VIDEO MIX: McFly, M.I.A., Scissor Sisters, Jay Sean, Kris Allen and Alexandra Burke

I’m sure it’s probably come to your attention that I’ve been neglecting much of my blogging duties this month. This is partly due to my laptop charger breaking and my laptop being out of action for the first two weeks but it’s also due to me partly being completely disillusioned with the current music scene recently and my new addiction to Buffy The Vampire Slayer. Yes, sadly I’m a sucker for the current vampire craze (no pun intended)! Anyway, a crop of music videos have premiered recently. Some only premiered today, others about a week ago. I’ve wasted enough time already so let’s get started.

Mc Fly: Party Girl

Clearly, it’s not just me that’s being immersed in the vampire craze, McFly are wrapped up in the world of fangs and frighteners also. And as depicted in the image above are here to sell the sex too.

The music video is a fast, frantic piece with some really strong visuals but I’m on the fence about McFly’s contrived new direction. Not only does their new single successfully rip off Lady GaGa’s monster electro hit Bad Romance but the guys have also taken a leaf out of Usher and Trey Songz handbook by placing in some gratuitous sex scenes because – y’know – the supernatural and sex are totally in right now, innit?!

What happened to the superhero theme that was supposed to go along with this album? Instead we get a futuristic fantasy horror? Were the McFly guys vampires or werewolves? Plus its a little too similar to the video for Lies from the Radio:ACTIVE era.

Still this is a sharp and sexy comeback single with a sizable hook so I can’t see this NOT doing well. It just comes across a little contrived.

M.I.A.: XXXO

Saviour for the Third World, M.I.A. has FINALLY DELIVERED the music video for XXXO, the official lead single from her third album /\/\ /\ Y /\. The single was released on 12th July but only last week did the music video appear.

So lemme guess, it’s a hugely ambitious music video to rival the ginger genocide and graphic sex depicted in the clip for noisy promo single Born Free? You guessed wrong, I’m afraid. Directed by Hype Williams, the legend who brought us iconic clips for Mariah Carey’s I Want To Know What Love Is and Christina Aguilera’s Not Myself Tonight, the video sees a stunning M.I.A. poses in front of a Bollywood animated green screen with some Internet and prehistoric MySpace imagery thrown in to highlight the album’s futuristic, computer driven campaign.

It’s a decent enough music video even though M.I.A. looks a little dead behind the eyes (hey, it works for Britney!) and the concept is well executed with M.I.A. acting like a soulless popstar who is forced to release a commercial single by her record label. So true to life. But the long wait for the video has led to a huge disappointment. I wonder what caused the delay to go on so long. I wonder if it was M.I.A. herself who delayed the video so it would hinder the chart position of the song and fight the record label’s system?

Scissor Sisters: Any Which Way

After shocking us all with their serious single and music video for Fire With Fire, Scissor Sisters are back to their campy best in the video for Night Work‘s second single Any Which Way. The song which – to be blunt – is about getting fucked in as many positions and situtaions as possible is reminiscent of the Bee Gees and much like the Bee Gees, I can’t tell whether I love or hate this song. I certainly enjoyed their Glastonbury performance of the song which featured Kylie Minogue. It’s a pity they didn’t take the opportunity to release a remix featuring Ms. Minogue as the single. It would be snapped up by the gays like wildfire! I also much prefer Ana Matronic’s outrageous breakdown on this live. It sounds horribly restrained here.

The video is fun. Nothing extraordinary happens in it but we get to see the band fool around with numerous colourful effects and slow motion shots. Jake Shears has plenty of natural charisma to carry the video anyway.

Jay Sean featuring Nicki Minaj: 2012 (It Ain’t The End)

Jay Sean also premiered the music video for his corporate piece of garbage also known as the dance anthem 2012 (It Ain’t The End). I have no respect for Sean because not only is this formulaic, soulless shit but he also had to rope in Nicki Minaj and a video cameo from Birdman to further highlight his unoriginality. I quite like Nicki Minaj’s over-the-top, fast paced rapping until she threw out a “FREE WEEZY” shoutout as if the horse voiced rapper is some kind of martyr.

The video is your typical club video except it’s all original like – because you see people partying from London to Tokyo which has like never happened before in any music video ever! I will give it one point though because Jay looks like he’s having fun as opposed to his usual robotic self. Taio Cruz, take note! Oh and check out the video at 3.04 when Sean can’t contain himself anymore and jizzes all over the poor girl he’s trying to chat up.

Kris Allen featuring Pat Monahan: The Truth

Who? The winner of American Idol 8? Wasn’t that Adam Lambert? Yes in hindsight, it looks like Glambert was the real winner behind American Idol but Kris Allen hasn’t done as badly as people may have expected – he mightn’t have had international success than his former competitor and his eponymous album mightn’t have sold much but his previous single, his own rendition of a Script B-side Live Like We’re Dying did peak at…uh…#18 in the US. Okay, I’m going to stop defending the Arkansas native’s flagging career but keep in mind that he has only released two proper singles while Lambert has released four. (Lambert also got to do the winners song after AI which I think totally undermined Allen).

Anyway, this new single The Truth featuring Pat Monahan of Train fame is a decent second single, a rousing and powerful pop rock ballad from the two able voiced singers. Of course, I said the B word and we all know how ballads do in the charts these days. Case in point: You Lost Me. That said, the track is a radio friendly number and could do well thanks to Allen loyalists and Train’s resurgence in popularity. Neither the song or video are original but there both redeemed by a rousing angsty production and dramatic visuals respectively. I just can’t tell the difference between Pat and Kris’ voice. :O

Alexandra Burke featuring Laza Morgan: Start Without You

After delaying this single so she (or her managment team) could stick another bloody rap feature on one of her singles, Alexandra Burke premiered  the music video for her new RedOne produced single Start Without You.

WOW! Alexandra looks ABSOLUTELY FUCKING DELICIOUS IN THIS VIDEO! I’m in awe and I think I have someone new to obsess over. While the video is a rushed Recession Special, I couldn’t care less as long as I get to drool over Alexandra dancing around in her see through one-piece. But there’s something for everyone in this video as Alex also makes sure she sexually objectifies a bunch of muscular toned men but manages to pull it off because of her charming, sassy personality. I’m telling you she’s clearly taking a leaf out of her idol Beyoncé’s book with her questionable attitude towards men.

Now, this is where my praise ends. I appreciate the new dancehall direction Burke has gone in but this sounds like it belongs on the soundtrack to The Jungle Book. To add to the generic quality of Alex’s music, she has another bloody rap feature on the track in the form of Laza Morgan, an American rapper doing a Jafakian accent. This is the second single in a row in which the 23-year-old has reworked a song to feature a pointless rap and her third of her five single catalogue to feature a rap ‘artist’. Honestly, it’s all incredibly contrived and desperate looking. Alexandra should be allowed to stand on her own two feet because these rap features don’t improve the quality of the song but actually hinder it. And I don’t think the urban crowd will enjoy a few sparse lines from an unknown rapper either.

The last minute edition of Morgan to the song have reports suggesting that Alex had to re-film her music video to include him and so this clip we’re seeing is rushed out. Others have speculated that the original tropical video, which you can see a still of below, was scrapped because the single would now be released in September instead of August and others have stated that the original music video is being used to promote the video as Alexandra’s first US single. I think the last option is most likely considering most rap features are copied and pasted into the video and record labels rarely care about what season they release a song in. What do you think?

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Jay Sean and Nicki Minaj are gonna party like it’s the end of the World. Not too long with music like this!

Jay Sean recently premiered the lead single 2012 from his upcoming album, due out this November. Sean is still striking while the iron is hot and quickly churning out another album before irrelevancy kicks in!

Now I know it’s great to see Jay Sean and his other British breakthrough Taio Cruz do so well in the US but I find it hard to bear any goodwill towards the guys when they’ve simply sold their souls for tons of cash and attention in recording formulaic pop songs with no imagination, clichéd lyrics and egotistical shout-outs to their label or producer. This is the formula Jay has been following for this single and previous two US hits Down and Do You Remember – lyrics about “going to the club and forgetting your troubles”, a woaahhh-oooh hook, a big inspirational chorus and a feature by some rent-a-rapper that whores themselves all over songs with irrelevant raps. First it was Lil’ Wayne, then it was Sean Paul and Lil’ Jon and now its latest ‘it’ girl Nicki Minaj.

The reason I’m so mad with Jay Sean and Taio Cruz and what I call their ‘conveyor belt pop’ is that these bland shallow songs will climb right up the charts while far more creative songs will be permitted to flop. Now I’m no music snob and love  a good club anthem as much as the next person but when Sean and Cruz release the same track over and over again with no signs of innovation, you can really tell that they don’t care as long as they bring in that moolah! Complete fad artists! I hope this flops…spectacularly…and gives Jay Sean the wake-up call he so badly needs.

Oh, here’s a behind the scenes look at the video which looks like a formulaic pop/R&B video but Jay promises it will have some “cool effects”. I can barely contain myself with the excitement…it will be released 8th August.

Single Reviews Diary 22 – 2nd July 2010

Again, I’ll have to apologise for my lateness with this one – the twenty-second edition of my Single Reviews Diaries. So this week is actually the week of my 19th birthday and the singles are actually rather interesting. It wasn’t hard to pick my Track Of The Week and Stinker Of The Week because not only are they the best and worst songs of the week but probably the best and worst songs of the WHOLE ENTIRE YEAR. 3 is a magic number and magic begins with the letter M so it’s also intriguing to see that two artists, both beginning with M have released three promo singles each for our listening pleasure. So yep, it’s a peculiar week. Read my reviews below and give me comments and opinions on what you think of this week’s selection.

Single Reviews Diary 22 – 2nd July 2010:

01. 3OH!3 featuring Ke$ha: My First Kiss

3OH!3 - My First Kiss
Eurrgh! These 3OH!3 losers had me guiltily singing along to
Don’t Trust Me andStarstrukk featuring Katy Perry but at least I could admit to myself despite the guys’ obvious stupidity, there were some pop smarts underneath the tripe. Not with this – the lead single from their sophomore album Streets Of Gold. Following off the back of their last Ke$ha collaboration Blah Blah Blah, My First Kiss is just completely dumb. Starting off with a shouty “My first kiss went a little like this” followed by kissing effects, the song continues in the same annoying manner with the boys shouting tunelessly over a cascade of guitars and synths. Ke$ha’s role is pointless, only providing a brief female slant to the track and to attract some additional star power. Sure, this will make all the sweaty pre-pubescents at the teenage disco go crazy but for anyone who has moved well beyond their first kiss, this is pop at its dumbest and most senseless. And clearly 3OH!3 are becoming one trick ponies – using silly sound effects in order to sell their songs seems to be their thing. Plus the blond one (not Ke$ha) comes across totally desperate for attention in the accompanying video. I’ll give it half a point extra for the oooh-oooh hook though. 1.5 STARS

02. Ash: Instinct

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


Single Letter T (we’re finally getting to the end of them) is a decent pop rock tune with a huge electro influence. It’s perfectly enjoyable radio fodder (not that it will get the airplay) but doesn’t boast any sizeable hook or anything really special. A pleasant listen with a nice long guitar solo towards the end.
3 STARS

03. Bombay Bicycle Club: Ivy And Gold

Bombay Bicycle Club - Ivy & Gold / Flaws
Quirky rockers Bombay Bicycle Club are yet another band with a single that recalls sunshine and school’s out. This has a very folky sound which is pleasant to listen to but I’m constantly reminded of Mumford & Sons. Decent but BBC probably need to broaden their sound out a bit more.
3 STARS

04. Cathy Davey: Army Of Tears


The extremely talented singer songwriter that is Cathy Davey has returned with the second single from her brilliant new album
The Nameless. Amidst marching band beats, ominous guitar and banjo and dramatic strings, Cathy manages once again to take the listener away from their own World and into her own otherworldly one with her soft, endearing vocals. Another excellent single, surely international success beckons. 4 STARS

05. Ciara featuring Ludacris: Ride

Ciara - Ride
Following an underwhelming foray into pop with her last album
Fantasy Ride, the Queen of Crunk Ciara returns to her raunchy roots from her first album with forthcoming fourth album, the aptly titled Basic Instinct. This song seems to be doing relatively well in her native US. Despite the sexual but “nothing new in this day and age” music video being banned in many territories, the song has cracked the US Top 50 and hit the Top 5 on the US R&B/Hip-Hop charts so clearly many urban fans have welcomed back the old Ciara. I enjoy urban music myself but this is a pretty poor comeback single. Ludacris shows up for his fifth CiCi collaboration but really this guy will rap on anything these days! He spends most of the time talking in the robot from Boom Boom Pow’s voice while Ciara croons in the only way she knows how…soft and breathy which sounds sexy alright but shows how limited her vocal range. With a title called Ride, this is clearly a bedroom jam but it’s a very run-of-the-mill bedroom jam rather than a hot steamy one. Maybe on Ciara and Ludacris’ sixth collaboration, they might surprise us? 2 STARS

06. Eliza Doolittle featuring Lloyd Wade: Pack Up

Eliza Doolittle - Pack Up
I think Eliza Doolittle is an awfully contrived singer – one of those ‘kooky’ singer-songwriter types who writes chirpy indie tracks, their bubbly vocals just perfect for the next Apple ad. That’s exactly what Eliza is on this single – chirpy. She even “tweets” halfway through the song. Not actually tweet as in write short messages on Twitter but actually imitates a bird. However, I can’t deny the catchy Summery draw of this track and the fact that Ms. Doolittle thinks outside the box a little by sampling an old World War I tune originally sang by George Asaf. Her friend Lloyd Wade gives a positive and raspy vocals work as a good catalyst to Doolittle’s “love it or hate it” singing voice. I think for this, Doolittle deserves a chance at the Top 20.
3.5 STARS

TRACK OF THE WEEK!
07. Florence + The Machine: Cosmic Love

Florence + The Machine - Cosmic Love
This track continues to give me goosebumps everytime I listen to it, even a year on from first hearing it. One could compare it to
Dog Days Are Over as it has that same Florence structure – starting off all subdued with quiet vocals and tinkling harps before exploding into a flood of heavenly vocals, tribal drumbeats and bombastic production. However, while Dog Days is a great track – it feels more like the type of song you’d dance along to at a festival. It has a real joyous celebratory feel but it never feels extraordinary – at least I don’t think so anyway. Cosmic Love has an ethereal feel to it – like it comes from another planet! Florence sounds like some otherworldly spectre as she bellows out this explosive, romantic tune with a Celtic lilt. The production matches the epic vocals and lyrics perfectly and the oooh-ooohs are beautifully haunting. When Florence hits those two high notes towards the end of song – you realise this song is nothing short of magic. This is without a doubt one of the most underappreciated mainstream releases of our time and it baffles me that it was picked as the seventh single from the album. 5 STARS

08. Foals: Miami

Foals - Miami
Following on from the brilliant
This Orient, the alternative rockers return with a song so sweaty and muscular, it matches the accompanying video to perfection. To be honest, I find this track a little lacking. Despite some funky guitar work, it’s all a bit too plodding and doesn’t pack much bite or promise. The vocals are background noise and the song should have ended 2 minutes earlier than it does. I would definitely check out there other stuff though because, unlike this, it sounds like anything but album filler. 2 STARS

09. Ham Sandwich: The Naturist


The talented band with an unfortunate name return with this soft sing-along track from their upcoming second album Natural Causes. It’s a lot softer than what we’re used to from the group with Niamh Farrel, the band’s frontwoman, packing in lots of angst and vulnerability into this acoustic track which lyrically could be compared to Robyn’s
Dancing On My Own. Irish radio needs to start playing this. 4 STARS

10. Kelis: 4th Of July (Fireworks)


I do believe I said over on the review for this song that I didn’t like this track much but I’m glad I gave it a few more listens before I reviewed it. Because
4th Of July is clearly a grower. It doesn’t have any real discernible hook but Kelis sounds like a lost ‘90s dance diva on this well produced, squelchy house track, yet another lyrical ode to her son Knight. Tying in with the American holiday, this has a misleading euphoric feel – and while it doesn’t quite reach the standards of Acapella – Kelis shows that you can jump on the dance bandwagon without sounding like everyone else out there. 4 STARS

11. Kevin Rudolf featuring Jay Sean, Lil’ Wayne and Birdman: I Made It (Cash Money Heroes)

Kevin Rudolf / Lil Wayne / Jay Sean / Birdman - I Made It (Cash Money Heroes) (Edited Version)
One hit wonder Kevin Rudolf returns with another catchy urban pop rock tune which features old cohort, the incarcerated Lil’ Wayne, pointless music video cameo staple Birdman and US flavour of the month Jay Sean. The track has an upbeat anthemic feel, no doubt helped by Sean’s smooth vocals, and is sort of likeable but is unoriginal with some clichéd and tired lyrics about artists getting to the top. Sorry guys, B.o.B. did it better.
3 STARS

12. Janelle Monáe featuring Big Boi: Tightrope

Janelle Monáe - Tightrope [feat. Big Boi]
Janelle is definitely going to be the next big global star. And well deserved…rather than posing as an oversexed avant garde artist, Monáe is a good old fashioned funky soul babe, dressed in an androgynous suit who sings at a rapid pace amongst some toe-tapping production of guitars, drumbeats and rhythmic trumpets. As much as I enjoy Big Boi for his innovative approach to hip-hop music, his appearance on this track is not worthwhile at all. That being said, Monáe is very special indeed and all eyes are on her to see what she’ll bring out next.
4 STARS

STINKER OF THE WEEK!
13. JLS: The Club Is Alive

JLS - The Club Is Alive
Complete garbage. I don’t care how many hooks this track has, I don’t care how hard JLS have worked, I don’t care how club friendly this track is and I don’t care that many teenage girls will be wetting their panties over how many times JLS pout moodily into the camera or flash their abs. We have enough bland, generic and Auto-Tuned electropop in the charts at the minute – JLS use this template but add some cringeworthy and clichéd lyrics on top of that and their voices remain indistinguishable from each other due to the Auto-Tune “effect”.
”Went to the club, not looking for love”. Who goes to a club looking for love? People go the club for cheap, drunken sex.You can be the DJ, I can be the dancefloor, you can get up on me!” Excuse me while I vomit. ”Shawties all around but I’m focused on you!” Puh-lease you are not gangsta enough to throw the word shawty around – even if Justin Bieber uses it. And good luck, Aston finding a shawty shawter than you. So yup, The Club Is Alive is just a soulless cash-in record to appeal to the teenyboppers who are, no doubt, fuelling this whole generic, soulless electro craze. I know that manufactured acts have been around before but JLS make me so mad because they’re clearly squandering the talent they have for the floods of cash they’ll get in return. There’s nothing wrong with a fun dance track but The Club Is Alive just screams “GIVE ME MONEY!” and nothing more…which is really sad. 1 STAR

14. Lee Ryan: I Am Who I Am

Lee Ryan - I Am Who I Am
After the terribly generic
Secret Love which is being released officially this week, as a double A-side Blue band member Lee Ryan is releasing a ballad. Now I think of Mr. Ryan as being a less desperate male equivalent to Katie Price/Jordan but I have to say I’m surprisingly bolwed over by this heartfelt ballad. Maybe Ryan has a bit of musicality underneath his reality TV friendly body. Beautifully sang, some great lyrics and rousing yet lonely production, this is cream of the crop as far as male pop ballads go. Lee has managed to top Take That at this feat but it’s certainly opened my eyes to the fact that the guy might have talent after all. 4 STARS

15. M.I.A.: Steppin’ Up


And so the onslaught of promo singles begins. M.I.A.’S new album
/\/\/\Y/\ is out next week and alongside buzz single Born Free and the brilliant lead single XXXO we get three taster tracks from the new record. Steppin’ Up reintroduces us to the noisy and busy tracks by M.I.A.. Opening up with incredibly loud and crunchy drill noises amongst a tuneless vocal flow of “Rub-a-dub-dub”, the song isn’t for casual M.I.A. fans. However, once you get passed all the noise, you’ve actually got a gem of a chorus/hook? Basically it’s filled with nonchalant expletives but it has a futuristic paranoia about it that’s just going to fit in perfectly with the album theme and sounds like a good alternative dance track if it gets airplay in the clubs. 3.5 STARS

16. M.I.A.: Teqkilla (sorry no video…yet! Will update!)


I’ve actually just discovered that there’s a remix of this song featuring Nicki Minaj. Jeez, is there anything Nicki isn’t appearing on these days, let alone alternative artists like M.I.A.. Teqkilla is similarly as noisy as
Steppin’ Up but is definitely made for the clubs and raves. Full of loud and noisy techno effects and a trippy production, the song doesn’t have much to say apart from being incredibly infectious. A definite return to the sound of first album Arular. 4 STARS

17. M.I.A.: Tell Me Why (sorry no video…yet! Will update!)


The final promo single from
/\/\/\Y/\, this is definitely more mainstream. Starting off with a rushed intro, this Diplo produced jam quickly descends into a much calmer sound. M.I.A. sings/raps in a slower relaxed voice against a simple yet rhythmic military beat. This could be the second official single from the album. 3.5 STARS

18. MGMT: Siberian Breaks

File:Siberian breaks single.JPG
MGMT might have promised to release zero singles from their second album
Congratulations but clearly that doesn’t apply to promotional singles. Following on from first promo single Flash Delirium, Siberian Breaks is a 12 minute lesson in overindulgent, schizophrenia in music. Frontman Andrew VanWyngarden says that Siberian Breaks is like 8 songs strung together, all lyrically speaking about surfing across the Arctic Circle (as evidenced in the Congratulations cover) and he certainly isn’t wrong. While the track is actually rather great – a psychedelic homage to Beatles-esque pop, albeit with many changes in tempo and instrumentation, it would have been better if the group just split the whole track into several different songs rather than trying to be all “hipster”. Quantity is sometimes as important as quality in music. 3 STARS

19. MGMT: It’s Working

Another psychedelic track from the boys, the opening track from Congratulations is probably one of the more poppier numbers on the album, but nothing in comparison toElectric Feel or Kids. Again, I’m strongly reminded of The Beatles as this has a similar instrumentation of harpsichords, guitars and heavy drumbeats. 3.5 STARS

20. MGMT: Congratulations


This is one of the greater tracks from the album. The title track and album closer is a really laidback, sort of Summery track with watery piano chords, quiet and poetic vocals from Andrew and lightly strum guitars. Definitely the most radio-friendly track on the album.
4 STARS

21. Miike Snow: The Rabbit


The fantastic Swedes that are Miike Snow are back with this glam stomper. This is definitely one of the more commercial tracks on the album and sounds like a less manufactured Adam Lambert track with more intriguing lyrics and some better electro production. I hope radio picks this one up.
3.5 STARS

22. The Muppets: Popcorn

The Muppets - Popcorn
Yup, Kermit The Frog, Miss Piggy and co. are back with their own cover of the easily recognisable instrumental
Popcorn composed by Gershon Kingsley back in 1969. Really this barely differs from the instrumental; it’s all about watching the music video for all its novelty fun. 2 STARS

23. Nathan featuring Flo Rida: Caught Me Slippin’


British R&B singer Nathan returns with a new song which has a sort of old fashioned Summer feel to it, a bit like R. Kelly’s
Ignition but not anywhere near as good. This song just doesn’t really go anywhere. Bar the certain old skool urban charm underlying, this is nearly as generic as they come. Nathan doesn’t show much of his vocal chops off, the lyrics are tired and clichéd, there are no strong hooks and the song opens with an annoying J.R. Rotem siren. It’s surprisingly Flo Rida who steals the show here with his rapping flowing perfectly with the song. But when Flo Rida’s the standout in your song with a disposable rap, I think that means it’s time to go back to the drawing board. 2 STARS

24. Peggy Sue: Yo Mama

Peggy Sue - Yo Mama
The folky Amy Winehouse returns with another single featuring folky instrumentals and Amy Winehouse-esque vocals. It’s a rousing track with some lovely use of accordions but doesn’t sound especially different or likely to blow you away. As I’ve said for previous single
Watchmen though, Peggy Sue shows lots of promise as an artist. 3 STARS

25. Primary 1: Princess

Princess
This has a part naff ‘80s sound and also little parts that have an experimental edge. I shouldn’t like this track but I do. There’s something very listenable about it. The video is also excellent and I recommend you watch.
3 STARS

26. Wiley featuring Jodie Connor and J2K: Electric Boogaloo (Find A Way)

Electric Boogaloo
Sorry Wiley, but Dizzee Rascal did it first. Yet another grimy track desperate for crossover success, Jodie Connor seems to be building a reputation for singing poppy hooks over rap tracks. I will give it a decent-ish score for having a Summery club feel, a decent hook and for being mercifully short though.
2.5 STARS

Singles Reviews Diary 14 – 7th May 2010

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

Singles Reviews Diary 14 – 7th May 2010:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Singles Reviews Diary 3 – 19th February 2010

Hey guess what?! I’ve come up with my thoughts on singles being released tomorrow a day early. Mightn’t get time to post it tomorrow (have a busy day of drinking for Rag Week tomorrow) so I’ll post it now

Singles Reviews Diary 3 – 19th February 2010:

01. Alicia Keys: Empire State Of Mind (Part II) Broken Down (Video)
Last year, Alicia Keys featured on Jay-Z’s biggest anthem of last year. For new album
The Element Of Freedom, Alicia strips the song down into a beautiful piano ballad while still keeping the killer chorus of the original. While this is more atmospheric, I still think I prefer the Jay-Z original. 4 STARS

02. Alphabeat: Hole In My Heart (Video)
Alphabeat drop the sugary bubblegum sound that they used on Fascination and recent single The Spell for a more ’90s dance sound on the second single from album The Spell. I was a never a fan of their cheesy pop songs so I find this song…uh…bearable.
3 STARS

Hole In My Heart
03. Beyoncé: Fever (Video)
So much for Beyoncé taking a break. Alongside collaborations with Lady GaGa and Alicia Keys, Beyoncé finds time to release single Fever to promote her new perfume Heat. She makes a solid yet hardly groundbreaking cover of the 1956 smoky classic. I kind of want Beyoncé to disappear for a while at this stage especially as she’s planning on releasing a new album at the end of the day.
2 STARS

Fever

04. Chiddy Bang: The Opposite Of Adults (Video)
A delightful rap track that samples MGMT’s Kids. I think I agree with Curtains. This could well be better than the original. I’ll have to keep listening to find out. Definite party starting tune for sure!!!
4.5 STARS

Opposite Of Adults EP

05. Cobra Starship: Hot Mess (Video)
Pretty much like Metro Station’s
Shake It, the only thing that’s good about this song is the killer chorus. The rest of the song is forgettable and annoying. 2.5 STARS

File:CobraStarship HotMessSingleCover.jpg

06. Daisy Dares You featuring Chipmunk: Number One Enemy (Video)
Britain’s newest teenybopper popstar releases her first single. The video is like a low budget version of Gwen Stefani’s What You Waiting For? and there’s a whiff of Avril Lavigne about it. The song is catchy enough pop rock but what’s with the random Chipmunk verse. Completely pointless.
3 STARS

Number One Enemy

07. Ellie Goulding: Starry Eyed (Video)
A hook filled, hypnotic electropop track. I think Ellie is a deserved winner of the BRITS Critics Choice Award. I think she’s gonna be 2010’s big new star.
3.5 STARS

Starry Eyed

08. Giggs featuring B.o.B.: Don’t Go There (Video)
Expletive filled rap track by British/Jamacian rapper Giggs. This probably won’t get much airplay but it’s actually a really enjoyable rap track with a catchy enough chorus provided by American rapper B.o.B..

Don't Go There (Feat. B.o.B.)

09. Glee Cast: Bust A Move 3 STARS (Video)

Bust A Move (Glee Cast Version)

10. Glee Cast: Sweet Caroline 3.5 STARS (Video)

Sweet Caroline (Glee Cast Version)

11. Glee Cast: Thong Song 3 STARS (Video)

Thong Song (Glee Cast Version)

More fun yet cheesy, stage school style covers of songs by Young MC, Neil Diamond and Sisquo. Their Sweet Caroline rendition is good but the teacher who rules the Glee club really needs to stop rapping on the other two tracks. It’s the equivalent of watching your dad trying to act cool.

TRACK OF THE WEEK!
12. Groove Armada featuring SaintSaviour and Fenech-Soler: Paper Romance (Video)
First we had
Bad Romance, now we have Paper Romance. Groove Armada release another fantastic electronica track. Check out the dark video for the song too. Definitely made me excited for their new album Black Light out 1 March. 5 STARS

Paper Romance

13. Jason Derulo: In My Head (Video)
Okay, there are a million reasons I don’t like the video for this song. First of all, it’s a complete copy of Justin Timberlake’s Like I Love You video. I also don’t like how Jason is sitting in the carpark listening to his own song Whatcha Say. I mean talk about shameless product placement. And I don’t like how it seems that every song by Jason Derulo looks like its gonna start with “Jason Deruloooooo…Beluga Heights…J-J-J-J.R.”. As for the song itself, well it’s a catchy R&B tune over a rock backing track. Nothing special. Now that Chris Brown’s career is on a downer, have we got ourselves a more clean cut replacement.
3 STARS

In My Head

14. Jay Sean featuring Sean Paul and Lil’ John: Do You Remember (Video)
Jay Sean returns with another unoriginal R&B track designed especially for the American market. Not as bad as Down but this would be nothing without Sean Paul and Lil John and its clear aping of Chris Brown’s Forever.
3 STARS

Do You Remember

15. JLS: One Shot (Video)
Oh someone make these cheesy boybanders disappear. JLS release a gooey, cringeworthy ballad. As if that matters, the only reason they’re so popular is because they flash their abs in every video.
2 STARS

One Shot

16. Leona Lewis: I Got You (Video)
Poor old Leona. Things haven’t been looking so great seeing as she’s constantly criticised for her poor performance skills, getting punched in the face and suffering the sophomore slump with her new album Echo. I really like this song, it’s romantic, it has a catchy, melodic chorus and Leona’s voice is beautiful as usual. Hopefully, things will pick up for her with this song.
4 STARS

I Got You

STINKER OF THE WEEK!
17. Lil’ Wayne featuring Ludacris: Eat You Alive (Video)
I’ve never really understood Lil Wayne’s popularity. I think there’s something really vile about him. Don’t like this song at all. Sounds like Lady GaGa’s
Monster…from the Monster himself. 1 STAR

18. Lupe Fiasco: Lean (Video)
Why is Lupe so underrated? I think he’s up there with other rap greats like Jay-Z and Eminem. Lean is one of two promo singles he’s releasing.
3.5 STARS

19. Lupe Fiasco: Proceed (Video)
Second promo single by Lupe.Another fantastic rap track with brilliant lyrics. Again I ask: why isn’t Lupe more popular???
3.5 STARS

20. Muse: Resistance (Video)
Muse are just amazing. This track is just amazing! Before I get into incoherent babbling, everything Muse does is amazing! This is the another brilliant single from Muse’s The Resistance album!
4 STARS

File:Muse - Resistance.jpg

21. Nick Jonas & The Administration: Who I Am (Video)
Oh man! And I thought the Jonas Brothers were bad! When I heard that the baby of the family, Nick was working on a new musical side project, I actually held hope that something good would be produced. Hopes squashed. This is just horrible. Lyrically cliched, Nick sounds like he’s in pain everytime he sings. 1.5 STARS

22. Pitbull featuring Akon: Shut It Down (Video)
Oh great, my two favourite artists Pitbull and Akon team up for what’s sure to be yet another song of musical genius. *SARCASM AND A LOT OF IT* Doesn’t matter what I say about these sexist singers, this will be an automatic hit as it features Akon’s trademark whine, Pitbull’s incoherent babbling and a very ‘now’ production with Transformers style effects.
1.5 STARS

Shut It Down [Explicit]

23. Rihanna: Rude Boy (Video)
Not the best song from Rihanna’s rather brilliant Rated R but certainly the most commerical. After a lot of brooding and threatening, Rihanna finally has some fun with this slight dancehall tune about the act of lust, repetitive chorus and all.
3 STARS

24. Seamus Haji vs. Mark Knight and Funkagenda: Good Times (Video)
A remixed update on the 1979 Chic classic. Nothing special, something to dance too after a few drinks too many.
2 STARS

25. Snoop Dogg featuring Hustle Boyz: Check Yo Self (Snoop Dogg G-Mix) (Video)
Amongst the current stream of urban junk infiltrating the charts at the minute, its really refreshing to hear Snoop Doggy Dogg’s cover of Ice Cube’s fantastic 1993 West Coast hip hop song Check Yo Self. Good stuff.
4 STARS

26. Sugababes: Wear My Kiss (Video)
Sugababes tick all the right boxes in pop music with latest single Wear My Kiss. But for all its catchiness, this just sounds bland and lacks any soul. The Sugababes are pretty much dead to me now and it’s not cos Keisha left. It’s just in the last two years, the Sugababes have become a shadow of their former selves.
2.5 STARS

Wear My Kiss

27. Timbaland featuring Justin Timberlake: Carry Out (Video)
Anyone worried about Timbaland over-exposure needn’t worry. This is simply been released as a promo single so don’t expect it to be everywhere like the Katy Perry collaboration If We Ever Meet Again. Anyway, this track sees the continued bromance between Timbo and Justin. It’s a mid-tempo tune about meeting and doing inappropriate things to the ladies with heavy use of food metaphors. It’s fine but nothing we haven’t heard from these two before. 3 STARS

Carry Out

28. Young Money featuring Lloyd: Bedrock (Video)
All the biggest hip-hop stars from the Young Money label get together for this unoriginal yet strangely addictive track. Love the production on this song and all the rappers give a solid performance with Llyod’s soulful crooning on the chorus.
3 STARS

BedRock