Single Reviews Diary 25 – 23rd July 2010

I’MMMMMM BACCCCKKKKKK!!!!!!

Anyway for those of you wondering where I was – my laptop charger broke and I was left Internet-less for a whole two and a half weeks! You won’t believe the trouble I have had trying to find a laptop charger. Thankfully my dad is quite handy with electronics and he managed to do a rather crude job of fixing my laptop charger. Still, the charger seems to be stable, intact and powering up my computer again so time for me to power up my writing skills and catch up on the three SRDs that I’ve missed so far.

Naturally, these reviews are going to be shorter than usual because I simply have so many things to get out of the way. At least, there will be a lack of my infamous rambling. There will also be no single artwork or video links because I have no time. Go search yourself, you lazy bums! 😛

Lots of 5 STAR singles this week! 😀

Single Reviews Diary 25 – 23rd July 2010:

01. Ali Love: Smoke & Mirrors
This British singer provides something a little different to the dancefloor with this tune from his sophomore album
Love Harder. Rather than overly Auto-Tuned Europop, instead we get some funky disco. The skittering ‘80s synths of this track are the real standout of this song. While the verses and chorus are relatively catchy, it doesn’t sound very different from anything Pet Shop Boys, MGMT or Sam Sparro would do. Still, this is something I’ll have no problem bopping to on the tiles this Saturday night. 3.5 STARS

02. Amy Macdonald: This Pretty Face
I was a massive fan of Amy Macdonald’s debut album
This Is The Life but her sophomore effort A Curious Thing has failed to live up to my standards. The whole project just feels tired and like a rocked up rehash of her first LP with the whole tracklisting just feeling stale in comparison to her older songs. While her previous two singles Don’t Tell Me That It’s Over and Spark grew on me immensely, I haven’t enjoyed this track at all. Sounding like her album track Footballer’s Wife, Amy’s rich voice is not enough to save this ultimately dull song. The chorus is weak and meandering, the instrumentation is nothing extraordinary and the lyrical content, while true, is just more tired celeb bashing. I find Amy likeable, talented and wise beyond her years but she’s really going to have to come up with something more exciting for her next musical project.2.5 STARS

03. Chicane featuring Owl City: Middledistancerunner
There’s a definite case of recycling going on here. While Chicane’s trademark euphoric synths and Owl City’s (a.k.a. Adam Young’s) trademark emotive whining work well together on this track to provide a lonely dancefloor anthem, the two are on autopilot for this track, never straying outside their comfort zone. This sounds more like a mash-up of
Hiding All The Stars and Umbrella Beach rather than a brand new single. Granted both songs were pretty cool so… 3.5 STARS

04. Crystal Castles: Baptism
After releasing their brilliant promo single
Celestica over here, Canadian duo Crystal Castles are releasing their first proper brand of ethereal trance over here. UnlikeCelestica, this track is unlikely to have any crossover appeal because the song barely contains any vocals apart from a icy pulsing dance beats and high pitched, barely distinguishable screaming from singer Alice Glass who reminds me of Yeah Yeahs Yeahs Karen O on this track. While this is not a song for the radio, it is actually an IMMENSE club track and will definitely go down a storm with me when it’s played there or pumping out of my car like the boy racer I so desperately want to be. 4.5 STARS

05. Drake: Find Your Love
Drake is without a doubt one of the most exciting rappers to climb out of the woodworks recently, reminding many of a young Kanye West. The only problem is that Drake sounds a little to like Kanye and this track sounds like a cut from West’s Auto-Tune heavy album
808s & Heartbreak. Despite, Drake’s eerily similar flow to Kanye’s and Kanye’s production credits on this song which push the track into unoriginality, Drake makes this song his own by crooning out a vulnerable, heartfelt chorus. While he doesn’t have one of the strongest vocals about, Drake ditches the rappingand sounds nothing but sincere as he sings all melancholicon the track. The laidback yet primal production on the track give it a warm Summery feel that still grabs your attention thanks to its loud squelchy beats. Now if only I didn’t keep going to my 808s & Heartbreak CD everytime I listen to this song, it might score higher. 3.5 STARS

06. Fugative: Bad Girl
Fugative is basically a puberty conquering Justin Bieber meets Chipmunk. He’s quickly causing the hearts of girls to race with his youthful, 16 year old looks but sounds nearly exactly like Chimpunk, in both his flow and musicality. Which is not really a good thing. I am so sick of this urban pop crap trying to get its way into the charts. These guys are hailed as the new princes of grimes and then they go along and rap about shallow subject matters and get someone else to sing a dreadfully Auto-Tuned catchy chorus on their song, without even crediting said vocalist, which I think is just plain rude. It’s clear Fugative is looking for crossover appeal, judging by this single and its predecessor
Crush but he’s going to need to do something a little more original if he wants to get noticed. Unlike Bieber, Fugative doesn’t have the best team or Usher behind him to ensure his looks allow him to go all the way. 3 STARS

07. Goldfrapp: Alive
Okay so this single was cancelled but since the duo went to the trouble of filming a video for it and with its ascent to the top of the US Dance Charts, I feel it’s only fair that it deserves a review. This track is gorgeous and heavenly with Alison’s sweet, soaring vocals providing a magical chorus that is far catchier than you’d first give it credit. It’s not as infectious or singalong as their floptastic
Rocket but it does the job of keeping up with their consistent singles catalogue. 4 STARS

TRACK OF THE WEEK!
08. Gorillaz: On Melancholy Hill
A simply marvellous laidback Summer pop tune with enough organic quirkiness to make you feel like you’re transported to another World – which is where the Gorillaz ingenious appeal applies. Damon Albarn’s soft mumbling works perfectly against the skittering chirpy synths and epic backing vocals of the track. It’s official, Gorillaz are one of the most innovative, sonic pleasing bands of our time.
5 STARS

09. Grafitti6: Annie You Saved Me
A really promising new band. Okay, so indie singer Jamie Scott and TommyD are no strangers to the music industry but now that they’ve teamed up, they’ve managed to create a really appealing song. Scott (sure to set many a female heart a flutter) is a mighty vocalist and TommyD manages to produce a song that marries rock and electro perfectly. What we get is a song that manages to have an indie sound to it but enough pop smarts to please casual listeners. If only the track had a catchier chorus…
4 STARS

10. Katie Melua: A Happy Place
Katie Melua has quickly become one of my most favourite female artists with her latest album
The House. Following on from the sonic masterpiece that is The Flood, A Happy Place doesn’t quite live up to the standards set by its predecessor but still contains plenty of charm and avant garde influences. Seriously I think KM is the new Bjork! This track sounds a little like her earlier work, which is either a mildly bad thing or a very good thing. The verses are sang in a whimsical, run-on way and the lyrics have an other-worldly feel to them and although I am reminded slightly of her irritating signature hit Nine Million Bicylces with this song, the music has enough quality to stand on its own and almost erase that memory from my head. 4 STARS

11. LCD Soundsystem: I Can Change
LCD Soundsystem, a.k.a. James Murphy’s latest single from
This Is Happening lacks the energy of previous single Drunk Girls. While the sparse wonky electro and Murphy’s vocals are on point, the song isn’t particularly exciting or interesting. It sounds like strong album filler and probably shouldn’t have been chosen as a single. 3 STARS

12. Lissie: When I’m Alone
This single was released a while back but I didn’t bother reviewing it because…y’know…I can’t review everything. Since Lissie has been met with much hype and critical acclaim since, I feel like I have to throw my two cents into the mix. I’m glad I listened to this tune because the former YouTube star from Illinois lives up to the height. Starting off in stunning acapella, Lissie reminds one of Fleetwood Mac’s legendary Stevie Nicks but can stand on her own with a building folk backing and a powerful, catchy chorus which sounds like a raspier Florence Welch. Definitely checking out this chick’s album if the songs are as good as this.
5 STARS

13. The Pipettes: Call Me
Unlike Girls Don’t Catch (RIP) and Mini Viva, The Pipettes are unlike them as they don’t appear to be interested in cracking into the mainstream with any of their singles. The ladies don’t have a Top 20 hit to their name but that actually makes them appear less manufactured than the other competitive girlbands such as The Saturdays, Girls Aloud, Mini Viva and Sugababes. Mini Viva are a rather posh band you see and the second single from their album
Earth Vs. Pipettes is another slice of shameless ABBA-esque pop that is a little cheesy for my taste but I know would appeal to certain major pop enthusiast so I’d recommend if ABBA, Spice Girls and early Take That are at the top of your record collection, giving this single and its parent album a try. 3.5 STARS

14. Plan B: Prayin’
This is a rousing dramatic third single from Plan B. I recently bought his
The Defamation Of Strickland Banks LP and I’m in love with it. This is the album’s standout track, being a large orchestral ballad that is simply epic, no question! The prison riot video that accompanies the track only further highlights the cinematic nature of the song and fits with it perfectly. 5 STARS

15. Preeya Kalidas featuring Mumzy Stranger: Shimmy
Ugh, this is terribly generic. While former EastEnder Preeya Kalidas, better known to some as Amira Masood (the only hot person in
EE), doesn’t take the overused Auto-Tuned dance route, her music is still lacking in soul. With clichéd lyrics about “not frontin’” and a tired Middle-Eastern urban pop backing, I just can’t get behind this song. While the bhangra influences are apt considering Preeya’s and guest rapper, the unfortunately named Mumzy Stranger’s, ethnicities, the song just comes across as a completely corporate and comparable to Alesha Dixon or Sugababes 4.0 – which isn’t very good to be honest. Mumzy’s guest rap, where he does his best Sean Paul impression, is completely uncalled for too. I will say this though, Preeya has a much better voice than I expected from her – her vocals are really strong and commanding. Perhaps with the release of her album this September and a better second single, she might be able to turn this cheap mess around. She’s got the looks, fame and talent to do it! 2 STARS

16. RPA & The United Nations Of Sound: Born Again
The Verve’s Richard Ashcroft has set out on a new project with his brand spanking new band The United Nations Of Sound. Unlike his work with The Verve which was generally cold symphonic rock, his new music sees him embrace some Gospel style rock with an uplifting sound and harsh yet impassioned vocals. While this is nowhere near as good as anything the Verve have put out and with the album receiving mainly negative reviews, things don’t look good for Ashcroft’s little venture but this isn’t a bad lead single at all.
3.5 STARS

17. Swedish House Mafia featuring Pharrell: One (Your Name)
The Swedes are basically running pop and mainstream dance music at the minute so it’s about time three Swedish producers in Axwell, Steve Angello and Sebastian Ingrosso teamed up with American rapper/producer Pharrell for a masterful dance smash. This is screaming at you to get that thang popping on the dancefloor because those massive pounding synths, bassline and Pharrell’s surprisingly commanding, sometimes warped vocals are just the perfect tonic to forget your troubles and just dance. Wow that line was clichéd and sounds like I’ve taken it from every pop song circa 2009 to 2010 but I’m tired. Great dance tune, a little unoriginal but completely thumping. Great work to all involved.
4.5 STARS

18. Tom Jones: Did Trouble Me
Wow! Tom Jones is certainly impressive with his second A-side single from his latest album
Praise And Blame. Ditching the guilty pleasure naff pop of his earlier records, Jones is really suited to the stripped back Gospel rock of this new album. Rousing yet intimate and undoubtedly sounds great live, Tom sings the lyrics of this song with great passion. 5 STARS

19. Tom Jones: Don’t Knock
Jones is in upbeat mode for this foot-tapping country tune. This is really very good with some great female backing vocals and shows that Tom has plenty of energy for his age. If you’re not a fan of country music, this is hardly going to peak your interest and it doesn’t really standout from other country tracks but it still will prove to go down a storm at Tom’s live shows.
4 STARS

20. Travie McCoy featuring Bruno Mars: Billionaire
This song isn’t going to change the World but it’s a fun and beautiful Summer pop tune. Bruno Mars continues to be a scene stealer on the two singalong choruses of this song, having last won us over with his romantic vocals on B.o.B.’s
Nothin’ On You and Travie’s cheeky chappy rapping against a bouncy reggae backing is completely charming. Unlike the majority of rap tunes, Travie doesn’t just about material possessions and getting in girls’ panties, although, they understandably are part of the lyrical content too, but also rhymes about adopting kids that ain’t as fortunate as him and donating money to the victims of Hurricane Katrina. No doubt, radio is going to play this to death and perhaps Travie could have delved deeper lyrically and less superficially into the track but as a fun, relatable Summer pop tune, this does the trick! 4 STARS

21. Wallis Bird: An Idea About Mary
Hippie chick Wallis Bird sings in an Irish accented voice for this autobiographical, folk track with some witty, relatable lyrics that are odds with the morbid subject matter which detail the death of a woman named Mary. Wallis manages to really appeal with the anguished chorus and climax of the song but the humdrum production and verses sadly suck the momentum out of that stunning chorus and hence ruin this from being a defining single. Sad.
3 STARS

22. The Wanted: All Time Low
I’m sorry but this song is completely lame. Okay, not
completely lame but not much better from what JLS are inflicting upon. I’m not exactly excited about the sudden resurgence of popularity in boy and girl bands because boy and girl bands are just corny, products of sex that make shoddy, manufactured music. I do quite like the pompous strings during the first minute or two of the song, some of the guys have interesting voices and the chorus does quickly bury itself in your head but the song just feels very clunky, random 😉 and unfinished. Like a demo or something. The way the song builds up from pompous indie ballad to ravey pop tune just brings back too many bad memories of JLS’ One Shot and the video has to go down as one of the worst clips of 2010. They look so corny jumping around in the air with flares, repeating ”low-a-low-a-low-a-low” over and over and over again. Aren’t they supposed to be in the throes of depression? Why are they dancing in a crumbling warehouse? Probably hoping the building falls on them, I guess. 2.5 STARS

23. Yolanda Be Cool and D-Cup: We No Speak Americano
Please, one
Riverside (Let’s Go) is enough! I do not want another gimmicky, irritating dance tune, thanks! You can call me boring and humourless but even when off my face in a club, this headwrecking tune still remains unappealing to me. I researched last weekend, y’see. And Yolanda Be Cool have lost all credibility as a starting out band. 1 STAR

STINKER OF THE WEEK!
24. Young Money: Every Girl In The World
Originally released as the record crew’s first single in the US back in April 2009, the song has now been released over here for a bid at Irish and British stardom. Well it’s not going to get it because unlike there previous hit
Bedrock, this song lacks a strong chorus or an interesting production. This is your typical misogynist hip-hop track with pain-wrenching use of Auto-Tune from Lil’ Wayne, Drake, Jae Millz, Gudda Gudda and Mack Maine (“Who?” at the latter three). There is absolutely nothing redeemable about this track. 1 STAR

I will hopefully have next week’s SRD tomorrow evening and the week after the day after – hopefully! 😀

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Who wants to watch some Glasto performances from credible artists?

For all those unfortunate not to be at renowned British music festival Glastonbury this weekend, I  have just the remedy to ease that pain a little. High quality live performances…by some of the more credible artists in the music industry today, which were performed yesterday on the first day of the festival.

First up is endearing indie pop princess Ellie Goulding. My relationship with Ellie is a bit hit and miss really as I find her Top 5 hit Starry Eyed became one of the most irritating songs of the year so far. However no complaints about the live performance of the track as Ellie really impressed me. Her vocals were on point and I really loved the extra drum solo she added into the song. It adds a whole new layer. Plus Ellie looked like she was really enjoying herself as the atmosphere looks incredible. And honestly, she looks the sexiest I’ve ever seen her! What is it about popstars looking so radiant all the time they’re playing at festivals? Probably because everyone in the audience is a blind drunken mess and has nothing in comparison.

Gorillaz were also there last night. They were quickly brought in as U2’s replacement after Bono injured his back. I know I’d much rather see the Gorillaz live over U2, especially having to stand through a live proportion of their most recent material. While, I’m a bit disappointed by the visuals used during Gorillaz performance of Stylo, it was a great performance with rapper Mos Def and soul singer Bobby Womack joining the virtual band onstage to unleash their scene stealing verses on the crowd. Damon Albarn, the main man behind Gorillaz, also sounds much better live than he does on CD, having witnessed for myself when I saw him live with Blur last year at Oxegen.

Finally we have Kele who performed his grower of a solo single Tenderoni live. Despite its many electronic influences, including on Kele’s voice, the Bloc Party frontman gave a fantastic performance of the song without resorting to miming.

Thanks to The Prophet Blog (one of the best blogs around) for breaking the story.

Adam, Basshunter, B.o.B., Gorillaz, Inna, Jessie James, Justin, Kat, Katy, Kelis, MGMT, N*E*R*D*, OK Go, Plan B, Snoop and Uffie unleash an onslaught of videos for us!

After Lady GaGa released her much discussed video clip for Alejandro about two weeks or so ago, it looks like some of the other artists in today’s music industry want in on the game and the last two weeks have seen an absolute onslaught of music videos float our way. Seeing as other areas of my life are taking over my blogging (despite me really getting into it lately), I’ve not been able to keep track of them all as soon as they’ve been released. However, never fear because I’ve combined them all into one humungous post. Here are some of the most notable (and not so notable) videos being released recently.

Adam Lambert: If I Had You

After getting off to a disappointing start with his dull as dishwasher ‘proper debut’ single For Your Entertainment, Adam Lambert has been very impressive lately. Not only am I mad about his current UK/Irish single Whataya Want From Me, released this July, but I’m also really loving If I Had You, Adam’s third single in the US (fifth if you count his American Idol runner up song No Boundaries and his soundtrack song Time For Miracles).

While Whataya Want From Me is a brooding P!nk penned rocker, If I Had You is a delightful electropop stomper that is sure to keep America partying all Summer. If I Had You is hugely euphoric, positive and massive and should ensure the larger than live vocalist and artist a massive hit. The video is a simple yet effective affair. Adam and a large group of people go out and party in a forest. The video has some fantastical elements to it with colourful fairies flitting about and Glambert resembling some character from either a sci-fi, fantasy, manga or anime movie/show I’d seen recently, I just can’t put my finger on who. Watch the video below, I hope this is released on these shores soon…although it is essentially a Summer single.

Basshunter: Saturday

The male Natalie Horler, Basshunter is back with a brand new single, Saturday, which will be taken from his currently untitled third album. *groan*

Not a huge groan though. Saturday is a minor improvement on some of the Sweedish DJ’s earlier work although it still remains generic, bland and soulless. Jonas has ditched the cheesy Eurodance for some pure Americanised dance-pop, á la Cascada with Evacuate The Dancefloor. Like Cascada, Jonas has definitely cashed into the Lady GaGa sound as he and some anonymous female vocalist sing over giant club beats. At least he’s ditched the repetitive soap storyline he used for previous videos and has gone for a full out club video.

B.o.B featuring Hayley Williams: Airplanes

After scoring a #1 hit with his Bruno Mars collaboration Nothin’ On You, innovative rapper B.o.B. is back with a new single Airplanes featuring Paramore vocalist Hayley Williams.

While the track is a certified smash and possibly even a future hip-hop classic, I’m a little disappointed with the video. Despite B.o.B.’s success, its clear that the label didn’t throw a huge amount of dollars at the video and I would have liked to see some interaction between B.o.B. and Hayley. Still the flashing lights look good and with a song so epic, with a simple yet effective chorus and having already cracked the Top 20, if not Top 10 across the World, clearly a below par video is the least of B.o.B.’s worries. Plus, I’m glad Hayley’s doing this collaboration. If Paramore ever go on hiatus or split, Hayley has the looks, talent and charisma to embark on a successful pop career, like No Doubt’s Gwen Stefani.

Gorillaz: On Melancholy Hill

Virtual band the Gorillaz have pushed back the release of second single Superfast Jellyfish in favour of new second single On Melancholy Hill. Superfast Jellyfish will be released later in the year, instead.

On Melancholy Hill was originally intended to be the third single from the album and it baffles me why the positions of this and the much more sunnier Superfast Jellyfish were reversed around. I also feel that the underwater theme and the images of jellyfish floating around were originally for a Superfast Jellyfish but the song was changed at the last minute.

That said On Melancholy Hill is one of the highlights from the brilliant Plastic Beach. The video is characteristically stunning, combining 2-D and 3-D seamlessly. My personal favourite parts are where the Gorillaz finally discover Plastic Beach and the cameo from a 2-D Snoop Dogg (who appears in three videos this post).
You can watch the stunning video here.

Inna: Amazing

To inject a little Eurotrash into this post, the trashily sexy Romanian singer Inna is set to release her second UK/Irish single Amazing. As you’d expect, it’s anything but – but at least we get to see her flail around in a bikini and view some stunning Portuguese landscape in the song’s video. Plus the song is much better than her surprise #10 hit Hot which was released a while back.

Jessie James: Boys In Summer

To inject a little country flavour into this post, why not check out the new music video by American singer Jessie James. The sexy Georgian is expected to be country music’s next ‘it’ girl (watch your back, Taylor Swift) and while it’s not being released over here yet, the song is a fun track that almost acts as the country equivalent to Katy Perry’s California Gurls, capturing the sound of the Summer perfectly. The video’s a lot of fun too, showing plenty of eye candy for both men and women. The song is definitely more country than whatever Taylor Swift has put her name to. You can watch the video here.

Justin Bieber featuring Usher: Somebody To Love

Self obsessed lesbian lookalike Justin “I Don’t Know What A German Is” Bieber and his mentor Usher have teamed up for a remix to new single Somebody To Love, which is bound to give Bieber yet another hit.

This time it’s deserved though as the song is a catchy little pop stomper with a stylish video to match. Clearly puberty is getting to young Bieber as his voice could be better on this track but thanks to a little help from Usher and some great choreography, Bieber has actually impressed me for once. Now if only he didn’t come across as a narcissistic little toe-rag pretending to act wholesome, I might actually start to like him.

Kat Deluna featuring Akon: Push Push

Flopstar Kat Deluna is back with her new single Push Push which features chipmunk voiced singer/rapper Akon. The reason why I’m including Kat in my post is because Ms. Deluna is in desperate need of a hit. Deluna has worked with RedOne long before GaGa ever did and while her combination of electropop, R&B and Latin music is extremely infectious, Deluna has never scored a hit. Maybe this song and its stylish video will help…though I doubt it. Shame because this is just ideal for Summer.

Katy Perry featuring Snoop Dogg: California Gurls

The much anticipated video for Katy Perry’s current US #1 California Gurls has finally surfaced. Rather than go with a literal video, Perry is thinking outside the box with a Candyland board game theme meets The Wizard Of Oz.

It’s no secret that I have a hard soft spot for Katy Perry so I naturally enjoyed this fun, cute video. Katy’s ‘quirkiness’, you’re either going to love or hate, and many will complain about her blatant selling off sex in this video (appearing naked on the cloud, whipped cream gun bra etc.) but as a red-blooded male I have no complaints. My personal highlight of the video is where Katy waves at the walking gummy bears, only for it to show her the middle finger, resulting in a hilariously camp over-exaggerated expression of offence from Ms. Perry. I also think the final scene with Snoop buried in the sand alongside the California Gurls would make a great desktop wallpaper.

Kelis: 4th July (Fireworks)

Kelis is back with the second single from her Flesh Tone album – the US holiday anthem 4th Of July. The video was done on a low budget but like her previous hit Acapella, Kelis does not disappoint, giving us a visually delicious video which displays plenty of the song’s namesake fireworks and explores the four elements of air, earth, fire and water.

While I’m not loving the song or the video as much as Acapella, I’m hoping it will grow on me and become another hit for the deceptively intelligent artist. Who would have known Kelis had so much creative vision when she released Milkshake all them years ago.

MGMT: It’s Working and Congratulations

Before the release of their second LP Congratulations, New York hipster band MGMT had stated that they planned to release no singles from the album as they wanted to stand on its own as its own “collection of work”. Two months on and the band have released music videos for the third and fourth single from the album It’s Working and the title track. Neither songs are exactly mainstream or radio friendly but the videos are a lot of fun so hopefully they get some airplay on the music channels.

N*E*R*D* featuring Nelly Furtado: Hot ‘N’ Fun

Pharrell

Hip-rockers N*E*R*D* make a return to the World of music, with new single Hot ‘N’ Fun from forthcoming album Nothing. Featuring Nelly Furtado, the video was directed by Telephone director Jonas Åkerlund. You can watch the video here, seeing as its being pulled down everywhere else.

While I do enjoy the feel good groove of the song, the video is very reminiscent of Ke$ha’s Your Love Is My Drug video as well as Lady GaGa and Beyoncé driving around a desert in the Pussywagon for Telephone. The blond lady in the Indian headdress, the Californian desert and the animated sequences recall Ke$ha’s most recent single. Not to mention Nelly Furtado being copy and pasted into the music video with some amateurish special effects. This isn’t the first time Ms. Furtado has had to be copy and pasted into a video – having done so already in Timbaland’s Morning After Dark as well as clearly not filming alongside James Morrison in his Broken Strings video. Don’t even get me started on her CGI presence in Flo Rida’s Jump. Surely she isn’t that busy that she can’t show up for a video shoot alongside her co-stars every now and then.

OK Go: End Love

Quirky indie rockers OK Go are also back with another mad video for new single End Love. Depsite its low budget, OK Go have taken their usual DIY approach to making music videos with some genuinely funny shots of them running about, posing with great camera work that speeds up and slows down the video. I love when the goose joins them. I really want these guys to be successful.

Plan B: Prayin’


Following the success of the toe-tapping She Said, rapper/soul singer Plan B continues the gripping storyline from his music videos of imprisoned soul singer Strickland Banks in new single Prayin’.

With the song’s gigantic, expensive and rousing production, I think this should be another hit for the London singer who avoids rapping on this track. The videos which have been a huge draw to this era have me wondering what will happen to our down on his look protagonist next.

Snoop Dogg: Oh Sookie

True Blood mega fan Snoop Dogg is definitely not stopping Alan Ball’s rejection of a Snoop cameo on True Blood without a fight. The pervy California rapper has now released a promo single where he confesses his love – or rather lust – for telepathic waitress Sookie Stackhouse. Snoop Dogg rapping about my favourite TV show and proclaiming his lust for the show’s stars Anna Paquin and Rutina Wesley suggests we have much more in common than I thought. This video, with its Sookie Stackhouse back-up dancers, isn’t going to sway regular listeners but this is a must see for any True Blood fan.

I think Alan Ball needs to stop being so unfair and fulfill Snoop’s dream of appearing on the show. 😀 Maybe, Snoop could be killed in the True Blood world and come back as a mentally disabled vampire who helps out the Louisiana vampires á la Bubba in the Sookie Stackhouse books (read: Elvis). It would be authentic and if stars like Anna Paquin and Evan Rachel Wood can appear in the show, then why not Snoop.

Uffie featuring Pharrell: ADD (SUV)

Finally, Miami singer/rapper Uffie has teamed up with Pharrell for her first proper single ADD (SUV), the video which surfaced yesterday. The electropop song with an alternative edge is quickly becoming amazing to me but the video seems randomly put together with Uffie and Pharrell driving around the city at night with some animated sequences throwing in, probably as a tribute to her favourite star Ke$ha. 😀 Check it out below.

Phew! Told you there was lots of videos.

Singles Reviews Diary 15 – 14th May 2010

Another week of singles, another week of reviews. Sorry it’s a bit late – I’ve been quite lazy the last few days.

Singles Reviews Diary 15 – 14th May 2010:

01. Alexandra Burke featuring Pitbull: All Night Long
Despite a #1 album, a #1 single and another Top 10 hit, Alexandra’s success as the winner of
The X-Factor seems to be eclipsed somewhat by fellow contestants JLS and the fact that there’s a new ‘hot’ female artist every week. Thankfully, All Night Long is the most instant hit from Alexandra’s debut album. While previous singles Bad Boys and Broken Heels were pretty hit and miss, All Night Long is a song that makes you want to instantly jump on the dancefloor with it’s hypnotic seductive bassline, Alexandra’s smooth and commanding vocals and its catchy chant-along chorus. The song has a beautiful euphoric feel to it also. However, this has tampered with somewhat by the addition of a rap from Pitbull. This does nothing to help the song and the album version of this track would have done just as well. I guess Alex is just desperate to crack the American market. However, Pitbull’s verse is pretty ignorable so the song still remains a pleasurable listen, especially after a few shots at the bar. 4 STARS

02. Amy Macdonald: Spark
The talented Amy Macdonald might have scored a #4 album in the UK with her sophomore album
A Curious Thing but lead single Don’t Tell Me That It’s Over peaked at a disappointing #48. This single doesn’t look like it’s going places either, sadly. Despite a powerful chorus and some Snow Patrol-esque guitar work, Spark kind of paints Macdonald as a one trick pony. Maybe because I was a massive fan of her debut This Is The Life but Spark just sounds like so many other songs she’s done before, one of the many songs from the album that sort of sees one Amy Macdonald song blend into the other. Spark, however, is a decent single amongst an album of lacklustre material.3 STARS

03. Atari Teenage Riot: Activate
German bands are obviously all the rage this week with this being the first of the nation’s band to release a single this week. This is a pretty aggressive house punk track. Nothing particularly original but should be enjoyed by some.
3 STARS

04. Band Of Skulls: Death By Diamonds And Pearls
Britain’s answer to The White Stripes is back with another single from their album
Baby Darling Doll Face Honey. I know I shouldn’t make comparisons as often as I do but this sounds like some decent filler on a White Stripes album. In other words, it’s no Seven Nations Army, more a plodding garage rock track that doesn’t go anywhere. Band Of Skulls, of course, are capable of producing much greater tracks – Friends and I Know What I Am being perfect examples so I wouldn’t worry about releasing the odd lacklustre single now and then. 2.5 STARS

05. B.o.B. featuring Bruno Mars: Nothin’ On You
My current favourite rapper B.o.B. releases his debut single over here. With a soothing, Summery mid-tempo production and some romantic croon from the Jason Mraz-like Bruno Mars, this is the perfect single to release for this season. In fairness, B.o.B.’s rapping isn’t anything extraordinary (despite some witty verses about a girl who pays her taxes and comparing their romance t a Nintendo 64.) and like many rappers these days, depends on a guest vocalist for his singles. However,B.o.B. is showing that hip-hop has a future beyond rapping about shawties gettin’ down in a club and he firmly picks up the reins from the increasing quiet yet innovative Andre 3000.
4 STARS

STINKER OF THE WEEK!
06. Boyzone: Love Is A Hurricane
“One step forward and two steps back”
These are two lines of the chorus that sum up this song perfectly.
Gave It All Awaymight have been a fairly bland ballad but at least it sort of fit in with the Boyz adult contemporary sound in a Take That kind of way, Love Is A Hurricane is dated and as naff as the video which would put JLS to shame with the amount of skin exposed and cheesy choreography (except at least JLS can dance). It’s more up-tempo and catchy than what we’re used to hearing from and many disagree with me, believing its better than Gave It All Away. Whatever! Once again, Boyzone fail to live up to the standards of their ‘rivals’ Take That in making good quality music since their return. 2 STARS

07. Chemical Brothers: Swoon
Taken from new album
Further, the intro to this experimental electronica track faintly reminds me of the Skins theme tune, composed by Fat Segal. Swoon is a strong comeback single from the British duo that is sure to keep their many fans happy. It’s nothing new from them exactly but why fix it if it ain’t broke. 4 STARS

08. Chiddy Bang: Truth
After delighting with their sampling of MGMT’s
Kids on previous single The Opposite Of Adults, Chiddy Bang are at again with their second single Truth, this time sampling Passion Pit’s Better Things. The song works thankfully due to Chiddy’s rapping and the slightly euphoric dance sound taken from the Passion Pit song. However, I don’t think their sampling works as smoothly as it did last time and does their over-reliance of sampling affect a long term career in music for the duo? I think so because people are likely to get bored of it quick. 3 STARS

09. Duke Special: Wanda, Darling Of The Jockey Club
The very talented and innovative Duke Special is back with another 1940s inspired gem. This piano laced ditty is actually a pretty nice toe-tapper, made all the more interesting by Duke Special’s Northern Irish tinged accent.
4 STARS

10. Ellie Goulding: Guns And Horses
Now that
Starry Eyed is being played on an irritatingly sickening level on radio, it’s great to see that Ellie has a new single out. Guns And Horses is probably my favourite track on Ellie’s debut album Lights, mainly because it injects a very agreeable folk sound into her music and ditches the Auto-Tune which made the formerly good Starry Eyed so unbearable now. Her distinctive vocals won’t be for everyone but there’s a lot of longing and emotion in them so it should keep fans happy. I hope Ellie will do something a little more folky for her next album because I really really like this track and could listen to a whole album of similar sounding tunes to this one. 4 STARS

11. Glee Cast: Jessie’s Girl
One of my most favourites tracks from the 1980s – Rick Springfield’s Grammy Award winning
Jessie’s Girl is absolutely butchered by Cory Monteith’s Finn this week. The instrumentation is pretty much identical to the original so that’s a good thing but Finn’s breathless vocal delivery of the song just doesn’t work at all. I know the song fits with the storyline but how about having – maybe Puck or even Artie – to sing the song instead because that was underwhelming. I’ll tell you why Rachel (my future wife Lea Michelle) doesn’t want you Finn, it’s because you’re standing in front of her singing but looking like you want to take a dump on the floor with your constipated facial expressions. Not cool, man. 2.5 STARS

12. Glee Cast: The Lady Is A Tramp
Now, this is more like it. The Puck character (Mark Salling) gets a chance to sound like a modern day Humphrey Bogart in the jazzy 1937 show-tune cover, only to be joined by the soulful Mercedes (Amber Riley) towards the end. What we get is something the right side of retro, love it.
4 STARS

13. Glee Cast: The Boy Is Mine
I had forgotten how good R&B heavyweights Brandy and Monica’s
The Boy Is Mine was and it’s brought to justice by Mercedes and Santana (Naya Rivera), who I think we get to hear sing for the first time solo. She has an excellent R&B voice, nothing that could blow Riley’s vocals out of the water but still pretty strong. The two girls’ vocals blend well together. 4 STARS

14. Glee Cast: Rose’s Turn
Could Kurt (Chris Colfer) be the best male singer in
Glee? I think so. In this theatrical number taken from the play Gypsy: A Musical Fable, Kurt vents out all the anger and emotion at his father in what is a very good performance full of building tension. It could be the best song in Glee this week. 4 STARS

15. Glee Cast: One
The closing number this week for
Glee is a cover of One by U2 (or U2 and Mary J. Blige). Unlike with Jessie’s Girl, Finn gives it all with his constipated vocals and if you don’t watch the video, he actually sounds very strong and powerful. Rachel is also very good as usual and Mercedes jumps into throw some of her crazy ab-libs. Joined by the rest of the harmonious cast at the end, the cover manages to convey a lot of emotion but doesn’t have that goosebump feeling you get when listening to Don’t Stop Believin’or Like A Prayer. Still a very strong effort. 4 STARS

16. Gorillaz featuring Gruff Rhys and De La Soul: Superfast Jellyfish
I’m so annoyed no video has shown up for this single yet. This is a fantastic follow-up to previous Track Of The Week
Stylo sees the Gorillaz joined by Super Furry Animals Gruff Rhys and critically acclaimed rapper De La Soul as they satirise commercialism in the developed World. It’s all a bit daft really but while many found Stylo lacked any real chorus or hooks, Superfast Jellyfish is probably the most infectious song on Plastic Beach. All three collaborators shine here – Gruff Rhys with his goofy deep cartoonish vocals, De La Soul with his confident raps and the Gorillaz themselves with their relaxed, nonchalant chorus all amongst a backdrop of aquatic bouncy synths and sampling of an American commercial from the 1980s. Now bring on the video already! 4 STARS

TRACK OF THE WEEK!
17. Katie Melua: The Flood
Woah! Norah Jones and Katie Melua (who I often mix-up both in looks and music style) are really stepping out of the box with their new albums. From her new album
The House, Melua ditches the irritating melodies of Nine Million Bicycles for a much more refined sound. It starts off all dramatic with strings which sound rather beautiful, like it would work well for a soundtrack or something. Then halfway through, there’s a major change in tone, synths and electro beats start moving in and Melua suddenly sounds like Kylie, there’s even a slight psychedelic sound to it. I think Melua deserves Track Of The Week for giving us something truly innovative and different. I hope radio picks this up. 4.5 STARS

18. Laura Marling: Rambling Man
The shockingly talented and wise 20 year old Laura Marling returns with a new single, which like its predecessor
Devil’s Spoke, shows wisdom and lyrical prowess well beyond her years. It sort of switches between parts that contain quiet and subtle vocals and parts that contain heavy acoustic guitars and Marling’s longing, rich vocals. Almost like folk-grunge (new genre).
It doesn’t quite have that wild, sinister feel that made
Devil’s Spoke one of the best songs of the year but it isa song that should make up a pretty cohesive album. 4 STARS
Note to self: By Laura Marling’s album!

19. LCD Soundsystem: Drunk Girls
Well, isn’t this song charming. Lyrically clever and comical, this song is so easy to sing along with it. With a melody that you can bob your head along to and a shout-along chorus of
Drunk Girls, I can imagine many people will be roaring out of tune along to this song at the next family occasion or house party. 3.5 STARS

20. Lemar: Coming Home
After the Top 10 success of
The Way Love Goes, the first single from his first Greatest Hits compilation, Lemar is obviously trying to strike it lucky again with the release of the compilation’s second single. There is nothing original about this at all – it’s all very synthy and shiny with Lemar being all troubled about those pesky women again – but it lacks the strong hook that The Way Love Goes had. It’s still quite likeable though, Lemar’s deep soulful vocals make it so. I’d imagine this could be decent enough if you let it grow on you. 3 STARS

21. Lethal Bizzle featuring Luciana: Go Go Go
After a very loud and noisy intro, Bizzle raps about wanting Beyoncé and Alesha Dixon in his gruff rapping tone. Underrated dance diva Luciana provides the catchy chorus. Yes, I know we’re getting yet another party rapper who relies on a woman to sing the chorus but this is actually really really good. Mainly thanks to the instrumental which should go down a hit in clubs anyways. Could this be Summer 2010’s answer to Dizzee Rascal’s
Bonkers. 4 STARS

22. Michael Bublé: Crazy Love
Housewives will be fanning themselves while swooning, listening to the title track from Michael Buble’s most recent million selling album
Crazy Love. Covering Van Morrisson’s classic was a wise choice for Bublé as most of his target audience will love this track. He sings it well, as per usual, his voice is commanding and smooth but nothing we haven’t heard from Bublé before. If you’re a fan, you’ll love this but this track won’t gain him any new fans like Haven’t Met You Yet did. 3 STARS

23. Owl City: Umbrella Beach
After satisfying and then irritating me with his breakthrough single
Fireflies, Owl City is back with another melancholy tune over electro beats. While it lacks the catchy nature of its predecessor, give Umbrella Beach a chance, because it’s actually quite a little gem. Granted Adam Young a.k.a. Owl City’s emo whispers are kind of annoying but with lyrics about underwater ferris wheels against a backdrop of bouncy, epic and surging synths and island percussion beats, Owl City is successful in transporting the listener into another World. It’s quite a Summer tune really but expect it to annoy you after a few weeks. 3.5 STARS

24. The Pretty Reckless: Make Me Wanna Die
Gossip Girl’s Taylor Momsen wants to be a credible artist, guys. And how to do that – develop a mildy punkish attitude, mimic P!nk and get yourself a band. Make Me Wanna Die is actually rather good though, Momsen has the same husky vocals as P!nk and The Pretty Reckless are actually pretty good instrumentalists, providing some grungy instrumentation for this angsty number. They actually sound like a watered down version of Hole. I’m a sucker for angsty female rockers though so its only natural that I’d love this – I do think, based on this lead single though, that many other people will have place in their heart for The Pretty Reckless. 4 STARS

25. Rammstein: Haifisch
The second German band to impact the UK release schedules this week, they obviously must have a following over here as this song is sang completely in German. Lead singer Till Lindemann’s deep throaty vocals are actually rather hilarious but the industrial metal band are strangely engaging – I can’t tell why. Maybe I’m just an industrial metal fan and I don’t know it yet. Anyways this gets…
4 STARS

26. We Are The Fallen: Bury Me Alive
Meet Evanescence 2.0 – former Evanescence founder Ben Moody, former members Rocky Gray and John Le Compt, random bassist Marty O’Brien and former Irish
American Idol finalist Carly Smithson – together they make up We Are The Fallen. Their debut single Bury Me Alive is so 2003 – it hurts. Well, I thought 2003 was the Golden Year for 21st Century music and this is no exception. Featuring crunching guitars, swooping strings, icy piano melodies and Carly Smithson sounding eerily like Amy Lee in the first two lines of the song before taking on a more Kelly Clarkson vibe to her voice as the song reaches its devastating climax, this is no Bring Me To Life or Going Under. However, no-one has managed to do mainstream goth-pop so well since Evanescene’s first album Fallen so I welcome We Are The Fallen despite their unoriginality and hope there’s a place for both them and Evanescence in the industry. With Evanescence (basically Amy Lee and her guitar playing slaves) promising to go in a more alternative electronic direction with their next album, We Are The Fallen can be a good bout of nostalgia to how great Evanescence were in 2003. 3.5 STARS

So that’s it. Comments and feedback as usual, please? I promise the next Singles Reviews Diary will arrive sooner – but be warned it will be a Eurovisiony one – but also a Musey one! 🙂

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