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 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 9 – 2nd April 2010

It’s the Good Friday edition of my Singles Reviews Diary! After two poor weeks for singles, things are looking up this week with 32 singles – most of them good. Most of them okay. In fact, it was very difficult to pick a stinker this week but I did!

Singles Reviews Diary 9 – 5th April 2010:

01. Amerie: Heard ‘Em All
Amerie hit the big time with the infectious and funky hit single
1 Thing back in 2005 but ever since she’s faded away into obscurity. She’s now back with new single Heard ‘Em All. So does it tick the right boxes? Well yes. It has a reasonably catchy chorus. It has a great, drum heavy production thanks to hit producer Sean Garret. It has some World music effects that are all the rage at the minute. It has a dark yet raunchy video with some hot choreography. But what is she doing different from Beyoncé, Rihanna, Ciara et al. Nothing really. And that’s where Amerie and this song fall down. The song is listenable and fun but nothing very original about it at all. 3 STARS

02. Beach House: Zebra
A beautiful and dreamy torch song from the US band. I agree with Harry however, this song is tends to go on too long and can’t keep the momentum going for its 4 minute 52 second length. Nice background music though.
3.5 STARS

03. Ben Montague: Haunted
A schmaltzy and clichéd pop ballad about love and heartbreak. Housewives and adult contemporary radio will love the powerful voiced Montague on this song but this could just as easily have been sang by James Morrison, Robbie Williams or any of the Take That members and nobody would tell the difference.
2.5 STARS

04. Clipse featuring Pharrell: I’m Good
A breezy Summery tune from rap duo Clipse. Produced by the Neptunes and featuring Pharrell, this sounds like something that would have ruled the charts back at the start of the 2000s but probably wouldn’t do so well now as it doesn’t have the Europop effect. Still, not a bad driving song at all. Something to put you in a Summery mood despite the lack of originality.
3 STARS

TRACK OF THE WEEK!
05. Codeine Velvet Club: Vanity Kills
Jon Lawler of The Fratellis teams up with Scottish chanteuse Lou Hickey for this ambitious side project as new band Codeine Velvet Club. This song is just fantastic and I hope it gets the airplay it deserves as it gets the re-release treatment. One side of a double A-side single, this is a big band jazzy number with Jon and Lou’s vocals complimenting each other perfectly. Could easily be chosen for the next James Bond soundtrack.
5 STARS

06. Codeine Velvet Club: Little Sister
Wow, now this shows that the band is versatile.
Vanity Kills might have been a big jazzy number but this track is more old school rock ‘n’ roll with Jon and Lou’s vocals complimenting each other brilliantly once again. The album which this song is taken from Codeine Velvet Club was released back at the end of last year and I’m surprised I’ve only heard of these guys now. Here’s hoping this time round, they get some recognition. 4.5 STARS

07. Coheed & Cambria: The Broken
Coheed & Cambria are back with a teaser single from their new album
Year Of The Black Rainbow. Heavy and atmospheric, this prog rock isn’t a million miles away from 30 Seconds To Mars This Is War although lacking in the mainstream chorus department. A fairly decent indication of what’s to come but it doesn’t particularly excite me either. 3 STARS

08. David Guetta featuring Kid Cudi: Memories
Finally David Guetta releases the standout song from his
One Love album. Amongst a ‘90s sounding piano backing, Kid Cudi dispenses his vocals in a mellow, almost bored way. But it works and fits well with the tone of the song. And I think we can all relate to the lyrics. Trust me, boy racers will love this song as they’re driving around in their souped up Puntos, but that’s not to say the rest of us can’t enjoy it to. Manages to find that neat balance between being danceable and being a chilled out holiday tune. 4 STARS

09. Delirious?: History
How random is it that Facebook are now controlling the release of songs these days. AHHHH! The Internet is taking over the World. Seeing as Easter is the most important holiday in the Christian calendar, it’s only fitting that a Christian rock band knocks that she-devil Lady GaGa off the top spot for Easter Sunday! I quite like the song, it has an inspirational message and tone and as Harry quite rightly pointed out, it does sound a bit like U2. Its not exactly doing anything new but its something different from the usual crop of songs infiltrating the radio at the minute.
3.5 STARS

10. Doves: Andalucia
The Doves show they’ve still got it with this very enjoyable new single from their first Greatest Hits album
The Places Between: The Best Of Doves. The song is a real grower mainly thanks to Jimi Goodwin’s trademark moody vocals. That’s not to say the song is moody, it has upbeat instrumentation and some great subtle backing vocals on the chorus that add an extra element to the song. Doves fans will not be disappointed. 4 STARS

11. Flyleaf: Missing
I’ve also wondered why Flyleaf weren’t more successful. They have an attractive and talented female lead singer and despite being part of the ‘alternative metal’ category always have songs drenched with catchy vocal and instrumental hooks. It’s probably because, on this song especially, Flyleaf don’t sound all that different from the more successful Paramore. Strong angst ridden vocals. Check. Upbeat instrumentation that sounds like a combination between any punk pop song out there and Evanescence. Check. On
Missing, Flyleaf have everything Paramore have had on their previous singles but because Paramore became successful first, its almost like they’ve put up a road block to the mainstream and no-one else of their style can get through. Still this is a pretty catchy tune but doesn’t sound remarkably original. 3 STARS

12. Heathers: Remember When
The movie
Heathers seems to strike a cord with twin sisters. It was the inspiration behind Aussie twins The Veronicas and also seems to be the inspiration behind the bandname for these Irish twins. Remember When is seriously catchy, the folky chorus will stick in your brain like bubblegum on first listen. Not sure if I care for the sisters’ singing style but why should that matter when you can’t get their damn voices out of you’re head. 3.5 STARS

13. John O’Callaghan featuring Sarah Howells: Find Yourself
This song has been around in Ireland for ages, booming out of every nightclub and it finally gets its release in the UK this week. Again, there is nothing original about this song at all. This trance song has a big chance of becoming a hit though because of the infectious bridge chorus by singer Sarah Howell who sounds like a Celtic Cascada on this track. I have to admit this is a guilty pleasure of mine. Better than Inna’s
Hot by a long shot anyway. 3 STARS

14. Joshua Radin: I’d Rather Be With You
A soft and breezy song by the American singer-songwriter. Sounds pretty much exactly like Jason Mraz with the laidback vocals and warm, cushy melody. Basically, it sounds so eerily like a Jason Mraz song that I’m retitling this song
I’m Yours 2010. Nice listen but horribly unoriginal. 2.5 STARS

15. The Joy Formidable: Popinjay
This song is a good one to bob the head along to. It’s not doing anything from its indie peers but with some catchy guitar riffs, subtle synths and a kind of trippy animated video, its not bad at all.
3 STARS

16. Kanye West: Coldest Winter
Who knew that Kanye was still promoting his
808s & Heartbreak album. After much critical acclaim for the album and a Top 5 hit in Love Lockdown, the whole project seemed to go downhill after some poor charting singles and his disastrous appearance at the VMAs. But no Kanye is still pushing on. Coldest Winter basically epitomises the whole 808s & Heartbreak album. It’s cold, it’s bleak, and it’s sparse. It’s got tribal drumming and not much else as Kanye whines in Auto-Tune over the loss of his mother shortly before the album was released. Despite the use of Auto-Tune, West manages to show plenty of vulnerability on this track which probably shows why he’s one of the best rappers in the game at the moment. This isn’t as immediately arresting as Strongeror Gold Digger but it’s another solid entry into the Kanye catalogue all the same. We forgive you, Mr. West. 3.5 STARS

17. Lawrence Arabia: Apple Pie Bed
Check out the video for this, its amazing LOL! This song seems to have what I call the Mika Complex. It’s both irritating and catchy in equal measure, while New Zealander Lawrence Arabia (great name!) is certainly more alternative than the colourful poppy Mika, the chorus has that whole annoying falsetto going on the whole way through. I’m not going to come down to hard on Mika…I mean Lawrence…though ‘cause he’s intrigued me into listening to his other stuff. So a good effort for a first single.
3 STARS

18. MGMT: Flash Delirium
The super hip MGMT return with this teaser from their new album
Congratulations. While not exactly as infectious as Kids, this experimental song is a grower and like Lawrence Arabia above has an amazing video that would rival Lady GaGa’s Telephone if only it would get as much airplay. 3.5 STARS

19. OneRepublic: Secrets
Soaring strings and heavy drum beats. Yep, its another Ryan Tedder production. This man fails to show any originality at all. This is another soaring arena rock ballad with a giant chorus. It’s not particularly bad and its extremely catchy but shake things up a bit, Ryan, because people are getting tired off you. Thankfully, Ryan’s production doesn’t sound as recycled with OneRepublic but if he gave this backing track to another solo female artist, I wouldn’t be as kind with my rating.
2.5 STARS

20. Paramore: The Only Exception
When I bought Paramore’s album
Brand New Eyes back in September, this was a track that I skipped over a lot because I prefer uptempo Paramore as opposed to gooey romantic Paramore. And while this song is all gooey and romantic and would have been a perfect Valentine’s Day single, it actually shows a different side to the band. This is the first soft rock ballad that Paramore have released in their five years on the scene and lead singer Hayley Williams shows plenty of vulnerability on the song, using a much softer range than we’re used to hearing from her with the four guys complimenting her well. Hayley brings up her parents divorce on the acoustic laden track and as the pitch in her voice and the drumbeats increase on the climax of the song, there’s a definite sense of power towards the end. It’s not quite as good as previous singles Ignoranceand Brick By Boring Brick but it definitely sounds more commercial so here’s hoping it shoots up the charts. 3.5 STARS

21. Plasticines: Another Kiss
Loving this one from the French all girl rock band. Has that 1990s rock sound that I’m really loving at the moment. Unlikely to be a hit over here but that doesn’t decrease its brilliance.
4 STARS

STINKER OF THE WEEK!
22. Polluted Mindz featuring Master Shortie: Daydream
Finally I found myself a Stinker of the Week! This is like someone collided Akon and Sidney Samson together. If that sounds good to you well I’m pretty sure that Polluted Mindz has basically plagurised the highly recognisable synth breakdown of
Riverside (Let’s Go!). Expect to see Polluted Mindz in court very soon. 1.5 STARS

23. R. Kelly: Be My #2
Ever since R. Kelly was charged with paedophilia , he’s failed to gain a hit since. I don’t know whether Mr. Kelly is actually a pervert or not but he’s certainly producing some of his best work yet. Amongst a funky dance backing, R. Kelly croons out with that smooth mellow R&B voice which has fast become my guilty pleasure. Not as good as last year’s duet
Number One with Keri Hilson but pleasant enough all the same. 3 STARS

24. Sabrina Washington: OMG
Much like her former bandmate Alesha Dixon, this lead single from Sabrina Washington’s new album is irritating beyond belief…just like
The Boy Does Nothing, the lead single from Alesha’s album was irritating beyond belief! Where as The Boy Does Nothing was just irritating because it sounded like a novelty tune along the lines of Mambo No. 5,OMG is just plain annoying because its absolutely drowned in Auto-Tune and Sabrina’s attempts to get down with the kids by using MSN speak is just embarrassing. That said, however, I still think Sabrina has potential as a pop star beyond this single and Alesha surprised me her follow-ups so I won’t knock this too bad. At least the production sounds good. 2 STARS

25. Slash featuring Andrew Stockdale: By The Sword
Slash, the essence of Guns ‘N’ Roses and current guitarist with Velvet Revolver, returns with this new single from his eponymous debut solo album. With Andrew Stockdale, the lead singer from Wolfmother, on vocal duties, this is a fantastic classic sounding blues rock sound. I think I can even hear a little bit of a Led Zeppelin influence in there. Very excited about the new album now.
5 STARS

26. The Twilight Sad: The Room
I have to agree with Spirit on this one. This is the song to listen to when you’re feeling sad and lonely and realise that you’re not the only person in the World that feels this way. The aching piano melody combine beautifully in a mournful way with James Graham’s thick yet vulnerable sounding Scottish accent on this terrific new single from their second album
Forget The Night Ahead. 5 STARS

27. Taio Cruz featuring Ludacris: Break Your Heart
After successfully shooting to Number 1 and breaking records in the US with this updated version of last year’s UK number one hit, this video should be appearing on the music channels at this time. Naturally Ludacris’ rap was simply put into the song to appeal to the US market but where as guest raps generally feel phoned in, Ludacris’ rap flows well with the song. As for the rest of the song, well my mind hasn’t changed from last time, its as catchy as swine flu but so generic and once this electro craze ends, the song will be forgotten about completely.
3 STARS.

28. Taylor Swift: Fearless
Ahead of the official release of the boring and uninspiring
Today Was A Fairytale, Taylor releases this for promotional purposes. While many of Swift’s songs have been watered down into pure pop songs for the UK market, this one retains some of its country roots. It’s not exactly a masterpiece but Fearless has a pretty decent chorus and message which bears closer to the hit You Belong With Me than the hot mess that was Fifteen. It’s unlikely to be a hit but I can’t help this song from Taylor Swift. 3 STARS

29. Wallis Bird: LaLaLand
The normally folky singer songwriter sounds like P!nk on the verses of this re-released single from her sophomore album
New Boots. The chorus is reasonably catchy but lyrically Wallis goes down the same old path by sending forth the message that she’s real and shuns the Hollywood lifestyle. Okay. 3 STARS

30. We Are Scientists: Rules Don’t Stop
We Are Scientists are back with new single
Rules Don’t Stop from forthcoming albumBarbara. This is a really strong comeback single. Instantly catchy and likeable. A must have for the singles you’re sure to download after reading this post. 🙂 4 STARS

31. Whitney Houston: Nothin’ But Love
People may say that Whitney’s voice may not be what is used to be but thanks to a little studio magic, Whitney’s strong and husky voice sounds as good as ever. To coincide with her upcoming tour of the same name,
Nothin’ But The Love is a synthy mid-tempo that sounds classy but in no way’s dated. I’m actually surprised by how much I like this one from Whitney who has impressed me since her comeback a few months ago. 4 STARS

P.S. ChartBlog favourites Sean Kingston and Justin Bieber officially release new singleEenie Meenie this week.

Singles Reviews Diary 5 – 5th 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).

Singles Reviews Diary 5 – 5th March 2010

01. A Fine Frenzy: Happier
Better known to her Mom and Dad as Alison Sudol, this gorgeous singer is something like a combination of Colbie Caillat and some anti-folk artist from the
Juno soundtrack. As for Happier, it’s a breezy Summery track with some light breathy vocals. Really like this actually. 4 STARS

02. Agnes: On And On
Poor Agnes. Looks like she’s gonna be a #1 hit wonder after failing to replicate the success of her surprise smash Summer hit
Release Me. This basically sounds like an inferior version of that song. Theres nothing to distinguish this from any songs we’re likely to hear in the Eurovision, only a month and a half away. Yup, ’nuff said. 2 STARS

03. Alicia Keys featuring Drake: Un-thinkable (I’m Ready)
Alicia Keys keeps the momentum going for her
The Element Of Freedom LP with this promotional single. It’s actually a really beautiful song but probably wouldn’t work as an official single. Drake’s harmonies work well with Alicia’s soulful vocals. 3 STARS

04. Avril Lavigne: Alice (Underground)
“IIIIIIIIIIIII….Iiiii’lll get byyyyyyyyyyyy…” yells Avril on the lead single of the Almost Alice soundtrack. Well we certainly won’t Avril as you’re making my ears bleed with your banshee howl. I can’t help thinking this would have been way better in the hands of a more stronger singer like Alanis Morrisette or Amy Lee. However, the thundering percussion and the quiet piano melodies make this just about bearable. 2.5 STARS

Sidenote: What’s the deal with the Almost Alice soundtrack? I mean you think a soundtrack based on a Tim Burton film would be that bit more alternative and gothic sounding. But instead we get 3OH!3, All American Rejects, Owl City and Metro Station — talk about disappointing acts.

05. Bombay Bicycle Club: Evening/Morning
It’s okay and that’s all I have to say. It’s more of an instrumental than a song with vocals. The video disturbs me greatly.
2 STARS

06. Enter Shikari: Tribalism
The clue is in the title – this song is… um well…tribal. Enter Shikari are a hardcore punk band so vicious vocals and loud screaming are to be expected. This isn’t quite as noisy as official single Thumper though. 3 STARS

07. Evanescence: Together Again
Ahead of the release of their new album this Autumn, Evanescence do their bit for Haiti by releasing a B-side of their 2006 album
The Open Door as a charity single. This is a typical Evanescence track…dramatic strings, tinkling pianos, creepy choirs and Amy Lee’s haunted wail. It’s all a bit too melodramatic for a Haiti single but if you’re a fan of the band, I recommend you go out and buy this. 2 STARS

TRACK OF THE WEEK!
08. Gabriella Cilmi: On A Mission
All my personal (stalkerish) obsessive feelings of love (and lust) for Cilmi aside, this is actually a fantastic tune. It sounds like it came right out of the ’80s and everything from the production to the chorus to the verses and even the cringeworthy rap breakdown in the middle are all amazing. If this is what she’s doing at 18, can you imagine what a fantastic artist she will be in a few years time.
5 STARS

09. Glee Cast: Endless Love
It’s all about the ballads this week on
Glee as the episode these songs are taken from is called ‘Ballad’. A big solid cheesy cover of Diana Ross and Lionel Richie from Hot Social Outcast Girl and The Shoe (Uncool Glee Leader). I actually hope the TV footage is used as a music video for this song ’cause the Shoe’s facial expressions are absolutely hilarious. 3 STARS

10. Glee Cast: I’l Stand By You
The Jock takes the lead with this song. I cringed so much in his soppy cover of The Pretenders/Girls Aloud song/cover.
3 STARS

11. Glee Cast: Don’ Stand So Close To Me/Young Girl
The Shoe does a really good job of this mash-up of songs by The Police and Gary Puckett & The Union. However, this is more episode centric and works better if you see it on TV.
4 STARS

12. Glee Cast: Crush
This actually far surpasses the 1998 original by Jennifer Paige basically ’cause Hot Social Outcast Girl has a much better voice. My favourite
Glee track this week. 3.5 STARS

13. Glee Cast: (You’re) Having My Baby
This is a cover of a song by Paul Anka and Odia Coates. Again, I cringe everytime I hear the Jock sing and I’m kind of annoyed his Pregnant Baby Mama didn’t join him. Still his voice is good enough.
3 STARS

14. Glee Cast: Lean On Me
And this is the big heartwarming ballad that the whole Glee Club come out and sing for the Jock and his Baby Mama. It might bring a tear to some people’s eye but for a heartless cynic like me, I just stare stony faced at the screen when this is sang.
3.5 STARS

15. Goldfrapp: Rocket
As I’ve said on the Goldfrapp post already, it’s unlikely that they’ll ever surpass their hippyish folky album
Seventh Tree with me. However, Rocket, a synthy, icy mid-tempo ’80s throwback is a quiet grower. I love it. 4 STARS

16. Hadouken!: Mic Check
This is actually amazing. The ravey instrumental for this is worth purchasing alone. If this comes on in a club, I will definitely be first on the dancefloor for this beauty.
4.5 STARS

17. Hermione Hennessy: Fall At Your Feet
This song is by the British raised daughter of late Irish singer Christie Hennessy. This is actually a really enjoyable song. Might work best for the adult contemporary crowd but this actually sounds like The Corrs.
3.5 STARs

18. Ja Rule featuring R. Kelly: Incredible
Are we seeing the return of classic R&B? I sure hope so. But maybe just ’cause R. Kelly sings the chorus on this track. This takes me back to the early 2000s when R&B was so good and not trashy and generic like it is now. This is all classic piano loops and smooth harmonizing from Kelly. Ja Rule’s pretty good too.
4 STARS

19. Jimi Hendrix: Bleeding Heart
This is classic rock ‘n’ roll from the legendary guitarist. This is very enjoyable but I’m really against the release of posthumous singles and albums. These were all probably demos Hendrix created and didn’t think was good enough for a studio album and now they appear 40 years later after his death (my God, has it been that long)! Will appear on his upcoming album
Valleys Of Neptune. 3.5 STARS

20. John Mayer: Heartbreak Warfare
As much as it pains me to say this, this womanizing racist actually has a lot of talent. Great rock track. Kind of sounds like Coldplay.
3.5 STARS

21. Kat Deluna featuring Akon: Push Push
She sounds like a combination of Shakira and Rihanna. In other words, she has no originality and needs Akon to help her out on this dancehall R&B track. Unlikely to be a hit. If her brilliant
Run This Show couldn’t make it, then I doubt this will. 2.5 STARS

22. Kid Cudi: Know Why
Poor Cudi looks like he’s fallen into the same trap as fellow intelligent rappers Wale and Lupe Fiasco in that he’s unlikely to see the success of a hit like
Day ‘N’ Nite again. Can’t believe this song will be ignored when crap by Flo Rida and Pitbull will be snapped up by the masses. 4 STARS

23. Lil’ Jon: Get In And Get Out
I like the beat for this but that’s about it! Jeez John, do you actually talk like that in real life.
1.5 STARS

24. Livvi France: Automatik
After the terrible
Now I’m That Chick, Livvi returns with a rather good club banger. But aren’t we hearing this from everyone in the charts at the moment especially Lady GaGa. Sounds like Just Dance and Poker Face. 2.5 STARS

25. Ludacris featuring Chris Angel: Mindfreak 3 STARS

26. Ludacris featuring Trey Songz: Sex Room 3.5 STARS

27. Ludacris: Sexting 2.5 STARS

^^^^The above three are all promo singles from his Battle Of The Sexes album. It’s a fun album and the songs are all fine but fairly standard run of the mill rap tracks. I love Sexting. I thought I had made that word up myself but obviously not. 😦

28. Monica: Everything To Me
The incredibly soulful Monica makes a nice yet unextraordinary return to the World of music. This is really good but nothing we haven’t heard before.
2.5 STARS

29. McLean: My Name
Boring. Who is this guy? This sounds like a Taio Cruz B-side. Next!
1.5 STARS

30. Norah Jones: Stuck
I’m pleasantly surprised. I was expecting another sleepy ballad from Miss Jones but she’s really moving outside the box with this more interesting second single from upcoming album
The Fall. I might check it out if this single is an indication of the new album. 4 STARS

STINKER OF THE WEEK!
31.
Pixie Lott: Gravity
I really like Pixie and think she’s amazingly talented for her 19 years and think she gets an awful lot of unnecessary abuse. But this song is kind of disgraceful as a single. I haven’t listened to her album
Turn It Up but I’ve heard there’s much better songs on the album like Here We Go Again and Turn It Up. Okay, so it’s not the worst song ever but Pixie sounds like she has a headcold with that nasal singing against the mid-tempo setting. “Gravity, gravity, gravity…” is repeated too many times on the chorus and I don’t like that a deep male voice sings it too. Its just annoying. 1 STAR

32. Robbie Williams: Morning Sun
It’s good but it’s not great. Robbie plays it safe with this so-so ballad. I’d prefer
You Know Me anyday. 2 STARS

33. Sean Garret featuring Plies: Lay U Down
Ah go away, T-Pain impersonators!!!!
1 STAR

34. Shane McGowan & Friends: I Put A Spell On You
This is my favourite Haiti charity record. Really raw and emotive vocals from Shane McGowan, Paloma Faith, Johnny Depp, Bobby Gillespie, Glen Matlock, Chrissie Hynde and Eliza Dolittle. Not sure if a cover of the Screaming Jay Hawkins hit is appropriate in relation to Haiti. But hey! This is a good record people will want to buy instead of feeling obliged to buy.
3 STARS

35. Steve Aoki featuring [[[ Zuper Blahq ]]]: I’m In The House
This sounds suspiciously like Will.I.Am on this novelty dance track which uses the hook “I’m in the house!” for chart success. We all know how crappy Will is solo and over a dance beat, he’s probably worse. This isn’t Will.I.Am. but it sounds identical to him. This is obviously cashing in on the success of Sidney Samson’s
Riverside (Let’s Go!)which this track also sounds like. 2 STARS

36. T-Pain featuring Young Jeezy: Reverse Cowgirl
If you’ve heard one T-Pain track, you’ve heard ’em all. Auto-Tuned drivel.
2 STARS

37. Young Jeezy featuring Plies: Lose My Mind
Much like his collaborator above, if you’ve heard one Young Jeezy song, you’ve heard them all from the gruff voiced rapper. What’s he doing releasing his own solo material. Do what yo do best: being a rent-a-rapper.
1 STAR

That took FOREVER!!! Please feel free to compliment/argue with my reviews!

Singles Reviews Diary 4 – 29th February 2010

Why can’t I ever post my singles review diary on the right day? Oh well. Took me ages to write this one out. And guess what?! These posts are now a month old. Time just flies, doesn’t it? Here are the forthcoming singles.

Singles Reviews Diary 4 – 29th February 2010:

01. Alex Cornish: Scotland The Brave
Nope, this isn’t a cover of the patriotic Scottish song. Instead this is a decent enough but hardly groundbreaking soft rocker by the up and coming Scottish singer songwriter.
2 STARS

Scotland the Brave

02. Amy Macdonald: Don’t Tell Me That It’s Over
It’s all about the Scottish singer songwriters this week, isn’t it? The fabulous Amy Macdonald is back ahead of the release of her second album A Curious Thing. Website We Are Pop Slags have compared this song to Shakira and Muse. True, enough Amy does sound like Shakira on this one albeit with a more Celtic lilt to her voice and the more heavy guitars and strings could be compared to Muse. It’s an interesting new direction for the singer and I’ll keep my ears open but I’m still preferring her earlier folk tunes.
3.5 STARS

File:Amy macdonald-dont tell me that its over s.jpg

03. Ash: Song Of Your Desire
Another melodic song from Ash. This is the 12th single from their A-Z Series so still another 15 singles to go. The lack of hype or the sheer difficulty of being able to find these singles online show that these guys need to seriously start a new project soon.
3 STARS

Ash - Song Of Your Desire: 7-inch + Download: £5.00 packshot

04. The Automatic: Run And Hide
The Automatic are back and sounding better than ever on this uptempo new track from their upcoming album Tear The Signs Down. This is immediately gripping on first listen.
4 STARS

05. Boyzone: Gave It All Away
Boyzone are back after a rough year. This reggae tinged ballad features vocals from late band member Stephen Gately and features him singing the lyric “I will learn to live before I die”. To be honest if this had been released with Gately still alive, I would have considered it a solid rather than spectacular effort from the Boyz. The fact that Gately is now gone, this track holds a lot more significance than it would have originally.
2 STARS

06. Crookers featuring Miike Snow: Remedy
Miike Snow are back with another grim yet enjoyable listen. Italian producers Crookers, probably best known for remixing Kid Cudi’s Day ‘N’ Nite, give the song an alternative club mix.
3 STARS

07. The-Dream: Love King
The producer behind Rihanna’s Umbrella and Beyoncé’s Single Ladies (Put It In A Love Song) releases a new single. Like the two aforementioned songs he produced, this is a fun and catchy if a little repetitive R&B track.
3.5 STARS

08. Eels: A Line In The Dirt
The Eels return with the first single from their fantastic new album End Times. Mark Oliver Everett’s distinctive vocals are in place as usual against this melodic, piano backed song.
3 STARS

09. Fe-Nix: Swagga
Britain’s favourite underground girlband fe-nix come out with a real winner of a urban pop song. It’s really catchy and should make up for the lack of Pussycat Dolls at the moment. A refreshing alternative to all the Sugababes and Saturdays stuff at the moment.
3.5 STARS

10. Glee Cast: Dancing With Myself 3 STARS

Dancing With Myself (Glee Cast Version)

11. Glee Cast: Defying Gravity 4 STARS

Defying Gravity (Glee Cast Version)

12. Glee Cast: Proud Mary 4 STARS

Proud Mary (Glee Cast Version)

Covers of Generation X, Wicked and Creedence Clearwater Revival this week. There’s no real point in me reviewing these songs because with Glee, you get the original song made a little more cheesy, a little more stage schooly and features kooky backing vocals. However, I did sit down and watch the show last night with my sister for the first time. I have to say I was pleasantly surprised. For all its cheese, Glee is a show that doesn’t take itself too seriously and is actually quite satiric when it comes to all the typical high school movie/TV show clichés. It’s still a bit too cheery for me so I don’t think I’ll be a long term fan

Anyway I think I should comment on the cast members vocals. I don’t remember any of their names so I’m gonna give them all nicknames. Well, the rulers of the Glee club at the moment are the Uncool Rapper Teacher and the Blond Unsmiling Evil One. Uncool Rapper Teacher is all down with the kids so much so that he raps along to Kanye West and Sisquo tracks. But he’s actually not that ghetto cos he’s afraid of conflict and in an unhappy marriage with Crazy False Pregnant Woman. But the kids of Glee bring out the best in him and all that. But there’s a bit of a love square going on as Uncool Rapper Teacher is secretly in love with Freaky Ginger Woman and she’s secretly in love with too. But too make things even more complicated, Heavy Football Coach is in love with Freaky Ginger Woman too. Like OMG! Drama!

Meanwhile, Blond Unsmiling Evil One is trying to destroy Glee Club for some reason. I like Blond Unsmiling Evil One, she’s really funny in a dry kind of way.

Then meanwhile there’s the kids. There’s the Social Outcast Hot Girl who in real life would never be a social outcast because she’s so hot but she is anyway. Anyway, she’s in love with Tall Jock Guy and I think he’s in love with her. Tall Jock Guy, however, is going out with Pregnant Cheerleader Girlfriend who is like pregnant and prevents Social Outcast Hot Girl and Tall Jock Guy from going out with each other. The drama is just killing me.

There’s also Feminine Guy, Jennifer Hudson Junior, Quirky Asian Girl, Naturally Olive Skinned Sidekick Of Pregnant Cheerleader Girlfriend Who Cries When Her Tanning Products Are Taken Away, Eastern European Descended Sidekick Of Pregnant Cheerleader Girlfriend, Wheelchair Guy and Badass Jock With Mohawk who make up the rest of Glee Club.

Okay, kind of rambled with the plot synopsis. But now that we know all the characters, here’s what I think of their vocals.

  • Uncool Rapper Teacher – his voice is solid, hardly amazing. NEEDS TO STOP RAPPING!
  • Social Outcast Hot Girl – her voice is really amazing, very clear and gives me goosebumps.
  • Tall Jock Guy – his voice has lots of potential. It sounds a bit boybandish at the minute but if he keeps training, his voice could take on a more intriguing husky sound.
  • Jennifer Hudson Junior – the clue is in the name. She has a real soulful powerful voice like J-Hud or Christina Aguilera. Tends to oversing a bit but who cares when ya have a voice like that!
  • Feminine Guy – clue’s also in the name. His voice is feminine from what I’ve heard.
  • Quirky Asian Girl – has a softer voice than the other two girls I mentioned. I like it but it’s not amazing.
  • Wheelchair Guy – I wish he would sing more. He has that real strong, raspy kind of voice that Tall Jock Guy hasn’t developed yet.
  • Pregnant Cheerleader Girlfriend – She has a really good voice too. Kind of has a detached quality to it which suits her character.
  • I’ve only heard Badass Jock With Mohawk, Naturally Olive Skinned Sidekick Of Pregnant Cheerleader Girlfriend Who Cries When Her Tanning Products Are Taken Away and Eastern European Descended Sidekick Of Pregnant Cheerleader Girlfriend on backing vocals so can’t really judge them.

TRACK OF THE WEEK!
13. Gorillaz featuring Mos Def and Bobby Womack: Stylo
Everyone’s experimental group are back. I can’t put into words how excited I am to see the return of the Gorillaz and hope this track gets plenty of airplay and chart successful. Icy, ominous, a little bit funky, sounds like it should soundtrack a video game from the ’80s, this is literally amazing!
4 STARS

Stylo (feat. Mos Def and Bobby Womack)

14. Gramophonedzie: Why Don’t You
More experimental stuff as this song drags us right back to the ’40s with this Peggy Lee sampling tune. I love this entertaining return to the seriously retro and its definitely interesting. But the old jazzy sample doesn’t blend well with the modern production of Gramophonedzie.
3 STARS

15. Iyaz: Solo
Sean Kingston’s replacement, singer/rapper and basically a Virginian Islands junior version of Akon releases his second single. Not to everyones taste but I love Iyaz’s brand of sunny pop/R&B. This has the same level of catchiness as previous single Replay but like Sean Kingston might suffer from sounding too much alike his other material.
3 STARS

Solo

STINKER OF THE WEEK!
16. Ke$ha featuring 3OH!3: Blah Blah Blah
I’ve actually listened to Ke$ha’s Animal album and after a few listens am surprised by what a fun pop album it is. One song that didn’t get my seal of approval though was this monstrosity. Lyrically, its stupid. Vocally, its Auto-Tuned trash. Production wise, it’s all over the place with random bleeps and blips. And 3OH!3 turn up for a cameo where they deliver a robust, gramatically incorrect verse. Can’t believe better songs are stuck on the album while this gets the single treatment.
1 STAR

17. Lil’ Wayne featuring Nicki Minaj: Knockout
The soon-to-be incarcerated rapper drops another single this week. This is from his rock album Rebirth and I’m surprised to find I actually really like this. Against punk pop guitars, Wayne and my new favourite femcee Nicki Minaj warble in Auto-Tune over them. This has major crossover potential. Minaj sounds sexy and Wayne sounds listenable. Might check out his album now.
4 STARS

Lil Wayne ft Nicki Minaj - Knockout

18. LMFAO: LaLaLa
Generic Auto-Tuned R&B. Heard this all from T-Pain before too many times.
1 STAR

Click pic to play "La La La"

19. Ludacris featuring Lil’ Kim and Lil’ Fate: Hey Ho
Funky if a little repetitive new track from Ludacris. Second single from his Battle of the Sexes album. Great fun to hear Ludacris, Lil’ Kim and Lil’ Fate have a big rap battle over who is the better of the sexes.
2.5 STARS

20. Mary J. Blige: I Am
Despite earning the title of Queen of Hip Hop Soul, Mary J. hasn’t had a great run of success with her last few singles. Mainly ’cause they were rather boring. Thankfully, Mary J. is on to a winner with this well, produced, catchy, glossy R&B track. Sounds a bit like Pussycat Dolls
Stikwitu with better vocals. 3.5 STARS

21. Mumford & Sons: The Cave
After the infectious
Little Lion Man, The Cave is a bit of a disappointment. However, it does seem like it could be a grower and I find the folk group refreshing in today’s music industry. 2.5 STARS

22. Nerina Pallot: I Don’t Want To Go Out
A fun, cheery and bouncy pop song that doesn’t sound unlike Little Boots or Lenka. Guaranteed to put a smile on your face.
3 STARS

23. OK Go: This Too Shall Pass
I know I’m making lots of comparisons but this song sort of reminds me of the White Stripes. Amongst chimes and a marching band, OK Go give us another quirky tune. However, this features childrens’ vocals and I just cannot stand kids singing in songs. Drives me nuts. Not my cup of tea but some people might like it. I’d like it if they’d strip away certain elements.
3.5 STARS

24. Sean Kingston: Hot Like The Summer
More Summery reggae pop from Mr. Kingston. It’s fine, nothing special. Poor guy will probably never have a mega hit like Beautiful Girls again though. The only reason last single
Fire Burning was so successful though was because of RedOne. 2.5 STARS

25. Stunt: Fade Like The Sun
Harmless Eurodance. Should keep Cascada fans and drunken nightclubbers happy.
2 STARS

26. Timbaland featuring Drake: Say Something
Timbaland is back with another promo single. Don’t worry, you probably won’t hear much of it. I really like Drake as a rapper and he provides a solid chorus here. This has a more old school R&B feel to it. One of the better tracks from my guilty pleasure
Timbaland Presents Shock Value II. 3.5 STARS

27. Tinie Tempah featuring Labrinth: Pass Out
Really unoriginal grime track. It’s fine but throwaway. Features cocky rapping from Tinie Tempah and singing chorus by Labrinth.
3 STARS

28. Naughty Boy presents Wiley featuring Emeli Sande: Never Be Your Woman
Wiley may be over to crossover into the mainstream again with Naughty Boy’s garage production and Diamond Rings singer Emeli Sande. Good stuff. I like this. Samples a song from the late ’90s that samples a song itself. Clever. It’s like a sample within a sample within a song.
4 STARS

29. Yeah Yeah Yeahs: Skeletons
Not my favourite track from Yeah Yeah Yeahs criminally underselling It’s Blitz! album but I want this track to do well all the same. Karen O’s voice is just amazingly haunting. Yeah Yeahs Yeahs are like the Blondie of the 21st century. Why can’t people see that???!!!
3.5 STARS

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