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

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

Mc Fly: Party Girl

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

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

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

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

M.I.A.: XXXO

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

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

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

Scissor Sisters: Any Which Way

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

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

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

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

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

Kris Allen featuring Pat Monahan: The Truth

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

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

Alexandra Burke featuring Laza Morgan: Start Without You

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

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

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

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

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Single Reviews Diary 23 – 9th July 2010

I know I’m actually incredibly late with this diary and should rightfully be publishing the 24th rather than the 23rd but I’m busy, y’know! This week is actually quite a great week for singles. Singles 01-12 on this list are all fantastic tunes, only ruined by Kate Nash who starts a short trend of bad tunes, making 13-15 pretty much unbearable. However, Mark Ronson then glides into save the day with Singles 16-19 being pretty good until we meet Professor Green who starts a trend of average tunes with singles 20-24. So yeah – the singles go from fantastic, bad, good, average. As usual I want comments and feedback etc. etc. Read my reviews below.

Single Reviews Diary 23 – 9th July 2010:

01. Alan Pownall: Colourful Day


After Britain’s last hyped up male pop singer Alex Gardner underwhelmed commercial audiences, could the newest hyped up British male pop artist fill that gap? I sadly think not. London singer songwriter Alan Pownall releases his second single from his debut EP
True Love Stories, a pristine pop ballad that’s sung with rich vocals well beyond his 25 years. The vocals and string and guitar based production showcase much emotion. This is one great pop ballad to listen to this Summer. Emotion packed, yes! But relaxing enough to play outside in the back garden whilst sunbathing. However, this track will likely not do so well because Pownall lacks anything that truly stands out about him from his average Joe name to the genre of music he’s doing. Still, a hidden gem if you do come across it. 4 STARS

02. Avenged Sevenfold: Nightmare

Avenged Sevenfold - Nightmare
Angsty rock/metal band Avenged Sevenfold are back with their recent US Top 60 hit
Nightmare. The lead single from their fifth album of the same name starts off intriguing with dreamy chimes before crashing into the trademark metal, crunching guitars, deafening drum beats and harsh vocals from lead singer M. Shadows. There’s novelty evil laugh effects and a pop hook hidden in amongst all the heavy instrumentation too which probably explains its high-ish charting position on the mainly rock-less US Billboard Chart. Apart from the expletive word shouted before the title of the track, I find certain parts of this song hard to get out of my head. Well done Avenged Sevenfold on a terrific comeback! 4 STARS

03. Crystal Castles: Celstica

Crystal Castles - Celestica
Canadian duo Crystal Castles present us with this obscure piece of trancey electronica. Atmospheric and ethereal, this proves to be just as good to dance to when ]on a night out in the town. This has a real retro ‘90s Eurotrance sound to it with a mournful, religious, more organic undertone to it. What’s not to love about it?! I feel like I possibly say this every week but one of the best dance tracks of the year!
5 STARS

04. Crystal Fighters: In The Summer


Much like their similar namesake Crystal Castles, Spanish quintet Crystal Fighters make similarly brilliant alternative dance tracks. This has pretty chirpy vocals amongst retro video game type synths and basque instruments. I’m sure I heard some flutes in amongst the drum machines and electronics there. A delightful hipster track, these guys remind me a lot of MGMT and they need to find away to break through to the mainstream.
4.5 STARS

05. Darwin Deez: Up In The Clouds

Darwin Deez - Up In The Clouds
Quirky singer Darwin Deez really impressed me with his last single
Radar Detector and he’s managed to do it again! Amongst Summery, jangly guitars and happy finger snaps, this is yet another fun track for the hot weather ahead. The song falls into the quirky category more than the commercial category and it’s not near as catchy as his previous single but this is still a fun track to listen to when you’re feeling down. 3.5 STARS

06. Esmée Denters featuring Justin Timberlake: Love Dealer

Esmée Denters / Justin Timberlake - Love Dealer (Featuring Justin Timberlake)
Dutch songbird Esmée Denters might be pretty and have a great voice but major pop success has eluded her so far. Is getting her mentor Justin Timberlake a cynical ploy to score a hit? Maybe so. Justin barely deserves a credit on this song, all he does is mumble seductively over the backing track to drive the ladies crazy and add his shining star power. He did a similar thing on Rihanna’s
Rehab last year, uttering only about two words and enjoying a full feature credit when the ladies who do most of the work on new tracks by Basshunter and Dan Bãlan barely get a mention at all. Anyways, I digress. Love Dealer is really refreshing, it really is! Not only is it sunny with a killer melody but it ditches the current dance craze for the more funky edged, Timba-pop that preceded the current trend. Sure it’s in no way original, the lyrics are just begging to be parodied and Esmée lacks the vocal sex appeal of her contemporaries but this is a likeable, light track with some great vocals from Esmée, slick yet giddy production from Timberlake and an overall sense of fun that’s missing in a lot of today’s pop songs. This deserves its inevitable hit status. 3.5 STARS

07. Fight Like Apes: Hoo Ha Henry


The much hyped Irish band (as hyped as Irish artists can get anyway with our crappy promotion techniques in music) have returned with the first single from their as of yet untitled second album. It’s a nice return for the band with lead singer MayKay in top form singing over a bouncy keyboard riff before breaking into a restrained yet still somehow angry chorus while the production remains the same the whole way through. The lyrics are also quintessentially Irish too with lines such as “drinking cans in bed” and namechecking MayKay’s unfortunate love interest’s friends with names like Tagdh. Should keep FLA fans happy and gain them some new ones too.
4 STARS

08. I Blame Coco: Self Machine

I Blame Coco - Selfmachine
Sting’s daughter Coco has to live up to her famous dad’s name and prove to music fans that she’s not a spoiled little brat who just wants to cash in on Daddy’s fame. Well, she’s doing things right so far. Setting up her own band and going for an alternative yet still engaging sound, Coco proves herself as having the talent to back up to her famous family connection. Amongst dizzying synths, Coco’s distinctive vocals are the real ear-snagging part of this song. I’m not quite as bowled over by this track has some others. The vocal distortions are overused and unnecessary and I really don’t think this song sounds immensely different from a lot of other tracks out there but what it does show is promise and I eagerly await Ms. Sumner’s next single,
Quicker. 3.5 STARS

09. Jamie Foxx featuring Justin Timberlake and T.I.: Winner

Jamie Foxx featuring Justin Timberlake & T.I. - Winner
Oscar winner Jamie Foxx shows so much promise as a singer but he often neglects his musicality for terrible urban tracks such as the nasty Auto-Tuned mess of
Blame It. Arguably a scene stealer on Kanye West’s mega-hit Gold Digger, Foxx once again sells himself short on this single, the lead from his fourth studio album. While not as bad asBlame It and mercifully ditching the Auto-Tune, Winner is still a run-of-the-mill R&B track. Featuring some brass instrumentation, classy little piano lines and hip-hop beats, it may sound like I’m saying the production sounds similar to Jay-Z’s Empire State Of Mind or Madonna’s 4 Minutes but it’s actually the typical R&B production that has been done to death. JT is barely noticeable on this track as seems to be the norm for him, if Esmée Denters new single is to be used as an example; and T.I.’s rapping, while more than up to the job is just tiresome, and disjointed from the rest of the song. When will this rent-a-rapper trend end? Everyone’s sick of it and NO-ONE sees it as an incentive to buy a single just because it has a rapper on it. The chorus is anthemic, which is why its been used as an NBA theme tune but overall another disappointing track from the deceptively soulful Jamie Foxx. 2.5 STARS

10. Jerry Fish & The Mudbug Club featuring Imelda May: The Hole In The Boat


The brass intro to this track sounds like the theme to some sinister ‘70s cop drama just before the police uncover the murder. The ominous, sonically pleasing jazzy backing continues as Jerry Fish breathily sings over the production. When powerhouse Imelda May joins in with her soulful harmonies, the song quickly turns into this dramatic yet classic sounding magic. Honestly, this for the next James Bond soundtrack (when MGM are no longer bankrupt, that is)!
4.5 STARS

11. Jet: Seventeen

JET - Seventeen
Australian rock band Jet caused quite a buzz last year with their single
She’s A Genius. Although it only cracked the Top 20 in its native continent of Oceania, the song certainly got them noticed elsewhere. Much like SAG, Seventeen sounds very similar to that track. Crunching indie-pop guitars, an irresistible riff after the chorus, a catchy chorus and an “oooh-oooh” hook, this is a brilliant Summer rock track. My only problem is that these guys might just be one-trick ponies and their Summery rock tracks with pop sensibilities may get a little tiresome after a while. Still, no-one’s complaining now. 4 STARS

12. Joshua Radin: Brand New Day

Joshua Radin - I'd Rather Be With You
Snooze! Come on now, we have enough inoffensive, acoustic radio rock singers, thank you! Jack Johnson has that position filled with his tired material already, thanks! We don’t need an exact carbon copy. There’s nothing horrible about this track, it’s sang nicely but it’s so bland, clichéd and unoriginal. I just hated it from the moment I heard it when I first saw the self depreciating, ‘humorous’ video.
2 STARS

13. Kate Nash: Kiss That Grrrl

Kate Nash - Kiss That Grrrl
Kate Nash has done it again! So impressed am I with the breakthrough singles from your albums, that I forget the follow-ups are always completely dire. Seriously another girl is being catty and stealing your man, Kate? Just have it out with her in the parking lot or use your brain to think of a more underhand way of offing…I mean dealing…with her. This is basically the theme of
Do-Wah-Doo rehashed all over again but without the big pop hooks and with all the lyrical prowess of that ginger Bianca from EastEnders. Kiss that grrrl and I will shrink her!” WTH does that mean? Or are you just throwing it in there for the sake of rhyming. With the word “Grrrl” in the title, I thought this would be one of those punk tracks I heard Nash recorded for the album, which I incidentally haven’t listened too. Yet again it’s more brassy ‘60s pop production, which is difficult to differentiate from DWD. I’ll give her half a point though for the vulnerability at the end of the track. 1.5 STARS

STINKER OF THE WEEK!
14. Katie Price: Free To Love Again

Katie Price - Free To Love Again
Before writing this review, I have not yet heard Katie Price’s new single yet. I wonder if I’ll be pleasantly surprised. *sticks on Katie Price’s
Free To Love Again on YouTube.* KILL ME! KILL ME NOW! Eurovision wouldn’t allow this monstrous, corny dance anthem, which sounds like it was recorded in Katie back shed with her children on backing vocals. Hell, the ‘80s wouldn’t allow it or the ‘90s or any other naff decade in music. Steps, Scooch and Margi Clarke would turn their noses up at it! Is Jordan still relevant enough to get this track published? ‘Cause its about time people got tired off her. She laughably said she wasn’t an attention seeker today. She’s a businesswoman, int’she? Now let’s hope that this song slips even further down the chart and we NEVER EVER have to hear it again!!! 1 STAR

15. Kyrah: Uh Oh

Kyrah1jpg
I’m actually of the opinion that Ke$ha is a great popstar and has some talent, which often leads to me getting the side-eye and sneers from my more hipster friends. God knows though, we don’t need another one and that’s what Kryah is! If you check out the $2 budget music video for her debut single
Uh Oh, you’ll realise that Kryah is also a lady who looks like she just climbed out of a skip, put her make-up on in the dark, stumbled into some strange man’s bedroom and started singing about being so intoxicated that she can barely see and packed a good dose of Auto-Tune in her penniless purse. While Ke$ha’s voice has a yodel-esque, Valley Girl lilt to it which is somewhat bearable or even pleasing, Kyrah doesn’t! Her voice is completely flat and sounds absolutely hideous during the verses. Thankfully for her, the chorus is incredibly catchy. But really, chorus aside, this track does nothing new from the current electropop phenomenon and we have enough trashy popstars already. So unless Kyrah changes her sound and image, I want her to disappear completely. Bring back class (or at least subliminal sexiness) to music! 2 STARS

TRACK OF THE WEEK!
16. Mark Ronson & The Business Intl. featuring Q-Tip and MNDR: Bang Bang Bang

Mark Ronson - Bang Bang Bang
It’s official. Mark Ronson is the standout producer of our generation. After a number of jazzy covers on mega successful album
Version with Lily Allen and Amy Winehouse, Ronson knows that jazz is not where it’s at now and has embraced the new ‘80s trend we’re experiencing at the minute. I would accuse Ronson of jumping on bandwagons but I can’t bring myself to it because this is bloody brilliant! Teaming up with his band The Business Intl., Marky is also joined by sexy secretary type hipster Amanda Warner of electronic duo MNDR and one of the more low-key American rappers Q-Tip. Bang Bang Bang epitomises the ‘80s from its retro, ill-fashioned video to those bouncy synth riffs. But it sounds absolutely flawless. Everything from the infectious synths to the genius sampling of French nursery rhyme Alouette sound perfect. Warner’s scuzzy, catchy vocal suggests that we should all keep an eye on MNDR in the future and Q-Tip’s rapping never sounds phoned in or disjointed, but rather fits with the song as a whole. One of the best mainstream pop songs of the decade, one that both the mainstream public and the hipster groups can all enjoy. I thoroughly look forward to Ronson’s cover free Record Collection on 27th September. 5 STARS

17. M.I.A.: XXXO

M.I.A. - XXXO
I’m wondering when the heck the music video for this track will be released because lack of the Hype Williams directed video will effect its sales. Not that M.I.A. normally cares about sales but with a single as unusually catchy as this, it just has to do well. After the controversial and noisy promo single
Born Free, this – the official lead single from M.I.A.’s third studio album /\/\ /\ Y /\ is one of the few radio friendly songs in her back catalogue. The catchy, melodic and futuristic love song may be more than it appears though with the song’s deceptively catchy hook going ”You want me be somebody/who I’m really not”. Is this a jibe at her record company for making her release a commercial lead single? All the same, M.I.A. definitely hasn’t sold out with this one as the lyrics are ambiguous for the most part and the Rusko and Blaqstarr produced jam has a sense of paranoia about it that fits in with the whole concept of the album. Still, for those of you who don’t care about M.I.A.’s political and conspiracy theory jargon, then this is probably one of the lightest songs she’s released. If you fancy rent-a-rappers, you can check out the Jay-Z remix with a stamped in rap from himself. He’s rumoured to be appearing in the video as a matter of fact. 4 STARS

18. Millionaires: Stay The Night


The Ke$ha imitators are out in full force this week. California trio Millionaires have released a song called
Stay The Night. Like Ke$ha, it’s a little naughty, has Auto-Tuned vocals and is performed in singy/rap voices. It even has a rap breakdown stolen straight from TiK ToK during the middle eight. However, unlike the other Ke$ha imitator Kyrah, Stay The Night is a pretty decent pop tune. The feel good guitar backing track helps, the light yet sticky chorus infiltrates your brain and provided the Millionaires get enough promotion (which I doubt), this could easily be a song of the Summer. It sounds like it samples something too because that chorus is familiar. Plus the band has two cute Asian girls and Asians are rarely ever seen in pop music so I have fingers crossed that this will be a hit. 4 STARS

19. Paramore: Careful

Paramore - Careful
With
Brand New Eyes, Paramore’s third studio album, the band, especially Hayley, progressed massively in maturity and lyrical quality. The male members are often overshadowed (much to their displeasure) by their charismatic and beautiful lead singer Hayley but with this track, the guys overshadow Hayley. Okay, not exactly. But this is instrumentally the strongest track on Brand New Eyes while Hayley is on auto-pilot. With break-neck guitar riffs by Josh Farro and Taylor York, crunchy bass by Jeremy Davis and pounding drum beats by the band’s baby Josh Farro, this is a track that just makes you want to leap around your room, swinging your head around, and probably causing grievous bodily harm to yourself in the process. The instrumentation can best be described as fast, angry and spiky. But the chorus is a bit of a let-down as are the lyrics which are the full on emo of Paramore’s earlier records. Don’t get me wrong, I love Paramore’s earlier records but with other songs on BNE being far more honest, this always disinterests me somewhat. Hayley’s vocals are back to their wail-some self after trying out a bit of restrained melancholy with her cameo on B.o.B.’s soon to be #1 hit Airplanes, but the chorus doesn’t have the massive draw to it that other tracks had and sounds a little samey. Oh well. Hopefully it does well all the same. 3 STARS

20. Professor Green featuring Lily Allen: Just Be Good To Green

Professor Green Feat. Lily Allen - Just Be Good To Green
I don’t believe this is Lily’s last hurrah in music…because let’s face it…pop artists retire all the time. They quickly become irrelevant and their back in the music game quicker than you can say “Jay-Z” or “Eminem”. Basically, I’m in a minority that doesn’t care for this song much. Sure The SOS Band’s sample
Just Be Good To Me is ear-snagging and Lily’s girly, melodic vocals really add to the song but this is more boring radio-rap that has to rely on a guest vocalist, samples and more clichéd raps without a shred of originality. Professor Green’s cheeky personality is quickly grating on my nerves and I can’t stand his helium voiced rapping. Basically, a song that will do for the time being but will quickly be forgotten about by the time Prof. Green moves onto his next gimmicky single. 2.5 STARS

21. Seth Lakeman: Tiny World

Seth Lakeman - Tiny World
One of the many talented folk musicians of the Lakeman family, Seth gets his organic sounding viola out. Unlike many folk musicians, Seth has a really deep and powerful voice that’s just as suited to pop or rock music as it is to folk. As for the track itself, it’s a decent and rousing vocal performance against some creaky violin strings. This won’t set the World alight, not even the folk World but it’s a decent folk track by a talented musician…who’s created a decent comeback single.
3.5 STARS

22. Trey Songz: Already Taken

Trey Songz - Already Taken
R&B singer and judging by his many softcore music videos, sex addict Trey Songz releases this single to correspond with the third
Step Up flick. If you’re expecting a certified club banger like Flo Rida’s Low then prepare to be disappointed. This mid-tempo track is probably played in the movie around the time when the guy realises what a douche he is and runs to the airport/defining event in the girl’s life to please her/make things up to her for being such a douche. This track will probably provide a tense moment at the climax for the film but as far as a standalone single, it fails.Already Taken has no real definable hook and the production and lyrics don’t stand out in any way whatsoever. For Trey Songz fangirls and boys only. 2 STARS

23. Two Door Cinema Club: Come Back Home

Two Door Cinema Club - Come Back Home
After a series of high profile advertising endorsements, it looks like TDCC’s star is rising. Following on from the success of their re-released
Something Good Can Work, the boys return with another bouncy indie pop song. It’s a perfectly fine tune with sharp guitars and an instant enough chorus but it still feels rather run-of-the-mill. Nothing stands out about it really and I sadly think that this single will fail to replicate the success of the last. All the same a pleasant enough listen. 3 STARS

24. We Have Band: Oh!

We Have Band - Oh! EP
The Bloc Party-esque band release this strange little tune. The hook naturally comprises of the word ‘Oh’ but it’s repeated almost to irritation against an electro backing in a number of different voices. The verses are fantastic though with
Crash Bandicoot style blips and bleeps running through it. Add bouncy guitars and an instantly catchy hook, this track might be too weird for the mainstream but once you hear it, you’ll have trouble getting it out of your head! 3.5 STARS

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 13 – 30th April 2010

I’m being extra good this week and getting in what is actually my thirteenth Singles Reviews Diary (I made a misprint on my last one). Summer is here so let’s see what songs we can listen to by the BBQ this week.

Singles Reviews Diary 13 – 30th April 2010:

01. Aggro Santos featuring Kimberly Wyatt: Candy
Unknown British rapper Aggros Santos and former Pussycat Doll Kimberly Wyatt (the one with the slightly superior dancing to the others) get together for this unoriginal but surprisingly enjoyably infectious dance rap track. Generic as it may be, icy electro beats and a repetitive sexy chorus from Wyatt make this above the average club tracks were all hearing at the minute. Santos is also a pretty decent rapper, being a dead ringer for Sean Paul in looks and fast paced rapping style, although Santos has a London accent instead of a fake Jamaican one like Paul. However with the similar sounding and much more hyped
Dirty Picture being released this week also, this is unlikely to do well. This is by no means a classic but it succeeds very well in staying with the now without being irritating. 3 STARS

02. Beyoncé featuring Kanye West: Ego (Remix)
The human machine that is Beyoncé returns with the eighth single from her
I Am… Sasha Fierce LP despite not realising that everyone got bored of the era back in August after the release of Sweet Dreams. The album version of this track with Beyoncé should be a classic – old school R&B soul with classy pianos, a loud and boisterous brass section, finger snaps and flawless and sassy vocals from Beyoncé. The song sounds like it was taken from the golden era of R&B music. However, the video for the song is not so golden, more black and white Single Ladies knock off with Beyoncé wearing a dodgy wig. Worse still, Kanye West comes in “to keep the urban crowd” happy with an ill paced rap which he does in a sing-songy way while rambling on about recession and name-checking Beyoncé and Jay-Z. This modern rap sounds completely out of sync with the retro-ness of the song and hence spoils it immensely. Well, at least Kanye gets the rap out of the way at the start and the rest of the ‘should be classic’ can be listened to in peace. 4 STARS (But it would be 5 if Kanye didn’t wreck it!)

03. Biffy Clyro featuring Josh Hommes: Bubbles
I was a bit shocked to find that this was the fifth single from Biffy Clyro’s
Only Revelations album but then I remembered Mountains back in 2008 was actually the lead single from the album so I guess they’re well on their way through it. Bubbles features some extra guitar work from Josh Hommes of Queens Of The Stone Age and you can definitely tell as its one of the best tracks instrumentally on the album. Borrowing a little from Kings Of Leon, it’s nice to hear Simon Neil’s Scottish tinged verses but once the chorus hits, the song just doesn’t seem to really go anywhere. The prog rock breakdown at the end though is pretty satisfying. I would love if they release God & Satan as the next single. 3 STARS

04. Estelle featuring Kardinal Offishall: Freak
Oh Estelle! What have you done? After creating a modern classic with
American Boy, your following singles from your sophomore album Shine didn’t do so well but at least you maintained your dignity. With the lead single from her third album All Of Me, Estelle enlists David Guetta to help her jump on the dance bandwagon. The song’s main hook “I can be a freak/I can be a freak/every day of every week” is cringeworthy and irritating and overall, the song just sounds a little desperate and calculated. Props to Estelle for still managing to inject a little soul vocally into the track and the jumpy hooks in the song almost make up for it until Kardinal Offishall shows up for his pointless rap and I hate the song all over again. 2 STARS

05. Faithless: Not Going Home
You know this new single can only be bought exclusive to Tesco. For a brief second, I thought the final three words of my last sentence were actually part of the song title which had me intrigued. While the song doesn’t make any references to Tesco, Faithless show us all how good they are with another consistently strong trance track. Perfect for playing at a rave, the calmly spoken verses almost have a disturbing quality to them. Still, great song and the animated and erotic video is another one to add to the list of 2010’s Top Videos (quite a few already actually).
4 STARS

06. Foals: This Orient
I’ve heard a lot of good things about Foals but never actually took the time out to listen to them. Thanks to my writing of these Singles Reviews Diaries, I’ve actually listened to them for the first time.
This Orient being the first song I’ve heard from them shows a lot of promise. With an exciting electronic intro, the song opens with a crashing of guitars and drums while the synths continue to play quietly in the background. The song is a definite grower with a catchy yet subdued chorus. I’m going to check out some of their other songs now. 4 STARS

__________________________________

I have to say that this week’s episode of Glee is probably the weakest and so are the selection of songs. Too many Broadway ballads for my liking. However with the incredibly talented Kristin Chenoweth back this week. Some of the songs are made above average thanks to her contributions. This week doesn’t have as fixed a theme as other episodes but it seems to be about feeling secure in yourself and your home.

07. Glee Cast: Fire
I’m trying to remove images of Will Schuester’s (Matthew Morrison) terrible dancing and portrayal of fake embarrassment when April (Kristin Chenoweth) starts a karaoke rendition of this song. While these two don’t have a patch on the original, their soaring rendition of Bruce Springsteen and the E-Street Band’s ‘80s hit
Fire is probably the best song in Glee this week. 4 STARS

STINKER OF THE WEEK!
08. Glee Cast: A House Is Not A Home
It’s great to see Chris Colfer as Kurt is getting more of a chance to sing this part of the season with only Cory Monteith’s Finn joining in towards the end. It’s probably not so great though if he’s given drippy and cheesy ballads, this one being a 1964 song by Dionne Warwick. Their version is solid but I found myself fast forwarding at Kurt’s cringeworthy longing looks at the permanently confused looking Finn.
2 STARS

09. Glee Cast: One Less Bell To Answer/A House Is Not A Home
This week’s mash-up is just plain lazy because one of the songs in the mash-up was already used in the episode, just before this song in fact. The other song was originally sung by The 5th Element. Credit needs to go to Matthew Morrison and Kristin Chenoweth for doing the best job they could with the rather boring mash-up, especially Chenoweth whose powerful Broadway vocals have a classic, old movie style sound to them.
2.5 STARS

10. Glee Cast: Beautiful
This is the song that’s likely to chart this week. Covering Christina Aguilera’s soppy modern classic is obviously the only singer close enough to rival Aguilera’s powerhouse vocals is Amber Riley (Mercedes). Her rendition is very good and on-par with the original but I could never really stand the song apart from its catchiness.
3.5 STARS

11. Glee Cast: Home
The closing numbers from the last two episodes have been extremely satisfying but this track is another boring but well sung Broadway ballad with lead vocals by April from the musical
The Wiz. I found myself drifting away from the song and verbally abusing the TV by telling Will to man up when the overly sentimental teacher began crying again during a performance. 2 STARS

12. Grace Jones: Love You To Life
Lady GaGa’s biggest fan makes a return to the industry with this new single. The track’s production is sparse and haunting yet it still sounds sort of like it belongs on a soundtrack to James Bond with its soulful chorus. Jones’ voice sounds as distinctive and poetic as ever. A fine return for Miss Jones that should keep her fans happy.
4 STARS

13. Hole: Skinny Little Bitch
I do love Hole and Courtney Love. Combining the sound of the Smashing Pumpkins, Joan Jett and Nirvana, Courtney Love’s tobacco edged vocals are the standout point of what is probably the angriest and grungiest moment on Hole’s consistent new album
Nobody’s Daughter. If you’re like me and love the 1990s grunge sound, then you will adore this. But in all honesty, this is probably one of the weakest songs on the album and it’s strange that this was chosen as lead single over the much more commercialSamantha. Bring on Pacific Coast Highway. 3.5 STARS

14. John O’Connor and Audrey Trainor: Falling Up
This is reminiscent of the Waterboys in that it has a very folky sound with a particular emphasis on the violin played by Trainor. O’Connor sings the track in a way that you almost want to chant along with despite its mid-tempo setting. I’ll have to check out more of his stuff.
4 STARS

15. M.I.A.: Born Free
After the surprise commercial success and mainstream attention of M.I.A.’s
Paper Planes, this track, a buzz single from M.I.A.’s as of yet untitled third album has divided fans and critics. Well this critic (humble old Randy) thinks the new M.I.A. is fast paced, intriguing and a good indication for the album ahead. Casual M.I.A. fans probably won’t like this but those who have been following her since her Arular days should enjoy this jarring track, made all the more so by the disturbing video. Now bring on the first official single XXXO, M.I.A.! 3.5 STARS

16. Mika: Kick Ass (We Are Young)
I actually have to say Mika kind of does kick ass on this song because I don’t hate it like I hate every other Mika single that followed
Love Today. And it’s not the RedOne effect that has made this song great because I’m definitely starting to hear him recycle his beats but rather Mika’s powerful, euphoric and anthemic chorus which really sticks in the head like bubblegum. A great return to form for Mika although I do feel his falsetto may get on my nerves after more listens. Hopefully, this will see Mika’s return to the charts although I doubt it. 4.5 STARS

TRACK OF THE WEEK!
17. Moby featuring Kelly Scarr: Wait For Me
The incredibly versatile Moby releases
Wait For Me, an ambient yet affecting track from his album of the same name. Kelly Scarr’s vocals are haunting and beautiful and Moby has designed the perfect backdrop for those fantastic vocals, really setting up a dramatic and atmospheric concept. In an ideal World, this would be a modern classic. 5 STARS

18. Ocean Colour Scene: Saturday
Starting off with the sound of cawing seagulls, the underrated but fantastic Ocean Colour Scene release the first perfect song of the Summer. The song manages to be high energy and chilled out at the same time with a big booming chorus, this perfect for that beach BBQ. This just about missed out on being rewarded Track Of The Week.
5 STARS

19. Pendulum: Watercolour
Pendulum are back! My excitement has waned slightly though as this doesn’t live up to my expectations and I know there capable of much greater. I wouldn’t give it 2 stars like the Big Mac did but Pendulum have released better songs than this. However, with a little drop of angst and racing, fast paced synths… the song still shows why Pendulum are regarded as one of Australia’s greatest bands. The drum and bass on this track has been toned down a lot on this from their earlier stuff though.
3 STARS

20. Sophie Ellis-Bextor: Bittersweet
Sophie Ellis Bextor is also back but don’t expect me to cheer. I like her but nearly all her songs sound the same – classy yet icy electropop. As some other ChartBlog commenter stated (can’t remember which one) – the verses on this are fantastic but the chorus is sadly lacking. Not good for a pop song and I’m getting tired of the ‘80s sound. Still I’ll forgive Sophie because this in the hands of someone else could have been disastrous.
3 STARS

21. Taio Cruz featuring Ke$ha: Dirty Picture
I really wanted to bomb this because this song is pure and utter trash – complete tripe!!! But I was in a nightclub last night and this came on and it just sounded fantastic to my slightly (very!) intoxicated ears. Cheap and sleazy (like a drunk person) – this song is designed for the nightclubs and does very well at that. Ke$ha really stands out here as her voice really fits the production of the song (her version of this track is far superior to this one) yet Taio bores me to death. We all know you’re not as bad as you say, Cruz. So yeah, this song is the ultimate classic when you’ve downed a few too many vodka and Red Bulls (I’m going to vomit) but is terrible otherwise. So I’m going to give it a safe old in between rating of…
3 STARS

22. Toni Braxton featuring Trey Songz: Yesterday
The original Queen of R&B and R&B newbie Toni Braxton and Trey Songz team up for this R&B power ballad. Generic is a word I throw about a lot but this R&B song isn’t exactly that. It’s more anonymous. A genuinely good power ballad, this could just have easily have been sang by Beyoncé and Chris Brown and no-one would have told the difference. Still decent R&B filler to make up a versatile iPod playlist.
3 STARS

23. Train: Hey Soul Sister
Having hit the Number 1 spot in the US and Australia and even making Number 2 in Ireland before its release, it baffles me that this song isn’t doing better across the pond in the UK. Because
Hey Soul Sister is the most catchiest radio friendly record to come out in a long time. Against a slightly folky backdrop, Patrick Monahan, the lead singer, uses his powerful voice to sing out this romantic and cheery ballad. Even though I find it strange that you’d metaphorically call your love interest your sister. Kind of creepy. All creepiness aside, this song is fantastic. Come on, Britain, get buying! 4.5 STARS

24. Two Door Cinema Club: Something Good Can Work
Woah! Woah! Woah! Am I listening to The Kooks or Franz Ferdinand when they were in their prime. Despite their unoriginality, Two Door Cinema Club have created a fantastic indie pop chorus here. Full of bouncy, cheery guitar riffs, a Kook-esque chorus and a melody you want to clap along to, this is another pefect tune for your Summer playlist.
4 STARS

25. Vampire Weekend: Giving Up The Gun
This has rather annoying been cancelled as a single despite good radio and music channel airplay,
Giving Up The Gun is a fantastic percussion heavy track with loads of twinkling synths and World effects towards the end. The song doesn’t have any real chorus but remains incredibly likeable and listenable probably because of the fantastic band and Ezra Koenig’s soft vocals. Check out the fantastic video which features cameos from Jake Gyllenhall, Joe Jonas and Daft Punk. 4 STARS

Phew! That took ages but I really enjoyed writing that edition of my Singles Reviews Diary. As usual, I want your thoughts on what’s good and what’s not as well as what you thought of the Singles Reviews Diary as a whole.