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?

Jay Sean and Nicki Minaj are gonna party like it’s the end of the World. Not too long with music like this!

Jay Sean recently premiered the lead single 2012 from his upcoming album, due out this November. Sean is still striking while the iron is hot and quickly churning out another album before irrelevancy kicks in!

Now I know it’s great to see Jay Sean and his other British breakthrough Taio Cruz do so well in the US but I find it hard to bear any goodwill towards the guys when they’ve simply sold their souls for tons of cash and attention in recording formulaic pop songs with no imagination, clichéd lyrics and egotistical shout-outs to their label or producer. This is the formula Jay has been following for this single and previous two US hits Down and Do You Remember – lyrics about “going to the club and forgetting your troubles”, a woaahhh-oooh hook, a big inspirational chorus and a feature by some rent-a-rapper that whores themselves all over songs with irrelevant raps. First it was Lil’ Wayne, then it was Sean Paul and Lil’ Jon and now its latest ‘it’ girl Nicki Minaj.

The reason I’m so mad with Jay Sean and Taio Cruz and what I call their ‘conveyor belt pop’ is that these bland shallow songs will climb right up the charts while far more creative songs will be permitted to flop. Now I’m no music snob and love  a good club anthem as much as the next person but when Sean and Cruz release the same track over and over again with no signs of innovation, you can really tell that they don’t care as long as they bring in that moolah! Complete fad artists! I hope this flops…spectacularly…and gives Jay Sean the wake-up call he so badly needs.

Oh, here’s a behind the scenes look at the video which looks like a formulaic pop/R&B video but Jay promises it will have some “cool effects”. I can barely contain myself with the excitement…it will be released 8th August.

Usher reveals cheap ‘Versus’ artwork and tracklisting

Usher has premiered the artwork and tracklisting for his new album Versus. The album will act as a standalone EP of sorts while it will also be available, packaged as a Deluxe Edition with his recent album, Raymond V. Raymond. So pretty much like Lady GaGa’s The Fame Monster.

I think the artwork looks cheap as Hell! Considering the success of singles OMG and There Goes My Baby as well as Raymond V. Raymond itself, you’d expect a little more effort to go into the album artwork rather than Versus written seven times vertically against a pink cover with a vague shot of Usher in the background. Usher better put the money into making some decent music videos this era.

Anyways, check out the tracklisting for Raymond V. Raymond. The album will be preceded by two singles. For pop audiences, we have the Pitbull assisted DJ Got Us Fallin’ In Love which has already made significant chart impact Worldwide. For urban audiences, Hot Toddy will be sent to US radio on 9th August and will feature Jay-Z and Ciara. That sounds exciting at least.

Versus tracklisting:

  1. Love ‘Em All
  2. DJ Got Us Fallin’ In Love (featuring Pitbull)
  3. Hot Toddy (featuring Ciara and Jay-Z)
  4. Lay You Down
  5. Lingerie
  6. There Goes My Baby
  7. Get In My Car (featuring Bun B)
  8. Somebody To Love (Remix) (with Justin Bieber)
  9. Stranger

Raymond V. Raymond: Deluxe Edition tracklisting:

  1. Monstar
  2. Hey Daddy (Daddy’s Home)
  3. There Goes My Baby
  4. Lil’ Freak (featuring Nicki Minaj)
  5. She Don’t Know (featuring Ludacris)
  6. OMG (featuring will.i.am.)
  7. Mars Vs. Venus
  8. Pro Lover
  9. Foolin’ Around
  10. Papers
  11. So Many Girls (featuring Diddy)
  12. Guilty (featuring T.I)
  13. Okay
  14. Making Love (Into The Night)
  15. Love ‘Em All
  16. DJ Got Us Fallin’ In Love (featuring Pitbull)
  17. Hot Toddy (featuring Ciara and Jay-Z)
  18. Lay You Down
  19. Lingerie
  20. Get In My Car (featuring Bun B)
  21. Somebody To Love (Remix) (with Justin Bieber)
  22. Stranger
  23. More (iTunes and Japanese bonus track)
  24. Hey Daddy (Daddy’s Home) (Remix) (featuring Plies) (Target, Best Buy, UK and Ireland bonus track)

Single Reviews Diary 24 – 16th July 2010

You know the drill by now. This week there are 19 singles. I review them. You comment/give feedback etc.

Single Reviews Diary 24 – 16th July 2010:

01. 30 Seconds To Mars: Closer To The Edge

File:30 Seconds to Mars-Closer to the Edge s.jpg
This is SONIC EARGASM!!! Seriously, if your looking for true depth or subtlety in music by 30 Seconds To Mars, look elsewhere because Jared Leto and co. are making unapologetic stadium rock with massive choruses, crowd chanting and epic sprawling productions. After the brilliant previous single This Is War, I went in and bought the album of the same name last week and I love it from start to finish. This is my favourite track – a fantastic stadium rocker! Jared’s wailing rather ironically brings hope to the listener. This has a real inspirational feel to it. 4.5 STARS

02. Adam Lambert: Whataya Want From Me

Adam Lambert - Whataya Want From Me
Another one who knows how to deliver the sonic eargasms, Glambert (or rather his label) took a bit of a misstep by releasing the dreadful For Your Entertainment as his first proper single. Seriously, not only was the song completely tedious but it just screamed “Look! I’m the male version of Lady GaGa!” Thankfully with his second proper single, Adam delivers the pop rock and that amazing voice we all fell in love with onAmerican Idol. In my opinion anything P!nk writes is dead catchy and this single is exactly that! Starting off brooding and vulnerable, the ballad breaks into an irresistible chorus absolutely dripping with angst and melody. You’ll soon be singing “Just don’t give up/I’m working out/Please don’t give up/I won’t let you down” at the top of your voice although good luck trying to emulate Lambo’s screeching at the end. Despite the misstep of his first single, Adam shows that if he keeps pushing out singles as good as this, us males will have a worthy pop superstar to go against the Lady GaGas, Beyoncés and Rihannas of this World. 4.5 STARS

03. Ash: Summer Snow

Ash - U
First off, I love the title off this track. Only five more
A-Z singles after this one, this track is a simple enough pop rock track with crunchy guitars, bass and impassioned vocals from frontman Tim. There’s also a slight folk influence. The chorus is good enough but nothing groundbreaking or dead catchy. Like the majority of singles from this era, a decent but ultimately passable track. Buy it if you’re an Ash fan. 3 STARS

04. Basshunter: Saturday

Basshunter - Saturday
Basshunter has probably figured out that his breakthrough
Now You’re Gone sound has probably started to grate on the public’s nerve so the horny DJ has gone ahead and made music just like everyone else. This is probably Basshunter’s best single but that’s not really saying much considering his past offerings. Comprised of a club beat, catchy uncredited female vocalist(s) and plenty of Auto-Tune with the lyrical theme of partying, Basshunter joins JLS, Usher, Enrique and Taio in the ranks for tired, corporate dance music that is going to be swallowed up by the masses. 2.5 STARS

05. Diana Vickers: The Boy Who Murdered Love

File:TBWML.jpg
This girl is obsessed with the macabre…perhaps she should see a therapist? Or front an emo band? But Diana’s musical output is at odds with her dark lyrics because this is such a cheery, upbeat song. Diana’s whispery vocals are still intact but used in a more commercial way than her risky debut
Once. The chorus is ten times catchier than the aforementioned single, which simply comprised of the word “Once” being repeated over and over again. The song is cute, catchy and 100% pop without sounding manufactured. Plus I’m starting to develop a huge crush on Diana Vickers…almost obsessive! 4 STARS

06. Faithless: Tweak Your Nipple

Dance
Faithless seem to have a new single out each week. It’s rather crazy! This new track is lyrically philosophical and intelligent with mind provoking lyrics such as “I see genius in everybody to perceive it in yourself is the difficulty” and “Your individuality overflows with quality, it manifests solidly if you believe”. But do we really want to think while we’re on the dancefloor. I don’t think so. The beat only picks up as we come to the end of the track and the spoken word run of the song is grating. For die hard only Faithless fans.
2 STARS

07. Giggs featuring Shola Ama: Blow ‘Em Away


Another artist just firing out the singles, I think Giggs is fast morphing into the British 50 Cent. The deep and ominous voiced rapper shows plenty of ‘swagga’ (I feel so weird saying that) on this beat heavy track while Shola Ama does her best Keri Hilson impression on the mildly catchy chorus. If you’ve missed 50 Cent during his time relevant, then you should enjoy this.
3 STARS

08. Goldhawks: Keep This Fire


I’d recommend keeping an eye on this band. They definitely show much promise and remind me at times of Arcade Fire or Kings Of Leon. This anthemic indie rock song has Summer appeal and also would make a decent climactic soundtrack song. It has to lose points for a lack of originality though.
3.5 STARS

09. Inna: Amazing

File:Inna-amazing-promo-cover.jpg
After the surprise Top 10 placing of her previous single
Hot, I was hoping Romanian pop tart Inna would disappear as quickly as she came. Not a chance, she’s releasing her second single Amazing and I have a feeling it’s going to be another hit. Amazing it most definitely isn’t but with its Ibiza style production, it certainly miles better than the steaming hot mess that was Hot. This conjures up thoughts of Mediterranean holiday camps, something you’ll gladly dance drunkedly to on a Saturday night. Plus Inna looks good in a bikini. 2.5 STARS

STINKER OF THE WEEK!
10. Jedward: All The Small Things

Jedward - All The Small Things
Basically, to rant about this would be pointless. You’ll either love or hate Jedward or actually find yourself warming to them but I still find them one of the most pointless, idiotic, talentless and manufactured acts to ever grace the music industry. I do not find them funny, I do not find them cute and I do not find them entertaining. Everything from their ridiculous hair to their faux American accents to their blatant lack of originality, brains, vocal and dance ability just annoys me!!! With their cover of Blink-182’s
All The Small Things, the gruesome twosome shout over the original instrumentation with some cheap synths added for contemporary effect. You don’t need a good voice to cover this song but you need some singing ability which Jedward clearly lack. If you think the original sounds bad, you should hear their breathless live rendition. I know I’m not the kiddie target market for this duo but if this is what kids grow up listening too then I seriously fear for the future of mankind. No joke. Ooops, looks like I ranted. 1 STAR

11. Kill Krinkle Club: Airport

Kill Krinkle Club - Airport
The Irish/Swedish duo and real life couple Kill Krinkle Club are back with the first single from their forthcoming album
Abandon. Much like its official music video, this track is a dreamy slice of experimental electronica. Not exactly a bad tune but I’ve heard this kind of music a hundred times before. The icy beats are nice though. 3 STARS

12. Pendulum: Witchcraft

Pendulum - Witchcraft
The Aussie industrial rockers are back with the second single from album
Immersion. Don’t let the subdued opening fool you, this is yet another fast paced break neck speed track with some powerful meaty vocals. I’m sure this would sound absolutely immense live. However, it does sound a bit samey doesn’t it. Like they’ve done it all before. Oh well, I’ll let them off this time. 3.5 STARS

13. Placebo: I Feel You

Placebo - I Feel You
The British more heavier R.E.M. soundalikes Placebo have released their Depeche Mode cover of
I Feel You, a track which appears on a bonus disc of their 2003 album Sleeping With Ghosts. It’s a bit strange that the band would go back and release a song from two albums before (even if it is only a special edition) but then when have Placebo been conventional. Instrumentally this is very good. Lead singer Brian Molko’s slithery voice though is another thing altogether. Some find it sexy and addictive; others find it nasal and whiny! I think his voice is better suited to some songs than they are to others. While Molko really makes this his own which is something to be commended, the original trumps this skin crawling version by far. 2.5 STARS

14. Sandi Thom: Gold Dust

Sandi Thom - Gold Dust
The Punk Rocker With Flowers In Her Hair has actually released her third solo album back in May but you’d never know because the Scottish singer was forced out of the limelight as quickly as she came into it back in 2005 when her irritatingly catchy debut was all over the airwaves. With the second single from album
Merchants And Thiefs, Thom takes on an American blues feel with her music. In this sultry ballad with some great guitars, the singer actually sounds like a female Dylan albeit a little clichéd. It’s just a shame very few people will hear this. 4 STARS

15. Sarah McLachlan: Loving You Is Easy

Sarah McLachlan - Loving You Is Easy
The Canadian singer, known best for her large catalogue of miserable piano ballads, decides to up the tempo a little bit for her comeback single, taken from her new album
Laws Of Illusion. It’s a nice little pop ditty that should please her fans and keep the AC crowd happy but with its bouncy piano melody and uplifting chorus, it just sounds like a carbon copy of Sarah Bareilles’ Love Song. At least McLachlan looks HOT aged 42. 2.5 STARS

16. Sheryl Crow: Summer Day

File:Summerday.jpg
All the female folk singers are coming out in their droves this week. To promote her new album
100 Miles From Memphis, Sheryl Crow has ditched the catchy folk she’s more closely associated for relaxed Summer blues music. This song is just sublime. Don’t expect anything as radio friendly as Soak Up The Sun or Everyday Is A Winding Road, with this track, Crow captures that feeling of intense love on a breezy Summer day thanks to an impassioned yet restrained vocal performance and some light guitar backing. A+ for making an effort and succeeding. 5 STARS

17. Usher featuring Pitbull: DJ Got Us Fallin’ In Love

Usher featuring Pitbull - DJ Got Us Fallin' In Love
The lead single from Usher’s March album
Raymond V. Raymond, OMG was a surprise smash hit. Many deemed his career over in the lead up to the release but the atrocity managed to surprise everyone and spend weeks atop the charts across the World for the weeks and even now is still lying about the Top 10. Realising that selling his soul works, Usher has struck while the iron is hot and tacked together a new album EP with another corporate dance track that will get the masses moving but lacks in any real passion or drive. Lyrically this is juvenile and cheesy and would be much better suited to his protégé Justin Bieber. Pitbull spews out more of his tiresome bilingual verses which cashing his $1 million dollar cheque for nothing. It’s the god of pop songwriting Max Martin who is the real star of this song who makes what would be an otherwise tired and boring song decent with some giant pop hooks and a euphoric production. I demand a feature credit. 3 STARS

18. Usher featuring Nicki Minaj: Lil’ Freak

File:Lil Freak Official single cover.png
Ush still hasn’t stopped promoting
Raymond V. Raymond though. This track acts as a promo single here and it’s a shame it wasn’t put in the place of OMG as lead single from the project. It’s not half as annoying and just as catchy. Much like its accompanying promo clip, it sounds and looks like Nelly Furtado’s Maneater but I guess the wimpy record label feared it would be too urban for the mainstream crowd. Now much like Usher’s recent output, this track is far from perfect. Lyrically it’s as misogynist as many R&B/hip-hop songs these days and Nicki Minaj, normally a scene stealer, has one of the most unbearable rap verses of the year. Seriously, what’s with the Santa’s reindeer rap runthrough in that over-the-top accent for? Still, this track is a more than decent club banger with a minimum backbeat and massive symphonic synths that start up in the chorus, which strangely reminds me of the 1990s movie Men In Black. Something fun and gritty to grind to on the Saturday night dancefloor – or in the house when no-one is looking. 3.5 STARS

TRACK OF THE WEEK!
19. Vanessa Amorosi: I Am Who I Am

Vanessa Amorosi - This Is Who I Am
Australia answer to a more universally liked Katy Perry releases her debut single over here. It’s pretty sad that this track is unlikely to chart because this is an explosive power pop stomper that sounds like Katy Perry’s
Hot ‘N’ Cold meets Kelly Clarkson’s Since U Been Gone. Seriously it’s that good! Featuring a stuttering electronic guitar hook, an instantly infectious chorus and a whole lot of grrrl power with witty lyrics, maybe it’s time to start a campaign to get radio to playlist this too. Give it a listen…go on! You’re missing out! 5 STARS

I’ll try and get Diary 25 done before Monday. Not promising though! 😉

Lil’ Wayne and Nicki Minaj team up for the incredible ‘Knockout’

Lil’ Wayne might be locked up and in jail but that hasn’t stopped him from continuing his music career behind bars. The rapper turned temporary rocker has just premiered the video for new single Knockout. The clip directed by David Rosseau features current ‘it’ femcee Nicki Minaj. Check it out:


There are very few artists in the music industry who I don’t like but Lil’ Wayne is one of them. I just find him completely vile – from his slimy overly Auto-Tuned voice to his completely tattooed, silver toothed looks. However, this song is a win and one of the prime reasons I bought his surprisingly good album Rebirth. Most people seem to hate this new direction for Wayne but I never got why America and other rap critics treated him like a ‘saviour of rap’. All I heard was Auto-Tuned whining. The Aut0-Tuned whining is here too but it’s bearable thanks to the fast paced verses, the Summery Blink-182-esque guitar backing and of course Nicki Minaj.

Nicki seems to have divided critics and public alike but her contribution to this song really adds to the Summer party feel. Cooing out a surprisingly sexy chorus, things really take off when she spits out her rapped verses. “Aww fuck it, give me that damn bucket, when I throw this pussy, you better not start ducking” mightn’t be the classiest line in the World but it’s all in the delivery. Lil’ Wayne’s big breakdown in the end of “JUST KNOCK ME OUT!” even sounds suitably angsty.

The video really isn’t much. Considering Lil’ Wayne shot this alongside nine other music videos before going in the slammer, he obviously didn’t have much time. It’s funny though because it does make the CGI in Sugababes’ Wear My Kiss look like Avatar. Knockout is available to buy now.

Singles Reviews Diary 11 – 16th April 2010

Again, a little later than usual, it’s the eleventh Singles Reviews Diary – otherwise known as the week of pointless single re-releases.

Singles Reviews Diary 11 – 16th April 2010:

01. 3OH!3: Don’t Trust Me
Pointless re-releases are clearly all the rage these days. Following in the footsteps of La Roux and Florence + The Machine, 3OH!3 (or rather their management) have decided to re-release their breakthrough hit
Don’t Trust Me. Back in July 2009, I would have been way more favourable about this track but with the rise of more superior electro punk poppers like Cobra Starship, I have come to the realisation that 3OH!3 are just plain annoying. The chorus of this song is still as infectious as ever but the verses and middle eight are just plain dumb. It also feels as if this song has just left our radio and music channel airwaves only to quickly jump back in again. Peaking at #19, why exactlyis this being released. 2.5 STARS

02. Akala: XXL
A disposable rave tune by Camden rapper Akala. It doesn’t have the crossover appeal of Dizzee Rascal’s
Bonkers but should keep a nightclub of party loving ravers happy. 3 STARS

03. Angus And Julia Stone: Big Jet Plane
You can just tell by the name of the band that Angus and Julia Stone are a brother-sister indie duo. I’m not exactly familiar with the Aussie band but if this is their first UK single, they’ve given a good introduction to audiences on this side of the World. Subtle, string heavy and unlikely to make a dent on the charts, the most distinctive part of this song is Angus and Julia’s vocals which sound like raspy whispers. Good stuff.
4 STARS

04. The Boy Least Likely To: A Fairytale Ending
A sweet and chirpy folk tune from the English band. This doesn’t sound a million miles away from some of the Eels biggest hits. A nice song to play this Summer while on a long drive or at a barbeque. It sort of goes a bit too heavy on the electronics at the end but not enough to ruin the song.
4 STARS

05. Cathy Davey: Little Red
Alternative pop singer Cathy Davey is back with another insanely catchy song, this time a song based on the fairytale
Little Red Riding Hood. The main hook of this song is composed of Cathy’s gentle wolf howl on the chorus and her sweet yet powerful voice plodding along smoothly on the verses. It doesn’t sound very different or fresh from her earlier hits but should keep Cathy fans happy. 4 STARS

06. Chipmunk featuring Esmée Denters: Until You Were Gone
When I first heard this song, I thought “Wow, this sounds sort of like the song he did with Amelle”. Then I remembered that was Tinchy Stryder. Despite his similarities with his fellow Brrapper Stryder, Chipmunk clearly has an ear for a catchy melody in the sixth single from his soon to be reissued debut album
I Am Chipmunk. Chip Diddy Chip seems to be on Auto-Pilot due to his usual rapping about how great he is but that doesn’t matter as Denters appealing chorus is the mainstay of this track. I was afraid she was going to belt out a melodramatic diva chorus for this track but things are kept simple with a restrained sing-along chorus that matches the light bouncy feel of this track. I will actually go and say that this is my favourite Chipmunk track of all time and one of the most effortless pop songs in a while. 4 STARS

TRACK OF THE WEEK!
07. Crookers featuring Soulwax & Mixhell: We Love Animals
The fourth single from Crookers
Tons Of Friends album mightn’t have big profile names of previous singles like Kardinal Offishall and Kelis but that doesn’t make it any less strong. Starting off with minimal widely placed synth beats, the beats slowly become more closely placed before it turns into one big rave-a-thon. Crookers show why they are some of the top producers in the game as this is highly inventive. I know this is controversial, I’m not even a fan of Crookers really or music without lyrics, but I think this gets Track Of The Week. 5 STARS

08. Diana Vickers: Once
I know many people on this blog will rate this as Track Of The Week and hell, Diana would get it in a less inferior week. (I can’t believe I’m only half way through writing this and the amount of 4 star songs I’ve heard). Starting of with a siren and piano filed intro, Diana’s unconventional, breathy and oddly sexy voice intrigues the listener with her voice before the explosive pop rock chorus kicks in. Diana has to be the most interesting contestant to get a record deal after
The X-Factor because there’s something refreshingly different about her despite the radio friendly, repetitive chorus“I’m only gonna let you kill me once once once yeah hey once once (repeat about 200 times)!”. I can’t give this song 5 stars simply because it never stood out as a 5 star for me and now, after repeated listens, it’s lost some of its magic. I also find certain ways she pronounces words irritating. That said, a very strong lead single from debut albumSongs From The Tainted Cherry-Tree. 4 STARS

09. Donkeyboy: Ambitions
Norwegian band Donkeyboy decide to test the waters in this part of Europe with their debut single
Ambitions. I am bowled over by the number of really good singles being released this week. Brilliant vocals, fans of Empire Of The Sun will love this, I think. 4.5 STARS

Glee is already back in Ireland and back in the UK anyday now so just when I thought I’d get a break from reviewing the Glee singles after the season finale, two weeks later Season 2 is already back on our screens. The theme of this week’s episode is to sing a song with the word “Hello” in it, or as Rachel and her suspicious new love interest likes to twist it, a song containing the first syllable of Hello.

10. Glee Cast: Hello I Love You
This little number is courtesy of our Tall Jock, Finn, and while I’m not the biggest fan of Finn, I really enjoy his cover of The Doors single. The bouncy synths and Finn’s husky vocals introduce the Doors to a whole new generation of viewers.
4 STARS

11. Glee Cast: Gives You Hell
The always delightful Rachel, or Hot Social Outcast Girl as I like to call her, gives a fun rendition of the All American Rejects hit. With the original being a recent hit, this is the most likely track to hit the charts this week. However, I think its relatively weak to what we usually hear from Rachel and probably the weakest song of the “Hello” episode.
3 STARS

12. Glee Cast: Highway To Hell
The rival singing group do a performance of this AC/DC hit. It contains all the wild energy of the original and may also make a dent in the charts but it doesn’t stand out wildly like the other songs do.
4 STARS

13. Glee Cast: Hello
Rachel and her new love interest perform this soppy power ballad, originally by Lionel Richie. Both have great singing voices but I found myself wanting to fast forward my way through this sequence in the episode because it bored me after a while.
3 STARS

14. Glee Cast: Hello Goodbye
Glee saves the best for last with this fantastic, spirited rendition of the Beatles classic. The fact that my younger, Top 40 loving sister wanted to hear the original rendition of this song just goes to show how Glee’s popularity has the power to introduce a larger variety of music to young people.
5 STARS

15. Hot Chip: I Feel Better
Dramatic strings and minimal drum beats are the background of this head bobbing alternative dance number. A strong second single from Hot Chip’s album
One Life Stand.4 STARS

16. James: Crazy
James won’t disappoint fans with their new single
Crazy. It’s nothing groundbreaking exactly but why fix it if it ain’t broke. This sounds like classic James to me. 3.5 STARS

17. Julian Casablancas: 11th Dimension
Strokes singer Julian Casablancas is back solo with this really fantastic song. Sounding like it came straight out of the 1980s with its retro synths, guitar licks and strong yet drawling vocals, it is yet another stunning entry in what has to be the best week for singles in ages.
4 STARS

18. Kid Sister featuring Cee-Lo: Daydreaming
Poor Kid Sister can’t seem to get her big break despite all the singles from her debut album
Ultraviolet being insanely catchy and enjoyable club pop rap records. This is probably her most radio friendly track of all. The middle part of the song and Cee-Lo’s cameo are real enjoyable. 4 STARS

19. Meatloaf: Los Angeloser
This will probably be a guilty pleasure for many. Really Meat Loaf’s music hasn’t aged well at all and its incredibly cheesy but there’s something strangely infectious about this slightly countrified rock tune.
3 STARS

20. Nicki Minaj featuring Sean Garret: Massive Attack
She may only be making her name on this side of the Atlantic now but a lot is riding on Nicki Minaj over in the States with her debut single after appearing on numerous tracks as a guest rapper. I was expecting something mildly poppy from the self confessed Barbie but
Massive Attack is like nothing in the chart at the moment. Over a jungle dancehall beat, Nicki raps in a strange accent and seems to be rapping in a stream of disjointed thoughts while Sean Garrett singles the chorus. It really shouldn’t work but it surprisingly does. Has to be listened to a few times before the infectious beat kicks in. Naturally, Nicki is going to divide opinion but I don’t think I’ve been this excited about a femcee since Missy Elliott. 4 STARS

21. N-Dubz: Say It’s Over
The thoroughly original and saviours of British rap N-Dubz (I’m being sarcastic but N-Dubz would think I’m being dead serious) are back with what is probably the most enjoyable single from their second studio album
Against All Odds. Once all the “na-na-nai-yeaaaaaahs!” are out of the way, Dappy and Fazer are spitting out their cheesy raps at a rapid pace while Tulisa sings the radio friendly hook amidst garage beats about as futuristic as the music video the song its based upon. All sarcasm aside though, this is an enjoyable single from N-Dubz very much set in the now! Don’t expect it to be a future classic but it should be a fun listen until it irritates us all in a few weeks time. 3 STARS

22. Primary 1 featuring Nina Persson : The Blues
It’s great to hear Nina Persson of The Cardigans again but
The Blues honestly isn’t the best song to make a featured comeback on. It’s not a bad song but the melodic rock song kind of prattles along for 6 minutes without ever really going anywhere. 3 STARS

23. Paolo Nutini: Candy
I can’t say I’ve ever really got into Paolo Nutini’s album
Sunny Side Up but I do know that it has been helmed as one of 2009’s greatest pop albums with every song worthy of becoming a single. So I’m wondering why Paolo’s team are deciding to re-release this as it already cracked the Top 30 and like 3OH!3, I feel like this song has only left the airwaves and released again. Not that Candy is a bad song, it’s a fine ballad with a relatively upbeat chorus and Paolo’s distinctive old man vocals, but I feel as if he should be releasing something else rather than going backwards. 4 STARS

24. The Pipettes: Stop The Music
The Pipettes sound like a 2010 version of ABBA on this track. On this funky Latin tinged track, the all girl duo bowl us over with a huge amount of hooks on this grower of a track. Worth checking out.
4 STARS

25. Robin Thicke featuring Estelle: Rollacoasta
Anyone looking for their Justin Timberlake fix need look no further than Robin Thicke because he’s a dead ringer for the former Mouseketeer on this funky electro number. Sexy, above average and as polished as Thicke’s Prada shoes, Estelle sings the sensual chorus on this track. It’s no
SexyBack or LoveStoned but Rollacoasta sounds like it belongs on JT’s FutureSex/LoveSounds LP. Maybe Robin’s similarly titled Sex Therapy is worth checking out. 3.5 STARS

26. Shakira: Gypsy
After enticing us all with her hypnotic hips and quirky brand of electropop with previous singles
She Wolf and Did It Again, Shakira tones things down for the third single from her criminally underselling She Wolf album. While it mightn’t back the punch of the previous two singles, Gypsy is a charming romantic affair thanks to its folky, Worldesque sound and Shakira’s awkward wordplay as she sings in the English language. 3.5 STARS

STINKER OF THE WEEK!
27. You Me At Six: Liquid Confidence (Nothing To Lose)
The second single from You Me At Six new album
Hold Me Down steps on a theme we all know about – using alcohol to gain confidence…and making an absolute fool of yourself. Maybe the last part is just me. You Me At Six win no points for originality here and that’s why it rather unfairly earns the Stinker Of The Week this week. It has a catchy arena friendly chorus and all but I’ve heard this kind of music from them plenty of times before as well as other bands in their genre. Sorry to all You Me At Six fans but these guys need to show they have more diversity before I can rate them higher. 2.5 STARS

So there you have it, I was surprised as I wrote this how many good singles are released this week. The only high profile names really are Diana Vickers, 3OH!3, Paolo Nutini, Chipmunk, N-Dubz and Shakira but there’s some great songs this week so I urge you to get downloading.

Oh and please comment and leave feedback, good or bad, I won’t take offence as long as I don’t get “How could you give You Me At Six Stinker Of The Week. They are musical geniuses! What are you doing with your life?” or something along those lines. Giving your opinion is fine but ranting at me is not.

Singles Reviews Diary 4 – 29th February 2010

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

Singles Reviews Diary 4 – 29th February 2010:

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

Scotland the Brave

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

10. Glee Cast: Dancing With Myself 3 STARS

Dancing With Myself (Glee Cast Version)

11. Glee Cast: Defying Gravity 4 STARS

Defying Gravity (Glee Cast Version)

12. Glee Cast: Proud Mary 4 STARS

Proud Mary (Glee Cast Version)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Stylo (feat. Mos Def and Bobby Womack)

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

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

Solo

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

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

Lil Wayne ft Nicki Minaj - Knockout

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

Click pic to play "La La La"

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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