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

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Adam, Basshunter, B.o.B., Gorillaz, Inna, Jessie James, Justin, Kat, Katy, Kelis, MGMT, N*E*R*D*, OK Go, Plan B, Snoop and Uffie unleash an onslaught of videos for us!

After Lady GaGa released her much discussed video clip for Alejandro about two weeks or so ago, it looks like some of the other artists in today’s music industry want in on the game and the last two weeks have seen an absolute onslaught of music videos float our way. Seeing as other areas of my life are taking over my blogging (despite me really getting into it lately), I’ve not been able to keep track of them all as soon as they’ve been released. However, never fear because I’ve combined them all into one humungous post. Here are some of the most notable (and not so notable) videos being released recently.

Adam Lambert: If I Had You

After getting off to a disappointing start with his dull as dishwasher ‘proper debut’ single For Your Entertainment, Adam Lambert has been very impressive lately. Not only am I mad about his current UK/Irish single Whataya Want From Me, released this July, but I’m also really loving If I Had You, Adam’s third single in the US (fifth if you count his American Idol runner up song No Boundaries and his soundtrack song Time For Miracles).

While Whataya Want From Me is a brooding P!nk penned rocker, If I Had You is a delightful electropop stomper that is sure to keep America partying all Summer. If I Had You is hugely euphoric, positive and massive and should ensure the larger than live vocalist and artist a massive hit. The video is a simple yet effective affair. Adam and a large group of people go out and party in a forest. The video has some fantastical elements to it with colourful fairies flitting about and Glambert resembling some character from either a sci-fi, fantasy, manga or anime movie/show I’d seen recently, I just can’t put my finger on who. Watch the video below, I hope this is released on these shores soon…although it is essentially a Summer single.

Basshunter: Saturday

The male Natalie Horler, Basshunter is back with a brand new single, Saturday, which will be taken from his currently untitled third album. *groan*

Not a huge groan though. Saturday is a minor improvement on some of the Sweedish DJ’s earlier work although it still remains generic, bland and soulless. Jonas has ditched the cheesy Eurodance for some pure Americanised dance-pop, á la Cascada with Evacuate The Dancefloor. Like Cascada, Jonas has definitely cashed into the Lady GaGa sound as he and some anonymous female vocalist sing over giant club beats. At least he’s ditched the repetitive soap storyline he used for previous videos and has gone for a full out club video.

B.o.B featuring Hayley Williams: Airplanes

After scoring a #1 hit with his Bruno Mars collaboration Nothin’ On You, innovative rapper B.o.B. is back with a new single Airplanes featuring Paramore vocalist Hayley Williams.

While the track is a certified smash and possibly even a future hip-hop classic, I’m a little disappointed with the video. Despite B.o.B.’s success, its clear that the label didn’t throw a huge amount of dollars at the video and I would have liked to see some interaction between B.o.B. and Hayley. Still the flashing lights look good and with a song so epic, with a simple yet effective chorus and having already cracked the Top 20, if not Top 10 across the World, clearly a below par video is the least of B.o.B.’s worries. Plus, I’m glad Hayley’s doing this collaboration. If Paramore ever go on hiatus or split, Hayley has the looks, talent and charisma to embark on a successful pop career, like No Doubt’s Gwen Stefani.

Gorillaz: On Melancholy Hill

Virtual band the Gorillaz have pushed back the release of second single Superfast Jellyfish in favour of new second single On Melancholy Hill. Superfast Jellyfish will be released later in the year, instead.

On Melancholy Hill was originally intended to be the third single from the album and it baffles me why the positions of this and the much more sunnier Superfast Jellyfish were reversed around. I also feel that the underwater theme and the images of jellyfish floating around were originally for a Superfast Jellyfish but the song was changed at the last minute.

That said On Melancholy Hill is one of the highlights from the brilliant Plastic Beach. The video is characteristically stunning, combining 2-D and 3-D seamlessly. My personal favourite parts are where the Gorillaz finally discover Plastic Beach and the cameo from a 2-D Snoop Dogg (who appears in three videos this post).
You can watch the stunning video here.

Inna: Amazing

To inject a little Eurotrash into this post, the trashily sexy Romanian singer Inna is set to release her second UK/Irish single Amazing. As you’d expect, it’s anything but – but at least we get to see her flail around in a bikini and view some stunning Portuguese landscape in the song’s video. Plus the song is much better than her surprise #10 hit Hot which was released a while back.

Jessie James: Boys In Summer

To inject a little country flavour into this post, why not check out the new music video by American singer Jessie James. The sexy Georgian is expected to be country music’s next ‘it’ girl (watch your back, Taylor Swift) and while it’s not being released over here yet, the song is a fun track that almost acts as the country equivalent to Katy Perry’s California Gurls, capturing the sound of the Summer perfectly. The video’s a lot of fun too, showing plenty of eye candy for both men and women. The song is definitely more country than whatever Taylor Swift has put her name to. You can watch the video here.

Justin Bieber featuring Usher: Somebody To Love

Self obsessed lesbian lookalike Justin “I Don’t Know What A German Is” Bieber and his mentor Usher have teamed up for a remix to new single Somebody To Love, which is bound to give Bieber yet another hit.

This time it’s deserved though as the song is a catchy little pop stomper with a stylish video to match. Clearly puberty is getting to young Bieber as his voice could be better on this track but thanks to a little help from Usher and some great choreography, Bieber has actually impressed me for once. Now if only he didn’t come across as a narcissistic little toe-rag pretending to act wholesome, I might actually start to like him.

Kat Deluna featuring Akon: Push Push

Flopstar Kat Deluna is back with her new single Push Push which features chipmunk voiced singer/rapper Akon. The reason why I’m including Kat in my post is because Ms. Deluna is in desperate need of a hit. Deluna has worked with RedOne long before GaGa ever did and while her combination of electropop, R&B and Latin music is extremely infectious, Deluna has never scored a hit. Maybe this song and its stylish video will help…though I doubt it. Shame because this is just ideal for Summer.

Katy Perry featuring Snoop Dogg: California Gurls

The much anticipated video for Katy Perry’s current US #1 California Gurls has finally surfaced. Rather than go with a literal video, Perry is thinking outside the box with a Candyland board game theme meets The Wizard Of Oz.

It’s no secret that I have a hard soft spot for Katy Perry so I naturally enjoyed this fun, cute video. Katy’s ‘quirkiness’, you’re either going to love or hate, and many will complain about her blatant selling off sex in this video (appearing naked on the cloud, whipped cream gun bra etc.) but as a red-blooded male I have no complaints. My personal highlight of the video is where Katy waves at the walking gummy bears, only for it to show her the middle finger, resulting in a hilariously camp over-exaggerated expression of offence from Ms. Perry. I also think the final scene with Snoop buried in the sand alongside the California Gurls would make a great desktop wallpaper.

Kelis: 4th July (Fireworks)

Kelis is back with the second single from her Flesh Tone album – the US holiday anthem 4th Of July. The video was done on a low budget but like her previous hit Acapella, Kelis does not disappoint, giving us a visually delicious video which displays plenty of the song’s namesake fireworks and explores the four elements of air, earth, fire and water.

While I’m not loving the song or the video as much as Acapella, I’m hoping it will grow on me and become another hit for the deceptively intelligent artist. Who would have known Kelis had so much creative vision when she released Milkshake all them years ago.

MGMT: It’s Working and Congratulations

Before the release of their second LP Congratulations, New York hipster band MGMT had stated that they planned to release no singles from the album as they wanted to stand on its own as its own “collection of work”. Two months on and the band have released music videos for the third and fourth single from the album It’s Working and the title track. Neither songs are exactly mainstream or radio friendly but the videos are a lot of fun so hopefully they get some airplay on the music channels.

N*E*R*D* featuring Nelly Furtado: Hot ‘N’ Fun

Pharrell

Hip-rockers N*E*R*D* make a return to the World of music, with new single Hot ‘N’ Fun from forthcoming album Nothing. Featuring Nelly Furtado, the video was directed by Telephone director Jonas Åkerlund. You can watch the video here, seeing as its being pulled down everywhere else.

While I do enjoy the feel good groove of the song, the video is very reminiscent of Ke$ha’s Your Love Is My Drug video as well as Lady GaGa and Beyoncé driving around a desert in the Pussywagon for Telephone. The blond lady in the Indian headdress, the Californian desert and the animated sequences recall Ke$ha’s most recent single. Not to mention Nelly Furtado being copy and pasted into the music video with some amateurish special effects. This isn’t the first time Ms. Furtado has had to be copy and pasted into a video – having done so already in Timbaland’s Morning After Dark as well as clearly not filming alongside James Morrison in his Broken Strings video. Don’t even get me started on her CGI presence in Flo Rida’s Jump. Surely she isn’t that busy that she can’t show up for a video shoot alongside her co-stars every now and then.

OK Go: End Love

Quirky indie rockers OK Go are also back with another mad video for new single End Love. Depsite its low budget, OK Go have taken their usual DIY approach to making music videos with some genuinely funny shots of them running about, posing with great camera work that speeds up and slows down the video. I love when the goose joins them. I really want these guys to be successful.

Plan B: Prayin’


Following the success of the toe-tapping She Said, rapper/soul singer Plan B continues the gripping storyline from his music videos of imprisoned soul singer Strickland Banks in new single Prayin’.

With the song’s gigantic, expensive and rousing production, I think this should be another hit for the London singer who avoids rapping on this track. The videos which have been a huge draw to this era have me wondering what will happen to our down on his look protagonist next.

Snoop Dogg: Oh Sookie

True Blood mega fan Snoop Dogg is definitely not stopping Alan Ball’s rejection of a Snoop cameo on True Blood without a fight. The pervy California rapper has now released a promo single where he confesses his love – or rather lust – for telepathic waitress Sookie Stackhouse. Snoop Dogg rapping about my favourite TV show and proclaiming his lust for the show’s stars Anna Paquin and Rutina Wesley suggests we have much more in common than I thought. This video, with its Sookie Stackhouse back-up dancers, isn’t going to sway regular listeners but this is a must see for any True Blood fan.

I think Alan Ball needs to stop being so unfair and fulfill Snoop’s dream of appearing on the show. 😀 Maybe, Snoop could be killed in the True Blood world and come back as a mentally disabled vampire who helps out the Louisiana vampires á la Bubba in the Sookie Stackhouse books (read: Elvis). It would be authentic and if stars like Anna Paquin and Evan Rachel Wood can appear in the show, then why not Snoop.

Uffie featuring Pharrell: ADD (SUV)

Finally, Miami singer/rapper Uffie has teamed up with Pharrell for her first proper single ADD (SUV), the video which surfaced yesterday. The electropop song with an alternative edge is quickly becoming amazing to me but the video seems randomly put together with Uffie and Pharrell driving around the city at night with some animated sequences throwing in, probably as a tribute to her favourite star Ke$ha. 😀 Check it out below.

Phew! Told you there was lots of videos.

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.