Single Reviews Diary 26 – 30th July 2010

I’m very generous with the ratings today guys but that’s because I pretty much like every song released on 30th July. My Track Of The Week is going to surprise and disgust many people. The Stinker was difficult to choose but received it for disappointing me rather than being a bad song. Read below. So happy that I’m quickly catching up on these SRDs also!!!

Single Reviews Diary 26 – 30th July 2010:

01. Arcade Fire: Month Of May
Critic darlings Arcade Fire are all geared up to release their third album
The Suburbsrather unwisely on the same day they drop the album’s lead single as well as two promo singles. The first of two promo singles is Month Of May, a fast paced chugger with dark lyrics about “killing in the month of May”. It’s a serviceable tune and does the job of engrossing the listener but when it ends, I was just left thinking “Is that it?!” It’s good but a little forgettable to be honest. 3 STARS

02. Arcade Fire: The Suburbs
The title track and second promo single from the album like
Month Of May is another serviceable rock tune but not as great as I expected. The song is slightly reminiscent of The Beatles with its plodding piano keys and ‘60s style, bouncy mid-tempo instrumentation. I was hoping for something with alittle more fire to it but The Suburbsis a pleasant enough Summer tune with some gorgeous falsetto vocals but it still feels somewhat lacking.3.5 STARS

03. Arcade Fire: We Used To Wait
Now this is more like it! AF rediscover their fire on this OFFICIAL lead single from the album. Building up with some energetic plinky plonky pianos and meaty guitars, the song has an ear-snagging catchy chorus, detailed lyrics, layered arena type backing vocals and faintly reminds me of the Eels, which isn’t a bad thing at all. With this single, the band show off the urgency that made me fall in love with their breakout single
Intevention. 4 STARS

04. Ash: Carnal Love
Sigh! I like Ash but I am so glad this A-Z project is nearing its end. It’s getting tiresome reviewing decent yet unexciting pop rock tunes from the band. The band have put a little effort into the single, filming a music video for it but the song is nothing to blab about. The Northern Irish rockers are in angsty mode here with brooding lyrics and a whiny yet very catchy chorus. Credit to the band for keeping a consistent line-up of singles but the lack of hype or vastness surrounding them is just depressing.

05. Corinne Bailey Rae: Closer
Poor Corinne. Long are the days gone by when
Put Your Records On was plastered all over the radio but I guess Bailey Rae has gone ‘too indie’ with her second album The Sea. Proving to casual listeners that the record isn’t made up bleak ballads (the album was inspired by the grief of losing her husband), Corinne releases the funky Mowtown of Closer. In it, the singer purrs seductively amongst an array of funky brass instrumentation. The 31 year old’s vocals sound absolutely gorgeous here and the fun loving lyrics are really suited to Summer time. One of the standout tracks from The Sea.4.5 STARS

06. Erykah Badu: Turn Me Away (Get MuNNY)
While Corinne has gone for a more subtle approach to funk, neo-soul singer Erykah Badu has gone all out on the funk with this mid-tempo squelchy disco tune. Badu sounds like a young macy Gray which I love. Her vocals are high, yelpy, accented yet controlled. This has a wonderful old school feel to it. Really reminds me of the 1990s R&B – soulful – before it became the watered down garbage sang by everyone and their mum today.

07. Flo Rida: Club Can’t Handle Me
I really wanted to dislike this song for three reasons.
1) Because I find Flo Rida a completely shallow, fad artist.
2) David Guetta being the attention seeker that he is, has a feature credit on it WHICH I REFUSE TO ACKNOWLEDGE!
3) This is trying to do what Timbaland and Guetta himself tried already in recycling the iconic
I Gotta Feeling structure to score a hit.
But I can’t hate it! Because
Club Can’t Handle Me is actually amazing. And will continue to be after it drops out of the Top 40. It actually manages to sound like I Gotta Feeling– a really feel good party anthem that despite its flaws still manages to sound stellar because it just brings a smile to your face everytime you hear it. Guetta’s production is recycled but immensely danceable with pulsating beats and warm acoustic guitar licks. Flo Rida while remaining as one-dimensional as ever has a great flow that works great against the pounding club beats. And then the chorus comes in and everything slows down – an uncredited female vocal kicks in (seriously give her feature credit instead of Guetta) and combined with Flo provides a singalong anthemic chorus that leaves you with a warm fuzzy feeling inside. This is a party anthem that really inspires you through its sonic energy to enjoy life and the friendships you’ll develop while moving to this with friends/partners on the dancefloor, bedroom or in your car. Okay, I’m talking like this is the greatest thing since Jesus Christ but this has the potential to be iconic. I really believe that. So rather controversially, this is getting Track Of The Week. Rightfully, I should give it to Erykah Badu but since this will most likely be the first and only time Flo is bound to win such a prestigious award from me, I’m going to give it. Despite its flaws, this deserves no less than… 5 STARS

08. Frank Turner: Try This At Home
The singer songwriter tries to integrate himself into pop culture with this short yet sweet folk stadium rocker. Here, Turner encourages the listener to pick up their guitar and sing about relatable things like he does in the accompanying music video for this song. I guess Turner is trying to coax people to host random singalongs in public places (not necessarily a bad idea) but the cynical side of me is thinking he’s trying to get the public to stand up and copy him, hence starting an Internet phenomenon. Still, this track will probably go down a storm at live shows.

09. The Hoosiers: Choices
Haha I love this track! While I always enjoyed The Hoosiers comedic videos, their music has never struck a chord with me, no pun intended. With this lead single from their new album
The Illusion Of Safety, the guys shake things up by adding some vigorous synths (which I LOVE in the intro), some lovely use of falsetto on the verses and a storming chorus. Despite the electro influences, it doesn’t sound like all the other trash in the charts, instead taking on a New Wave feel, something their contemporaries McFly maybe should have taken note off. The Hoosiers have won me over and they’re sure to win over their other sceptics too with this stellar comeback single. 4.5 STARS

10. Marina & The Diamonds: Oh No!
This is my favourite track from Marina’s
The Family Jewels album. It has turned me from a casual Marina fan to a hardcore fun because it’s this song that makes Marina so loveable in the first place. Amongst a carnival of pounding double beats, flowing pianos and squelchy, cartoony synths, Marina sings in a high pitched mock operatic vocal for the irresistible chorus and exudes so much personality on the witty verses, my favourite line being where she sings ”TV thought me how to feel/Now real life has no appeal!” This obviously gets…5 STARS

11. Melanie Fiona: Monday Morning
Canadian soul singer Melanie Fiona actually sounds eerily like Alexandra Burke on this track. However, while Alex is a talented yet manufactured act, Melanie is all about the soul. This is a catchy number with solid vocal work and a funky yet modern sounding production but doesn’t exactly standout from the many other soul singers out there. Still, if this were promoted properly, it would be a hit.

12. Paloma Faith featuring Ghostface Killah: New York (Remix)
Ugh, re-releases! I have already lamented countless times the pointless re-releases of Florence + The Machine’s
Dog Days Are Over (although that re-release scored her a VMA nomination),Paolo Nutini’s Candy and 3OH!3’s Don’t Trust Me. Paloma is re-releasing her atmospheric single New York, one of her biggest hits. But to make things worse, this re-release will feature rapper Ghostface Killah. Now its normally pretty offensive as a member of the public to have record companies think we’ll buy a single just because it features a random rapper on it but it’s doubly offensive that a guest rapper was added to this song. This track has such an authentic, retro feel to it, like it belongs to some bygone era. Adding Ghostface Killah with his mercifully short yet painful rap just destroys the essence of the song and is an insult to Paloma’s talent. Nothing personal against Ghostface Killah, I’m sure he’s a fine rapper but its clear the record company only care about cashing in because a Ghostface Killah remix of Amy Winehouse’s You Know I’m No Good helped further Amy’s career in the US. How about separating Amy and Paloma and letting them be their own person instead of putting pressure on Faith to score a hit in her fear of being dropped. This is a shame because I didn’t think we’d ever see Paloma Faith on my Stinker list. 2.5 STARS

13. Pearl And The Puppets: Make Me Smile
Oh look! It’s another Scottish folk singer/band. This is a perfectly passable folk pop track with a great “doo-dooo-doo” hook and a repetitively catchy “just let it go, let it go…” chorus which help it to rise above dull. I recommend checking this band out because they appear pretty talented.

14. Sarah Blasko: I Never Knew
Ellie Goulding and Diana Vickers – meet your Australian counterpart. Blasko phrasing during the verses is something your either going to love or hate (“It’s not enurrfff!”). The backdrop of sparse beats and tambourines is interesting and I for one love Blasko’s smoky voice but this doesn’t stand out from many other AC tunes.

15. Sunday Girl: Self Control
This chick is a little too similar to Sky Ferreira if you ask me. This is a moody, atmospheric electro ballad. Think of Sunday Girl as a solo female version of Depeche Mode. She’s certainly an interesting popstar and I’ll keep my eye out for her but it seems that this track may be something that really needs repeat listens to grow on you. I’m not bowled over by the track, I can see the potential in it though and the potential in Sunday Girl so I’m ready to give her a chance.

16. Toni Braxton: Make My Heart
The former Queen Of R&B has struggled with her comeback but unlike Christina Aguilera and Jennifer Lopez, I appreciate that Braxton continues to push ahead with it and promote, keeping her name out there even if she is flopping. It’s no wonder she’s flopping though because this track isn’t very good. The verses are really funky and 1970s but then the chorus is really modern pop R&B with a catchy “dum-dum-dum” hook. It’s really jarring and makes the song feel incomplete and un-single worthy. Best confined to the album.

17. Villagers: Ship Of Promises
The Irish rockers recently topped their native Album Chart with new album
Becoming A Jackal. Can they perform as well in the UK? I doubt it. The poetic lyrics are certainly something that deserve that recognition but the song with its changing tempo, downbeat vocals and bounding drumbeats and guitar aren’t enough to draw you into what is essentially a dull song. The outro is rather good though with some epic backing vocals and discordant noises. Good but not as spectacular as most critics would have you believe! 3 STARS

Marina & The Diamonds shows her kooky side in colourful new single ‘Oh No!’

Solo singer posing as a band Marina & The Diamonds premiered the video for her new single Oh No! a few days ago (yes, I’m late with news again!). The song is the third official single (and fifth single if you include promo singles Obsessions and Mowlgi’s Road) from her debut album The Family Jewels.

I’ll shamefacedly admit that this was a song I skipped over many times while listening to Marina’s patchy album but ever since it was announced as a single, a couple of weeks ago, I’ve given it a listen and after listening to the album in full, it is now my favourite track on the record so I’m delighted it will be available to buy as a single on 23rd July and 26th July in Ireland and UK respectively.

The video is a hoot which is a surprise because let’s face it – the Hollywood and I Am Not A Robot were nothing special. Directed by I Kissed A Girl director Kinga Burza, the clip is noticeably low budget but could just be one of the best videos of the year due to the charm and presence Marina displays.

Obviously consumerism and obsession with fame are the themes in the video, much like they were in hit single Hollywood. The really great thing about this promo is that Marina looked like she had a lot of fun filming it. She flirts with the camera, pulls off a number of ridiculous and sexy without being trashy costumes (that red dress really exenuates her boobs – hot!) and wears a pink TV on her head while dancing. The video seems to be inspired by cartoons and comic books judging by the colourful look and the pop-up captions remind me of the  infamous 1960s Batman TV show. You’ve got to love it.

With a top video and super catchy song after the more alternative I Am Not A Robot, can Marina see a rise to her profile in the charts again?

A whopping nine performances from Marina & The Diamonds

A whopping nine Glastonbury performances have hit the web today from Marina Diamandis, better known as Marina & The Diamonds. Performances include the singles Hollywood, Obsessions, Mowgli’s Road and new singles Oh No!, set for release in July and it’s September follow-up Shampain. Marina also performed album tracks Numb, Guilty and my personal favourite Are You Satisfied? Marina also broke into a cover rendition of everyone’s favourite guilty pleasure hit by 3OH!3 and Katy PerryStarstrukk.

I wasn’t a huge fan of Marina’s cover of the fast paced pop track, making it very ballad-y but fareplay to her for putting her own quirky twist on the song. It has a certain charm. Marina isn’t the greatest performer yet which probably explains why the crowd were a little dead but her vocals were good and I’ve seen more mundane performances live *cough*Calvin Harris*cough*.

Anyway, have a gander at the nine videos below.

Singles Reviews Diary 12 – 23rd April 2010

I know I’m very late with this but I finally have my twelfth singles release diary for singles that were released four days ago. Oh well, college will be finished on Thursday so I should be more up to date with my Singles Reviews Diary by then.

Singles Reviews Diary 12 – 23rd April 2010:

01. Adam Lambert: For Your Entertainment
Now before the coach full of Adam Lambert’s fans come along and attack me, I really like Adam Lambert. He was the only reason I watched
American Idol last year and I think he’s probably the most powerful singer in today’s music industry on par with rock greats like Alice Cooper and Freddie Mercury. So I really wanted his debut single to be good. Sadly it’s not. Sure it has a catchy chorus and lyrics that would make Lady GaGa blush – which is really revolutionary for an American Idol contestant. ButFor Your Entertainment is just incredibly bland. It doesn’t have the ‘wow factor’. Thankfully, I’ve heard a few songs from Adam’s album of the same name and they are pretty promising. Hopefully, Adam’s follow-up singles will be better and his sophomore album will be more consistent. 2.5 STARS

02. Ash: Mind Control
Another short and sweet pop rock song from Ash’s
A-Z To Series. Once again I will lament why the A-Z Series hasn’t got more hype because Ash have never been so consistent with providing enjoyable song – one after the other. 3 STARS

03. The Big Pink: Tonight
The third single from The Big Pink’s
A Brief History Of Love doesn’t seem to have gone down well with most people. To be honest, I don’t think it’s that bad. It doesn’t have the big commercial chorus that Dominos had but it’s a big step up from last singleVelvet. I love the electro beats, the chorus is decent enough but can get rather grating like the chorus of Dominos. I do think this band have promise though so…3 STARS

04. Bullet For My Valentine: My Last Fight
Bullet For My Valentine are back with a bang! While many may argue that the metal band are just spitting out the same fast paced angst ridden music that they’ve always brought out, why change it if the fans love it. You can’t deny that huge guitar solo towards the end.

05. Chicane: Come Back
Chicane has been consistently good and I think he’s my new favourite dance act. So this is disappointing following the 5 star single that is
Hiding All The Stars. This is pretty much 4 and a half minutes of rather boring house beats with some obscure vocals thrown over it. I don’t even find it that danceable. However, there is a very watchable yet mildly disturbing video to accompany it so I’d recommend checking it out. 2 STARS

06. Courteeners: Take Over The World
I wasn’t exactly bowled over by Courteeners last single
You Overdid It Doll but this proves to be a more promising effort from them. Over a beautiful piano melody, Liam Fray’s powerful vocals really stand out. Strings, electro beats and guitars eventually build up when we reach the satisfying climax of the song. It’s official; I’ve been converted to being a fan of The Courteeners. Going to check out more of their stuff now. 4 STARS

07. The Dead Weather: Die By The Drop
Jack White must be the hardest worker in the industry. When he’s not producing for Adele, working with The Raconteurs and The White Stripes, he’s also acting as the frontman for his newest band The Dead Weather. For those of you not in the know, The Dead Weather was formed in 2009 and contains Jack White, Alison Mosshart of the Kills, Dean Fertita and Jack Lawrence of The Greenhornes. The music – is very White Stripes. Good old blues and garage rock which I think would be perfect for soundtracking the next Tim Burton film. Mosshart and White’s vocals combine very nicely here and it’s a grower – but lacks any real punch. Perfectly serviceable though.

08. Fun Lovin’ Criminals: Mister Sun
Oh! Could this join Kid Rock’s
All Summer Long as a surprise Summer hit? This definitely sounds like it could be huge if it gets the right airplay; cleverly sampling what I think is a song I heard on Barney all those years ago, only far more funkefied. However, I hated Kid Rock’s All Summer Long and I know I will hate this if it gets heavy airplay. Right now though, it’s a fine listen. 3 STARS

This week in Glee, it’s all about Madonna. And while I think there was a little bit too much brownnosing towards Madonna (Sue and Will going on about how inspirational Madonna is, insisting that her music is played all around the school, Mohawk talking about what a MILF she is, all the guys proclaiming how hot she is, Miss Prim and Proper Ginger Person not being shocked by Madonna’s shocking display of sexuality etc.) but it did remind me that the Plastic Fantastic OAP once was a revolution in pop music and that she once did have a strong catalogue until she made soulless dance music. Here are my Glee reviews for the week.

09. Glee Cast: Express Yourself
The girls go all female empowerment on us in their rendition of Madonna’s 1989 hit. I’m sure for all the girls at home, this was a chance for them to felt all lovely, strong and warm inside but this song is hardly
Glee track of the week. 3 STARS

10. Glee Cast: Borderline/Open Your Heart
Lea Michele proves why she is the star of the show with this brilliant mash-up and Cory Monteith doesn’t do so shabbily either. This is pure euphoric ‘80s pop which may be a little cheesy but definitely infectious.

11. Glee Cast: Vogue
Jane Lynch adds an impressive singing voice to her list of talents in one of Madonna’s most iconic hits. Sue Sylvester almost sounds like Madonna in this catwalk influenced pop song. The true power of this song though is in the re-enactment of the
Voguevideo and Gleeks will lap up Sue’s proclamation during the rap breakdown “Will Schuester, I hate you!” but this is not the standout song from the episode. 4 STARS

12. Glee Cast: Like A Virgin
Again, this song works better with the storyline of the show where three of the characters set out to lose their virginity. It’s pretty faithful to the original and if you like the original
Like A Virgin then you should enjoy this too. 4 STARS

13. Glee Cast: 4 Minutes (To Save The World)
Wahey! The show finally addresses one of its problems and gives Mercedes and Kurt their chance to shine. They cover the last good song Madonna released as a single. Mercedes impresses with her powerhouse vocals as usual but it’s Kurt who really shocks here – who knew that he had such a strong raspy voice. MrsRandomEnigma was even convinced that Kurt is now sexy after singing that so go Kurt I suppose. I love the heavy brass section in this song also.

14. Glee Cast: What It Feels Like For A Girl
In what has to be the most contrived moment of the show, the boys realise what jerks they are and put themselves in the high heeled stilettos of a girl by recording this cover of Madonna’s feminist hit. Once the vomit inducing talking bit is out of the way, the song sounds a little funky but falls down at the rather boring chorus. The worst
Gleesong this week. 2 STARS

15. Glee Cast: Like A Prayer
Don’t Stop Believing has a rival for best Glee song ever! The original is already fantastic but I found myself with goosebumps after hearing this choir backed power ballad. Gleeare clearly saving their best songs for the closing moments of the show this season. Amazing stuff. 5 STARS

16. Lady Antebellum: Need You Now
Taken from the Shania Twain quarter of the country music, this has been a Top 10 hit in the US for weeks now. Despite some beautiful piano backed vocals from the band’s male and female vocalist, this is a pretty decent song but as little country as its possible to be while still being classified as country. Watered down for pop radio Taylor Swift could easily have sang this if only she’d give up singing about princesses and fairytales and wasn’t afraid to use lyrics as edgy as “It’s a quarter after one/I’m a little drunk and I need you now”. Why would anyone up that late drinking liquor at that hour? Damnit, I want really good country artists like Jace Everett, Little Big Town and C.C. Adcock to be successful over here but I guess I can accept Lady Antebellum if they don’t recycle this type of song over again.

17. Marina & The Diamonds: I Am Not A Robot
I cannot understand the hype from both critics and fans when it comes to this song. Sure there are many good things about it, Marina’s vocals are beautiful in the verses once they take on this soft simpering sound, I love the message (it makes you want to hug someone) and I love the way Marina says “I’m vun-ripple, I’m vun-ripple, I am not a robot”. Vun-ripple sounds way cooler than vulnerable ya see! However, the chorus is kind of limp and repetitive and the production fast matches in the schizophrenic department but isn’t as annoying ‘cause it’s not as generic electro. So the song is alright but I’m hoping that
Shampain is cancelled as the next single and Are You Satisfied? or Mowgli’s Road is chosen instead. 3 STARS

18. The Riptide Movement: Hard To Explain
The fun and bouncy instrumentation is really what makes the song. The gruff, harsh vocals are really off-putting for me but this has a decent chorus so many people should like this.

19. Roll Deep featuring Jodie Connor: Good Times
I feel like this samples something and has about as much depth as a box of WeightWatchers food. Yes, I know, bad simile. All generic content aside, this song is a deserved hit because of its winner chorus provided by the sexy voiced Jodie Connor. Also credit goes to Roll Deep for rhyming the hook friendly lines “Late night shopping” and “high street bopping”.

20. Sidney Samson featuring Lady Bee: Shut Up And Let Me Go
Now that
Riverside (Let’s Go) has left the chart, radio airwaves and clubs, it’s up to Samson to show that he’s not going to be a one hit wonder. Sadly for Samson, I think that’s the category he’s going to fall into because this doesn’t have the strong sing a long hook or the big expletive that everyone sang along to on his previous single. I know I’m forever giving club bangers Stinker Of The Week but sadly club bangers just aren’t up to scratch these days. This is just trashy and boring and goes to overdrive with the helium, the only interesting thing about it is the beats which aren’t enough to save the song. 1. 5 STARS

Also, Timbaland and Justin Timberlake officially release Carry Out this week, I reviewed it weeks ago. See somewhere above for my thoughts, the track has grown on me although I still think it’s generic. I realise I love the cowbell and Justin Timberlake’s vocals are really good.

Okay, give me your feedback and thoughts on Monday’s single releases. What are your Winners and Stinkers etc.? All comments are appreciated greatly.