effect”.
”Went to the club, not looking for love”. Who goes to a club looking for love? People go the club for cheap, drunken sex.You can be the DJ, I can be the dancefloor, you can get up on me!” Excuse me while I vomit. ”Shawties all around but I’m focused on you!” Puh-lease you are not gangsta enough to throw the word shawty around – even if Justin Bieber uses it. And good luck, Aston finding a shawty shawter than you. So yup, The Club Is Alive is just a soulless cash-in record to appeal to the teenyboppers who are, no doubt, fuelling this whole generic, soulless electro craze. I know that manufactured acts have been around before but JLS make me so mad because they’re clearly squandering the talent they have for the floods of cash they’ll get in return. There’s nothing wrong with a fun dance track but The Club Is Alive just screams “GIVE ME MONEY!” and nothing more…which is really sad. 1 STAR

14. Lee Ryan: I Am Who I Am

Lee Ryan - I Am Who I Am
After the terribly generic
Secret Love which is being released officially this week, as a double A-side Blue band member Lee Ryan is releasing a ballad. Now I think of Mr. Ryan as being a less desperate male equivalent to Katie Price/Jordan but I have to say I’m surprisingly bolwed over by this heartfelt ballad. Maybe Ryan has a bit of musicality underneath his reality TV friendly body. Beautifully sang, some great lyrics and rousing yet lonely production, this is cream of the crop as far as male pop ballads go. Lee has managed to top Take That at this feat but it’s certainly opened my eyes to the fact that the guy might have talent after all. 4 STARS

15. M.I.A.: Steppin’ Up


And so the onslaught of promo singles begins. M.I.A.’S new album
/\/\/\Y/\ is out next week and alongside buzz single Born Free and the brilliant lead single XXXO we get three taster tracks from the new record. Steppin’ Up reintroduces us to the noisy and busy tracks by M.I.A.. Opening up with incredibly loud and crunchy drill noises amongst a tuneless vocal flow of “Rub-a-dub-dub”, the song isn’t for casual M.I.A. fans. However, once you get passed all the noise, you’ve actually got a gem of a chorus/hook? Basically it’s filled with nonchalant expletives but it has a futuristic paranoia about it that’s just going to fit in perfectly with the album theme and sounds like a good alternative dance track if it gets airplay in the clubs. 3.5 STARS

16. M.I.A.: Teqkilla (sorry no video…yet! Will update!)


I’ve actually just discovered that there’s a remix of this song featuring Nicki Minaj. Jeez, is there anything Nicki isn’t appearing on these days, let alone alternative artists like M.I.A.. Teqkilla is similarly as noisy as
Steppin’ Up but is definitely made for the clubs and raves. Full of loud and noisy techno effects and a trippy production, the song doesn’t have much to say apart from being incredibly infectious. A definite return to the sound of first album Arular. 4 STARS

17. M.I.A.: Tell Me Why (sorry no video…yet! Will update!)


The final promo single from
/\/\/\Y/\, this is definitely more mainstream. Starting off with a rushed intro, this Diplo produced jam quickly descends into a much calmer sound. M.I.A. sings/raps in a slower relaxed voice against a simple yet rhythmic military beat. This could be the second official single from the album. 3.5 STARS

18. MGMT: Siberian Breaks

File:Siberian breaks single.JPG
MGMT might have promised to release zero singles from their second album
Congratulations but clearly that doesn’t apply to promotional singles. Following on from first promo single Flash Delirium, Siberian Breaks is a 12 minute lesson in overindulgent, schizophrenia in music. Frontman Andrew VanWyngarden says that Siberian Breaks is like 8 songs strung together, all lyrically speaking about surfing across the Arctic Circle (as evidenced in the Congratulations cover) and he certainly isn’t wrong. While the track is actually rather great – a psychedelic homage to Beatles-esque pop, albeit with many changes in tempo and instrumentation, it would have been better if the group just split the whole track into several different songs rather than trying to be all “hipster”. Quantity is sometimes as important as quality in music. 3 STARS

19. MGMT: It’s Working

Another psychedelic track from the boys, the opening track from Congratulations is probably one of the more poppier numbers on the album, but nothing in comparison toElectric Feel or Kids. Again, I’m strongly reminded of The Beatles as this has a similar instrumentation of harpsichords, guitars and heavy drumbeats. 3.5 STARS

20. MGMT: Congratulations


This is one of the greater tracks from the album. The title track and album closer is a really laidback, sort of Summery track with watery piano chords, quiet and poetic vocals from Andrew and lightly strum guitars. Definitely the most radio-friendly track on the album.
4 STARS

21. Miike Snow: The Rabbit


The fantastic Swedes that are Miike Snow are back with this glam stomper. This is definitely one of the more commercial tracks on the album and sounds like a less manufactured Adam Lambert track with more intriguing lyrics and some better electro production. I hope radio picks this one up.
3.5 STARS

22. The Muppets: Popcorn

The Muppets - Popcorn
Yup, Kermit The Frog, Miss Piggy and co. are back with their own cover of the easily recognisable instrumental
Popcorn composed by Gershon Kingsley back in 1969. Really this barely differs from the instrumental; it’s all about watching the music video for all its novelty fun. 2 STARS

23. Nathan featuring Flo Rida: Caught Me Slippin’


British R&B singer Nathan returns with a new song which has a sort of old fashioned Summer feel to it, a bit like R. Kelly’s
Ignition but not anywhere near as good. This song just doesn’t really go anywhere. Bar the certain old skool urban charm underlying, this is nearly as generic as they come. Nathan doesn’t show much of his vocal chops off, the lyrics are tired and clichéd, there are no strong hooks and the song opens with an annoying J.R. Rotem siren. It’s surprisingly Flo Rida who steals the show here with his rapping flowing perfectly with the song. But when Flo Rida’s the standout in your song with a disposable rap, I think that means it’s time to go back to the drawing board. 2 STARS

24. Peggy Sue: Yo Mama

Peggy Sue - Yo Mama
The folky Amy Winehouse returns with another single featuring folky instrumentals and Amy Winehouse-esque vocals. It’s a rousing track with some lovely use of accordions but doesn’t sound especially different or likely to blow you away. As I’ve said for previous single
Watchmen though, Peggy Sue shows lots of promise as an artist. 3 STARS

25. Primary 1: Princess

Princess
This has a part naff ‘80s sound and also little parts that have an experimental edge. I shouldn’t like this track but I do. There’s something very listenable about it. The video is also excellent and I recommend you watch.
3 STARS

26. Wiley featuring Jodie Connor and J2K: Electric Boogaloo (Find A Way)

Electric Boogaloo
Sorry Wiley, but Dizzee Rascal did it first. Yet another grimy track desperate for crossover success, Jodie Connor seems to be building a reputation for singing poppy hooks over rap tracks. I will give it a decent-ish score for having a Summery club feel, a decent hook and for being mercifully short though.
2.5 STARS

Single Reviews Diary 21 – 25th June 2010

After celebrating its 20 week anniversary last week, things are looking interesting for this week’s Single Reviews Diary. Not only is it the diary with the least singles reviewed to date (not necessarily a bad thing – for me!) at a mere 14 but it’s also. But quality over quantity and three quality dance divas are going head to head this week to see who has the best single – Kelly Rowland, Kylie Minogue or Lady GaGa. Perhaps most intriguing of all though is this piece of news… I am shocked to report this week that Justin Bieber is releasing a very good pop song. Read below to find out what’s happening the week of the 28th and let me know your thoughts in the comments below.

Single Reviews Diary 21 – 25th June 2010:

01. Bon Jovi: When We Were Beautiful

Bon Jovi - When We Were Beautiful (Radio Edit)
This track started off really promising but sort of fizzled out before momentum got going. Opening with some fanciful guitar work, pounding drums and brooding vocals from Jon Bon Jovi, I thought this would be another track to go alongside some of Bon Jovi’s classic power ballads but alas no! The chorus on this track is too weak, the “sha-la-la” shout along is corny and the lyrics are clichéd and written in several different forms by Bon Jovi already. This is a grower but will only be loved by the hardcore Bon Jovi fans.
3 STARS

02. Coronas: Someone Else’s Hands

The Coronas - Someone Else's Hands
The talented Irish band had a massive hit last year in their homeland with the up-tempo pop rock track
Listen Dear so can they manage it with the third single from their second album Tony Was An Ex-Con. This is the token power ballad from the album and to be honest, it’s a nice song, not top-notch and would probably be crap in the hands of a less talented band but is saved by the distinguishing and emotionally pierced voice of lead singer Danny O’Reily and the well written lyrics. I’d go back and listen to Listen Dear again (check it out, non-Irish readers). 3 STARS

03. Enrique Iglesias featuring Juan Luis Guerra: Cuando Me Enamoro

File:Cuando me enamoro single cover.jpg
This won’t get much attention next to the mainly English spoken (and terrible) single
I Like It but Enrique is actually releasing dual singles from his bilingual album Euphoria – one in Spanish and the other English. It’s actually a crying shame that this will be overlooked because I think it manages to capture the sound of Summer much better than the robotic I Like It. Okay so the song is completely in Spanish which is something of a language barrier but there’s plenty to keep you interested in this old fashioned mid-tempo duet. Iglesias and Guerra both have fine voices, the former’s making every girl’s heart melt with its swoon-worthiness while the latter adds a little more richness and maturity. Plus there’s the understated Spanish instruments such as maracas which give a lovely Summer evening vibe. Plus you’ve got to love the sensual “ooooh-oooh” hook. Who cares if you don’t understand the language? That certainly hasn’t stopped me from listening to many great Spanish records! 3.5 STARS

STINKER OF THE WEEK!
04. Enrique Iglesias featuring Pitbull and Lionel Richie: I Like It

File:Enrique-iglesias-i-like-it.jpg
This is probably one of the worst songs of the year. I will admit that Enrique’s music is a not-so-guilty pleasure of mine and he sure knows how to vocally provide the catchy tunes, probably mostly due to his angsty voice (P!nk also does this) but a mildly repetitive chorus of “I Like It” followed by some Auto-Tuned muttering and a lot of Spanish gibberish is not going to cut it this time. Enrique enlists RedOne once again for his new track but RedOne’s sound is starting to sound old here – all his usual tricks are used – horns, bombastic synths, loud choruses and name-checking. But worse still because Enrique is Spanish, i.e. European, he has taken things further down a notch by giving it a really cheesy Eurodance Cascada-esque sound. Enrique’s voice is completely drowned out by ‘80s robotic Auto-Tuned effects as is the re-recorded Lionel Richie snippet from
All Night Long. Pitbull’s fast paced hyperactive rap is actually a lot of fun but amounts to nothing as it has nothing to do with the song at all. A terrible song like JLS’ The Club Is Alive which we’ll be snapped up by the public because Enrique is “soooooo totally hot” and “OMG! RedOne’s the producer and Nicole Richie’s dad is on part of it wiv that seriously cool rappa Pitbull!” 1 STAR

05. Futureheads: I Can Do That

I Can Do That
The follow-up to the Futureheads
Heartbeat Song definitely takes some major influences from 1970s punk. The repetitive chorus is very weakthough and the track definitely recalls the Sex Pistols, although a bit watered down and dull. It’s not exactly bad just nothing special. 2.5 STARS

06. Imelda May: Psycho

Imelda May - Psycho
The super talented and super sexy rockabilly singer Imelda May is back with a new single from her third album
Mayhem, released this September. The track has a global appeal and all Imelda needs is some good old promotion and attention to make it. The song has a great dirty feel to it with May providing her lusty, strong vocals as usual. It also features some top quality howling, the best use of howling in a song since Shakira’s She Wolf. It mightn’t be as instantly catchy as Johnny Got A Boom Boom but a terrific lead single none the less with a great video to match. 4 STARS

07. Justin Bieber featuring Usher: Somebody To Love (Remix)

File:Justin-Bieber Someb40D5FE8rev.jpg
For many people who have read my posts, it’s no secret that I’m no fan of Justin Bieber, the young guy having won two Stinker Awards for his smelly contributions in music, which includes the infantile
Eenie Meenie and the bland ballad (blandad?) Never Let You Go. But I am not a biased person and I will artists credit where credit is due and tell you all that Justin Bieber’s new single Somebody To Love is actually rather good. No, thankfully he didn’t cover Queen and STL is an original song that ropes in his mentor Usher. The song has some well crafted verses, a quiet grower of a chorus and some shiny, shiny production by production crew The Stereotypes. There’s a noticeable strain on Bieber’s puberty stricken voice on this track but he holds it up well and Usher more than makes up for it in the vocal department with his seductive crooning. The only part I don’t like is at the end when Usher says something and Bieber replies “Yeah man!” all smug. What we’ve got though is a decent dance pop smash that might just show Bieber has potential as a star. *avoids rotten fruit thrown at me by Bieber haters* 4 STARS

TRACK OF THE WEEK!
08. Kelly Rowland: Commander

Kelly Rowland / David Guetta - Commander
Can Kelly Rowland finally find true success as a popstar after going from yet another R&B vocalist to a fierce and fabulous dance diva? I think so and to do that, Kelly has teamed up with old pal and collaborator David Guetta, who she most noticeably worked with on last year’s dance smash
When Love Takes Over. I have a bit of a hit and miss relationship with Guetta but he certainly delivers on this track, providing a pounding baseline, wonky synths, huge rave-tastic beats and a futuristic sound. We can’t forget the star of the show Kelly, who provides a stunning vocal performance which even manages to outsing the sheer amount of Auto-Tune layered thick on her voice. The chorus is massive and soaring with Kelly conveying oodles of confidence. Lyrics like“The DJ is my bodyguard” and “There’s no-one here who does it like I does it” are a little cheesy not to mention grammatical murder but there all part of the song’s charm and I wouldn’t have them any other way. This is probably the best dance-pop track of the year exceeding all expectations in the vocal, production, catchiness and lyrical department. 5 STARS

09. Kid British: Winner

Kid British - Winner
Is retro back again? The band return with this soulful ska pop track that sounds like it came straight out of the 1960s. The song was included on the latest World Cup video game and it’s not surprising seeing as it’s got that upbeat marching feel to it and inspirational lyrics. A definite crowd pleaser for the returning band.
4.5 STARS

10. Kylie Minogue: All The Lovers

Kylie Minogue - All The Lovers
The sweet and sexy Kylie Minogue makes her comeback with this near-perfect little number. Normally, I’m not a Kylie Minogue fan at all but this track is just gorgeous. Featuring Kylie’s sweet, seductive, whispery vocals over a breezy bassline and gentle synths, this song is absolutely heavenly. Even though Kylie is pretty much saying that she’s been around the block before she met this incomparable guy, she manages to make her former promiscuity sound strangely romantic just like the accompanying video which sees a large orgy on the street. I have to dock half a point for the loud and squeaky synth breakdown towards the end but Kylie, we welcome you back to the throne as Queen of Pop!
4.5 STARS

11. Lady GaGa: Alejandro

File:Alejandro LG.png
RedOne is on production duties for the fifth single of eight in GaGa’s career but rather than recycle the same old beats like he’s being doing recently, the Moroccan DJ actually thinks outside the box and pays homage to Ace Of Base and Madonna during the
True Blue era with Ibiza friendly bouncy beats perfect for Summer. Pop megastar Lady GaGa continues this Latin theme by doing a bad Spanish accent, the occasional use of a Spanish word here and there and shooing off the attentions of Hispanic men Alejandro, Fernando and Roberto. The chorus is catchy, GaGa trades in her usual sexual innuendos for something tamer and the first minute of this track is pure pop magic. Sadly after that one minute, the remaining three minutes (seven in the bleak music video) just sort of plod along in repetition with the listener left thinking “How many times has she said Alejandro now?” While this is still a catchy pop song with a fun, sunny vibe (in contrast to the video), the track says everything it wants to say after one minute and doesn’t have the plentiful hooks that have become a staple of GaGa’s singles so far. The ‘90s Latin beats might be infectious, endearing and provide a bout of nostalgia but this lacks the pop power that every GaGa single before had (excluding Eh Eh (Nothing Else I Can Say) and LoveGame). 3.5 STARS

12. The National: Anyone’s Ghost

Anyone's Ghost
An atmospheric and brooding track from the shoe-gazing band. It starts off sounding like any old miserable rock track with poetic lyrics but once the guitar chords build up and the strings are added, the song takes on a subtle beauty which only increases as the song goes on. It won’t appeal to the mainstream but should keep National fans happy.
3.5 STARS

13. Skepta featuring Greg: Rescue Me

Rescue Me
Roll Deep member Skepta returns with a gritty dub-step track following the ravey Bad Boy. This song wouldn’t be anything without the chorus though – which is provided by Greg. The chorus is really strong despite its robotic sound – but that robotic sound reminds me of some singer (and not one of the many who are using Auto-Tune at the moment). It’s suitably angsty too and makes you listen to the lyrics which I guess is a subliminal way of getting you to love all the song. Not original but definitely better than former #1
Good Times. 3 STARS

14. The Unconventionals: Push The Button


I feared that these
X-Factor losers would do a cover of Sugababes 2.0’s song of the same name and I was right. However, my fears were unnecessary because this is surprisingly charming and catchy. The Unconventionals have given it a real ‘60s doo-wop makeover and it’s sung extremely well with some toe-tapping backing vocals. While its uncomfortable to hear a bunch of middle aged people use the slang of the old edgy Babes, it’s certainly not half as comfortable as listening to any of Sugababes 4.0’s material. 4 STARS

Singles Reviews Diary 20 – 18th June 2010

It’s twenty weeks old! It’s twenty weeks old! It’s twenty weeks old! I am so delighted with the achievement of having written twenty of these diaries now and I think I’ve managed to cover pretty much every major single in them. To add to this being the twentieth (week) anniversary of the Singles Reviews Diaries, there are also 20 singles to review below. Check out my reviews and let me know what you think of the songs or the reviews in general. What’s your Track Of The Week? What’s your Stinker? Which band/artist are you really loving at the moment? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

Singles Reviews Diary 20 – 18th June 2010:

01. Adam Deacon and Bashy featuring Paloma Faith: Keep Moving

Adam Deacon & Bashy feat. Paloma Faith - Keep Moving (Explicit Album Version)
While Chipmunk and Tinchy Stryder can be described as the British equivalents to American counterparts Flo Rida and Soulja Boy Tell ‘Em, I think it’s fair to describe Adam Deacon as a British equivalent to T.I. or Jay-Z. Teaming up with fellow occasional actor Paloma Faith, the two create a mature but not entirely original hip-hop track witha soulful chorus. Faith’sbeautiful vocals bring a hint of retro-ness to the track while Deacon is a surprisingly good rapper. Bashy joins halfway through to add a little diversity to the track. What we get in the end is a fairly typical hip-hop track – but a
very good fairly typical hip-hop track at that! 3.5 STARS

02. Ash: Spheres

Ash - S
This is Single Letter S from Ash’s
A-Z Series. They should really get to promoting this single because it’s probably the best track we’ve heard from the singles collection so far. Ash’s music is normally simple catchy pop rock but with Spheres, we see the Northern Irish trio go over to the dark side. Featuring an eerie piano line which runs from the intro throughout the whole song, pounding drums and a hammering bass. It all comes to a stunning climax when the guitars crunch up and the chorus becomes more aggressive. The song is definitely worth a buy. 4 STARS

03. The Automatic: Cannot Be Saved

The Automatic - Cannot Be Saved
The Automatic return with the third single from their
Tear The Signs Down LP. If you’ve heard Automatic before – and many of you have – remember that song ”What’s that coming over the hill, is it a monster? Is it a monster? – then you’ll know what to expect. A song that doesn’t take too seriously, a fun shout-along punk pop track that travels at 100 mph, this isn’t going to be the highlight of the year. But it’s a fun track to add to that Summer playlist. 3.5 STARS

TRACK OF THE WEEK!
04. Big Boi featuring Cutty: Shutterbug

Big Boi / Cutty - Shutterbugg (Explicit Version)
One half of the genre defining hip-hop duo Outkast and the lesser known member to Andre 3000, Big Boi has struck out on his own with new single
Shutterbug and like his band continues to show some innovation in hip-hop. While hiring an R&B singer like Cutty to croon over the song isn’t entirely original, this track is all about Big Boi. Lacking any real chorus, Big Boi raps along with an incredible flow while the instrumentation of funky ‘80s synths, drumclaps and samples of Soul II Soul’s Back To Reality provide the main hooks of this song. I really love this track because it has a chilled out yet cocksure vibe that you rarely hear in rap nowadays. I’m seriously looking forward to Big Boi’s album now. 5 STARS

05. Cypress Hill featuring Pitbull and Marc Anthony: Armada Latina

Cypress Hill featuring Pitbull and Marc Anthony - Armada Latina (feat. Pitbull and Marc Anthony)
Sigh. Another week. Another Pitbull feature. Why must he torment me so?! That said Cypress Hill’s track will provide a little Latin flavour this Summer. With a repetitive “oooh-oooh-oooh” hook running through the song, Jennifer Lopez’s husband Marc Anthony provides the Spanish sung chorus while the rapping is provided in English by Cypress Hill and Pitbull. Cypress Hill’s rapping is fairly passable and Pitbull continues to rap random words in Spanish over an unrelated rap about him not being an “asshole”. Right. *side eye*. Still those oooh-oooh hooks and Marc Anthony’s chorus is what make this must have on the Summer playlist. But then again…I am a sucker for pretty much every Spanish song in existence.
4.5 STARS

06. Daisy Dares You: Rosie

Daisy Dares You - Rosie
This is a pretty catchy pop rock jam with a massive chorus. That said so was her last single
Number One Enemy. And that song drove me mad for a few weeks. Daisy manages to provide radio friendly fodder that will get airplay all over the place before being completely forgotten about in a few weeks. I appreciate the fact that Daisy has said she wants to stay away from the clichéd teen romance lyrics on her debut album, something she’s managed so far, singing about rowing with her sister Scarlet (ginger?) and backing up her friend Rosie (another ginger?)but she hasn’t managed to stay away from the clichéd Auto-Tune. Plus the electro breakdown with the fast paced rap doesn’t really gel well towards the end. All I’m hearing is a Z-grade Avril Lavigne mixed with a Z-grade Lily Allen. But points for only being 16 and making music a little more bearable than other 16 year olds *cough Justin Bieber*cough*.2.5 STARS

07. Dan Balan featuring Katie DiCicco: Chica Bomb


WTH? Why is Dan Balan credited as a lead artist on this track when Katie DiCicco, the sexy, breathy singer isn’t even credited? Last time I looked, practically whispering “chica-chica-bomb” over an unoriginal Eurodance backing constituted this being his song. I would give this Stinker Of The Week but DiCicco’s breathy vocals are seductive (I may be blinded by my urge to have sex with her), the cheesy Ibiza beats are just right for Summer and the middle eight is actually rather gorgeous. Dan Balan is a complete tool though. Many of you will agree with me as he was one-third of defunct band O-Zone (
The Numa Numa Song), possibly the most annoying Moldovan poppers anywhere. 2.5 STARS

08. Declining Winter: Official World Cup Theme 2010


Something for the UK to be proud of, Declining Winter have been given the honourary role of providing the theme song for World Cup 2010. Really it’s a strange choice of theme song, it doesn’t particularly draw you in or have a very celebratory sound. In fact, it’s very ‘indie’ and brooding in its sound. The instrumentation is rather good though with some beautiful string sections. Only the end of the song with some World Cup commentary makes you actually believe this song is for the World Cup though.
3 STARS

09. Dirty Money featuring Rick Ross and T.I.: Hello Good Morning

Diddy - Dirty Money / T.I. - Hello Good Morning (Explicit Version)
Diddy, Timbaland called and asked what you’re doing right and what he’s doing wrong. Because
Hello Good Morning sounds like it could have been released as a single of Timbaland Presents: Shock Value. Seriously? Yup. Diddy and his new ‘band’ of female rappers spit out some clichéd lyrics about being in a club and being so ‘fly’ with a little help from Rick Ross and recently freed T.I. over some wonky synths. It offers nothing new to the table at all but if you liked the singles from Timbaland’s FIRST Shock Valuealbum, then you should like this. Plus the epic breakdown at the end reminds us of why Sean Combs aka Puff Daddy aka P. Diddy aka Diddy is one of the most revered rappers out there. 3 STARS

10. Feeder: Call Out


‘90s rockers make a return with a big heavy rock number that grabs your attention as soon as the opening chords kick in at a lightning speed. Combined with a catchy chorus, Feeder have returned with a solid lead single from the forthcoming album
Renegades. Hopefully with the right promotion and airplay, this track can introduce the band to a whole new generation. 4.5 STARS

STINKER OF THE WEEK!
11. Justin Bieber: Never Let You Go


This is simply being released as a promo single so its unlikely to blow up like previous singles
One Time and Baby, thank goodness. Now I could be nice and say I’m that I’m not 3 years old so I’m not the target market for this audience. However, J. Bieber has just released another stinker that only his die-hard fans can enjoy. I’ll admit Baby grew on me eventually and his forthcoming single with Usher Somebody To Love is actually rather good but this…this is just terrible! Not only is it bland, insipid and clichéd but who wantsto hear an eight-year-old boy sing about heartbreak in the form of an Auto-Tuned ballad. Yeah, we’re really reading into your soul there, Justin. Stick to the catchy dance-pop, methinks! 1 STAR

12. Katy Perry featuring Snoop Dogg: California Gurls

Katy Perry featuring Snoop Dogg - California Gurls (feat. Snoop Dogg)
Despite it’s huge commercial success, this song has divided critics. Probably Katy’s own fault for declaring this as the LA equivalent to Jay-Z and Alicia Keys’ timeless modern classic
Empire State Of Mind. Now California Gurls will probably be timeless too – but more in the way of “Oh crap! I can’t believe I actually liked that song” and then giving it a sneaky listen on your iPod or whatever replaces iPods in the future. BecauseCalifornia Gurls is just a fun pop song – nothing more. Combining Calvin Harris like synths, ‘90s wah-wah guitars, sunny melodies, a West Coast rap and a gigantic chorus, I think California Gurls deserves its huge success it will have this Summer. Oh sure, some of it sounds like Ke$ha’s TiK ToK and its clearly gimmicky but that doesn’t matter, as it is the must have song to play at the pool party this Summer. The song is so hot…my popsicle just melted. 4 STARS

13. K’nann: Wavin’ Flag (Celebration Mix)

K'Naan - Wavin'  Flag (UK Version)
The original version. The Young Artists For Haiti version. The will.i.am and David Guetta featured version. This Celebration Mix. I am absolutely sick to my teeth of this song and its many incarnations. Even though a few months – hell, a few weeks ago – I would have being encouraging you all to start checking out K’nann. No need now he’s so well known. Now, I know K’nann wrote this song but nothing for me will trump the Young Artists For Haiti version of this song. NOTHING! I find the verses are a bit lyrically clunky on this but that chorus still gives me goosebumps everytime it’s sung. So credjt to K’nann for writing such an inspirational chorus and introducing this song to the World. A few points off though for the song’s overexposure.
3.5 STARS

14. Pearl Jam: Amongst The Waves

Pearl Jam - Amongst The Waves
The third single from Pearl Jam’s
Backspacer album finds the band in an uplifting mood with some inspirational, gruff yet impassioned vocals from Eddie Vedder. This is a great rock mid-tempo that really picks up towards the end with some great guitar solos from Stone Gossard. One of the standout tracks from the album, this is another Summer playlist option if you want to shake it up a bit. 4 STARS

15. Rihanna featuring Slash: Rockstar 101


This is only being released as a promo single over here so no need to worry if you’re tired of Rihanna overexposure or think
Te Amo has been cancelled. This track is probably one of the weakest songs of Rihanna’s Rated R. Although the prospect of Slash appearing as a feature on this track initially sounds exciting, it wears off pretty quick as this is far more heavy urban than it is rock. Rihanna’s claims of being a rockstar are ridiculous despite her level of swearing, the chorus is repetitive and wears thin fast and the only thing I like about it is the beat heavy production and the guitar solos towards the end. If Rihanna wanted to release some rock numbers from the album, she could have chosen the absolutely brilliant Fire Bomb, Cold Case Love or The Last Song. However, record companies probably thought these ballads would be too depressing after the sunny Rude Boy so have gone with this relatively upbeat track. I’m just glad it doesn’t have an official release over here. Poor America! 2.5 STARS

16. Rusko featuring Amber Coffman: Hold On


Dubstep producer Rusko, who has worked on M.I.A.’s new album and also rumoured to be working on Britney Spears’ new record, provides a bass heavy club track here with some decent yet unoriginal vocals from Amber Coffman. There are a few different layers to the song but overall this doesn’t step out too far from the dubstep genre or do anything new. Good club record though.
3 STARS

17. Scissor Sisters: Fire With Fire

Scissor Sisters - Fire With Fire
Starting off as a subdued ballad, this track quickly takes off and becomes a big, anthemic fists-in-the-air dance rock number thanks to Jake Shears’ uplifting vocals and the synth rock instrumentation from the rest of the band. This a terrific comeback single from the New York quintet and as many people have pointed out, it has a whiff of Elton John to it. My only problem is that it’s a bit subtle. Compared to earlier lead singles like
Laura and I Don’t Feel Like Dancing which were instantly infectious, Fire With Fire takes a few spins to get into. In a year where two of our biggest hits have song titles that are misspelled (California Gurls) or an Internet/text speak acronym(OMG), can this song have any lasting appeal when attention spans appear to be getting lower and lower? 4.5 STARS

18. Shout For England featuring Dizzee Rascal and James Corden: Shout

File:Shout by Dizzee Rascal and James Corden.jpg
The only good thing about this song is the Tears For Fear and Blackstreet samples. The rest of the song is utter cack. This is probably the most creative thing Simon Cowell has put his name to but then again that’s not saying much considering
The X-Factorwinner singles. I’ve lost all respect for Dizzee Rascal as a rapper and James Corden always annoyed me and I don’t find him particularly funny. This is basically a crowd shouting aloud to the rhythm of Shout which I don’t find particularly appealing because I can hear that down in my local at the weekends anyway. 2 STARS

19. Tegan And Sara: Alligator


Fresh from their recent collabo with Tiësto, Canadian duo Tegan and Sara have just released new single
Alligator over here. I’ve just figured that the two girls have those distinctive, borderline annoying vocals that Irish band Heathers have. The song is a catchy little toe-tapper but in all honesty, the girls have brought out much better. This sounds like it should be soundtracking the latest Apple ad…which is maybe T&S’s goal. Either way, enjouable but passable. 3 STARS

20. Wolfmother: Far Away

File:WolfmotherFarAway.jpg
I’m definitely noticing a 1970s Led Zeppelin vibe with this song. Amongst an electric piano, acoustic guitar and laidback drums, lead vocalist Andrew Stockdale sings in a relatively toned down voice compared to what we’re used to hearing from him. His voice definitely has echoes of Robert Plant, Axl Rose and to a lesser extent Jack White. If you’re looking for something that recalls a little ‘70s rock, then this is your song. Although to me, this is kind of your typical indie love song and doesn’t come close to Zeppelin. Still, this Aussie band don’t do a bad job of paying homage to them so I’ll keep an eye out to see if they progress in sound and maturity.
3.5 STARS