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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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 10 – 9th April 2010

I’m back with next week’s Singles Reviews Diary. Sorry, its a bit late. My life is pretty stressful and busy at the moment as I’ve already said above.

Singles Reviews Diary 10 – 9th April 2010:

01. AFI: Beautiful Thieves
American rock bands appear to be all making comebacks at the same time. Much like recent offerings from 30 Seconds To Mars and Coheed & Cambria, this is a serviceable rock tune that should keep their fans happy. The song itself is nothing new, it has soft verses and a big growly chorus. Heard it all before.

02. Ash: Dare To Dream
Another decent but hardly groundbreaking tune from Ash’s
A-Z Series. So so difficult to listen to it anywhere on the Internet without buying it first. Which just goes to show the lack of promotion surrounding this band. 2.5 STARS

03. Bananarama: Love Don’t Live Here
Reformed pop duo Bananarama are back with this string heavy dance number. I’m not a Bananarama fan but I honestly can’t see this doing well. It sounds like it belongs in this year’s Eurovision Song Contest or an ABBA song without the great pop hooks.

04. Cascada: Pyromania
Cascada make two types of music. Either Hi-NRG Eurotrash or GaGa aping dance pop tracks. After scoring their biggest hit last Summer by ripping of Lady GaGa’s
Just Dancewith Evacuate The Dancefloor, the group haven’t been so lucky since. Follow-up singles have been the stale Eurotrash we’ve come to expect from Cascada and they have flopped spectacularly. Are people getting tired of Cascada? Well, they are clearly trying to remain current by ripping of GaGa again, this time her mega successful singlePoker Face. And honestly, Pyromania is a complete and utter rehash of Poker Face, its got RedOne style beats, dark lyrical undertones and stuttering hooks sang by an anonymous robotic male voice. “Pyro-pyro-pyro-mania-muh-muh-muh!” Hmmm sounds familliar? However, I prefer Cascada when they’re ripping of GaGa instead of producing their usual tunes. 2.5 STARS

05. Christina Aguilera: Not Myself Tonight
Christina is back!!! And while the lead single from her much anticipated forthcoming album
Bionic isn’t as innovative as she’d lead you to believe, its definitely a strong return for the pop princess. With this song, Xtina takes your average club track, adds a bit of alternative edge that was found on Britney’s Blackout and throws her ear-shattering vocals over the track, making this sound fresh and appealing. One of the best house-R&B tracks I’ve heard in a while anyway. 4 STARS

06. Darwin Deez: Radar Detector
Can’t believe I nearly passed up the chance to review this. This is a fantastic, bouncy pop rock song that has got me thinking about Summer. It does get annoying towards the end when he repeats
“You are a radar detector” over and over again but its still one of the best tracks I’ve heard this week. I’m hoping the unknown Darwin gets lots of exposure with track. The official video even has a load of school kids miming along to the song. That’s sure to make a lot of people go “AWWWW!” 4.5 STARS

07. Eliza Doolittle: Skinny Genes
Yet another ‘quirky’ pop singer. This 1960s sounding number is a grower, has a whistling hook. It’s a pleasant number but not very different from what Rox or the Noisettes are doing at the moment.

08. Fatboy Slim featuring Lazy Rich: Weapon Of Choice 2010
Lazy Rich adds a modern touch to the 2001 Fatboy Slim classic. Yawn! This business of modernising songs by throwing a few stale house beats over them doesn’t slide well with me at all. It just seems like a way for DJs to cash in on an already well know song. At least he’s introducing the song to a whole new generation, I guess. I’ll enjoy this when I’m drunk.

09. Frank Turner: Isabel
I’m actually surprised by how much I like this one. Amongst crashing guitars and melodic pianos, Frank Turner professes his love for a girl named Isabel. I think like the understated quality to the song. Very good.

10. Futureheads: Heartbeat Song
A short yet sweet post punk track with a big catchy chorus and plenty of energy. Like this a lot. Its been a while since we’ve had a singalong indie track so its welcome with me. A strong comeback single from forthcoming album
The Chaos. 4 STARS

11. HonoRebel featuring Pitbull and Jump Smokers: Now You See It (Shake That Ass)
The hook of this song is
“Baby shake that ass for me!” Yep, enough said. This will probably be a huge hit in the clubs but basically sounds like everything else Pitbull puts his name to…CRAP! 1 STAR

12. Jay-Z featuring Swiss Beatz: On To The Next One
It mightn’t be as memorable as
Run This Town or Empire State Of Mind but the fifth single from Jigga’s The Blueprint III proves to be hypnotic and dark in material. Sure the constant repetition of the song’s title in the background can get a bit irritating after a while but Jay-Z, despite being in his 40s, is showing all why he’s the biggest rapper in the game with another strong single in his catalogue. 4 STARS

13. Kate Nash: Do-Wah-Doo
Much like Scouting For Girls, it looks like Kate Nash will impress me with her lead single and then irritate me to death with her follow-ups. This is a really strong comeback for Miss Nash though. I think many people have forgotten about her and this is perfect for showing the World that she’s back! Amongst surf guitars and pounding piano melodies, Kate Nash sings about that two faced cow she hates. You have to love that ba-da-ba hook too. The final word of the song ensures that the song ends with a bang instead of a whimper.

14. Katherine Jenkins: Fear Of Falling
Katherine Jenkins is back with the fourth single from her successful album
Believe. This is typical classical music but softer sounding than her previous offerings from the album, almost sound like it belongs on a Disney soundtrack. 3 STARS

15. Lostprophets: For He’s A Jolly Good Felon
Lostprophets release my favourite song from their album
The Betrayed. This is an infectious arena rocker with plenty of strong hooks. It also has a bit of an American sound which should see it perform well internationally if it gets the right promotion. Which I doubt. 😦 5 STARS

16. Platnum: Emotionally Tired
Manchester bassline trio Platnum scored a huge #1 hit back in February 2008 with their infectious collaboration with HtwoO
What’s It Gonna Be and followed it up nine months later with the equally infectious LoveShy (Thinking About You). Yet no album has come about yet and a year and a half later, they have a new single which is presumably the third single from the album. Anyways, this lacks the strong catchiness of their previous singles, it’s dull and may suggest that Platnum will grate on ones nerves with repeat exposure. I vaguely remember What’s It Gonna Be getting on my nerves actually. This song is, to quote M.I.A., Ibiza music. 1 STARS

17. Professor Green featuring Ed Drewett: I Need You Tonight
Well, isn’t this a witty little number? While the INXS sample does overpower Professor Green cocky rapping and Drewett’s Calvin Harris-esque vocals, it is also the most ear catching part of it. This is light and harmless fluff that’s perfect for the dancefloor. It’s also likeable unlike the light and harmless fluff, of say, Pitbull. The song is still even bearable when Prof. Green talks about how he’s a pimp and how women throw themselves at him really! Good stuff.

18. Selena Gomez & The Scene: Naturally
I really think Disney are getting better at making music for people over the age of six. The BFF of Demi Lovato, Selena Gomez mightn’t have the vocal chops of Demi Lovato but
Naturally is actually a fairly decent electro pop rock tune. Gomez and her band aren’t breaking any new ground on the teen pop tune but compare this to the Lizzie Maguires and Mandy Moores of yesteryear, things are looking up. 3 STARS

19. The Temper Trap: Science Of Fear
After their soothing and melodic sleeper hit
Sweet Disposition, Aussie rockers The Temper Trap are back with a more heavier offering than their aforementioned hit single. It’s a functional enough indie rock track with swooping strings and some experimentation but at over 6 minutes long, it lacks the radio appeal of Sweet Disposition. 3.5 STARS

20. The Unconventionals: Top Of The World
The Unconventionals are a six piece group that made the Final 12 in Series 3 of
The X-Factor and were eliminated in the first live show. They’re a decent group of singers with some lovely harmonising but only cheesy pop fans will like this cheery yet dated mid-tempo. 1.5 STARS

21. Wale featuring Gucci Mane and Weensey: Pretty Girls
If you thought Wale was a boring hip popper after hearing his Lady GaGa assisted hit
Chillin’ back in August, then you’ll be surprised to hear that he really shakes things up on his second single. There’s a strong hook sang by Weensey of go-go band Backyard Band and the song itself has a funky rhythm although I doubt poor Wale will crossover again. There are better songs on his rather good rap record Attention: Deficit but this is one of the more radio friendly. 3.5 STARS