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

Singles Reviews Diary 11 – 16th April 2010

Again, a little later than usual, it’s the eleventh Singles Reviews Diary – otherwise known as the week of pointless single re-releases.

Singles Reviews Diary 11 – 16th April 2010:

01. 3OH!3: Don’t Trust Me
Pointless re-releases are clearly all the rage these days. Following in the footsteps of La Roux and Florence + The Machine, 3OH!3 (or rather their management) have decided to re-release their breakthrough hit
Don’t Trust Me. Back in July 2009, I would have been way more favourable about this track but with the rise of more superior electro punk poppers like Cobra Starship, I have come to the realisation that 3OH!3 are just plain annoying. The chorus of this song is still as infectious as ever but the verses and middle eight are just plain dumb. It also feels as if this song has just left our radio and music channel airwaves only to quickly jump back in again. Peaking at #19, why exactlyis this being released. 2.5 STARS

02. Akala: XXL
A disposable rave tune by Camden rapper Akala. It doesn’t have the crossover appeal of Dizzee Rascal’s
Bonkers but should keep a nightclub of party loving ravers happy. 3 STARS

03. Angus And Julia Stone: Big Jet Plane
You can just tell by the name of the band that Angus and Julia Stone are a brother-sister indie duo. I’m not exactly familiar with the Aussie band but if this is their first UK single, they’ve given a good introduction to audiences on this side of the World. Subtle, string heavy and unlikely to make a dent on the charts, the most distinctive part of this song is Angus and Julia’s vocals which sound like raspy whispers. Good stuff.
4 STARS

04. The Boy Least Likely To: A Fairytale Ending
A sweet and chirpy folk tune from the English band. This doesn’t sound a million miles away from some of the Eels biggest hits. A nice song to play this Summer while on a long drive or at a barbeque. It sort of goes a bit too heavy on the electronics at the end but not enough to ruin the song.
4 STARS

05. Cathy Davey: Little Red
Alternative pop singer Cathy Davey is back with another insanely catchy song, this time a song based on the fairytale
Little Red Riding Hood. The main hook of this song is composed of Cathy’s gentle wolf howl on the chorus and her sweet yet powerful voice plodding along smoothly on the verses. It doesn’t sound very different or fresh from her earlier hits but should keep Cathy fans happy. 4 STARS

06. Chipmunk featuring Esmée Denters: Until You Were Gone
When I first heard this song, I thought “Wow, this sounds sort of like the song he did with Amelle”. Then I remembered that was Tinchy Stryder. Despite his similarities with his fellow Brrapper Stryder, Chipmunk clearly has an ear for a catchy melody in the sixth single from his soon to be reissued debut album
I Am Chipmunk. Chip Diddy Chip seems to be on Auto-Pilot due to his usual rapping about how great he is but that doesn’t matter as Denters appealing chorus is the mainstay of this track. I was afraid she was going to belt out a melodramatic diva chorus for this track but things are kept simple with a restrained sing-along chorus that matches the light bouncy feel of this track. I will actually go and say that this is my favourite Chipmunk track of all time and one of the most effortless pop songs in a while. 4 STARS

TRACK OF THE WEEK!
07. Crookers featuring Soulwax & Mixhell: We Love Animals
The fourth single from Crookers
Tons Of Friends album mightn’t have big profile names of previous singles like Kardinal Offishall and Kelis but that doesn’t make it any less strong. Starting off with minimal widely placed synth beats, the beats slowly become more closely placed before it turns into one big rave-a-thon. Crookers show why they are some of the top producers in the game as this is highly inventive. I know this is controversial, I’m not even a fan of Crookers really or music without lyrics, but I think this gets Track Of The Week. 5 STARS

08. Diana Vickers: Once
I know many people on this blog will rate this as Track Of The Week and hell, Diana would get it in a less inferior week. (I can’t believe I’m only half way through writing this and the amount of 4 star songs I’ve heard). Starting of with a siren and piano filed intro, Diana’s unconventional, breathy and oddly sexy voice intrigues the listener with her voice before the explosive pop rock chorus kicks in. Diana has to be the most interesting contestant to get a record deal after
The X-Factor because there’s something refreshingly different about her despite the radio friendly, repetitive chorus“I’m only gonna let you kill me once once once yeah hey once once (repeat about 200 times)!”. I can’t give this song 5 stars simply because it never stood out as a 5 star for me and now, after repeated listens, it’s lost some of its magic. I also find certain ways she pronounces words irritating. That said, a very strong lead single from debut albumSongs From The Tainted Cherry-Tree. 4 STARS

09. Donkeyboy: Ambitions
Norwegian band Donkeyboy decide to test the waters in this part of Europe with their debut single
Ambitions. I am bowled over by the number of really good singles being released this week. Brilliant vocals, fans of Empire Of The Sun will love this, I think. 4.5 STARS

Glee is already back in Ireland and back in the UK anyday now so just when I thought I’d get a break from reviewing the Glee singles after the season finale, two weeks later Season 2 is already back on our screens. The theme of this week’s episode is to sing a song with the word “Hello” in it, or as Rachel and her suspicious new love interest likes to twist it, a song containing the first syllable of Hello.

10. Glee Cast: Hello I Love You
This little number is courtesy of our Tall Jock, Finn, and while I’m not the biggest fan of Finn, I really enjoy his cover of The Doors single. The bouncy synths and Finn’s husky vocals introduce the Doors to a whole new generation of viewers.
4 STARS

11. Glee Cast: Gives You Hell
The always delightful Rachel, or Hot Social Outcast Girl as I like to call her, gives a fun rendition of the All American Rejects hit. With the original being a recent hit, this is the most likely track to hit the charts this week. However, I think its relatively weak to what we usually hear from Rachel and probably the weakest song of the “Hello” episode.
3 STARS

12. Glee Cast: Highway To Hell
The rival singing group do a performance of this AC/DC hit. It contains all the wild energy of the original and may also make a dent in the charts but it doesn’t stand out wildly like the other songs do.
4 STARS

13. Glee Cast: Hello
Rachel and her new love interest perform this soppy power ballad, originally by Lionel Richie. Both have great singing voices but I found myself wanting to fast forward my way through this sequence in the episode because it bored me after a while.
3 STARS

14. Glee Cast: Hello Goodbye
Glee saves the best for last with this fantastic, spirited rendition of the Beatles classic. The fact that my younger, Top 40 loving sister wanted to hear the original rendition of this song just goes to show how Glee’s popularity has the power to introduce a larger variety of music to young people.
5 STARS

15. Hot Chip: I Feel Better
Dramatic strings and minimal drum beats are the background of this head bobbing alternative dance number. A strong second single from Hot Chip’s album
One Life Stand.4 STARS

16. James: Crazy
James won’t disappoint fans with their new single
Crazy. It’s nothing groundbreaking exactly but why fix it if it ain’t broke. This sounds like classic James to me. 3.5 STARS

17. Julian Casablancas: 11th Dimension
Strokes singer Julian Casablancas is back solo with this really fantastic song. Sounding like it came straight out of the 1980s with its retro synths, guitar licks and strong yet drawling vocals, it is yet another stunning entry in what has to be the best week for singles in ages.
4 STARS

18. Kid Sister featuring Cee-Lo: Daydreaming
Poor Kid Sister can’t seem to get her big break despite all the singles from her debut album
Ultraviolet being insanely catchy and enjoyable club pop rap records. This is probably her most radio friendly track of all. The middle part of the song and Cee-Lo’s cameo are real enjoyable. 4 STARS

19. Meatloaf: Los Angeloser
This will probably be a guilty pleasure for many. Really Meat Loaf’s music hasn’t aged well at all and its incredibly cheesy but there’s something strangely infectious about this slightly countrified rock tune.
3 STARS

20. Nicki Minaj featuring Sean Garret: Massive Attack
She may only be making her name on this side of the Atlantic now but a lot is riding on Nicki Minaj over in the States with her debut single after appearing on numerous tracks as a guest rapper. I was expecting something mildly poppy from the self confessed Barbie but
Massive Attack is like nothing in the chart at the moment. Over a jungle dancehall beat, Nicki raps in a strange accent and seems to be rapping in a stream of disjointed thoughts while Sean Garrett singles the chorus. It really shouldn’t work but it surprisingly does. Has to be listened to a few times before the infectious beat kicks in. Naturally, Nicki is going to divide opinion but I don’t think I’ve been this excited about a femcee since Missy Elliott. 4 STARS

21. N-Dubz: Say It’s Over
The thoroughly original and saviours of British rap N-Dubz (I’m being sarcastic but N-Dubz would think I’m being dead serious) are back with what is probably the most enjoyable single from their second studio album
Against All Odds. Once all the “na-na-nai-yeaaaaaahs!” are out of the way, Dappy and Fazer are spitting out their cheesy raps at a rapid pace while Tulisa sings the radio friendly hook amidst garage beats about as futuristic as the music video the song its based upon. All sarcasm aside though, this is an enjoyable single from N-Dubz very much set in the now! Don’t expect it to be a future classic but it should be a fun listen until it irritates us all in a few weeks time. 3 STARS

22. Primary 1 featuring Nina Persson : The Blues
It’s great to hear Nina Persson of The Cardigans again but
The Blues honestly isn’t the best song to make a featured comeback on. It’s not a bad song but the melodic rock song kind of prattles along for 6 minutes without ever really going anywhere. 3 STARS

23. Paolo Nutini: Candy
I can’t say I’ve ever really got into Paolo Nutini’s album
Sunny Side Up but I do know that it has been helmed as one of 2009’s greatest pop albums with every song worthy of becoming a single. So I’m wondering why Paolo’s team are deciding to re-release this as it already cracked the Top 30 and like 3OH!3, I feel like this song has only left the airwaves and released again. Not that Candy is a bad song, it’s a fine ballad with a relatively upbeat chorus and Paolo’s distinctive old man vocals, but I feel as if he should be releasing something else rather than going backwards. 4 STARS

24. The Pipettes: Stop The Music
The Pipettes sound like a 2010 version of ABBA on this track. On this funky Latin tinged track, the all girl duo bowl us over with a huge amount of hooks on this grower of a track. Worth checking out.
4 STARS

25. Robin Thicke featuring Estelle: Rollacoasta
Anyone looking for their Justin Timberlake fix need look no further than Robin Thicke because he’s a dead ringer for the former Mouseketeer on this funky electro number. Sexy, above average and as polished as Thicke’s Prada shoes, Estelle sings the sensual chorus on this track. It’s no
SexyBack or LoveStoned but Rollacoasta sounds like it belongs on JT’s FutureSex/LoveSounds LP. Maybe Robin’s similarly titled Sex Therapy is worth checking out. 3.5 STARS

26. Shakira: Gypsy
After enticing us all with her hypnotic hips and quirky brand of electropop with previous singles
She Wolf and Did It Again, Shakira tones things down for the third single from her criminally underselling She Wolf album. While it mightn’t back the punch of the previous two singles, Gypsy is a charming romantic affair thanks to its folky, Worldesque sound and Shakira’s awkward wordplay as she sings in the English language. 3.5 STARS

STINKER OF THE WEEK!
27. You Me At Six: Liquid Confidence (Nothing To Lose)
The second single from You Me At Six new album
Hold Me Down steps on a theme we all know about – using alcohol to gain confidence…and making an absolute fool of yourself. Maybe the last part is just me. You Me At Six win no points for originality here and that’s why it rather unfairly earns the Stinker Of The Week this week. It has a catchy arena friendly chorus and all but I’ve heard this kind of music from them plenty of times before as well as other bands in their genre. Sorry to all You Me At Six fans but these guys need to show they have more diversity before I can rate them higher. 2.5 STARS

So there you have it, I was surprised as I wrote this how many good singles are released this week. The only high profile names really are Diana Vickers, 3OH!3, Paolo Nutini, Chipmunk, N-Dubz and Shakira but there’s some great songs this week so I urge you to get downloading.

Oh and please comment and leave feedback, good or bad, I won’t take offence as long as I don’t get “How could you give You Me At Six Stinker Of The Week. They are musical geniuses! What are you doing with your life?” or something along those lines. Giving your opinion is fine but ranting at me is not.

Singles Reviews Diary 4 – 29th February 2010

Why can’t I ever post my singles review diary on the right day? Oh well. Took me ages to write this one out. And guess what?! These posts are now a month old. Time just flies, doesn’t it? Here are the forthcoming singles.

Singles Reviews Diary 4 – 29th February 2010:

01. Alex Cornish: Scotland The Brave
Nope, this isn’t a cover of the patriotic Scottish song. Instead this is a decent enough but hardly groundbreaking soft rocker by the up and coming Scottish singer songwriter.
2 STARS

Scotland the Brave

02. Amy Macdonald: Don’t Tell Me That It’s Over
It’s all about the Scottish singer songwriters this week, isn’t it? The fabulous Amy Macdonald is back ahead of the release of her second album A Curious Thing. Website We Are Pop Slags have compared this song to Shakira and Muse. True, enough Amy does sound like Shakira on this one albeit with a more Celtic lilt to her voice and the more heavy guitars and strings could be compared to Muse. It’s an interesting new direction for the singer and I’ll keep my ears open but I’m still preferring her earlier folk tunes.
3.5 STARS

File:Amy macdonald-dont tell me that its over s.jpg

03. Ash: Song Of Your Desire
Another melodic song from Ash. This is the 12th single from their A-Z Series so still another 15 singles to go. The lack of hype or the sheer difficulty of being able to find these singles online show that these guys need to seriously start a new project soon.
3 STARS

Ash - Song Of Your Desire: 7-inch + Download: £5.00 packshot

04. The Automatic: Run And Hide
The Automatic are back and sounding better than ever on this uptempo new track from their upcoming album Tear The Signs Down. This is immediately gripping on first listen.
4 STARS

05. Boyzone: Gave It All Away
Boyzone are back after a rough year. This reggae tinged ballad features vocals from late band member Stephen Gately and features him singing the lyric “I will learn to live before I die”. To be honest if this had been released with Gately still alive, I would have considered it a solid rather than spectacular effort from the Boyz. The fact that Gately is now gone, this track holds a lot more significance than it would have originally.
2 STARS

06. Crookers featuring Miike Snow: Remedy
Miike Snow are back with another grim yet enjoyable listen. Italian producers Crookers, probably best known for remixing Kid Cudi’s Day ‘N’ Nite, give the song an alternative club mix.
3 STARS

07. The-Dream: Love King
The producer behind Rihanna’s Umbrella and Beyoncé’s Single Ladies (Put It In A Love Song) releases a new single. Like the two aforementioned songs he produced, this is a fun and catchy if a little repetitive R&B track.
3.5 STARS

08. Eels: A Line In The Dirt
The Eels return with the first single from their fantastic new album End Times. Mark Oliver Everett’s distinctive vocals are in place as usual against this melodic, piano backed song.
3 STARS

09. Fe-Nix: Swagga
Britain’s favourite underground girlband fe-nix come out with a real winner of a urban pop song. It’s really catchy and should make up for the lack of Pussycat Dolls at the moment. A refreshing alternative to all the Sugababes and Saturdays stuff at the moment.
3.5 STARS

10. Glee Cast: Dancing With Myself 3 STARS

Dancing With Myself (Glee Cast Version)

11. Glee Cast: Defying Gravity 4 STARS

Defying Gravity (Glee Cast Version)

12. Glee Cast: Proud Mary 4 STARS

Proud Mary (Glee Cast Version)

Covers of Generation X, Wicked and Creedence Clearwater Revival this week. There’s no real point in me reviewing these songs because with Glee, you get the original song made a little more cheesy, a little more stage schooly and features kooky backing vocals. However, I did sit down and watch the show last night with my sister for the first time. I have to say I was pleasantly surprised. For all its cheese, Glee is a show that doesn’t take itself too seriously and is actually quite satiric when it comes to all the typical high school movie/TV show clichés. It’s still a bit too cheery for me so I don’t think I’ll be a long term fan

Anyway I think I should comment on the cast members vocals. I don’t remember any of their names so I’m gonna give them all nicknames. Well, the rulers of the Glee club at the moment are the Uncool Rapper Teacher and the Blond Unsmiling Evil One. Uncool Rapper Teacher is all down with the kids so much so that he raps along to Kanye West and Sisquo tracks. But he’s actually not that ghetto cos he’s afraid of conflict and in an unhappy marriage with Crazy False Pregnant Woman. But the kids of Glee bring out the best in him and all that. But there’s a bit of a love square going on as Uncool Rapper Teacher is secretly in love with Freaky Ginger Woman and she’s secretly in love with too. But too make things even more complicated, Heavy Football Coach is in love with Freaky Ginger Woman too. Like OMG! Drama!

Meanwhile, Blond Unsmiling Evil One is trying to destroy Glee Club for some reason. I like Blond Unsmiling Evil One, she’s really funny in a dry kind of way.

Then meanwhile there’s the kids. There’s the Social Outcast Hot Girl who in real life would never be a social outcast because she’s so hot but she is anyway. Anyway, she’s in love with Tall Jock Guy and I think he’s in love with her. Tall Jock Guy, however, is going out with Pregnant Cheerleader Girlfriend who is like pregnant and prevents Social Outcast Hot Girl and Tall Jock Guy from going out with each other. The drama is just killing me.

There’s also Feminine Guy, Jennifer Hudson Junior, Quirky Asian Girl, Naturally Olive Skinned Sidekick Of Pregnant Cheerleader Girlfriend Who Cries When Her Tanning Products Are Taken Away, Eastern European Descended Sidekick Of Pregnant Cheerleader Girlfriend, Wheelchair Guy and Badass Jock With Mohawk who make up the rest of Glee Club.

Okay, kind of rambled with the plot synopsis. But now that we know all the characters, here’s what I think of their vocals.

  • Uncool Rapper Teacher – his voice is solid, hardly amazing. NEEDS TO STOP RAPPING!
  • Social Outcast Hot Girl – her voice is really amazing, very clear and gives me goosebumps.
  • Tall Jock Guy – his voice has lots of potential. It sounds a bit boybandish at the minute but if he keeps training, his voice could take on a more intriguing husky sound.
  • Jennifer Hudson Junior – the clue is in the name. She has a real soulful powerful voice like J-Hud or Christina Aguilera. Tends to oversing a bit but who cares when ya have a voice like that!
  • Feminine Guy – clue’s also in the name. His voice is feminine from what I’ve heard.
  • Quirky Asian Girl – has a softer voice than the other two girls I mentioned. I like it but it’s not amazing.
  • Wheelchair Guy – I wish he would sing more. He has that real strong, raspy kind of voice that Tall Jock Guy hasn’t developed yet.
  • Pregnant Cheerleader Girlfriend – She has a really good voice too. Kind of has a detached quality to it which suits her character.
  • I’ve only heard Badass Jock With Mohawk, Naturally Olive Skinned Sidekick Of Pregnant Cheerleader Girlfriend Who Cries When Her Tanning Products Are Taken Away and Eastern European Descended Sidekick Of Pregnant Cheerleader Girlfriend on backing vocals so can’t really judge them.

TRACK OF THE WEEK!
13. Gorillaz featuring Mos Def and Bobby Womack: Stylo
Everyone’s experimental group are back. I can’t put into words how excited I am to see the return of the Gorillaz and hope this track gets plenty of airplay and chart successful. Icy, ominous, a little bit funky, sounds like it should soundtrack a video game from the ’80s, this is literally amazing!
4 STARS

Stylo (feat. Mos Def and Bobby Womack)

14. Gramophonedzie: Why Don’t You
More experimental stuff as this song drags us right back to the ’40s with this Peggy Lee sampling tune. I love this entertaining return to the seriously retro and its definitely interesting. But the old jazzy sample doesn’t blend well with the modern production of Gramophonedzie.
3 STARS

15. Iyaz: Solo
Sean Kingston’s replacement, singer/rapper and basically a Virginian Islands junior version of Akon releases his second single. Not to everyones taste but I love Iyaz’s brand of sunny pop/R&B. This has the same level of catchiness as previous single Replay but like Sean Kingston might suffer from sounding too much alike his other material.
3 STARS

Solo

STINKER OF THE WEEK!
16. Ke$ha featuring 3OH!3: Blah Blah Blah
I’ve actually listened to Ke$ha’s Animal album and after a few listens am surprised by what a fun pop album it is. One song that didn’t get my seal of approval though was this monstrosity. Lyrically, its stupid. Vocally, its Auto-Tuned trash. Production wise, it’s all over the place with random bleeps and blips. And 3OH!3 turn up for a cameo where they deliver a robust, gramatically incorrect verse. Can’t believe better songs are stuck on the album while this gets the single treatment.
1 STAR

17. Lil’ Wayne featuring Nicki Minaj: Knockout
The soon-to-be incarcerated rapper drops another single this week. This is from his rock album Rebirth and I’m surprised to find I actually really like this. Against punk pop guitars, Wayne and my new favourite femcee Nicki Minaj warble in Auto-Tune over them. This has major crossover potential. Minaj sounds sexy and Wayne sounds listenable. Might check out his album now.
4 STARS

Lil Wayne ft Nicki Minaj - Knockout

18. LMFAO: LaLaLa
Generic Auto-Tuned R&B. Heard this all from T-Pain before too many times.
1 STAR

Click pic to play "La La La"

19. Ludacris featuring Lil’ Kim and Lil’ Fate: Hey Ho
Funky if a little repetitive new track from Ludacris. Second single from his Battle of the Sexes album. Great fun to hear Ludacris, Lil’ Kim and Lil’ Fate have a big rap battle over who is the better of the sexes.
2.5 STARS

20. Mary J. Blige: I Am
Despite earning the title of Queen of Hip Hop Soul, Mary J. hasn’t had a great run of success with her last few singles. Mainly ’cause they were rather boring. Thankfully, Mary J. is on to a winner with this well, produced, catchy, glossy R&B track. Sounds a bit like Pussycat Dolls
Stikwitu with better vocals. 3.5 STARS

21. Mumford & Sons: The Cave
After the infectious
Little Lion Man, The Cave is a bit of a disappointment. However, it does seem like it could be a grower and I find the folk group refreshing in today’s music industry. 2.5 STARS

22. Nerina Pallot: I Don’t Want To Go Out
A fun, cheery and bouncy pop song that doesn’t sound unlike Little Boots or Lenka. Guaranteed to put a smile on your face.
3 STARS

23. OK Go: This Too Shall Pass
I know I’m making lots of comparisons but this song sort of reminds me of the White Stripes. Amongst chimes and a marching band, OK Go give us another quirky tune. However, this features childrens’ vocals and I just cannot stand kids singing in songs. Drives me nuts. Not my cup of tea but some people might like it. I’d like it if they’d strip away certain elements.
3.5 STARS

24. Sean Kingston: Hot Like The Summer
More Summery reggae pop from Mr. Kingston. It’s fine, nothing special. Poor guy will probably never have a mega hit like Beautiful Girls again though. The only reason last single
Fire Burning was so successful though was because of RedOne. 2.5 STARS

25. Stunt: Fade Like The Sun
Harmless Eurodance. Should keep Cascada fans and drunken nightclubbers happy.
2 STARS

26. Timbaland featuring Drake: Say Something
Timbaland is back with another promo single. Don’t worry, you probably won’t hear much of it. I really like Drake as a rapper and he provides a solid chorus here. This has a more old school R&B feel to it. One of the better tracks from my guilty pleasure
Timbaland Presents Shock Value II. 3.5 STARS

27. Tinie Tempah featuring Labrinth: Pass Out
Really unoriginal grime track. It’s fine but throwaway. Features cocky rapping from Tinie Tempah and singing chorus by Labrinth.
3 STARS

28. Naughty Boy presents Wiley featuring Emeli Sande: Never Be Your Woman
Wiley may be over to crossover into the mainstream again with Naughty Boy’s garage production and Diamond Rings singer Emeli Sande. Good stuff. I like this. Samples a song from the late ’90s that samples a song itself. Clever. It’s like a sample within a sample within a song.
4 STARS

29. Yeah Yeah Yeahs: Skeletons
Not my favourite track from Yeah Yeah Yeahs criminally underselling It’s Blitz! album but I want this track to do well all the same. Karen O’s voice is just amazingly haunting. Yeah Yeahs Yeahs are like the Blondie of the 21st century. Why can’t people see that???!!!
3.5 STARS