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

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 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 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

Singles Reviews Diary 18 – 4th June 2010

Okay I’ve settled into my new home and rather later than usual, here are my thoughts on this week’s singles. There’s actually quite a lot of notable singles being released this week, mainly celebratory songs about England and the World Cup. I’m really in no form for listening and reviewing – but I must! Check out my dedication. Here they are:

Singles Reviews Diary 18 – 4th June 2010:

01. Andy Bell: Call On Me
My first thoughts. What a cheap video! Why is Andy Bell dancing around in a nightclub bathroom? Screw it, I don’t care! I’m in quite a snarky mood today.I do like the synthy instrumentation in this and Bell’s vocals are somehow endearing which probably led to him gaining a legion of fans during his Erasure days. However, I find this track cheesy and the chorus is pretty weak. I also don’t like how his voice is vocoded all deep in one area of the song. We don’t want to hear a budget version of
Boom Boom Pow, thanks!2.5 STARS

02. Ash: Physical World
Ash releases another single. I’m only reviewing the billionth single from their
A-Z Seriesout of sheer stubbornness. This is a fun, enjoyable song…like all the other ones were! Think poor man’s Green Day with the lyrical content that streams the same line as Eggnog Quigg’s 28,000 Friends only much more sophisticated. Overall…should keep Ash fans happy and non-Ash fans probably won’t change this if it comes on the radio. 3 STARS

STINKER OF THE WEEK!
03. Chico: It’s England Time
Chico, stop trying to extend your 15 minutes of fame by re-releasing your ONLY (novelty) #1 hit, changing one word to suit a current event, and do everyone a favour and return to the strip club where you belong. Thanks.
1 STAR

04. Crookers featuring Róisín Murphy: Royal T (Riva Starr Remixes)
German knob twiddlers (no dirty double entendre intended) and Irish dance diva team up.Róisín sounds faintly like Macy Gray on this rather hot and funky club track with ravey electronica, fast paced verses and powerhouse vocals. Crookers are fast becoming my favourite producers and Róisin Murphy is probably the only Irish international talent we have. Brilliant – no actually amazing!
5 STARS

05. The Dead Weather: Old Mary
The hardest working man in music – Jack White and his band of other people who are from other bands as well with The Dead Weather are back with another single
Old Mary. You kind of know what to expect from a Jack White track? Garage rock with tinkling pianos, bumbling guitars and kooky vocals. There seems to be an ominous tone to the song with lyrical references to the Virgin Mary, creepy child vocals and the chorus hook being “Now to the moment of your last breath”. Cheery. It has me intrigued but not enough to buy or download the single. 3.5 STARS

06. Delphic: Counterpoint
Despite much hype in the mainstream, Delphic have failed to live up to critic’s predictions as their previous two singles
Doubt and Halycon failed to make any noticeable dents in the chart. Re-releasing first single Counterpoint appears to be a good idea. Its instantly listenable thanks to its infectiously rushing synths, and earnest and angsty vocals from lead singer Richard Boardman. However, this doesn’t really have the pop smarts of other ‘alternative’ acts like Florence and Marina so it looks like Delphic will be forever a cult band. Oh well, I’ll always love them. 4 STARS

07. Field Music: Let’s Write A Book
I instantly love this song because it explores the subject matter of writing a book. Why don’t more bands write about these small things unlike the usual quota which appears to be about love, heartbreak or being too damn sexy for everyone in the room. I’ve heard Field Music before but I have to say I’m kind of disappointed I didn’t get to hear a stuffy old professor rapping over a beat. Oh well.
Let’s Write A Book is a psychedelic and funky number that really takes you to some far-out places, man! I really love the synthy bit at the end – it sounds like it was taken straight from a Crash Bandicootgame. Damn that was a fine video game – they don’t make ‘em like they used to! 4 STARS

08. Gabriella Cilmi: Hearts Don’t Lie
My future wife one day Gabriella Cilmi really made a fantastic comeback a few months ago with her brilliant single
On A Mission. She managed to reinvent herself as a sex symbol while actually going in a really interesting musical direction – compared to most popstars who churn the same junk out for years. Hearts Don’t Lie doesn’t match the brilliance of the aforementioned single mainly because the Bee-Gees influenced chorus annoys the heck out of me but there’s still plenty to love about the song. The groovy Donna Summer disco vibe and Cilmi’s seductive repetition of the lines “My heart keeps ticking, my heart keeps ticking, when you’re not around” are huge plus points that save this song from its dreadful chorus. Don’t worry my love, we’ll be together soon. *lights candle at Gabriella shrine and starts passionately kissing photo of Cilmi* 3.5 STARS

09. Giggs: Look What The Cat Dragged In
The rapper with the scary voice is back, this time B.o.B-less. Lyrically, this is pretty sexist and Giggs is not doing any favours in dissolving the stigma towards rappers. Still the shiny production and Giggs dulcet tones really work together. Think of this track as a British version of 50 Cent’s
Candy Shop. 3 STARS

10. Glee Cast: Loser
Oh man! I forgot how amazing Beck’s
Loser was? I actually forgot how amazing Beck is! And Glee do the band justice in this bluesy rap rock track. Puck is normally pretty good but Finn is surprisingly excellent on this, probably because he doesn’t need to sing on this. By the time we hit the nonchalant yet somewhat impassioned chorus, with typical but not overdone Glee backing vocals, I thank Ryan Murphy for introducing genuine classics to a whole new generation. 5 STARS

11. Glee Cast: Give Up The Funk (Tear The Roof Of The Sucker)
Okay, I know trying to make logic out of
Glee is well…illogical…but should Quinn be doing such elaborate dance moves on stage? Wouldn’t that harm her baby?! Would she even be able to do those dance moves if it weren’t for in real life, she isn’t really pregnant at all but wearing a fake baby bump – just like Terri! Oh the irony! Anywho, wandering off! I really enjoyed this rendition of the Parliament song. It was – shall we say Gleeful with big Gleeful vocals and Mercedes crazy ad-libs. I particularly liked how they sped the vocals up towards the end and I laughed my ass off at Kurt’s uncharacteristically deep vocals. More please. 4 STARS

12. Glee Cast: Another One Bites The Dust
Glee don’t really divert from the original in their second Queen single of the series. Jonathan Groff who plays Jesse has a powerful set of pipes on him though and does Freddie Mercury justice though doesn’t replicate Mercury’s way of singing quite as well.
4 STARS

13. Glee Cast: Tell Me Something Good
Bleerrrggggh! I just projectile vomited everywhere. Seeing Will Schuester wiggle his ass in and out like that – I can see why Sue looked so damn uncomfortable. Despite Will being clearly in love with himself, he gave a powerful vocal performance of Rufus and Chaka Khan’s soulful hit.
4 STARS

14. Glee Cast: It’s A Man’s Man’s Man’s World
Quinn gets a rare chance to shine when she covers James Brown. Really Quinn’s voice is like a lesser Mercedes, there’s soul there but not enough power. She gives a solid vocal performance but you can hear her vocal limitations when she hits the high notes. Still the pregnant backing vocalists were great.
3.5 STARS

15. Glee Cast: Good Vibrations
Glee generally always end with some feel good closing numbers and this is no exception. A big funky party track, Mercedes mimics Loleatta Holloway and Puck and Finn stick to the rapping by imitating Marky Mark And The Funky Bunch. The backing vocals are infectious and Mercedes blows it out of the bag as usual. All really good songs in Glee this week, I’m happy to report.
4 STARS

16. Goldfrapp: Alive
After their comeback single
Rocket peaked at a rather disappointing #47, can they achieve success with the second single from Head First. I sure hope so. Alive isn’t quite as catchy as Rocket but it’s just pure ‘80s magic from start to finish and a real grower. Alison’s vocals are beautiful and serene and I hope this does well – especially with it’s rather quirky video. 3.5 STARS

TRACK OF THE WEEK!
17. Jónsi: Animal Arithmetic
Icelandic singer Jónsi releases his debut album
Go was released last month and he has now released the lead single Animal Arithmetic. Can I say wow! We need more male vocalists like Jónsi. I am vaguely reminded of Florence when I hear this song. It’s full of crashing cymbals and heavenly backing vocals with fast paced verses and chorus that has that building soundtrack feeling to it. I doubt old Jónsi will get much airplay but if you don’t hear this track then you are severely missing out. 5 STARS

18. Ke$ha: Your Love Is My Drug
From singing about brushing her teeth with “a bottle of Jack” to “dancing with no pants on”, it’s good to see Ke$ha go for a bit of clean Summer fun with the third single from her successful debut album
Animal. After the terrible 3OH!3 assisted Blah Blah Blah, Ke$ha redeems herself big time with this guaranteed Summer smash. Starting of with buzzing, sunny synths, we’re quickly dragged into an infectious bridge and then a huge Dr. Luke produced chorus. Ke$ha also shows plenty of personality in her lyrics with humourous lines about “feeling like a lovesick crackhead” and finishing the song with a flirty “I like your beard”. Many haters and conspiracy theorists have accused her of subliminally promoting drug use but ignore them. Because Your Love Is My Drug is a super fun pop song that will have you bopping around the barbeque for the next three months. 4 STARS

19. Madcon: Glow
I never really liked Madcon’s debut single (and only hit)
Beggin’ but this is different. This is a fantastic Eurodance track that’s probably best known for soundtracking the flashmob across Europe in Eurovision 2010. At almost 8 minutes long, this is way too long (unless you’re carrying out a massive dance workout) but a radio edit would suffice to make this feel less overlong. Tshawe and Yosef do seem like they’ve been raiding will.i.am.’s Auto-Tune cabinet but that’s the thing – this track seems so now!Which means that the Norwegian duo could easily break the US with more promotion and a good influx of songs. There already a more bearable will.i.am. and they’ve got the club sound that the US (and the rest of the World) will just go crazy for. Anyhow, I’m rambling. Glow is a euphoric club track that may just prompt another bout of flashmobbing across Europe. 4 STARS

20. Mumford & Sons: Roll Away Your Stone
The fourth single from Mumford & Son’s album
Sigh No More has definite vibes of déjà vu. I found myself singing the chorus of Little Lion Man in my head when really I should have been singing along to the chorus of Roll Away Your Stone. Which makes me think…are Mumford & Sons one trick ponies? Time will tell. This is a passable single, not particularly offensive, not particularly exciting. 3 STARS

21. Pixie Lott: Turn It Up
On
Mama Do and Cry Me Out, Pixie sounded like Duffy, on Boys And Girls, Pixie sounded like Sugababes and on the dreadful Gravity, Pixie sounded like Jordin Sparks. On Turn It Up, Pixie reminds me of Natasha Bedingfield. However, unlike with her previous four singles, Pixie has chosen the perfect time to release yet another generic single – Summer. With its groovy R&B synths, its airy bridge, those chavvy “turn it arrrps!” and its undersung chorus, Lott injects a much needed Summery feel into the charts. This is my favourite Pixie single because it’s just so carefree and fun and I think it will always remind me of Summer – just chilling in my garden drinking a refreshing ice cold drink, feeling the balmy air on my face. For once, Pixie’s music has actually struck a chord with me – even if she does sound like Natasha Bedingfield. 4 STARS

22. Reece: Party Till Lights Out
Ummm…excuse me, Reece. What are you doing that’s so different from Chipmunk, Tinchy, Fugative? Emmmm…nothing! Yet another rapper to climb out of the woodworks, ditch his grime roots and create another watered down club rap track, desperate for a dent in the charts! Boring! How much more can we stand? And I doubt Reece has any long term career in the industry. Did I mention that there’s a vocalist to sing out the chorus…yet he’s uncredited and I can’t find his name anywhere on the net which is a crying shame because he’s the one that gives this song an extra half point with his euphoric vocals. Gain some originality and then I might take some interest, Reece.
2.5 STARS

23. Sade: Babyfather
Another track to add to the Summer playlist, the super sexy and ageless Sade is back with a breezy mid-tempo, the second single from her/their(?) comeback album
Soldier Of Love. It mightn’t be the most exciting track ever but Sade’s rich vocals shine through on this song and the song has a groovy relaxed feeling to it once you’re done dancing along to Alejandro, Your Love Is My Drug and Turn It Up this Summer. 3.5 STARS

24. Shuttleworth featuring Mark E. Smith: England’s Heartbeat
A light folky track with some pretty nice vocals but it doesn’t really explore the celebratory, euphoric feel of the World Cup. It’s probably more of a grower track than an anthem you’ll shout along too.
3 STARS

25. Soundproof: Only By The Night
A rousing pop rock track from an up and coming Irish band. Lead vocalist Ste O’Donoghue has a powerful set of pipes on him and there’s some pretty talented instrumentation going on there. Right now though, the song feels a little too clichéd and samey. Still, a band to keep your eye on.
3 STARS

26.Stringfever featuring Stuart Pendred: Forever England
I think I’m going to be all exhausted after reviewing all these World Cup singles. So far we’ve heard big shout-along anthems or Africanised tracks – with Stringfever and Pendred we get the big serious patriotic World Cup song.Pendred provides some powerful opera vocals while Stringfever’s orchestration is grand and regal. It does sound a bit too sombre for my tastes but it should keep English people happy.
3 STARS

27. Tiësto featuring Tegan And Sara: Feel It In My Bones
Dutch trance maestro Tiësto has been involved with several different artists for his fourth studio album
Kaledioscope. Having worked with Nelly Furtado on previous singleWho Wants To Be Alone, the DJ has teamed up with fellow Canadians – duo Tegan And Sara. The great thing about this track is we get Tiësto’s masterful production while Tegan and Sara provide catchy pop rock vocals. Another fantastic single from Tiësto – I still haven’t checked out the new album yet – I must go out and get it! It’s on my to-do list. 4 STARS

28. Tinie Tempah featuring Labrinth: Frisky
As I’ve said many times before, I never really liked Tinie Tempah’s UK #1
Pass Out and hearing Frisky, I’m getting serious cases of déjà vu, this sounds near identical to the aforementioned previous single. I do like that Tinie is bringing dubstep to the mainstream though and almost gave this 3 STARS until I heard the terrible lyric “Would you risk it for a chocolate buiscit?”. Which brought it down to 1 STAR…but then Labrinth’s anguished cries of “it’s what I’m feeling, baby!” and the fast paced outro brought it back up to 3 STARS. You’ve won this round, Tinie, but you better produce a better third single if I’m to continue with this generosity. 3 STARS

29. Tom Dice: Me And My Guitar
I think I’m pretty good at reviewing as many singles as possible – since I started these diaries eighteen weeks ago, I’ve reviewed practically every
Glee single and Ash A-Z Series single too. But there’s no way I’m reviewing every Eurovision single that might make a dent in the chart this year. However, Tom Dice’s Belgian entry Me And My Guitar has been garnering a lot of attention lately and I think out of all the Eurovision stars this year – could have a successful international career outside of the competition. Because Me And My Guitar wouldn’t sound out of place on an album by Paolo Nutini, Jason Mraz or John Mayer. Sure, you could ask do we need another Paolo, Jason or John in the industry? Well, no not really. But Belgium was dead right in sending a very contemporary song to Eurovision – not having to rely on flashy gimmicks or over-the-top performances. They sent a song that was likely to do well in the charts. The song itself is a bit drippy but probably one of the best song’s in Eurovision this year – great for bringing out the inner romantic and Dice sings with this beautiful falsetto. I think this could be a guilty pleasure of many. 3 STARS

30. Tom Jones: Burning Hell
The Welsh legend covers John Lee Hooker’s classic bluesy
Burning Hell very well. I love the original and Tom does the song justice, although he doesn’t divert much from the original. 4 STARS

31. Tom Jones: What Good Am I
Again, Jones does another cover – this time Bob Dylan. Jones is solid enough but it doesn’t have a patch on the original.
3 STARS

32.Uffie featuring Pharrell: A.D.D. (SUV)
Ke$ha’s biggest fan, Uffie, goes up against her with the release of her new Pharrell assisted single. What you get is a typical electropop track with a slight alternative sound – a bit reminiscent of Britney Spear’s
Blackout or M.I.A.’s latest single XXXO. The song is really infectious and I like Uffie’s flow. It’s also great to hear Pharrell rapping again. I think this is going to be one of those under the radar pop hits. 4 STARS

33. We Are Scientists: Nice Guys
We Are Scientists are back with another passable but fun and bouncy indie pop rock track. Nothing particularly special but it makes good car journey music. Nice to drive and sing along to.
3 STARS

Oh, finally done! Comment, feedback, you know the drill. I’m exhausted after that! *collapses on keyboard and dies*

Singles Reviews Diary 16 – 21st May 2010

The sixteenth edition of the Singles Reviews Diary is here. Again it’s a bit late but what the Hell, it took a long time to write and I’ve been busy.

Singles Reviews Diary 16 – 21st May 2010:

01. Alicia Keys: Try Sleeping With A Broken Heart (Video)
This is possibly my favourite track from Alicia Keys
The Element Of Freedom album. Most of Britain seems to agree with me as the track has already hit the #13 spot before an official release. Try Sleeping With A Broken Heart mightn’t have the killer choruses of Alicia’s biggest hits such as Fallin’, No-One and Empire State Of Mind (I and II) but what we get is a much more subtle approach that’s no less engaging. Containing pounding ‘80s drum machines, underlying synths and soft breathy vocals from Keys’, the track is a seductive and passionate performance from Alicia that deserves to go down as one of the top hits from her catalogue. 4 STARS

Try Sleeping With A Broken Heart

02. Ash: Binary (Video)
Well, well, well. After some understated and fairly inoffensive singles from their
A-Z Series, Ash decide to go all out with this single. Featuring a futuristic video, Ash provides us with a huge up-tempo electro-rock number with giant pop chorus to boot and “oh-oh-oh” hooks. I think the band have regained my interest again. 4 STARS

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

03. Detroit Social Club: Prophecy (Video)
I can see why this band is favoured by
NME so much… this is rather epic! Featuring fuzzy guitars and drum claps, the song is a definite must have on this Summer’s rock playlist, allow this to grow on you and before you know it you will be bobbing your head and jumping around your room to the massive and powerful chorus. 5 STARS

04. Dizzee Rascal featuring Daniel Pearce: Dirtee Disco (Video)
I really have a fractured relationship with Dizzee Rascal. I
hated Dance Wiv Me in Summer 2008, I hated Bonkers in Summer 2009 and it’s now Summer 2010 and I hate Dirtee Disco. But the most likely thing is, I will be joining the masses, like I did in Summers 2008 and 2009, and loving this song before the season is out. You see Dizzee’s music of late seems to have this creeping infectiousness, it sounds terrible at first but radio seems to latch on and before you know it, Dizzee has another hit on his hands. Dirtee Disco contains the rapper’s brash rhymes over a ‘70s funky house beat and vocals from reality TV reject Daniel Pearce. It shouldn’t work, it doesn’t work but it will work in a few weeks time when the dancefloor will be full and moving to Dizzee’s dulcet tones. 3 STARS

05. DJ Team: Stereo Love (Video)
Edward Maya’s naff, accordion sampling Eurotrash number gets the remix treatment by the DJ Team. I can’t believe this crap got into the Irish Top 10 even if the DJ Team version is slightly better than the original, piling on a few extra beats.
2 STARS

06. Edward Maya featuring Vika Jigulina: Stereo Love (Video)
I think I said everything about this song already above. This is naff, Eurotrash trance which fits in perfectly with all the Eurovision guff sure to infiltrate the charts in the next two weeks or so. Maybe this would be passable fodder at a Spanish holiday camp but I certainly know I don’t want this accordion heavy trance track to be played anywhere in the vicinity near me!
1.5 STARS

07. Glee Cast: Dream On (Video)
Glee was back on form this week, mainly because they waited until about 20 minutes into the episode to start singing. In other words, they didn’t sacrifice the plot for the sake of cramming as many songs as possible into an episode. What they also got right is the choice of songs – no bad songs in Glee this week. Yay! This song, a cover of the Aerosmith 1973 classic, sounds rather good. It’s not a patch on the original but Matthew Morrisson and Neil Patrick Harris are vocally good here, well Morrisson is vocally good, Harris is vocally outstanding. I have a real hate for the too-perfect character of Will Schuester so I’m delighted to hear that Neil Patrick Harris absolutely kills him in the rawk vocal department. I say we get rid of Schue and replace him with Bryan Ryan. Who’s with me? 4 STARS

Dream On (Glee Cast Version Featuring Neil Patrick Harris)

08. Glee Cast: The Safety Dance (Video)
Artie’s learned how to walk!!! And also dance.
The Safety Dance, originally by New Wave band Men Without Hats isn’t exactly the vocally outstanding number of the episode but it’s probably the most fascinating visual number. Artie never fails song-wise and re-creates the original funky, electronic sound while throwing out some choreography that would make a Jackson proud. Like I said, this isn’t the song of the episode but it’s actually a pretty good listen once you get used to watching the video over and over again. 4 STARS

Safety Dance (Glee Cast Version)

09. Glee Cast: I Dreamed A Dream (Video)
SPOILER! Rachel and her mother Shelby (Idina Menzel, who eerily looks like Lea Michelle) cover this song from Les Miserables. Both give an impassioned and vocally strong performance but I have to admit I’m really sick of that song now after it became synonymous with Susan Boyle, Britain’s Got Talent and any reality TV show that’s connected to Simon Cowell. Still a good performance earns… 3.5 STARS

I Dreamed A Dream (Glee Cast Version Featuring Idina Menzel)

10. Glee Cast: Dream A Little Dream Of Me (Video)
This is another heartwarming closer to a
Glee episode. Again it sticks pretty close to the original 1931 dreamy, head swaying number made all the more vulnerable by the wheelchair bound Artie who is on lead vocals. It’s all made more irresistible by the show choir vocals in the background. 4.5 STARS

Dream A Little Dream (Glee Cast Version)

11. HURTS: Better Than Love (Video)
More ‘80s nostalgia from the Manchester duo. I’ve heard better tracks from the Manchester duo but this is an acceptable enough listen. It’s one of those tracks that starts off rather monotonous but builds up with sparse guitar licks, an explosion of synths and rising backing vocals. I’d give this a much higher rating if I wasn’t sick of listening to ‘80s throwbacks by now. However, I will keep this duo on my One To Watch list.
3 STARS

Better Than Love

12. Jamie Cullum: Wheels (Video)
This piano and string heavy number is yet another fantastic entry in Jamie Cullum’s song catalogue. Lyrically, it’s brilliant as always and the chorus with it “woah-oooah-ooah” hook may ensure this gets played on the radio…though I doubt it. Oh well, you can change that if you buy this new single.
4 STARS

13. Josh Dubovie: That Sounds Good To Me (Video)
The only word for this is naff, naff, naff. Maybe back in those dark days when Steps, Scooch and S-Club were ruling the charts, this might have been a hit and an acceptable entry into the Eurovision but I can’t see this doing well. Lyrically atrocious with cheesy backing vocals, it makes the UK look like a country devoid of any talent where’s there’s plenty. And the same goes for Ireland (although our entry isn’t as embarrassing, no offence to my British cyber friends). I cannot understand that the industry big wigs cannot get it into their thick skulls that you send a death-metal band that like to play dress-up (see: Lordi), faux lesbians (see: tAtU) or some sexy lady that can grind on a pole and you have it – WIN! WIN! WIN! Didn’t Lady GaGa teach these people? – the public love gimmicks!
1 STAR

14. K’naan featuring will.i.am. and David Guetta: Wavin’ Flag (Video)
This K’nann penned track was originally given to the Young Artists For Haiti as a charity single a few months ago and even won the prestigious Track Of The Week. However, something is lost in translation when sang by its original songwriter and *shudder* will.i.am with production credits from *shudder* David Guetta. I like K’nann’s international sounding voice and hope to see more of him in the future. The reason I’m not crazy about this version of the track might be because the lyrics have been changed around so that the wordplay sounds clumsy and overall ruins the song’s catchiness, moving it into really schmaltzy territory. The good thing is that David Guetta doesn’t turn the song into a remix, only adding a few extra beats to the track and will.i.am. lays of the Auto-Tune and becomes the much more likeable retro Will. (Okay, so his “rock the beat” voice comes out towards the end of the song but it’s not overbearing like much of the post
E.N.D. material. To sum up, the song still remains enjoyable enough but it’s nothing compared to the Haiti version. 3 STARS

STINKER OF THE WEEK!
15. Margi Clarke: Like A Memory (Video)
When I sit down to type up my Singles Reviews Diary, I first have to choose among the 50+ singles released each week, which ones I’m going to review. I generally choose to review songs by well known artists, songs by hyped artists, songs likely to make the Top 40, songs by artists I’ve already reviewed in previous diaries and songs by artists with a certain ring to their name. Margi Clarke was one of those names that had a ring to them and so I went of typed her name into YouTube. Expecting to find an adult contemporary track á la Susan Boyle, I clicked play on the video and my ears were greeted by trippy noises and an even trippier video. I squinted at the screen… wait a minute! IS THAT TYRONE’S PINK HAIRED MUM FROM
CORONATION STREET???! I was gobsmaked. What next – Peggy Mitchell leaving Eastenders to pursue a pop career??? Margi Clarke cannot sing at all and the electro track is complete trash. Poker Face 2.0it ain’t, honey. She actually does sound like Madonna in certain places, albeit less talented and more classy. Anyways I believe I’m scarred for life now. *goes to corner and cowers, rocking over and back* 1 STAR

16. Muse: Exogenesis: Symphony (Video)
Aww! Isn’t Muse good to their fans? This track, split in three parts at the end of their latest album
The Resistance has been melded together into an epic 12 minute number and packaged as a single for their fans. The single really showcases Muse’s instrumental talents, the orchestra number is huge, atmospheric, overblown, epic and so completely Muse. However, this Muse fan believes that the track is better split in three parts and kept on the album because this constitutes as fun background music and nothing more. Oh well, each to their own I guess. 4 STARS

TRACK OF THE WEEK!
17. Muse: Neutron Star Collision (Love Is Forever) (Video)
Acting as the lead single from the wildly anticipated
Eclipse film, Stephanie Meyer (author of Twilight) must be hopping up and down now that her favourite band Muse are soundtracking the never ending love of her protagonists Bella and Robert PattinsonEdward. For a big mainstream release like Eclipse, Muse are in mainstream mode here, the song has a big heart wrenching chorus that radio are sure to pick up, romanticised pianos and big crunching guitars. Hey, I think this is another fantastic entry into Muse’s catalogue and if it gets more people into Muse then I’m all for it. Actually, this is my favourite love song ever…so it gets…5 STARS

File:Neutron Star Collision.png

18. N-Dubz featuring Bodyrox: We Dance On (Video)
Once we get the trademark N-Dubz “na-na-nai” out of the way, this song is actually rather fantastic. Tulisa’s vocals are smooth and passionate and probably the best we’ve heard yet from her, Dappy and Fazer’s rapping is also very good – there’s definitely an American influence here, their rhymes have that very reflective feel to them, the sort of rhyming you’d expect from Jay-Z or Lupe Fiasco. The chorus has a real inspirational feel and the production by Bodyrox is pretty cool too although the best part (the strings) are sampled from Johann Pachelbel’s
Canon in D Major. Anyways, if N-Dubz continue to make music like this Street Dance 3-D soundtrack single for their US debut, then consider me a fan. 4 STARS

File:NDUBZ We dance on final.jpg

19. Nas and Damian Marley: As We Enter (Video)
One of my favourite underrated rappers Nas (probably better known as Kelis’ ex-husband) and Bob Marley’s son Damian come together to provide this head bobber. Nas is a great rapper and Marley’s lyrics are rather clever here, this is a real head-banger, great for playing while cruisin’. 😛 The fast paced back and forth rapping between Nas and Marley really push this song above mediocrity.
3.5 STARS

20. Neil Morrissey and England’s Pride: England’s On The Way (The Lion Sleeps Tonight) (Video)
This song was purely designed for English people to sing along to when getting excited about the World Cup. The recognisable twisting of the lyric
The Lion Sleeps Tonight toEngland’s On The Way should make it easier for them to chant along to. To be honest, I thought this would be terrible but I’m a sucker for The Lion Sleeps Tonight and love the original chant and Africanised beats – which make it perfect for the World Cup really. It would be great if Neil Morrissey sang I in a less cheesy way but what the hell! “A wimoweh, a wimoweh, a wimoweh!” 3.5 STARS

21. Niamh Kavanagh: It’s For You (Video)
Niamh Kavanagh already won the Eurovision once – can she do it again? That’s the question on every Irish person’s lips as we get ready to send her off to ChartBlog legend Alexander Rybak’s homeland of Norway.
It’s For You, like Jade Ewen’s It’s My Time, is a big power ballad sang by a soulful able voiced singer full of generic lyrics in the vein of any Celine Dion song ever. I imagine this could do pretty well, bland and dated material generally does well at Eurovision, but it certainly won’t win it. I think we should have sent the sexy and gimmicky Monica Ivkic instead. 2 STARS

22. Seán Óg: I Still Love You Without Your Car (Video)
You can probably tell by the title alone that this is a parody song. The production is cheap, the vocals are non-existent, this will probably have to get Stinker…and OH MY GOD THE VIDEO HAS DOGS PLAYING BANJOS, FIDDLES AND GUITAR HERO! THIS THE BEST SONG EVER! 5 STARS! Seriously though this video kicks GaGa’s
Telephone video in the mud, Seán Óg needs to become famous and the song is actually a grower. 2.5 STARS but the video gets INFINITY STARS

Sean Og : The Answer

23. Rihanna: Te Amo (Video)
With her crotch grabbing in
Wait Your Turn, her suicidal nature in Russian Roulette, her army promoting Hard and her explicitly sexual lyrics in Rude Boy, Rihanna has come a long way from the early days when she was just a cute 17-year old in a tank top singing about love in much more veiled terms. So it’s a relief to see Rihanna return to some cleaner, more island influenced material of her earlier career. Okay, so the song talks about her breaking some lesbian’s heart but it’s great to hear RihRih avoid singing about guns, bad language and parts of the male anatomy. Te Amo is a beautifully written mid-tempo pop song with lovely tribalesque island synths and percussion and Rihanna expresses emotion in her Marmite voice – listening to this song will transport you to a Caribbean island (figuratively of course). Probably my favourite track from her Rated R album, this strong Summery track is a worthy rival of Lady GaGa’s forthcoming Spanish tinged Alejandro. 4 STARS

24. White Rabbits: They Done Wrong/We Done Wrong (Video)
A brooding rock tune from the White Rabbits. I really like this group and I love the chugging guitars and bass in this but the track is lacking in something, I don’t know really. Perhaps it will grow on me but it’s a bit lacklustre really. Good instrumentally though.
3 STARS

They Done Wrong / We Done Wrong

I see the chart game never really took of last week so I guess it won’t go ahead this week either. But feel free to leave your single ratings below if you wish… and comments and feedback of course. 😛

Singles Reviews Diary 14 – 7th May 2010

I’m finally free from college! Success! However, what’s not a success this week is the amount of rather boring singles being released this week. Oh well, next week looks much more promising. 🙂

Singles Reviews Diary 14 – 7th May 2010:

01. Ash –Insects
We’re on Single Letter P of Ash’s
A-Z Series and Insects sounds like Ash are, like me, getting into the Summery mood with this mellow guitar heavy new single. Like every other single in the A-Z Series, this is a pleasant but unspectacular listen. 3 STARS

02. Beyoncé – Why Don’t You Love Me
All those sick of Beyoncé, please don’t worry! While the Queen Bee may have released her eight
I Am… Sasha Fierce single Ego in the UK and Ireland last week, this isn’t going to become the ninth single (any time soon). Instead a video was filmed for the song as “a gift to her fans”. If you’re a fan of Beyoncé, then you should love this song which appears as a bonus track on I Am… Sasha Fierce: Super Ultimate Platinum Mega Deluxe Edition. For everyone else, it has to be said that this is a really good disco number from the R&B star. While Ego sounds like it came from the 1960s, Why Don’t You Love Me is rooted in the 1970s with super fast funky production and lyrics filled with Beyoncé’s usual sass. However, if I’m honest, Beyoncé’s harsh oversinging on the chorus can really make the song grating which I find is the case with most of the singles that have been released from this era. Still, this probably won’t get any airplay so head on over to YouTube to check out the super hot and stylish video. Groovy. 3.5 STARS

03. The Eighties Matchbox B-Line Disaster – Love Turns To Hate
The gothic punk band with the incredibly long name is back with this guitar heavy, shout along track that should go down well in the mosh pits this Summer. The chorus on this does get very irritating after a few but thankfully this is a strong comeback single that should keep their fans happy.
3 STARS

04. Fugative featuring Gina – Crush
The 16-year old rapper is very much in the same vein as his contemporary Chipmunk in that he was once a favourite on urban music channels like Channel AKA and Starz but it now looks like he’s going to be the latest ‘it’ rapper with this poppish radio friendly single. While the rapping is pretty much inoffensive rapping about a teenage crush (while sounding eerily like Chipmunk), the standout star of this song is Gina who sings the super catchy chorus with her smooth R&B vocals which can be compared to American singers such as Ashanti or Ciara. This is pure catchy fluff but Fugative looks like he’s pretty much replicating Chipmunk’s formula for getting his rap records on the radio.
3 STARS

05. Fyfe Dangerfield – She’s Always A Woman
Guillemots’ frontman Fyfe Dangerfield covers Billy Joel with this fantastic timeless ballad that is currently being used in an ad for John Lewis. Dangerfield’s vocals are smooth and powerful, the production is classy and dare I say it but I think this is better than the Billy Joel version. A great alternative to all the electro infiltrating the radio at the moment.
5 STARS

I missed Glee this week so I can’t say if the songs used in this week’s episode “Bad Reputation” fit well into the storyline. I can, as usual, review how the Glee Cast has managed to fare up after last week’s bland episode.

06. Glee Cast – Ice Ice Baby
Ahhh, first Jedward and now Will Schuester. While Will rapping and dancing makes me want to cover my eyes with the cringyness of it, thankfully Glee do this song more justice than Jedward because listening to this in audio doesn’t sound bad at all…if you can manage to dispel Schuester’s “trying to act cool” posturing in the video. Perfect party fodder that doesn’t stray too far from the original.
3.5 STARS

07. Glee Cast – U Can’t Touch This
Okay, another cringeworthy video aside, it’s great to see that anyone who isn’t Lea Michelle or Cory Monteith get their chance to shine. My favourite singer in the Glee Club, Artie gets his chance to sign with his fast paced rapping. Again it doesn’t stray too far from the original but this is another solid entry from the Glee Clubbers.
4 STARS

08. Glee Cast – Physical
This much hyped up collaboration between Sue Sylvester and, to sound like Puck, the World’s greatest MILF Olivia Newton John falls a little short for me. Maybe because I’m not a fan of the original but I feel like this lacks the energy of the original and did I just here some really obvious Auto-Tune? Not cool, Glee. Lynch and Newton-John have great voices though.
2.5 STARS

09. Glee Cast – Run Joey Run
This cover of David Geddes’
Run Joey Run is probably the second best song on Glee this week because it takes on the theatrical, narrative sound of the original with some great back-up vocals from Santana and Brittany and the rest of Glee I assume. The video has me intrigued and made me laugh out loud and not ‘cause I was cringing. Rachel was fantastic as ever and so was Puck and Jesse St. James (is that his name?) but they really showed up the male lead Finn whose vocal limitations were noticeable this time around. 4.5 STARS

TRACK OF THE WEEK!
10. Glee Cast – Total Eclipse Of The Heart
The obvious song to chart this week, this has that epic quality of the original. Rachel gives Bonnie Tyler a run for her money with her booming theatrical voice. Jesse St. James is also great with the little bits he does get to sing alongside Puck and Finn. What’s the deal with two songs between Rachel, Finn, Jesse and Puck? Is there some love square going on? Anyway with bombastic production and soaring backing vocals from the rest of Glee, this is another Glee song that will give you goosebumps and a deserved winner of Track Of The Week.
5 STARS

Yes the Glee tracks this week are much more up to scratch.

11. Groove Armada featuring Jess Larrabee – Look Me In The Eye Sister
Another consistently strong single from Groove Armada, the second official single from their
Black Light album. This track finds them in their usual trance mode but freshened up with rocky overtones, fists in the air euphoria and a smooth chorus from Larrabee. Fantastic and one track I’ll be listening to this Summer. 5 STARS

12. Hannah – I Believe In You
A serviceable enough light and colourful dance tune by the Australian newcomer. This actually sounds like a lesser track from Madonna’s
American Life LP. Hannah might sound like Madonna but doesn’t show much innovation with her debut UK single. 3 STARS

13. Kaci Battaglia – Crazy Possessive
This song isn’t very original and lacks depth but it’s actually a great pop song. Sounding very like Rihanna’s
S.O.S. (Rescue Me), it’s a light techno pop tune with a huge expletive filled chorus that should do well on radio because it doesn’t take a genius to understand where the expletives are covered up. This could easily be a Summer smash but the song could easily have been sang by any other American pop/R&B princess because its so anonymous. Battaglia does show some personality in the video though as a crazy possessive yet incredibly sexy woman – don’t get on the wrong side of this bunny boiler. 3.5 STARS

14. Keane featuring K’nann – Stop For A Minute
This is a really strong comeback from the band who release a new EP on 10 May,
Night Train. The song is immediately ear snagging on first listen which show that Keane continue to show the innovation they displayed on last album Perfect Symmetry by reducing the number of piano ballads and going for something a little more so. This is extremely radio friendly pop rock, made all the more so by Somali Canadian guest rapper K’nann who adds a little bit of international feel to the track. If this doesn’t get Keane back in the Top 20 then nothing will. 4 STARS

15. Kelis – Acapella
It’s a testament to Kelis that she cracked the UK Top 10 weeks before official release after previously being brushed off as a fad artist with her breakthrough single
Milkshake. In this classy, energetic and soaring dance ballad with some tribal elements, Kelis sings about how the birth of her baby boy has brought so much more energy to her life. A fantastic lead single to start of the campaign for her Flesh Tones album and one to dispel any sneers from her critics. 4.5 STARS

16. Lee Ryan – Secret Love
Lee Ryan attempts to stay relevant with this by the numbers generic electro dance track. The song has a decent enough chorus and radio friendly but cynical old me is just thinking that this is Ryan trying to add a little extra cash in his pocket. I’d avoid it.
2 STARS

17. LIGHTS – Saviour
The much cooler, female version of Owl City releases her second UK single. I previously compared her to Britney Spears from the
Blackout era. I continue to believe this although this has a more melancholy sound than what we heard from that album. I really like this although many may find LIGHTS really prominent Canadian accent off-putting, as well as the Auto-Tune and wailing at the way. Still this is a great pop song that many others will like. 3.5 STARS

18. Mary J. Blige featuring Jay Sean – Each Tear
Mary J. and Jay Sean team up for this ‘inspirational’ ballad. The song uses every lyrical cliché in the book, classy R&B production and smooth “I’ll always be there for you” vocals from Blige and Sean. The video is hilarious with Mary J. and Jay Sean’s overly earnest expressions. Check it out. The song might be heartwarming for a small variety but won’t do anything to save Blige’s declining career as many of us will be reaching for the sick buckets.
2 STARS

STINKER OF THE WEEK!
19. Miley Cyrus – When I Look At You
Eurrgh Miley. Stick to the up-tempo numbers because “sitting at the piano, sobbing” ballads really don’t work for you. While her last ballad
The Climb was decent enough in a reality TV singer’s winning song kind of way, that was because Miley showed some restraint. For her tragically romantic new movie The Last Song, Miley provides us with the soundtrack’s lead single, an overblown tearjerker that shows Miley really show off her vocal chops. The song made me cry, cry with the overwhelming pain in my ears of listening to Miley’s nails against chalkboard voice. I can’t even hear the lyrics thanks to Miley’s nasal delivery. Obvious stinker. 1 STAR

20. Mini Viva – One Touch
I don’t understand all the critical hype surrounding Mini Viva. Sure, I really enjoyed their flop
I Wish but never really cared for Left My Heart In Tokyo. I think its just that I find the girls’ voices annoying. On this racy number, they are more bearable although I still think this is a by the numbers ‘80s throwback. I don’t think the chorus is particularly strong but I do like the “Hips, lips, fashion status” breakdown. A good enough pop song but not essential in today’s market in my opinion. 3 STARS

21. Sub Focus featuring Coco – Splash
Euphoric drum and bass from Sub Focus and Coco of I Blame Coco equals dance heaven. I don’t know if this has much mainstream appeal but with a fists in the air chorus, this might be one of those under the radar dance numbers to enjoy this Summer.
4 STARS

22. TV Rock featuring Rudy – In The Air (Axwell Remix)
This isn’t remotely original but this will probably serve as the Eurodance song to feature in all the clubs this month with it’s brief vocal sections and big rave friendly dance parts. Decent enough but nothing overly exciting.
3 STARS

Ah, 14 weeks and 360 singles reviewed, I’m quite proud of myself for sticking with it this long. Comments and feedback please.