WTF? Keri Hilson channeling Lauryn Hill on comeback single?

She may be better known for getting hits off the back of rappers and male singers and in return featuring as the chorus on said rappers singles but it looks like Keri Hilson is serious about being a solo artist guys! While it would be quite easy for her to go down the electropop route as exemplified by hit single I Like and scene stealing parts on Timbaland’s The Way I Are and Scream, Miss Keri Baby has decided to go down the soul route for new doo-wop single Breaking Point.

Confirmed as the lead single from her sophomore album No Boys Allowed, as the album title suggests the album will consist of  “female empowerment anthems” and will be “soul influenced”. Keri also says she inspired by African music, culture and landscape and this is all evidenced on Breaking Point.

Timbaland returns the favor (geddit?) and produces an old school doo-wop R&B tune for the singer-songwriter. Keri mightn’t have the vocal chops of the acclaimed Lauryn Hill but she’s certainly channeling her here, giving us one of her best singing performances yet. It’s also great to see Hilson show a little depth lyrically although female empowerment is nothing new in today’s landscape. Beyoncé’s crazy fans are going to be mad though because Keri sounds practically identical to the sassy entertainer on the spoken middle-eight of this piece.

While Keri is encouraged to go in a pop direction with her music, I’ve always admired how her music is a little more left of field. It’s not true R&B but it’s always influenced by it. I didn’t think much of it at first but her debut album In A Perfect World… is actually a solid collection of songs and I’m anticipating this next one after hearing this.

Could Keri be the dark horse in the battle of the female artists (Britney, Avril, Rihanna) all expected to release new albums at the end of the year? I doubt it but she’s certainly impressed me.

T.I. uncages himself for his boring new music video ‘Got Your Back’

T.I. and Keri Hilson in "Got Your Back"

T.I. has come out of prison and is joined by Keri Hilson on new single Got Your Back, the official lead single from his forthcoming album King Uncaged, due to drop on 28th September. Check out the video below.

The song is a cute urban rap tune with a super catchy chorus provided by the ultra fashionable Keri but the video is just boring. I don’t care about T.I. and Keri posing in front of a plain background while a yawn inducing prison subplot occurs in between. With fellow rappers Kanye West, Drake, Jay-Z, B.o.B., Big Boi, Eminem and Nicki Minaj all bringing out the creativity for their clips, T.I. comes across a little backward for someone who proclaims himself as king. While the song is catchy and will most likely be a hit, it’s hardly an explosive “I’M BACK” single. Perhaps he should have chosen I’m Back as the lead single from the era instead of using it as a promo single.

I doubt the album will flop though. T.I.’s lead singles are generally weak anyway and with guest spots from Lady GaGa and Eminem on it, I’m sure Tip isn’t worried.

Singles Reviews Diary 17 – 28th May 2010

So here I am with the seventeenth edition of the Singles Reviews Diary. I can’t believe I’ve managed to stick writing these for 17 long weeks but I’ve really found it quite rewarding in the end. So it kind of hurts that this could be the last one I do in a while. I’m moving into a new apartment for the Summer and I probably won’t have Internet! NOOOOOOOOOOOOO! Still, I’ll try and work my way round that little problem but there’s no guarantee that I’ll get these out every week like you’re used to.

Singles Reviews Diary 17 – 28th May 2010:

01. Akon featuring Keri Hilson: Oh Africa
This song has been floating around for a while now but with the World Cup getting closer and closer, it looks like the song is getting its official release. Basically ignore Akon and Keri Hilson – they’re on autopilot here. Akon sings away in his nasal tone while Keri croons her drawn out vocals. The only redeemable part of this song is the tribal drums and the African chantings of “weh-oh-weh, weh-oh-weh”. This makes it an infectious World Cup which without them would just be crap.

02. Alphabeat: DJ (I Could Be Dancing)
The cheesy Danish band are back with the third single from their sophomore album
The Spell, retitled The Beat Is… for British and Irish audiences. What is surprising about DJis that it’s actually very good. It manages to sound like a feel-good track that would soundtrack an ‘80s rom-com or family film which isn’t a bad thing at all. Perfect for the Summer and a big improvement on their previous two singes. 4 STARS

03. Aston: Rude Boy
Who would have thought that Rihanna’s island jam about boys sticking it in her could sound classy? Well it sure does when Aston cover it. The Australian classical musicians mightn’t try and imitate Rihanna’s distinctive vocals butthey do give us a stunning instrumental instead.Dramatic swooping strings, pounding drums and quick and dramatic piano flourishes turn Rihanna’s shallow pop song into something much more powerful and epic. A talented bunch of musicians, I also recommend checking out their cover of Lady GaGa and Beyonce’s
Telephone. 4.5 STARS

04. Craig David: All Alone Tonight (Stop Look Listen)
After his previous single
One More Lie (Standing In The Shadows) failed to make any noticeable dent in the charts, the R&B crooner has fired ahead with the second single from his Signed, Sealed, Delivered album. Like the previous single, All Alone Tonightsamples retro-soul act, this time The Stylistics Stop Look Listen (Listen To Your Heart), and gives it a modern twist. I didn’t like One More Lie but I actually like this smooth and groovy mid-tempo R&B. Sadly for Mr. David, like everything he’s done lately, it does sound sort of dated. I don’t think this will be a hit. 3 STARS

05. David Guetta and Chris Willis featuring Fergie and LMFAO: Gettin’ Over You
Only two short months after releasing
Memories, David Guetta has gone full steam ahead with the fifth single from his Gold selling album One Love. For this rejigged album track, Guetta is in full recycle mode. The original album version had Guetta and long time collaborator Chris Willis but for the single version, Fergie and LMFAO (are added to…I dunno…give the song more commercial appeal. What we get is a bouncy guitar heavy dance track like what we heard on Love Is Gone and I Gotta Feeling (which sampled the former). Fergie and Chris Willis are vocally stunning and I don’t know whether to love or hate LM*AO’s ‘Party’ breakdown (or LMFAO for that matter). All the same, the song just feels lacking, when Fergie sings the hook from Boom Boom Pow, changing virtually one word, it feels like we’ve heard this all before. 2 STARS

06. The Drums: Forever And Ever Amen
The brilliant Drums are back with a sunny and sonically pleasing track. The fastly strummed guitar work on this track and the slight backing vocals are great. However, I don’t think I could distinguish this song easily from all the other indie offerings at the moment. An enjoyable enough Summer track but nothing amazing.

07. Glee Cast: Funny Girl
Idina Menzel channels Barbara Streisand in this by the numbers cover. Menzel has a great voice but I found myself wanting to fast forward through this scene because it just dragged out to long and their wasn’t much performance involved.

08. Glee Cast: Bad Romance
Probably my favourite song of the episode, the ladies of
Glee and honorarygirl Kurt perform the song in all its bombastic glory. I wasn’t looking forward to this performance much because we had just got rid of this song from the airwaves but the Glee kids manage to grab the original Lady GaGa version and make it sound…well…gleeful. Amongst the explosive synths, the Glee kids pour their powerful vocals over the song making it nearly as good as the original. 4.5 STARS

09. Glee Cast: Shout It Loud
Who says
Glee can’t rock???!!! It’s great to hear them cover a wide range of music and the Glee boys definitely deliver with this energetic performance of the Kiss hit. 4 STARS

10. Glee Cast: Beth
In the token heartwarming moment of
Glee, Puck sings this Kiss ballad beautifully. He really has a great voice and should be able to highlight that more in the show. Of course, heartwarming is a euphemism for sickeningly cheesy in my book, but those more romantic than me might just love this ballad. 4 STARS

11. Glee Cast: Poker Face
It seems a bit strange that Rachel and Shelby would sing a song about covering up your sexuality and “bluffin’ with your muffin” as the mother and daughter prepare to say goodbye but since when as
Glee being completely logical. Anyways the two look-alikes do a great job of covering the second Lady GaGa song of the episode. Rather than going for the dark electro of the studio version, Lea Michele and Idina Menzel mimic GaGa’s acoustic performance of the song, getting the piano player “whose always around” to play while they bellow out their vocals Broadway style. It’s a terrific performance but it doesn’t sound much different from GaGa’s performance of the song.4 STARS

12. Jason Derulo: Ridin’ Solo
I really hate this track. While
Whatcha Say and In My Head were flawed yet extremely catchy, Ridin’ Solo is just pure irritating. It starts of acapella like Lady GaGa singingPoker Face live before breaking into electro heaviness. The thing that irritates me about the song is the stupid faux Caribbean accent Derulo uses to sing the verses and the fact that he substitutes “tholo” for “solo” on parts of the chorus. Since when was it cool to mispronounce words for no reason? Also, like his previous two singles, Ridin’ Solo sounds like it could be sang by any R&B singer and lacks and real identity or anything to shout about. Plus, it’s just such a headwrecker. 1 STAR

13. Johnny Flynn: Kentucky Pill
This is just fantastic. The male equivalent to Laura Marling has been lying under the radar for years now so I hope that soon he’ll find some degree of success. Flynn, also a poet an actor, has a rich voiceand this is lyrically brilliant against an organic, celebratory production. I recommend you check him out.

14. Lena: Satellite
Lena deservedly won the Eurovision with this catchy toe-tapper. Many people have been comparing her to Lily Allen or Kate Nash but I prefer comparing her voice to Ellie Goulding, albeit more upbeat and less dreamy. Like Ellie, Lena’s distinctive voice is likely to become annoying if the song gets plenty of overplay but for now the song is a pretty catchy jam that makes you want to click your fingers and direct you to the dancefloor.

15. Miley Cyrus: Can’t Be Tamed
I really hated this track when I first heard it but Miley’s magical powers of persuasion have changed my mind. Miley might hate pop music herself but that hasn’t stopped her following pop trends, ditching her Disney pop rock sound for a more electro sound. Still Miley manages to keep things good with a killer pop tune – toe tapping synths, confident verses, a surging bridge and a bombastic chorus. It’s like a twee version of Britney Spears’
Blackout. There’s even a bit where the vocoder is turned up and Miley sounds like Daffy Duck. If Miley continues a career in music, pop or not, she should grow into an interesting artist. 3.5 STARS

16. R. Kelly featuring Soweto Spiritual Singers: Sign Of A Victory
R&B crooner R. Kelly is another artist with a World Cup song. Against minimal Aficanised production, R. Kelly echoes Michael Jackson in his prime. The Soweto Spiritual Singers provide beautiful ethnic backing vocals. This mightn’t exactly be a song you chant along to but this is one of the better World Cup songs out there.

17. Royal Air Force Squadronaires featuring Stacey Solomon: At Last
Remember Stacey Solomon?! The beautiful and talented yet slightly lifeless performer who takes on a cringeworthy bumbling personality when she isn’t singing? Well she’s appearing on the Royal Air Force’s new album and if you’ve heard her rendition of Etta James’
At Last on The X-Factor then you don’t really need to buy this single – unless you’re a diehard Stacey fan. Her voice is fine and the RAF’s brass instrumentation is rich but I am so sick to death of this song being covered over and over by every able voiced singer. 2 STARS

18. Shakira featuring Fleshlyground: Waka Waka (Time For Africa)
The most danceable World Cup song yet. Electro, folk and African music are combined here against Shakira’s distinctive yet seductive vocals. Like most Shakira singles, this is incredibly infectious although the lyrics are missing the quirkiness affiliated with Shakira. Still, if this gets airplay you’ll be humming along to it all Summer.

19. Stornoway: Zorbing
After failing to make a dent in the charts with their last single
I Saw You Blink, hopefullyZorbing will do better. It certainly seems to be getting more promotion. Singer Brian Biggs has a great voice – so ear snagging. This great track has enough changes in tone and instrumentation, it’s sure to keep you intrigued. I must check out their new album.4 STARS

20. Sunset Hotel: The Bitter End
This is the debut single by Irish indie band Sunset Hotel which recently (out of nowehere) managed to get into the Irish Top 10. What I’m hearing is a lot of angsty whining without any definable chorus. It’s not particularly bad, I can see how radio would pick it up but this doesn’t sound much different from a number of indie tracks that have come and go over the years.

So yeah, this week has been a pretty disappointing one for mainstream releases. If it wasn’t for World Cup songs and Eurovision songs, would there be any real singles released this week. Anyways, as usual comments and feedback would be nice. Hopefully, I’ll be back next week with another Singles Reviews Diary.

T.I. makes comeback with new Keri Hilson assisted single ‘Got Your Back’

Recently released from prison, T.I. is wasting no time with his eagerly anticipated comeback to the music industry. After releasing the rather brilliant ‘buzz single’ I’m Back a few months ago, the Georgian MC is here with the lead single from new album King Uncaged.

Produced by DJ Toomp and featuring Keri Hilson, the track Got Your Back is a decent but hardly groundbreaking urban pop rap tune that should do reasonably well. I have a feeling it will be a real grower in fact.

T.I.P. has also collaborated with woman of the moment, Lady GaGa for the RedOne produced song Lick It. The album will be released on 17th August and will feature other collaborations with Eminem, The-Dream and Trey Songz.

You can listen to Got Your Back below:

Singles Reviews Diary 8 – 26th March 2010


Okay, I’m doubtful you people are that excited about my Singles Reviews Diary (its 8 weeks old now by the way) so I’ll just get on with it.

Singles Reviews Diary 8 – 26th March 2010

01. 30 Seconds To Mars: This Is War

Your typical US ‘epic’ rock song. Personally I love this sort of thing but not everyone will lap up the Jared Leto fronted band’s brand of rock with soaring, angst ridden vocals and heavy power chords. It’s a strong second single from the album of the same name though. Also doubles up as the lead single from new video game Dragon Age: Origins.

02. Alex Gardner: I’m Not Mad
Xenomania might be best known for crafting pop hits for girlbands such as Girls Aloud and Sugababes but here they’ve taken time out to work with the newest UK male solo artist to bring something slightly more alternative to the table. Alex Gardner can best be described as a Scottish Erik Hassle. Much like Hassle’s work, this electropop track is brooding and angsty and probably not everyone’s cup of tea. Gardner has a good voice for his 19 years though and he’s sure to gain a legion of female fans due to looking very like a certain Mr. Rob Pattinson.

03. Ash: War With Me
Just to inform you all that Ash have now released the 13th single from their forthcoming singles format series
A-Z Series. This track is a cheery little love song but nothing they, or any other band, have never done before…a thousand times before. 4 STARS

04. Corrine Bailey Rae: Paris Nights/New York Mornings
I’m glad to see that Corrine’s album
The Sea is not full of downbeat material after the death of her husband. This is a beautiful, light little number with Corrine’s distinctive vocals being as charming as ever. It’s no Put Your Records On but it’s still incredibly enjoyable. 4 STARS

05. Crystal Swing: He Drinks Tequila
Maybe this doesn’t deserve the Stinker Of The Week award, I would have given it to the Gummy Bears track below but it’s far too easy to knock novelty singles so this gets it instead. The song was featured on The Ellen DeGeneres St. Patrick’s Day show and their basically the newest YouTube sensations. But the thing is, this song is completely naff. Comprised of a mother, son and daughter…this is a cringeworthy country and western song that can basically be heard by drunken locals in any pub in Ireland. Good voices and good performers they may be but I really just cannot get over how bad this is.

06. The Drums: Best Friend
The ever brilliant Drums return with this new single. On their website, The Drums have said they only write about two types of feelings, “one is the first day of summer when you and all of your friends are standing on the edge of a cliff watching the sun set and being overcome with all of your hopes and dreams at once. The other is when you’re walking alone in the rain and realize you will be alone forever.” This song appears to be about the former feeling. Anyway, I recommend you all get downloading on this song as it borrows lots of elements from the 1960s – good old classic rock ‘n’ roll.

07. Glee Cast: And I’m Telling You I’m Not Going
It’s the last episode of the current series of
Glee *sniff whine wail* and this week we get four singles from the cast and for a while at least the chart will be free of Gleemadness. Jennifer Hudson Junior sounds practically identical to Jennifer Hudson Senior on this track from the Dreamgirls soundtrack. It’s a huge soulful number and I really think J.H.J. (Mercedes, I think that’s her name in the show) really could get a record deal when the show ends. 4 STARS

08. Glee Cast: Don’t Rain On My Parade
The Hot Social Outcast goes all theatrical on this big showtune made most famous by Barbara Streisand. Again I think, the Hot Social Outcast could get a record deal after the show ends, as she really has the most versatile voice out of the whole class and always gives it her all.

09. Glee Cast: You Can’t Always Get What You Want
I know I shouldn’t like their campy cover of Rolling Stones’
You Can’t Always Get You Want but it’s actually sort of amazing. It includes all the cast getting their own solo pieces and I actually think this is my favourite Glee track of the week simply because it’s so uplifting. Brilliant stuff. 5 STARS

10. Glee Cast: My Life Would Suck Without You
This is probably going to be the
Glee song that will chart this week. I still prefer the Kelly Clarkson version but with its huge chorus and lyrics about love and support, it was only matter of time before Glee covered this anyway. 3 STARS

11. Gummibar: The Gummy Bear Song
Like Crazy Frog except it’s a green teddy bear and he’s not exposing his genitalia to the World, this is basically another ridiculous novelty song. Thankfully, I think most people have wisened up to novelty songs and I don’t think this will be hitting the No.1 spot anytime soon. For some reason, Gummy Bear reminds me of Basshunter.

12. HIM: Scared To Death
The Finnish rock band are back with a new single which is actually very enjoyable. Shows plenty of emotion and vulnerability on the track. If you haven’t listened to HIM before, I recommend you give this a listen.

13. Katherine Jenkins: Love Never Dies
The classical opera singer releases the title track from Andrew Lloyd Webber’s new musical. Her voice is heavenly and if you like opera then you’ll like this. Jenkins doesn’t sound much different from any other classical artist though. Probably the fact that she’s young and blonde and pretty is why she’s so successful at the minute.

14. Keri Hilson: I Like
This one doesn’t seem to be getting any airplay on the music channels or on the radio. Which is a shame. Because this is Keri’s finest solo single yet and there’s not a Lil Wayne, Kanye West or a Ne-Yo to help her out. Originally released as a German only single, this Europoppy number is perfect for the clubs. And it’s not a song about female empowerment or a song about being drunk or being hassled by your telephone. This is a sensual, euphoric type of club track about getting up, close and personal with that special someone. The production is glossy and shiny and Keri’s voice is full of longing. This track is bit like an Americanised R&B version of Ellie Goulding’s
Starry Eyed. I’m hoping it will be a hit. 4 STARS

15. Kids In Glass Houses: Matters At All
A strong lead single from Kids In Glass Houses’ new album
Dirt. I’m liking this a lot more than the new You Me At Six single. Has a great melody and a crowd pleasing chorus. 3.5 STARS

16. Lil’ Jon featuring Kee and Tinchy Stryder: Give It All U Got
Your typical crap rap club track. Lil Jon shouts a lot, Kee is the latest dance diva to warble out an Auto Tuned, catchy chorus and Tinchy provides an alternative to Jon’s shouty raps with his Cockney flow. A catchy enough track, more enjoyable than Flo Rida, but not original at all.

17. Mariah Carey featuring Ne-Yo: Angels Cry
After Mariah’s last album
Memoirs Of An Imperfect Angel flopped hard with no hit singles, it was decided that some of the songs would be remixed and would be put on a remix album known as Angels Advocate. In another bad turn for Mariah, Angels Advocate has been shelved and Mimi is working on a brand new studio album. One of the singles from the remix album is being released this week though and that is Angels Cry, a big teary eyed ballad that been given a little extra help with Ne-Yo’s smooth crooning. Not a bad one at all. I’m no Mariah fan but fans of her older stuff will be happy to know that this is as close as new Mariah (the one who’s fond of acting like a 17 year old girl) will get to being classic Mariah (the big voiced diva of the 1990s). 3 STARS

18. Nneka: Walking
Anyone who can’t wait for M.I.A.’s new album (due out in July) should check out Nneka. The Nigerian hip-hop soul singer releases her single
Walking and it’s absolutely brilliant. It’s got a M.I.A.esque chorus and has a singy rap style that actually manages to sound soulful at the same time. Take that Ke$ha and Uffie. Love it! 5 STARS

19. Ou Est Le Swimming Pool: These New Knights
While their music is good, Ou Est Le Swimming Pool is yet another ‘80s throwback band. This song is another fantastic slice of ‘80s pop but does it have a current place in today’s market. I don’t think so.

20. Plan B: She Said
Absolutely loving this! I know that Plan B has been somewhat successful but if this track goes the right way, Plan B could be as big as Amy Winehouse. And Amy Winehouse isn’t a bad comparison with this song. In fact, it could be compared to the Ghostface Killah remix of
You Know I’m No Good. Singing in falsetto amongst a jazzy backing and finger snaps, Plan B never destroys the sound of this melodic singalong track even when he breaks into his gruff rap. In fact, I love that aspect of the song – the change from singing to rapping. It keeps the song fresh. Plan B is showing us all that there’s still hope for male artists in the music industry. 4 STARS

21. Scouting For Girls: This Ain’t A Love Song
Yes it is actually but that’s not the point. I loved S.F.G.’s
She’s So Luvverly but every song that succeeded that sounded almost the same and I lost interest in the band. Thankfully, they’ve returned with a very strong lead single from new album Everybody Wants To Be On TV. The band have matured a bit with this very catchy power ballad and Roy Stride’s distinctive vocals have a hint of a falsetto to it. Now, the lads have to prove with this new album that they can deliver beyond lead singles.

22. Yeasayer: O.N.E.
A great experimental rock track from the US rockers. A real grower. I love it!