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*

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Singles Reviews Diary 11 – 16th April 2010

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

Singles Reviews Diary 11 – 16th April 2010:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Singles Reviews Diary 4 – 29th February 2010

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

Singles Reviews Diary 4 – 29th February 2010:

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

Scotland the Brave

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

10. Glee Cast: Dancing With Myself 3 STARS

Dancing With Myself (Glee Cast Version)

11. Glee Cast: Defying Gravity 4 STARS

Defying Gravity (Glee Cast Version)

12. Glee Cast: Proud Mary 4 STARS

Proud Mary (Glee Cast Version)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Stylo (feat. Mos Def and Bobby Womack)

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

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

Solo

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

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

Lil Wayne ft Nicki Minaj - Knockout

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

Click pic to play "La La La"

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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