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

Singles Reviews Diary 6 – 12th March 2010

It’s getting even earlier and earlier…but I have my reviews for singles being released on Monday this week. Cos I’ll most likely be busy. It’s a whopping 37 singles I’ll be covering this week (all though not all of them will be major releases).

As per usual, here are my thoughts on all major singles being released next week on:

Singles Reviews Diary 6 – 12th March 2010:

01. All Time Low: Lost In Stereo
Nothing remotely original about this at all, but if you’re like me and into you’re uptempo emo cuts, you’ll love this.
2.5 STARS

02. Ash: Dionysian Urge
I only continue to review/mention singles from Ash’s
A-Z Series because I’m pedantic and can’t bare to leave them out. This is Single Letter L so there’s still a bit to go until Ash finish this project and hopefully release something a little more hyped up. If you like Ash, then you won’t mind spending 99p/99c on this single. 3 STARS

03. Band Of Skulls: I Know What I Am
A big stomping garage rock tune from the up and coming British rock band. It has a great chorus and if radio picks it up, it could be a big hit for the group.
4 STARS

04. Black Eyed Peas: Imma Be
Seeing as the futurtastic
Imma Be Rockin’ That Body mash-up video seems to be getting a nice amount of airplay on the music channels, there is a small chance this song might chart in its own right. Really, its probably a good thing that this song is only being officially released over in North America, because this wouldn’t be an ideal single on this side of the Atlantic. This song is very hit and miss. Like previous hit My Humps, you’ll either find this very catchy, very irritating or both. The BEP repeat the words Imma Be about 100 times throughout this song, they show off some urban swagga, send out messages of positivity (yet again!) and the whole thing has that schizophrenic quality that a lot of tracks on The E.N.D. have, changing tempo about 3 times throughout. If you like what you hear, then get downloading. If not then, don’t.2.5 STARS

05. Black Eyed Peas: Rock That Body
The Black Eyed Peas go all Daft Punk on this David Guetta produced track. While not instantly accessible or poppish as
I Gotta Feeling and Meet Me Halfway, this pulsating electro tune is rather brilliant. Definitely one of the better songs to dance to in a club, this single fits best with The E.N.D.’s futuristic theme. My only concern is a lack of normal voiced Fergie (she been swallowing far too much helium on this song) but the Black Eyed Peas seem to be unstoppable this year with everything they touch turning to chart gold. 4 STARS

06. Cheryl Cole: Parachute
Like
Fight For This Love, this sounds terrible at first. However, after a few listens, this quickly infiltrates your brain until you don’t mind hearing it anymore. I wouldn’t give it 5 stars but this is a pleasant enough listen. Good stuff although ironic at this for Mrs. Cole/Ms. Tweedy. 4 STARS

07. Chris Brown: Crawl
Poor old Chris. Is his career on the downfall because of what he did to Rihanna or is it because his latest LP
Graffiti a substandard bland affair. Good points out of the way first, this has a lovely sparse intro and the strings are suitably dramatic. The video is also rather good too. But this is a ballad that is so generic, so bland, so lacking in any identity with its lyrics and vocals that any R&B singer could have pulled it off. I know I’d much rather listen to Jason Derulo sing this song. 4 STARS

08. Chris Brown featuring L.A. The Darkman: In My Shoes
As well as promoting
Graffiti, Brown has also released the mixtape In My Zone. As you’d expect, this just sounds like an underground version of I Can Transform Ya. Chris sings about a girl with a nice ass and a skinny little waist. Wow, Chris you’ve convinced us all, you’re so ghetto. L.A. The Darkman shows up for the customary rap.1 STAR

09.Craig David: One More Lie (Standing In The Shadows)
For his new album
Signed Sealed Delivered, Craig David will sample old Motown classics and give them a modern twist. On this new single from the album, he delivers by sampling The Funk Brothers Standing In The Shadows over some ravey production. To be honest, I’m done with Craig David. I don’t like his voice and I don’t like any of his new material. This is okay, I can’t see it being a huge hit. 2.5 STARS

10. Delphic: Halycon
The Teens Decade’s (2010-2019) answer to New Order return with this brilliant new single. Like their criminally underselling previous single
Doubt, this takes a few listens to reach its full catchy potential. Hopefully this charts better than Doubt. 4 STARS

11. Drake featuring Lil Wayne and Young Jeezy: I’m Goin’ In
I really like Drake. I really don’t like crude slimy Lil Wayne and horse voiced Young Jeezy. They make an otherwise underground solid hip-hop track less enjoyable.
3 STARS

12. Drake: Over
After months of releasing mixtapes and appearing on other peoples’ records, Drake releases his first proper single from his first proper album. Things look promising with this track, a moody and brooding “fuck you” to all his detractors. Despite cracking the Top 30 in the US, this is more alternative but the wonderful production should see it get some mainstream attention.
4 STARS

13. Elaine Doonan and Pete Fagan: Haiti Child
Another week, another Haiti single. This is a nice yet unextraordinary live acoustic cover by little known Irish singers.
2 STARS

14. Erykah Badu: Window Seat
Wow just discovered this girl and wow she is good! With lovely silky vocals and a smooth R&B production, she sounds like a modern day Macy Gray.
4.5 STARS

15. Glee Cast: Don’t Make Me Over
Jennifer Hudson Junior is perfect for this retro styled cover of the soulful Dionne Warwick track. A great way to start of this week’s episode Hairography.
3.5 STARS

16. Glee Cast: Papa, Don’t Preach
Again, another epic cover by the Glee Cast. Pregnant Cheerleader is perfect for this acoustic cover of Madonna’s 1986 smash. Her voice works so well with this song.
3.5 STARS

17. Glee Cast: Imagine
The Glee Cast are on a roll this week, this is an actually amazing heartwarming cover of the John Lennon classic.
5 STARS

18. Glee Cast: Bootylicious
Glee goes Destiny’s Child with this karaoke rendition. Probably the weakest cover in this week’s episode.
2.5 STARS

19. Glee Cast: True Colors
The Quirky Girl With The Fake Stutter gets her chance to shine with her cover of Cyndi Lauper’s
True Colors. Its perfectly fine but Quirky Girl hasn’t a very distinguishable voice. I would have much preferred if she cover “Puh-puh-puh-poker face, puh-puh-puh-poker face”. 3 STARS

20. Glee Cast: Hair/Crazy In Love
This is another amazing mash-up by
Glee and it features my two favourite characters – The Wheelchair Guy and Jennifer Hudson Junior. It’s brilliant and is the most likely tune to break the chart next week. Hairography is an episode you do not want to miss. 4.5 STARS

21. Groove Armada featuring Will Young: History
Very ’80s and very good. I must go out and buy Groove’s new album
Black Lightsoon…and I recommend you do too. 4.5 STARS

22. Jamie T: Emily’s Heart
Jamie T is a wonderful songwriter and this single from sophomore album
Kings And Queens showcases that perfectly. Sounds a bit like The Streets. 4 STARS

STINKER OF THE WEEK!
23. Justin Bieber and Sean Kingston: Eenie Meenie
I was going to award Stinker of the Week to Justin Bieber’s other song but I decided that this promo single is even more dire. This is a joint collaboration from the tween…sorry teen…heartthrob and the irrelevant Jamacian singer/rapper. Built around the juvenile “Eenie Menie Minie Mo” rhyme, Sean and Justin sing about an “eenie meenie mo lover” (sounds explicit for someone whose not legal yet) and refer to her as “shawty” throughout the song. Yeah guys, cos ye are so tall. This song is terrible. Terrible. Boring R&B. Has a Summery vibe but still crap. Has to be heard (for free) to realise how terrible it is.
1.5 STARS

24. Justin Bieber: Baby
I have nothing personal against the Biebmeister but if he continues to release such generic R&B junk, I’m gonna keep up my criticisms. This, for me, is worse than
One Time. The chorus is just a lazy man’s way of being catchy, repeating “Baby” over and over again. Justin’s voice also sounds weak on the chorus. Ludacris turns up to spit out some uninspired verse about his tweenhood. Can I ask why cool rappers like Ludacris and Drake (who appears in the video) want to hang around with a bunch of 15-year-olds? Like come on! 2 STARS

TRACK OF THE WEEK!
25. Lady GaGa featuring Beyoncé: Telephone
GaGa might be pretentious and fond of using gimmicks but you can’t deny her talent, creativity and her knack for writing some amazing pop songs. This will hopefully be GaGa’s fourth Number 1 in the UK. Originally written for Britney Spears, it’s a good thing GaGa held on to this for herself because only she could pull off the restrained harp backed intro and outro, the speedy club friendly production and sirens, the countless number of hooks and the fast paced verses. Beyoncé almost steals the show with her raspy verse, but after her being the lead artist on their last collaboration
Video Phone(which was a real stinker), it’s only right that Lady GaGa shines on this much better offering from the pair. 5 STARS

26. LIGHTS: Ice
Yes! A brand new find! A much cooler, female version of Owl City. LIGHTS is a one woman band who writes and plays her own New Wavey electropop tunes. Sounds like a bit like
Blackout Britney. 4 STARS

27. Major Lazer featuring Vybz Kartel: Pon De Floor
This combines rave and dancehall quite effectively. Great production but we’ve heard it all before.
3 STARS

28. Michael Bublé: Cry Me A River
Housewife favourite Michael Bublé returns with the second single from his crazy selling album
Crazy Love. The intro to the Canadian crooner’s new song is epically dramatic and his voice is very powerful but this ballad doesn’t really go anywhere. Could be a nice James Bond theme. 2.5 STARS

29. Paloma Faith: Upside Down
Paloma changes pace with the third single from her brilliant debut album,
Do You Want The Truth Or Something Beautiful? After teary eyed ballads like Cold Stone Sober and New York, this is a much more lively track from the multi-talented soul artist. 4 STARS

30. Rod Stewart: (You’re Love Keeps Lifting Me) Higher And Higher
Rod Stewart releases this solid but really unnecessary cover of the Jackie Wilson classic. Rod Stewart fans will lap it up but for everyone else, this will hardly be a blip on your radar.
1.5 STARS

31. Rowetta Howett: Beautiful Lies
Anyone remember Rowetta? Nope neither did I! She got to the Final 9 (yup, it was the Final 9 as opposed to the Final 12 back in those dark days) of the first ever series of
The X-Factor. She was also the first to be knocked out of those live finals. Her debut single is actually rather nice, nothing out of this World. Showcases that she has talent though. 3 STARS

32. Rox: My Baby Left Me
Much like Noisettes
Don’t Upset The Rhythm (Go Baby Go!), this could be a massive crossover hit if it gets enough airplay. A super catchy soulful indie track! 4.5 STARS

33. Skepta: Bad Boy
A slicky produced grime track. Much like Rox, this could be a massive crossover hit. Much better than Tinie Tempah, in my opinion.
3 STARS

34. Snoop Dogg: Rida Man
Snoopie samples the
Spiderman theme in this novelty promo single. I like it but its nothing amazing. 3 STARS

35. Snoop Dogg: I Wanna Rock
A solid old skool hip-hop track that samples Rob Base and DJ E-Z Rock’s 1988 song
It Takes Two. It Takes Two is popular this week has the Black Eyed Peas have also sampled the song for Rock That Body. But while Black Eyed Peas shoot to the future, Snoop sticks to keeping the song in the past. 3 STARS

36. Three 6 Mafia vs. Tiësto featuring Flo Rida and Sean Kingston: Feel It
Wow, I’m pleasantly surprised that a song featuring my “two favourite artists” Sean Kingston and Flo Rida could be so good. Thanks to Tiesto’s fast paced production, this is a great club banger and driving song combined. Love it!
4 STARS

37. T.I.: I’m Back
T.I.’s comeback from prison song. I like T.I.’s so I won’t knock this too much but we’ve heard this kind of track from him (and many other rappers) many times before.
3.5 STARS

38. Timbaland featuring Bran’Nu: Meet In Tha Middle
Timbaland continues to release promo singles from his poor selling
Timbaland Presents Shock Value II album. This is a really great rap track and has that old skool feel of some of his earlier tunes. Brandy (of Moesha fame) also shocks by unleashing her rapping alter ego Bran’Nu and she’s just fantastic at it. One of the few artists who can rap as well as they sing. 3.5 STARS