Usher reveals cheap ‘Versus’ artwork and tracklisting

Usher has premiered the artwork and tracklisting for his new album Versus. The album will act as a standalone EP of sorts while it will also be available, packaged as a Deluxe Edition with his recent album, Raymond V. Raymond. So pretty much like Lady GaGa’s The Fame Monster.

I think the artwork looks cheap as Hell! Considering the success of singles OMG and There Goes My Baby as well as Raymond V. Raymond itself, you’d expect a little more effort to go into the album artwork rather than Versus written seven times vertically against a pink cover with a vague shot of Usher in the background. Usher better put the money into making some decent music videos this era.

Anyways, check out the tracklisting for Raymond V. Raymond. The album will be preceded by two singles. For pop audiences, we have the Pitbull assisted DJ Got Us Fallin’ In Love which has already made significant chart impact Worldwide. For urban audiences, Hot Toddy will be sent to US radio on 9th August and will feature Jay-Z and Ciara. That sounds exciting at least.

Versus tracklisting:

  1. Love ‘Em All
  2. DJ Got Us Fallin’ In Love (featuring Pitbull)
  3. Hot Toddy (featuring Ciara and Jay-Z)
  4. Lay You Down
  5. Lingerie
  6. There Goes My Baby
  7. Get In My Car (featuring Bun B)
  8. Somebody To Love (Remix) (with Justin Bieber)
  9. Stranger

Raymond V. Raymond: Deluxe Edition tracklisting:

  1. Monstar
  2. Hey Daddy (Daddy’s Home)
  3. There Goes My Baby
  4. Lil’ Freak (featuring Nicki Minaj)
  5. She Don’t Know (featuring Ludacris)
  6. OMG (featuring will.i.am.)
  7. Mars Vs. Venus
  8. Pro Lover
  9. Foolin’ Around
  10. Papers
  11. So Many Girls (featuring Diddy)
  12. Guilty (featuring T.I)
  13. Okay
  14. Making Love (Into The Night)
  15. Love ‘Em All
  16. DJ Got Us Fallin’ In Love (featuring Pitbull)
  17. Hot Toddy (featuring Ciara and Jay-Z)
  18. Lay You Down
  19. Lingerie
  20. Get In My Car (featuring Bun B)
  21. Somebody To Love (Remix) (with Justin Bieber)
  22. Stranger
  23. More (iTunes and Japanese bonus track)
  24. Hey Daddy (Daddy’s Home) (Remix) (featuring Plies) (Target, Best Buy, UK and Ireland bonus track)
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Single Reviews Diary 21 – 25th June 2010

After celebrating its 20 week anniversary last week, things are looking interesting for this week’s Single Reviews Diary. Not only is it the diary with the least singles reviewed to date (not necessarily a bad thing – for me!) at a mere 14 but it’s also. But quality over quantity and three quality dance divas are going head to head this week to see who has the best single – Kelly Rowland, Kylie Minogue or Lady GaGa. Perhaps most intriguing of all though is this piece of news… I am shocked to report this week that Justin Bieber is releasing a very good pop song. Read below to find out what’s happening the week of the 28th and let me know your thoughts in the comments below.

Single Reviews Diary 21 – 25th June 2010:

01. Bon Jovi: When We Were Beautiful

Bon Jovi - When We Were Beautiful (Radio Edit)
This track started off really promising but sort of fizzled out before momentum got going. Opening with some fanciful guitar work, pounding drums and brooding vocals from Jon Bon Jovi, I thought this would be another track to go alongside some of Bon Jovi’s classic power ballads but alas no! The chorus on this track is too weak, the “sha-la-la” shout along is corny and the lyrics are clichéd and written in several different forms by Bon Jovi already. This is a grower but will only be loved by the hardcore Bon Jovi fans.
3 STARS

02. Coronas: Someone Else’s Hands

The Coronas - Someone Else's Hands
The talented Irish band had a massive hit last year in their homeland with the up-tempo pop rock track
Listen Dear so can they manage it with the third single from their second album Tony Was An Ex-Con. This is the token power ballad from the album and to be honest, it’s a nice song, not top-notch and would probably be crap in the hands of a less talented band but is saved by the distinguishing and emotionally pierced voice of lead singer Danny O’Reily and the well written lyrics. I’d go back and listen to Listen Dear again (check it out, non-Irish readers). 3 STARS

03. Enrique Iglesias featuring Juan Luis Guerra: Cuando Me Enamoro

File:Cuando me enamoro single cover.jpg
This won’t get much attention next to the mainly English spoken (and terrible) single
I Like It but Enrique is actually releasing dual singles from his bilingual album Euphoria – one in Spanish and the other English. It’s actually a crying shame that this will be overlooked because I think it manages to capture the sound of Summer much better than the robotic I Like It. Okay so the song is completely in Spanish which is something of a language barrier but there’s plenty to keep you interested in this old fashioned mid-tempo duet. Iglesias and Guerra both have fine voices, the former’s making every girl’s heart melt with its swoon-worthiness while the latter adds a little more richness and maturity. Plus there’s the understated Spanish instruments such as maracas which give a lovely Summer evening vibe. Plus you’ve got to love the sensual “ooooh-oooh” hook. Who cares if you don’t understand the language? That certainly hasn’t stopped me from listening to many great Spanish records! 3.5 STARS

STINKER OF THE WEEK!
04. Enrique Iglesias featuring Pitbull and Lionel Richie: I Like It

File:Enrique-iglesias-i-like-it.jpg
This is probably one of the worst songs of the year. I will admit that Enrique’s music is a not-so-guilty pleasure of mine and he sure knows how to vocally provide the catchy tunes, probably mostly due to his angsty voice (P!nk also does this) but a mildly repetitive chorus of “I Like It” followed by some Auto-Tuned muttering and a lot of Spanish gibberish is not going to cut it this time. Enrique enlists RedOne once again for his new track but RedOne’s sound is starting to sound old here – all his usual tricks are used – horns, bombastic synths, loud choruses and name-checking. But worse still because Enrique is Spanish, i.e. European, he has taken things further down a notch by giving it a really cheesy Eurodance Cascada-esque sound. Enrique’s voice is completely drowned out by ‘80s robotic Auto-Tuned effects as is the re-recorded Lionel Richie snippet from
All Night Long. Pitbull’s fast paced hyperactive rap is actually a lot of fun but amounts to nothing as it has nothing to do with the song at all. A terrible song like JLS’ The Club Is Alive which we’ll be snapped up by the public because Enrique is “soooooo totally hot” and “OMG! RedOne’s the producer and Nicole Richie’s dad is on part of it wiv that seriously cool rappa Pitbull!” 1 STAR

05. Futureheads: I Can Do That

I Can Do That
The follow-up to the Futureheads
Heartbeat Song definitely takes some major influences from 1970s punk. The repetitive chorus is very weakthough and the track definitely recalls the Sex Pistols, although a bit watered down and dull. It’s not exactly bad just nothing special. 2.5 STARS

06. Imelda May: Psycho

Imelda May - Psycho
The super talented and super sexy rockabilly singer Imelda May is back with a new single from her third album
Mayhem, released this September. The track has a global appeal and all Imelda needs is some good old promotion and attention to make it. The song has a great dirty feel to it with May providing her lusty, strong vocals as usual. It also features some top quality howling, the best use of howling in a song since Shakira’s She Wolf. It mightn’t be as instantly catchy as Johnny Got A Boom Boom but a terrific lead single none the less with a great video to match. 4 STARS

07. Justin Bieber featuring Usher: Somebody To Love (Remix)

File:Justin-Bieber Someb40D5FE8rev.jpg
For many people who have read my posts, it’s no secret that I’m no fan of Justin Bieber, the young guy having won two Stinker Awards for his smelly contributions in music, which includes the infantile
Eenie Meenie and the bland ballad (blandad?) Never Let You Go. But I am not a biased person and I will artists credit where credit is due and tell you all that Justin Bieber’s new single Somebody To Love is actually rather good. No, thankfully he didn’t cover Queen and STL is an original song that ropes in his mentor Usher. The song has some well crafted verses, a quiet grower of a chorus and some shiny, shiny production by production crew The Stereotypes. There’s a noticeable strain on Bieber’s puberty stricken voice on this track but he holds it up well and Usher more than makes up for it in the vocal department with his seductive crooning. The only part I don’t like is at the end when Usher says something and Bieber replies “Yeah man!” all smug. What we’ve got though is a decent dance pop smash that might just show Bieber has potential as a star. *avoids rotten fruit thrown at me by Bieber haters* 4 STARS

TRACK OF THE WEEK!
08. Kelly Rowland: Commander

Kelly Rowland / David Guetta - Commander
Can Kelly Rowland finally find true success as a popstar after going from yet another R&B vocalist to a fierce and fabulous dance diva? I think so and to do that, Kelly has teamed up with old pal and collaborator David Guetta, who she most noticeably worked with on last year’s dance smash
When Love Takes Over. I have a bit of a hit and miss relationship with Guetta but he certainly delivers on this track, providing a pounding baseline, wonky synths, huge rave-tastic beats and a futuristic sound. We can’t forget the star of the show Kelly, who provides a stunning vocal performance which even manages to outsing the sheer amount of Auto-Tune layered thick on her voice. The chorus is massive and soaring with Kelly conveying oodles of confidence. Lyrics like“The DJ is my bodyguard” and “There’s no-one here who does it like I does it” are a little cheesy not to mention grammatical murder but there all part of the song’s charm and I wouldn’t have them any other way. This is probably the best dance-pop track of the year exceeding all expectations in the vocal, production, catchiness and lyrical department. 5 STARS

09. Kid British: Winner

Kid British - Winner
Is retro back again? The band return with this soulful ska pop track that sounds like it came straight out of the 1960s. The song was included on the latest World Cup video game and it’s not surprising seeing as it’s got that upbeat marching feel to it and inspirational lyrics. A definite crowd pleaser for the returning band.
4.5 STARS

10. Kylie Minogue: All The Lovers

Kylie Minogue - All The Lovers
The sweet and sexy Kylie Minogue makes her comeback with this near-perfect little number. Normally, I’m not a Kylie Minogue fan at all but this track is just gorgeous. Featuring Kylie’s sweet, seductive, whispery vocals over a breezy bassline and gentle synths, this song is absolutely heavenly. Even though Kylie is pretty much saying that she’s been around the block before she met this incomparable guy, she manages to make her former promiscuity sound strangely romantic just like the accompanying video which sees a large orgy on the street. I have to dock half a point for the loud and squeaky synth breakdown towards the end but Kylie, we welcome you back to the throne as Queen of Pop!
4.5 STARS

11. Lady GaGa: Alejandro

File:Alejandro LG.png
RedOne is on production duties for the fifth single of eight in GaGa’s career but rather than recycle the same old beats like he’s being doing recently, the Moroccan DJ actually thinks outside the box and pays homage to Ace Of Base and Madonna during the
True Blue era with Ibiza friendly bouncy beats perfect for Summer. Pop megastar Lady GaGa continues this Latin theme by doing a bad Spanish accent, the occasional use of a Spanish word here and there and shooing off the attentions of Hispanic men Alejandro, Fernando and Roberto. The chorus is catchy, GaGa trades in her usual sexual innuendos for something tamer and the first minute of this track is pure pop magic. Sadly after that one minute, the remaining three minutes (seven in the bleak music video) just sort of plod along in repetition with the listener left thinking “How many times has she said Alejandro now?” While this is still a catchy pop song with a fun, sunny vibe (in contrast to the video), the track says everything it wants to say after one minute and doesn’t have the plentiful hooks that have become a staple of GaGa’s singles so far. The ‘90s Latin beats might be infectious, endearing and provide a bout of nostalgia but this lacks the pop power that every GaGa single before had (excluding Eh Eh (Nothing Else I Can Say) and LoveGame). 3.5 STARS

12. The National: Anyone’s Ghost

Anyone's Ghost
An atmospheric and brooding track from the shoe-gazing band. It starts off sounding like any old miserable rock track with poetic lyrics but once the guitar chords build up and the strings are added, the song takes on a subtle beauty which only increases as the song goes on. It won’t appeal to the mainstream but should keep National fans happy.
3.5 STARS

13. Skepta featuring Greg: Rescue Me

Rescue Me
Roll Deep member Skepta returns with a gritty dub-step track following the ravey Bad Boy. This song wouldn’t be anything without the chorus though – which is provided by Greg. The chorus is really strong despite its robotic sound – but that robotic sound reminds me of some singer (and not one of the many who are using Auto-Tune at the moment). It’s suitably angsty too and makes you listen to the lyrics which I guess is a subliminal way of getting you to love all the song. Not original but definitely better than former #1
Good Times. 3 STARS

14. The Unconventionals: Push The Button


I feared that these
X-Factor losers would do a cover of Sugababes 2.0’s song of the same name and I was right. However, my fears were unnecessary because this is surprisingly charming and catchy. The Unconventionals have given it a real ‘60s doo-wop makeover and it’s sung extremely well with some toe-tapping backing vocals. While its uncomfortable to hear a bunch of middle aged people use the slang of the old edgy Babes, it’s certainly not half as comfortable as listening to any of Sugababes 4.0’s material. 4 STARS

Singles Reviews Diary 20 – 18th June 2010

It’s twenty weeks old! It’s twenty weeks old! It’s twenty weeks old! I am so delighted with the achievement of having written twenty of these diaries now and I think I’ve managed to cover pretty much every major single in them. To add to this being the twentieth (week) anniversary of the Singles Reviews Diaries, there are also 20 singles to review below. Check out my reviews and let me know what you think of the songs or the reviews in general. What’s your Track Of The Week? What’s your Stinker? Which band/artist are you really loving at the moment? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

Singles Reviews Diary 20 – 18th June 2010:

01. Adam Deacon and Bashy featuring Paloma Faith: Keep Moving

Adam Deacon & Bashy feat. Paloma Faith - Keep Moving (Explicit Album Version)
While Chipmunk and Tinchy Stryder can be described as the British equivalents to American counterparts Flo Rida and Soulja Boy Tell ‘Em, I think it’s fair to describe Adam Deacon as a British equivalent to T.I. or Jay-Z. Teaming up with fellow occasional actor Paloma Faith, the two create a mature but not entirely original hip-hop track witha soulful chorus. Faith’sbeautiful vocals bring a hint of retro-ness to the track while Deacon is a surprisingly good rapper. Bashy joins halfway through to add a little diversity to the track. What we get in the end is a fairly typical hip-hop track – but a
very good fairly typical hip-hop track at that! 3.5 STARS

02. Ash: Spheres

Ash - S
This is Single Letter S from Ash’s
A-Z Series. They should really get to promoting this single because it’s probably the best track we’ve heard from the singles collection so far. Ash’s music is normally simple catchy pop rock but with Spheres, we see the Northern Irish trio go over to the dark side. Featuring an eerie piano line which runs from the intro throughout the whole song, pounding drums and a hammering bass. It all comes to a stunning climax when the guitars crunch up and the chorus becomes more aggressive. The song is definitely worth a buy. 4 STARS

03. The Automatic: Cannot Be Saved

The Automatic - Cannot Be Saved
The Automatic return with the third single from their
Tear The Signs Down LP. If you’ve heard Automatic before – and many of you have – remember that song ”What’s that coming over the hill, is it a monster? Is it a monster? – then you’ll know what to expect. A song that doesn’t take too seriously, a fun shout-along punk pop track that travels at 100 mph, this isn’t going to be the highlight of the year. But it’s a fun track to add to that Summer playlist. 3.5 STARS

TRACK OF THE WEEK!
04. Big Boi featuring Cutty: Shutterbug

Big Boi / Cutty - Shutterbugg (Explicit Version)
One half of the genre defining hip-hop duo Outkast and the lesser known member to Andre 3000, Big Boi has struck out on his own with new single
Shutterbug and like his band continues to show some innovation in hip-hop. While hiring an R&B singer like Cutty to croon over the song isn’t entirely original, this track is all about Big Boi. Lacking any real chorus, Big Boi raps along with an incredible flow while the instrumentation of funky ‘80s synths, drumclaps and samples of Soul II Soul’s Back To Reality provide the main hooks of this song. I really love this track because it has a chilled out yet cocksure vibe that you rarely hear in rap nowadays. I’m seriously looking forward to Big Boi’s album now. 5 STARS

05. Cypress Hill featuring Pitbull and Marc Anthony: Armada Latina

Cypress Hill featuring Pitbull and Marc Anthony - Armada Latina (feat. Pitbull and Marc Anthony)
Sigh. Another week. Another Pitbull feature. Why must he torment me so?! That said Cypress Hill’s track will provide a little Latin flavour this Summer. With a repetitive “oooh-oooh-oooh” hook running through the song, Jennifer Lopez’s husband Marc Anthony provides the Spanish sung chorus while the rapping is provided in English by Cypress Hill and Pitbull. Cypress Hill’s rapping is fairly passable and Pitbull continues to rap random words in Spanish over an unrelated rap about him not being an “asshole”. Right. *side eye*. Still those oooh-oooh hooks and Marc Anthony’s chorus is what make this must have on the Summer playlist. But then again…I am a sucker for pretty much every Spanish song in existence.
4.5 STARS

06. Daisy Dares You: Rosie

Daisy Dares You - Rosie
This is a pretty catchy pop rock jam with a massive chorus. That said so was her last single
Number One Enemy. And that song drove me mad for a few weeks. Daisy manages to provide radio friendly fodder that will get airplay all over the place before being completely forgotten about in a few weeks. I appreciate the fact that Daisy has said she wants to stay away from the clichéd teen romance lyrics on her debut album, something she’s managed so far, singing about rowing with her sister Scarlet (ginger?) and backing up her friend Rosie (another ginger?)but she hasn’t managed to stay away from the clichéd Auto-Tune. Plus the electro breakdown with the fast paced rap doesn’t really gel well towards the end. All I’m hearing is a Z-grade Avril Lavigne mixed with a Z-grade Lily Allen. But points for only being 16 and making music a little more bearable than other 16 year olds *cough Justin Bieber*cough*.2.5 STARS

07. Dan Balan featuring Katie DiCicco: Chica Bomb


WTH? Why is Dan Balan credited as a lead artist on this track when Katie DiCicco, the sexy, breathy singer isn’t even credited? Last time I looked, practically whispering “chica-chica-bomb” over an unoriginal Eurodance backing constituted this being his song. I would give this Stinker Of The Week but DiCicco’s breathy vocals are seductive (I may be blinded by my urge to have sex with her), the cheesy Ibiza beats are just right for Summer and the middle eight is actually rather gorgeous. Dan Balan is a complete tool though. Many of you will agree with me as he was one-third of defunct band O-Zone (
The Numa Numa Song), possibly the most annoying Moldovan poppers anywhere. 2.5 STARS

08. Declining Winter: Official World Cup Theme 2010


Something for the UK to be proud of, Declining Winter have been given the honourary role of providing the theme song for World Cup 2010. Really it’s a strange choice of theme song, it doesn’t particularly draw you in or have a very celebratory sound. In fact, it’s very ‘indie’ and brooding in its sound. The instrumentation is rather good though with some beautiful string sections. Only the end of the song with some World Cup commentary makes you actually believe this song is for the World Cup though.
3 STARS

09. Dirty Money featuring Rick Ross and T.I.: Hello Good Morning

Diddy - Dirty Money / T.I. - Hello Good Morning (Explicit Version)
Diddy, Timbaland called and asked what you’re doing right and what he’s doing wrong. Because
Hello Good Morning sounds like it could have been released as a single of Timbaland Presents: Shock Value. Seriously? Yup. Diddy and his new ‘band’ of female rappers spit out some clichéd lyrics about being in a club and being so ‘fly’ with a little help from Rick Ross and recently freed T.I. over some wonky synths. It offers nothing new to the table at all but if you liked the singles from Timbaland’s FIRST Shock Valuealbum, then you should like this. Plus the epic breakdown at the end reminds us of why Sean Combs aka Puff Daddy aka P. Diddy aka Diddy is one of the most revered rappers out there. 3 STARS

10. Feeder: Call Out


‘90s rockers make a return with a big heavy rock number that grabs your attention as soon as the opening chords kick in at a lightning speed. Combined with a catchy chorus, Feeder have returned with a solid lead single from the forthcoming album
Renegades. Hopefully with the right promotion and airplay, this track can introduce the band to a whole new generation. 4.5 STARS

STINKER OF THE WEEK!
11. Justin Bieber: Never Let You Go


This is simply being released as a promo single so its unlikely to blow up like previous singles
One Time and Baby, thank goodness. Now I could be nice and say I’m that I’m not 3 years old so I’m not the target market for this audience. However, J. Bieber has just released another stinker that only his die-hard fans can enjoy. I’ll admit Baby grew on me eventually and his forthcoming single with Usher Somebody To Love is actually rather good but this…this is just terrible! Not only is it bland, insipid and clichéd but who wantsto hear an eight-year-old boy sing about heartbreak in the form of an Auto-Tuned ballad. Yeah, we’re really reading into your soul there, Justin. Stick to the catchy dance-pop, methinks! 1 STAR

12. Katy Perry featuring Snoop Dogg: California Gurls

Katy Perry featuring Snoop Dogg - California Gurls (feat. Snoop Dogg)
Despite it’s huge commercial success, this song has divided critics. Probably Katy’s own fault for declaring this as the LA equivalent to Jay-Z and Alicia Keys’ timeless modern classic
Empire State Of Mind. Now California Gurls will probably be timeless too – but more in the way of “Oh crap! I can’t believe I actually liked that song” and then giving it a sneaky listen on your iPod or whatever replaces iPods in the future. BecauseCalifornia Gurls is just a fun pop song – nothing more. Combining Calvin Harris like synths, ‘90s wah-wah guitars, sunny melodies, a West Coast rap and a gigantic chorus, I think California Gurls deserves its huge success it will have this Summer. Oh sure, some of it sounds like Ke$ha’s TiK ToK and its clearly gimmicky but that doesn’t matter, as it is the must have song to play at the pool party this Summer. The song is so hot…my popsicle just melted. 4 STARS

13. K’nann: Wavin’ Flag (Celebration Mix)

K'Naan - Wavin'  Flag (UK Version)
The original version. The Young Artists For Haiti version. The will.i.am and David Guetta featured version. This Celebration Mix. I am absolutely sick to my teeth of this song and its many incarnations. Even though a few months – hell, a few weeks ago – I would have being encouraging you all to start checking out K’nann. No need now he’s so well known. Now, I know K’nann wrote this song but nothing for me will trump the Young Artists For Haiti version of this song. NOTHING! I find the verses are a bit lyrically clunky on this but that chorus still gives me goosebumps everytime it’s sung. So credjt to K’nann for writing such an inspirational chorus and introducing this song to the World. A few points off though for the song’s overexposure.
3.5 STARS

14. Pearl Jam: Amongst The Waves

Pearl Jam - Amongst The Waves
The third single from Pearl Jam’s
Backspacer album finds the band in an uplifting mood with some inspirational, gruff yet impassioned vocals from Eddie Vedder. This is a great rock mid-tempo that really picks up towards the end with some great guitar solos from Stone Gossard. One of the standout tracks from the album, this is another Summer playlist option if you want to shake it up a bit. 4 STARS

15. Rihanna featuring Slash: Rockstar 101


This is only being released as a promo single over here so no need to worry if you’re tired of Rihanna overexposure or think
Te Amo has been cancelled. This track is probably one of the weakest songs of Rihanna’s Rated R. Although the prospect of Slash appearing as a feature on this track initially sounds exciting, it wears off pretty quick as this is far more heavy urban than it is rock. Rihanna’s claims of being a rockstar are ridiculous despite her level of swearing, the chorus is repetitive and wears thin fast and the only thing I like about it is the beat heavy production and the guitar solos towards the end. If Rihanna wanted to release some rock numbers from the album, she could have chosen the absolutely brilliant Fire Bomb, Cold Case Love or The Last Song. However, record companies probably thought these ballads would be too depressing after the sunny Rude Boy so have gone with this relatively upbeat track. I’m just glad it doesn’t have an official release over here. Poor America! 2.5 STARS

16. Rusko featuring Amber Coffman: Hold On


Dubstep producer Rusko, who has worked on M.I.A.’s new album and also rumoured to be working on Britney Spears’ new record, provides a bass heavy club track here with some decent yet unoriginal vocals from Amber Coffman. There are a few different layers to the song but overall this doesn’t step out too far from the dubstep genre or do anything new. Good club record though.
3 STARS

17. Scissor Sisters: Fire With Fire

Scissor Sisters - Fire With Fire
Starting off as a subdued ballad, this track quickly takes off and becomes a big, anthemic fists-in-the-air dance rock number thanks to Jake Shears’ uplifting vocals and the synth rock instrumentation from the rest of the band. This a terrific comeback single from the New York quintet and as many people have pointed out, it has a whiff of Elton John to it. My only problem is that it’s a bit subtle. Compared to earlier lead singles like
Laura and I Don’t Feel Like Dancing which were instantly infectious, Fire With Fire takes a few spins to get into. In a year where two of our biggest hits have song titles that are misspelled (California Gurls) or an Internet/text speak acronym(OMG), can this song have any lasting appeal when attention spans appear to be getting lower and lower? 4.5 STARS

18. Shout For England featuring Dizzee Rascal and James Corden: Shout

File:Shout by Dizzee Rascal and James Corden.jpg
The only good thing about this song is the Tears For Fear and Blackstreet samples. The rest of the song is utter cack. This is probably the most creative thing Simon Cowell has put his name to but then again that’s not saying much considering
The X-Factorwinner singles. I’ve lost all respect for Dizzee Rascal as a rapper and James Corden always annoyed me and I don’t find him particularly funny. This is basically a crowd shouting aloud to the rhythm of Shout which I don’t find particularly appealing because I can hear that down in my local at the weekends anyway. 2 STARS

19. Tegan And Sara: Alligator


Fresh from their recent collabo with Tiësto, Canadian duo Tegan and Sara have just released new single
Alligator over here. I’ve just figured that the two girls have those distinctive, borderline annoying vocals that Irish band Heathers have. The song is a catchy little toe-tapper but in all honesty, the girls have brought out much better. This sounds like it should be soundtracking the latest Apple ad…which is maybe T&S’s goal. Either way, enjouable but passable. 3 STARS

20. Wolfmother: Far Away

File:WolfmotherFarAway.jpg
I’m definitely noticing a 1970s Led Zeppelin vibe with this song. Amongst an electric piano, acoustic guitar and laidback drums, lead vocalist Andrew Stockdale sings in a relatively toned down voice compared to what we’re used to hearing from him. His voice definitely has echoes of Robert Plant, Axl Rose and to a lesser extent Jack White. If you’re looking for something that recalls a little ‘70s rock, then this is your song. Although to me, this is kind of your typical indie love song and doesn’t come close to Zeppelin. Still, this Aussie band don’t do a bad job of paying homage to them so I’ll keep an eye out to see if they progress in sound and maturity.
3.5 STARS

Singles Reviews Diary 6 – 12th March 2010

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

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

Singles Reviews Diary 6 – 12th March 2010:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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