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! 😉

Usher pulls a ‘Fame Monster’ with new album ‘Versus’, Lady GaGa makes big impact on music industry

It looks like Lady GaGa really is making an impact on the music industry. Earlier this week she caused the higher powers behind the Grammys to change the rules when they failed to nominate her for ‘Best New Artist’ at the 2010 awards. Because she had already been nominated for the 2009 awards with ‘Best Dance Recording’ for her debut single Just Dance, Grammy rules stated that someone previously nominated could not be up for a ‘Best New Artist’ gong. Well after much outcry from the media and GaGa’s little monsters, the Grammys are officially changing the rules so this incident never happens again! 😛

Anyhow, the reason why I’m harping on about GaGa in an Usher post is because the eccentric singer appears to have inspired him into releasing albums in a similar way to her. Usher might have just released his sixth studio album Raymond V. Raymond at the end of March but he’s already promising a follow-up set for release on 24th August. Well, kind of. Versus, his seventh studio album, will be eight tracks long and act as a “sequel” and “final chapter” to Raymond V. Raymond. The album will be available as a standalone collection in some territories (read: US) and packaged alongside Raymond V. Raymond as a deluxe edition of the album in other territories (read: outside the US). Basically Usher has copied the whole The Fame Monster campaign.

The good thing is you get to hear the lead single from the new album, titled DJ Got Us Fallin’ In Love. As you’d expect this is disposable dance-pop with cheesy lyrics but its much more listenable than Usher’s last lead single, the completely shit OMG. This is thanks to the Master of Pop Hooks, Max Martin, who makes this likeable despite a hideous Pitbull (not him again!) cameo.

Usher is continuing the release of multiple singles in the US, a tool he used for Raymond V. Raymond also. The Polow Da Don produced single Hottie Tottie (vomit) will be released to US radio on August 9th after DJ Got Us Fallin’ In Love is released on July 20th. US single There Goes My Baby will also be remixed with a rent-a-rapper tacked on. Oh, when will people learn that nobody cares about guest raps anymore? DJ will probably act as the lead international single and follow-up to OMG but what happens to the release of Lil’ Freak which is just starting to get airplay on UK music channels?

Have a listen to DJ Got Us Fallin’ In Love below and tell me what you think.

Single Reviews Diary 21 – 25th June 2010

After celebrating its 20 week anniversary last week, things are looking interesting for this week’s Single Reviews Diary. Not only is it the diary with the least singles reviewed to date (not necessarily a bad thing – for me!) at a mere 14 but it’s also. But quality over quantity and three quality dance divas are going head to head this week to see who has the best single – Kelly Rowland, Kylie Minogue or Lady GaGa. Perhaps most intriguing of all though is this piece of news… I am shocked to report this week that Justin Bieber is releasing a very good pop song. Read below to find out what’s happening the week of the 28th and let me know your thoughts in the comments below.

Single Reviews Diary 21 – 25th June 2010:

01. Bon Jovi: When We Were Beautiful

Bon Jovi - When We Were Beautiful (Radio Edit)
This track started off really promising but sort of fizzled out before momentum got going. Opening with some fanciful guitar work, pounding drums and brooding vocals from Jon Bon Jovi, I thought this would be another track to go alongside some of Bon Jovi’s classic power ballads but alas no! The chorus on this track is too weak, the “sha-la-la” shout along is corny and the lyrics are clichéd and written in several different forms by Bon Jovi already. This is a grower but will only be loved by the hardcore Bon Jovi fans.
3 STARS

02. Coronas: Someone Else’s Hands

The Coronas - Someone Else's Hands
The talented Irish band had a massive hit last year in their homeland with the up-tempo pop rock track
Listen Dear so can they manage it with the third single from their second album Tony Was An Ex-Con. This is the token power ballad from the album and to be honest, it’s a nice song, not top-notch and would probably be crap in the hands of a less talented band but is saved by the distinguishing and emotionally pierced voice of lead singer Danny O’Reily and the well written lyrics. I’d go back and listen to Listen Dear again (check it out, non-Irish readers). 3 STARS

03. Enrique Iglesias featuring Juan Luis Guerra: Cuando Me Enamoro

File:Cuando me enamoro single cover.jpg
This won’t get much attention next to the mainly English spoken (and terrible) single
I Like It but Enrique is actually releasing dual singles from his bilingual album Euphoria – one in Spanish and the other English. It’s actually a crying shame that this will be overlooked because I think it manages to capture the sound of Summer much better than the robotic I Like It. Okay so the song is completely in Spanish which is something of a language barrier but there’s plenty to keep you interested in this old fashioned mid-tempo duet. Iglesias and Guerra both have fine voices, the former’s making every girl’s heart melt with its swoon-worthiness while the latter adds a little more richness and maturity. Plus there’s the understated Spanish instruments such as maracas which give a lovely Summer evening vibe. Plus you’ve got to love the sensual “ooooh-oooh” hook. Who cares if you don’t understand the language? That certainly hasn’t stopped me from listening to many great Spanish records! 3.5 STARS

STINKER OF THE WEEK!
04. Enrique Iglesias featuring Pitbull and Lionel Richie: I Like It

File:Enrique-iglesias-i-like-it.jpg
This is probably one of the worst songs of the year. I will admit that Enrique’s music is a not-so-guilty pleasure of mine and he sure knows how to vocally provide the catchy tunes, probably mostly due to his angsty voice (P!nk also does this) but a mildly repetitive chorus of “I Like It” followed by some Auto-Tuned muttering and a lot of Spanish gibberish is not going to cut it this time. Enrique enlists RedOne once again for his new track but RedOne’s sound is starting to sound old here – all his usual tricks are used – horns, bombastic synths, loud choruses and name-checking. But worse still because Enrique is Spanish, i.e. European, he has taken things further down a notch by giving it a really cheesy Eurodance Cascada-esque sound. Enrique’s voice is completely drowned out by ‘80s robotic Auto-Tuned effects as is the re-recorded Lionel Richie snippet from
All Night Long. Pitbull’s fast paced hyperactive rap is actually a lot of fun but amounts to nothing as it has nothing to do with the song at all. A terrible song like JLS’ The Club Is Alive which we’ll be snapped up by the public because Enrique is “soooooo totally hot” and “OMG! RedOne’s the producer and Nicole Richie’s dad is on part of it wiv that seriously cool rappa Pitbull!” 1 STAR

05. Futureheads: I Can Do That

I Can Do That
The follow-up to the Futureheads
Heartbeat Song definitely takes some major influences from 1970s punk. The repetitive chorus is very weakthough and the track definitely recalls the Sex Pistols, although a bit watered down and dull. It’s not exactly bad just nothing special. 2.5 STARS

06. Imelda May: Psycho

Imelda May - Psycho
The super talented and super sexy rockabilly singer Imelda May is back with a new single from her third album
Mayhem, released this September. The track has a global appeal and all Imelda needs is some good old promotion and attention to make it. The song has a great dirty feel to it with May providing her lusty, strong vocals as usual. It also features some top quality howling, the best use of howling in a song since Shakira’s She Wolf. It mightn’t be as instantly catchy as Johnny Got A Boom Boom but a terrific lead single none the less with a great video to match. 4 STARS

07. Justin Bieber featuring Usher: Somebody To Love (Remix)

File:Justin-Bieber Someb40D5FE8rev.jpg
For many people who have read my posts, it’s no secret that I’m no fan of Justin Bieber, the young guy having won two Stinker Awards for his smelly contributions in music, which includes the infantile
Eenie Meenie and the bland ballad (blandad?) Never Let You Go. But I am not a biased person and I will artists credit where credit is due and tell you all that Justin Bieber’s new single Somebody To Love is actually rather good. No, thankfully he didn’t cover Queen and STL is an original song that ropes in his mentor Usher. The song has some well crafted verses, a quiet grower of a chorus and some shiny, shiny production by production crew The Stereotypes. There’s a noticeable strain on Bieber’s puberty stricken voice on this track but he holds it up well and Usher more than makes up for it in the vocal department with his seductive crooning. The only part I don’t like is at the end when Usher says something and Bieber replies “Yeah man!” all smug. What we’ve got though is a decent dance pop smash that might just show Bieber has potential as a star. *avoids rotten fruit thrown at me by Bieber haters* 4 STARS

TRACK OF THE WEEK!
08. Kelly Rowland: Commander

Kelly Rowland / David Guetta - Commander
Can Kelly Rowland finally find true success as a popstar after going from yet another R&B vocalist to a fierce and fabulous dance diva? I think so and to do that, Kelly has teamed up with old pal and collaborator David Guetta, who she most noticeably worked with on last year’s dance smash
When Love Takes Over. I have a bit of a hit and miss relationship with Guetta but he certainly delivers on this track, providing a pounding baseline, wonky synths, huge rave-tastic beats and a futuristic sound. We can’t forget the star of the show Kelly, who provides a stunning vocal performance which even manages to outsing the sheer amount of Auto-Tune layered thick on her voice. The chorus is massive and soaring with Kelly conveying oodles of confidence. Lyrics like“The DJ is my bodyguard” and “There’s no-one here who does it like I does it” are a little cheesy not to mention grammatical murder but there all part of the song’s charm and I wouldn’t have them any other way. This is probably the best dance-pop track of the year exceeding all expectations in the vocal, production, catchiness and lyrical department. 5 STARS

09. Kid British: Winner

Kid British - Winner
Is retro back again? The band return with this soulful ska pop track that sounds like it came straight out of the 1960s. The song was included on the latest World Cup video game and it’s not surprising seeing as it’s got that upbeat marching feel to it and inspirational lyrics. A definite crowd pleaser for the returning band.
4.5 STARS

10. Kylie Minogue: All The Lovers

Kylie Minogue - All The Lovers
The sweet and sexy Kylie Minogue makes her comeback with this near-perfect little number. Normally, I’m not a Kylie Minogue fan at all but this track is just gorgeous. Featuring Kylie’s sweet, seductive, whispery vocals over a breezy bassline and gentle synths, this song is absolutely heavenly. Even though Kylie is pretty much saying that she’s been around the block before she met this incomparable guy, she manages to make her former promiscuity sound strangely romantic just like the accompanying video which sees a large orgy on the street. I have to dock half a point for the loud and squeaky synth breakdown towards the end but Kylie, we welcome you back to the throne as Queen of Pop!
4.5 STARS

11. Lady GaGa: Alejandro

File:Alejandro LG.png
RedOne is on production duties for the fifth single of eight in GaGa’s career but rather than recycle the same old beats like he’s being doing recently, the Moroccan DJ actually thinks outside the box and pays homage to Ace Of Base and Madonna during the
True Blue era with Ibiza friendly bouncy beats perfect for Summer. Pop megastar Lady GaGa continues this Latin theme by doing a bad Spanish accent, the occasional use of a Spanish word here and there and shooing off the attentions of Hispanic men Alejandro, Fernando and Roberto. The chorus is catchy, GaGa trades in her usual sexual innuendos for something tamer and the first minute of this track is pure pop magic. Sadly after that one minute, the remaining three minutes (seven in the bleak music video) just sort of plod along in repetition with the listener left thinking “How many times has she said Alejandro now?” While this is still a catchy pop song with a fun, sunny vibe (in contrast to the video), the track says everything it wants to say after one minute and doesn’t have the plentiful hooks that have become a staple of GaGa’s singles so far. The ‘90s Latin beats might be infectious, endearing and provide a bout of nostalgia but this lacks the pop power that every GaGa single before had (excluding Eh Eh (Nothing Else I Can Say) and LoveGame). 3.5 STARS

12. The National: Anyone’s Ghost

Anyone's Ghost
An atmospheric and brooding track from the shoe-gazing band. It starts off sounding like any old miserable rock track with poetic lyrics but once the guitar chords build up and the strings are added, the song takes on a subtle beauty which only increases as the song goes on. It won’t appeal to the mainstream but should keep National fans happy.
3.5 STARS

13. Skepta featuring Greg: Rescue Me

Rescue Me
Roll Deep member Skepta returns with a gritty dub-step track following the ravey Bad Boy. This song wouldn’t be anything without the chorus though – which is provided by Greg. The chorus is really strong despite its robotic sound – but that robotic sound reminds me of some singer (and not one of the many who are using Auto-Tune at the moment). It’s suitably angsty too and makes you listen to the lyrics which I guess is a subliminal way of getting you to love all the song. Not original but definitely better than former #1
Good Times. 3 STARS

14. The Unconventionals: Push The Button


I feared that these
X-Factor losers would do a cover of Sugababes 2.0’s song of the same name and I was right. However, my fears were unnecessary because this is surprisingly charming and catchy. The Unconventionals have given it a real ‘60s doo-wop makeover and it’s sung extremely well with some toe-tapping backing vocals. While its uncomfortable to hear a bunch of middle aged people use the slang of the old edgy Babes, it’s certainly not half as comfortable as listening to any of Sugababes 4.0’s material. 4 STARS

Singles Reviews Diary 20 – 18th June 2010

It’s twenty weeks old! It’s twenty weeks old! It’s twenty weeks old! I am so delighted with the achievement of having written twenty of these diaries now and I think I’ve managed to cover pretty much every major single in them. To add to this being the twentieth (week) anniversary of the Singles Reviews Diaries, there are also 20 singles to review below. Check out my reviews and let me know what you think of the songs or the reviews in general. What’s your Track Of The Week? What’s your Stinker? Which band/artist are you really loving at the moment? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

Singles Reviews Diary 20 – 18th June 2010:

01. Adam Deacon and Bashy featuring Paloma Faith: Keep Moving

Adam Deacon & Bashy feat. Paloma Faith - Keep Moving (Explicit Album Version)
While Chipmunk and Tinchy Stryder can be described as the British equivalents to American counterparts Flo Rida and Soulja Boy Tell ‘Em, I think it’s fair to describe Adam Deacon as a British equivalent to T.I. or Jay-Z. Teaming up with fellow occasional actor Paloma Faith, the two create a mature but not entirely original hip-hop track witha soulful chorus. Faith’sbeautiful vocals bring a hint of retro-ness to the track while Deacon is a surprisingly good rapper. Bashy joins halfway through to add a little diversity to the track. What we get in the end is a fairly typical hip-hop track – but a
very good fairly typical hip-hop track at that! 3.5 STARS

02. Ash: Spheres

Ash - S
This is Single Letter S from Ash’s
A-Z Series. They should really get to promoting this single because it’s probably the best track we’ve heard from the singles collection so far. Ash’s music is normally simple catchy pop rock but with Spheres, we see the Northern Irish trio go over to the dark side. Featuring an eerie piano line which runs from the intro throughout the whole song, pounding drums and a hammering bass. It all comes to a stunning climax when the guitars crunch up and the chorus becomes more aggressive. The song is definitely worth a buy. 4 STARS

03. The Automatic: Cannot Be Saved

The Automatic - Cannot Be Saved
The Automatic return with the third single from their
Tear The Signs Down LP. If you’ve heard Automatic before – and many of you have – remember that song ”What’s that coming over the hill, is it a monster? Is it a monster? – then you’ll know what to expect. A song that doesn’t take too seriously, a fun shout-along punk pop track that travels at 100 mph, this isn’t going to be the highlight of the year. But it’s a fun track to add to that Summer playlist. 3.5 STARS

TRACK OF THE WEEK!
04. Big Boi featuring Cutty: Shutterbug

Big Boi / Cutty - Shutterbugg (Explicit Version)
One half of the genre defining hip-hop duo Outkast and the lesser known member to Andre 3000, Big Boi has struck out on his own with new single
Shutterbug and like his band continues to show some innovation in hip-hop. While hiring an R&B singer like Cutty to croon over the song isn’t entirely original, this track is all about Big Boi. Lacking any real chorus, Big Boi raps along with an incredible flow while the instrumentation of funky ‘80s synths, drumclaps and samples of Soul II Soul’s Back To Reality provide the main hooks of this song. I really love this track because it has a chilled out yet cocksure vibe that you rarely hear in rap nowadays. I’m seriously looking forward to Big Boi’s album now. 5 STARS

05. Cypress Hill featuring Pitbull and Marc Anthony: Armada Latina

Cypress Hill featuring Pitbull and Marc Anthony - Armada Latina (feat. Pitbull and Marc Anthony)
Sigh. Another week. Another Pitbull feature. Why must he torment me so?! That said Cypress Hill’s track will provide a little Latin flavour this Summer. With a repetitive “oooh-oooh-oooh” hook running through the song, Jennifer Lopez’s husband Marc Anthony provides the Spanish sung chorus while the rapping is provided in English by Cypress Hill and Pitbull. Cypress Hill’s rapping is fairly passable and Pitbull continues to rap random words in Spanish over an unrelated rap about him not being an “asshole”. Right. *side eye*. Still those oooh-oooh hooks and Marc Anthony’s chorus is what make this must have on the Summer playlist. But then again…I am a sucker for pretty much every Spanish song in existence.
4.5 STARS

06. Daisy Dares You: Rosie

Daisy Dares You - Rosie
This is a pretty catchy pop rock jam with a massive chorus. That said so was her last single
Number One Enemy. And that song drove me mad for a few weeks. Daisy manages to provide radio friendly fodder that will get airplay all over the place before being completely forgotten about in a few weeks. I appreciate the fact that Daisy has said she wants to stay away from the clichéd teen romance lyrics on her debut album, something she’s managed so far, singing about rowing with her sister Scarlet (ginger?) and backing up her friend Rosie (another ginger?)but she hasn’t managed to stay away from the clichéd Auto-Tune. Plus the electro breakdown with the fast paced rap doesn’t really gel well towards the end. All I’m hearing is a Z-grade Avril Lavigne mixed with a Z-grade Lily Allen. But points for only being 16 and making music a little more bearable than other 16 year olds *cough Justin Bieber*cough*.2.5 STARS

07. Dan Balan featuring Katie DiCicco: Chica Bomb


WTH? Why is Dan Balan credited as a lead artist on this track when Katie DiCicco, the sexy, breathy singer isn’t even credited? Last time I looked, practically whispering “chica-chica-bomb” over an unoriginal Eurodance backing constituted this being his song. I would give this Stinker Of The Week but DiCicco’s breathy vocals are seductive (I may be blinded by my urge to have sex with her), the cheesy Ibiza beats are just right for Summer and the middle eight is actually rather gorgeous. Dan Balan is a complete tool though. Many of you will agree with me as he was one-third of defunct band O-Zone (
The Numa Numa Song), possibly the most annoying Moldovan poppers anywhere. 2.5 STARS

08. Declining Winter: Official World Cup Theme 2010


Something for the UK to be proud of, Declining Winter have been given the honourary role of providing the theme song for World Cup 2010. Really it’s a strange choice of theme song, it doesn’t particularly draw you in or have a very celebratory sound. In fact, it’s very ‘indie’ and brooding in its sound. The instrumentation is rather good though with some beautiful string sections. Only the end of the song with some World Cup commentary makes you actually believe this song is for the World Cup though.
3 STARS

09. Dirty Money featuring Rick Ross and T.I.: Hello Good Morning

Diddy - Dirty Money / T.I. - Hello Good Morning (Explicit Version)
Diddy, Timbaland called and asked what you’re doing right and what he’s doing wrong. Because
Hello Good Morning sounds like it could have been released as a single of Timbaland Presents: Shock Value. Seriously? Yup. Diddy and his new ‘band’ of female rappers spit out some clichéd lyrics about being in a club and being so ‘fly’ with a little help from Rick Ross and recently freed T.I. over some wonky synths. It offers nothing new to the table at all but if you liked the singles from Timbaland’s FIRST Shock Valuealbum, then you should like this. Plus the epic breakdown at the end reminds us of why Sean Combs aka Puff Daddy aka P. Diddy aka Diddy is one of the most revered rappers out there. 3 STARS

10. Feeder: Call Out


‘90s rockers make a return with a big heavy rock number that grabs your attention as soon as the opening chords kick in at a lightning speed. Combined with a catchy chorus, Feeder have returned with a solid lead single from the forthcoming album
Renegades. Hopefully with the right promotion and airplay, this track can introduce the band to a whole new generation. 4.5 STARS

STINKER OF THE WEEK!
11. Justin Bieber: Never Let You Go


This is simply being released as a promo single so its unlikely to blow up like previous singles
One Time and Baby, thank goodness. Now I could be nice and say I’m that I’m not 3 years old so I’m not the target market for this audience. However, J. Bieber has just released another stinker that only his die-hard fans can enjoy. I’ll admit Baby grew on me eventually and his forthcoming single with Usher Somebody To Love is actually rather good but this…this is just terrible! Not only is it bland, insipid and clichéd but who wantsto hear an eight-year-old boy sing about heartbreak in the form of an Auto-Tuned ballad. Yeah, we’re really reading into your soul there, Justin. Stick to the catchy dance-pop, methinks! 1 STAR

12. Katy Perry featuring Snoop Dogg: California Gurls

Katy Perry featuring Snoop Dogg - California Gurls (feat. Snoop Dogg)
Despite it’s huge commercial success, this song has divided critics. Probably Katy’s own fault for declaring this as the LA equivalent to Jay-Z and Alicia Keys’ timeless modern classic
Empire State Of Mind. Now California Gurls will probably be timeless too – but more in the way of “Oh crap! I can’t believe I actually liked that song” and then giving it a sneaky listen on your iPod or whatever replaces iPods in the future. BecauseCalifornia Gurls is just a fun pop song – nothing more. Combining Calvin Harris like synths, ‘90s wah-wah guitars, sunny melodies, a West Coast rap and a gigantic chorus, I think California Gurls deserves its huge success it will have this Summer. Oh sure, some of it sounds like Ke$ha’s TiK ToK and its clearly gimmicky but that doesn’t matter, as it is the must have song to play at the pool party this Summer. The song is so hot…my popsicle just melted. 4 STARS

13. K’nann: Wavin’ Flag (Celebration Mix)

K'Naan - Wavin'  Flag (UK Version)
The original version. The Young Artists For Haiti version. The will.i.am and David Guetta featured version. This Celebration Mix. I am absolutely sick to my teeth of this song and its many incarnations. Even though a few months – hell, a few weeks ago – I would have being encouraging you all to start checking out K’nann. No need now he’s so well known. Now, I know K’nann wrote this song but nothing for me will trump the Young Artists For Haiti version of this song. NOTHING! I find the verses are a bit lyrically clunky on this but that chorus still gives me goosebumps everytime it’s sung. So credjt to K’nann for writing such an inspirational chorus and introducing this song to the World. A few points off though for the song’s overexposure.
3.5 STARS

14. Pearl Jam: Amongst The Waves

Pearl Jam - Amongst The Waves
The third single from Pearl Jam’s
Backspacer album finds the band in an uplifting mood with some inspirational, gruff yet impassioned vocals from Eddie Vedder. This is a great rock mid-tempo that really picks up towards the end with some great guitar solos from Stone Gossard. One of the standout tracks from the album, this is another Summer playlist option if you want to shake it up a bit. 4 STARS

15. Rihanna featuring Slash: Rockstar 101


This is only being released as a promo single over here so no need to worry if you’re tired of Rihanna overexposure or think
Te Amo has been cancelled. This track is probably one of the weakest songs of Rihanna’s Rated R. Although the prospect of Slash appearing as a feature on this track initially sounds exciting, it wears off pretty quick as this is far more heavy urban than it is rock. Rihanna’s claims of being a rockstar are ridiculous despite her level of swearing, the chorus is repetitive and wears thin fast and the only thing I like about it is the beat heavy production and the guitar solos towards the end. If Rihanna wanted to release some rock numbers from the album, she could have chosen the absolutely brilliant Fire Bomb, Cold Case Love or The Last Song. However, record companies probably thought these ballads would be too depressing after the sunny Rude Boy so have gone with this relatively upbeat track. I’m just glad it doesn’t have an official release over here. Poor America! 2.5 STARS

16. Rusko featuring Amber Coffman: Hold On


Dubstep producer Rusko, who has worked on M.I.A.’s new album and also rumoured to be working on Britney Spears’ new record, provides a bass heavy club track here with some decent yet unoriginal vocals from Amber Coffman. There are a few different layers to the song but overall this doesn’t step out too far from the dubstep genre or do anything new. Good club record though.
3 STARS

17. Scissor Sisters: Fire With Fire

Scissor Sisters - Fire With Fire
Starting off as a subdued ballad, this track quickly takes off and becomes a big, anthemic fists-in-the-air dance rock number thanks to Jake Shears’ uplifting vocals and the synth rock instrumentation from the rest of the band. This a terrific comeback single from the New York quintet and as many people have pointed out, it has a whiff of Elton John to it. My only problem is that it’s a bit subtle. Compared to earlier lead singles like
Laura and I Don’t Feel Like Dancing which were instantly infectious, Fire With Fire takes a few spins to get into. In a year where two of our biggest hits have song titles that are misspelled (California Gurls) or an Internet/text speak acronym(OMG), can this song have any lasting appeal when attention spans appear to be getting lower and lower? 4.5 STARS

18. Shout For England featuring Dizzee Rascal and James Corden: Shout

File:Shout by Dizzee Rascal and James Corden.jpg
The only good thing about this song is the Tears For Fear and Blackstreet samples. The rest of the song is utter cack. This is probably the most creative thing Simon Cowell has put his name to but then again that’s not saying much considering
The X-Factorwinner singles. I’ve lost all respect for Dizzee Rascal as a rapper and James Corden always annoyed me and I don’t find him particularly funny. This is basically a crowd shouting aloud to the rhythm of Shout which I don’t find particularly appealing because I can hear that down in my local at the weekends anyway. 2 STARS

19. Tegan And Sara: Alligator


Fresh from their recent collabo with Tiësto, Canadian duo Tegan and Sara have just released new single
Alligator over here. I’ve just figured that the two girls have those distinctive, borderline annoying vocals that Irish band Heathers have. The song is a catchy little toe-tapper but in all honesty, the girls have brought out much better. This sounds like it should be soundtracking the latest Apple ad…which is maybe T&S’s goal. Either way, enjouable but passable. 3 STARS

20. Wolfmother: Far Away

File:WolfmotherFarAway.jpg
I’m definitely noticing a 1970s Led Zeppelin vibe with this song. Amongst an electric piano, acoustic guitar and laidback drums, lead vocalist Andrew Stockdale sings in a relatively toned down voice compared to what we’re used to hearing from him. His voice definitely has echoes of Robert Plant, Axl Rose and to a lesser extent Jack White. If you’re looking for something that recalls a little ‘70s rock, then this is your song. Although to me, this is kind of your typical indie love song and doesn’t come close to Zeppelin. Still, this Aussie band don’t do a bad job of paying homage to them so I’ll keep an eye out to see if they progress in sound and maturity.
3.5 STARS

Enrique Iglesias unleashes ‘Euphoria’ tracklisting

Latino heartthrob Enrique Iglesias is back with his ninth studio album Euphoria a bilinigual album about “setting your problems aside and having some fun”. That seems to be the memo on every popstar’s list these days. The album will release two lead singles – one in English and the other in Spanish.

Now, I’ll confess – I consider Enrique’s music a guilty pleasure, it’s generally fun, catchy stuff. However the lead English single from the album – the RedOne produced I Like It will not be a guilty pleasure because the song is ANNOYING with a capital A. And it’s not Pitbull’s rap or Lionel Richie’s re-recorded All Night Long sample, it’s Enrique’s excessive use of robo-voice where it’s not needed at all! The track is as catchy as swine flu so it should be another hit for Iglesias but the sooner the Auto-Tune trend is out of the way the better.

The second lead single Cuando Me Enamoro featuring Juan Luis Guerra is a much better track but not speaking a word of Spanish, I haven’t a clue what they’re singing about. The video for the track, however, does feature gorgeous Ugly Betty star Ana Ortiz (a.k.a. Hilda Suarez). You can check out the album tracklisting below as well as the official videos for the two lead singles below. Enrique is completely in love with himself in both videos (I confess I’m jealous)!

Tracklisting for Enrique Iglesias’ Euphoria:

1. Cuando Me Enamoro (featuring Juan Luis Guerra)
2. No Me Digas Que No (featuring Wisin & Yandel)
3. Ayer
4. Dile Que
5. I Like It (featuring Pitbull and Lionel Richie)
6. One Day at a Time (featuring Akon)
7. I Can Feel Your Heartbeat (featuring Nicole Scherzinger)
8. Dirty Dancer (featuring Usher)
9. Tu Y Yo
10. No Me Digas Que No
11. Heartbreaker
12. Coming Home

The album is available on 2nd July in Netherlands and Ireland, 5th July Worldwide and 6th July in North America.




Enrique Iglesias featuring Pitbull and Lionel Richie: I Like It

Enrique Iglesias featuring Juan Luis Guerra: Cuando Me Enamoro

Singles Reviews Diary 15 – 14th May 2010

Another week of singles, another week of reviews. Sorry it’s a bit late – I’ve been quite lazy the last few days.

Singles Reviews Diary 15 – 14th May 2010:

01. Alexandra Burke featuring Pitbull: All Night Long
Despite a #1 album, a #1 single and another Top 10 hit, Alexandra’s success as the winner of
The X-Factor seems to be eclipsed somewhat by fellow contestants JLS and the fact that there’s a new ‘hot’ female artist every week. Thankfully, All Night Long is the most instant hit from Alexandra’s debut album. While previous singles Bad Boys and Broken Heels were pretty hit and miss, All Night Long is a song that makes you want to instantly jump on the dancefloor with it’s hypnotic seductive bassline, Alexandra’s smooth and commanding vocals and its catchy chant-along chorus. The song has a beautiful euphoric feel to it also. However, this has tampered with somewhat by the addition of a rap from Pitbull. This does nothing to help the song and the album version of this track would have done just as well. I guess Alex is just desperate to crack the American market. However, Pitbull’s verse is pretty ignorable so the song still remains a pleasurable listen, especially after a few shots at the bar. 4 STARS

02. Amy Macdonald: Spark
The talented Amy Macdonald might have scored a #4 album in the UK with her sophomore album
A Curious Thing but lead single Don’t Tell Me That It’s Over peaked at a disappointing #48. This single doesn’t look like it’s going places either, sadly. Despite a powerful chorus and some Snow Patrol-esque guitar work, Spark kind of paints Macdonald as a one trick pony. Maybe because I was a massive fan of her debut This Is The Life but Spark just sounds like so many other songs she’s done before, one of the many songs from the album that sort of sees one Amy Macdonald song blend into the other. Spark, however, is a decent single amongst an album of lacklustre material.3 STARS

03. Atari Teenage Riot: Activate
German bands are obviously all the rage this week with this being the first of the nation’s band to release a single this week. This is a pretty aggressive house punk track. Nothing particularly original but should be enjoyed by some.
3 STARS

04. Band Of Skulls: Death By Diamonds And Pearls
Britain’s answer to The White Stripes is back with another single from their album
Baby Darling Doll Face Honey. I know I shouldn’t make comparisons as often as I do but this sounds like some decent filler on a White Stripes album. In other words, it’s no Seven Nations Army, more a plodding garage rock track that doesn’t go anywhere. Band Of Skulls, of course, are capable of producing much greater tracks – Friends and I Know What I Am being perfect examples so I wouldn’t worry about releasing the odd lacklustre single now and then. 2.5 STARS

05. B.o.B. featuring Bruno Mars: Nothin’ On You
My current favourite rapper B.o.B. releases his debut single over here. With a soothing, Summery mid-tempo production and some romantic croon from the Jason Mraz-like Bruno Mars, this is the perfect single to release for this season. In fairness, B.o.B.’s rapping isn’t anything extraordinary (despite some witty verses about a girl who pays her taxes and comparing their romance t a Nintendo 64.) and like many rappers these days, depends on a guest vocalist for his singles. However,B.o.B. is showing that hip-hop has a future beyond rapping about shawties gettin’ down in a club and he firmly picks up the reins from the increasing quiet yet innovative Andre 3000.
4 STARS

STINKER OF THE WEEK!
06. Boyzone: Love Is A Hurricane
“One step forward and two steps back”
These are two lines of the chorus that sum up this song perfectly.
Gave It All Awaymight have been a fairly bland ballad but at least it sort of fit in with the Boyz adult contemporary sound in a Take That kind of way, Love Is A Hurricane is dated and as naff as the video which would put JLS to shame with the amount of skin exposed and cheesy choreography (except at least JLS can dance). It’s more up-tempo and catchy than what we’re used to hearing from and many disagree with me, believing its better than Gave It All Away. Whatever! Once again, Boyzone fail to live up to the standards of their ‘rivals’ Take That in making good quality music since their return. 2 STARS

07. Chemical Brothers: Swoon
Taken from new album
Further, the intro to this experimental electronica track faintly reminds me of the Skins theme tune, composed by Fat Segal. Swoon is a strong comeback single from the British duo that is sure to keep their many fans happy. It’s nothing new from them exactly but why fix it if it ain’t broke. 4 STARS

08. Chiddy Bang: Truth
After delighting with their sampling of MGMT’s
Kids on previous single The Opposite Of Adults, Chiddy Bang are at again with their second single Truth, this time sampling Passion Pit’s Better Things. The song works thankfully due to Chiddy’s rapping and the slightly euphoric dance sound taken from the Passion Pit song. However, I don’t think their sampling works as smoothly as it did last time and does their over-reliance of sampling affect a long term career in music for the duo? I think so because people are likely to get bored of it quick. 3 STARS

09. Duke Special: Wanda, Darling Of The Jockey Club
The very talented and innovative Duke Special is back with another 1940s inspired gem. This piano laced ditty is actually a pretty nice toe-tapper, made all the more interesting by Duke Special’s Northern Irish tinged accent.
4 STARS

10. Ellie Goulding: Guns And Horses
Now that
Starry Eyed is being played on an irritatingly sickening level on radio, it’s great to see that Ellie has a new single out. Guns And Horses is probably my favourite track on Ellie’s debut album Lights, mainly because it injects a very agreeable folk sound into her music and ditches the Auto-Tune which made the formerly good Starry Eyed so unbearable now. Her distinctive vocals won’t be for everyone but there’s a lot of longing and emotion in them so it should keep fans happy. I hope Ellie will do something a little more folky for her next album because I really really like this track and could listen to a whole album of similar sounding tunes to this one. 4 STARS

11. Glee Cast: Jessie’s Girl
One of my most favourites tracks from the 1980s – Rick Springfield’s Grammy Award winning
Jessie’s Girl is absolutely butchered by Cory Monteith’s Finn this week. The instrumentation is pretty much identical to the original so that’s a good thing but Finn’s breathless vocal delivery of the song just doesn’t work at all. I know the song fits with the storyline but how about having – maybe Puck or even Artie – to sing the song instead because that was underwhelming. I’ll tell you why Rachel (my future wife Lea Michelle) doesn’t want you Finn, it’s because you’re standing in front of her singing but looking like you want to take a dump on the floor with your constipated facial expressions. Not cool, man. 2.5 STARS

12. Glee Cast: The Lady Is A Tramp
Now, this is more like it. The Puck character (Mark Salling) gets a chance to sound like a modern day Humphrey Bogart in the jazzy 1937 show-tune cover, only to be joined by the soulful Mercedes (Amber Riley) towards the end. What we get is something the right side of retro, love it.
4 STARS

13. Glee Cast: The Boy Is Mine
I had forgotten how good R&B heavyweights Brandy and Monica’s
The Boy Is Mine was and it’s brought to justice by Mercedes and Santana (Naya Rivera), who I think we get to hear sing for the first time solo. She has an excellent R&B voice, nothing that could blow Riley’s vocals out of the water but still pretty strong. The two girls’ vocals blend well together. 4 STARS

14. Glee Cast: Rose’s Turn
Could Kurt (Chris Colfer) be the best male singer in
Glee? I think so. In this theatrical number taken from the play Gypsy: A Musical Fable, Kurt vents out all the anger and emotion at his father in what is a very good performance full of building tension. It could be the best song in Glee this week. 4 STARS

15. Glee Cast: One
The closing number this week for
Glee is a cover of One by U2 (or U2 and Mary J. Blige). Unlike with Jessie’s Girl, Finn gives it all with his constipated vocals and if you don’t watch the video, he actually sounds very strong and powerful. Rachel is also very good as usual and Mercedes jumps into throw some of her crazy ab-libs. Joined by the rest of the harmonious cast at the end, the cover manages to convey a lot of emotion but doesn’t have that goosebump feeling you get when listening to Don’t Stop Believin’or Like A Prayer. Still a very strong effort. 4 STARS

16. Gorillaz featuring Gruff Rhys and De La Soul: Superfast Jellyfish
I’m so annoyed no video has shown up for this single yet. This is a fantastic follow-up to previous Track Of The Week
Stylo sees the Gorillaz joined by Super Furry Animals Gruff Rhys and critically acclaimed rapper De La Soul as they satirise commercialism in the developed World. It’s all a bit daft really but while many found Stylo lacked any real chorus or hooks, Superfast Jellyfish is probably the most infectious song on Plastic Beach. All three collaborators shine here – Gruff Rhys with his goofy deep cartoonish vocals, De La Soul with his confident raps and the Gorillaz themselves with their relaxed, nonchalant chorus all amongst a backdrop of aquatic bouncy synths and sampling of an American commercial from the 1980s. Now bring on the video already! 4 STARS

TRACK OF THE WEEK!
17. Katie Melua: The Flood
Woah! Norah Jones and Katie Melua (who I often mix-up both in looks and music style) are really stepping out of the box with their new albums. From her new album
The House, Melua ditches the irritating melodies of Nine Million Bicycles for a much more refined sound. It starts off all dramatic with strings which sound rather beautiful, like it would work well for a soundtrack or something. Then halfway through, there’s a major change in tone, synths and electro beats start moving in and Melua suddenly sounds like Kylie, there’s even a slight psychedelic sound to it. I think Melua deserves Track Of The Week for giving us something truly innovative and different. I hope radio picks this up. 4.5 STARS

18. Laura Marling: Rambling Man
The shockingly talented and wise 20 year old Laura Marling returns with a new single, which like its predecessor
Devil’s Spoke, shows wisdom and lyrical prowess well beyond her years. It sort of switches between parts that contain quiet and subtle vocals and parts that contain heavy acoustic guitars and Marling’s longing, rich vocals. Almost like folk-grunge (new genre).
It doesn’t quite have that wild, sinister feel that made
Devil’s Spoke one of the best songs of the year but it isa song that should make up a pretty cohesive album. 4 STARS
Note to self: By Laura Marling’s album!

19. LCD Soundsystem: Drunk Girls
Well, isn’t this song charming. Lyrically clever and comical, this song is so easy to sing along with it. With a melody that you can bob your head along to and a shout-along chorus of
Drunk Girls, I can imagine many people will be roaring out of tune along to this song at the next family occasion or house party. 3.5 STARS

20. Lemar: Coming Home
After the Top 10 success of
The Way Love Goes, the first single from his first Greatest Hits compilation, Lemar is obviously trying to strike it lucky again with the release of the compilation’s second single. There is nothing original about this at all – it’s all very synthy and shiny with Lemar being all troubled about those pesky women again – but it lacks the strong hook that The Way Love Goes had. It’s still quite likeable though, Lemar’s deep soulful vocals make it so. I’d imagine this could be decent enough if you let it grow on you. 3 STARS

21. Lethal Bizzle featuring Luciana: Go Go Go
After a very loud and noisy intro, Bizzle raps about wanting Beyoncé and Alesha Dixon in his gruff rapping tone. Underrated dance diva Luciana provides the catchy chorus. Yes, I know we’re getting yet another party rapper who relies on a woman to sing the chorus but this is actually really really good. Mainly thanks to the instrumental which should go down a hit in clubs anyways. Could this be Summer 2010’s answer to Dizzee Rascal’s
Bonkers. 4 STARS

22. Michael Bublé: Crazy Love
Housewives will be fanning themselves while swooning, listening to the title track from Michael Buble’s most recent million selling album
Crazy Love. Covering Van Morrisson’s classic was a wise choice for Bublé as most of his target audience will love this track. He sings it well, as per usual, his voice is commanding and smooth but nothing we haven’t heard from Bublé before. If you’re a fan, you’ll love this but this track won’t gain him any new fans like Haven’t Met You Yet did. 3 STARS

23. Owl City: Umbrella Beach
After satisfying and then irritating me with his breakthrough single
Fireflies, Owl City is back with another melancholy tune over electro beats. While it lacks the catchy nature of its predecessor, give Umbrella Beach a chance, because it’s actually quite a little gem. Granted Adam Young a.k.a. Owl City’s emo whispers are kind of annoying but with lyrics about underwater ferris wheels against a backdrop of bouncy, epic and surging synths and island percussion beats, Owl City is successful in transporting the listener into another World. It’s quite a Summer tune really but expect it to annoy you after a few weeks. 3.5 STARS

24. The Pretty Reckless: Make Me Wanna Die
Gossip Girl’s Taylor Momsen wants to be a credible artist, guys. And how to do that – develop a mildy punkish attitude, mimic P!nk and get yourself a band. Make Me Wanna Die is actually rather good though, Momsen has the same husky vocals as P!nk and The Pretty Reckless are actually pretty good instrumentalists, providing some grungy instrumentation for this angsty number. They actually sound like a watered down version of Hole. I’m a sucker for angsty female rockers though so its only natural that I’d love this – I do think, based on this lead single though, that many other people will have place in their heart for The Pretty Reckless. 4 STARS

25. Rammstein: Haifisch
The second German band to impact the UK release schedules this week, they obviously must have a following over here as this song is sang completely in German. Lead singer Till Lindemann’s deep throaty vocals are actually rather hilarious but the industrial metal band are strangely engaging – I can’t tell why. Maybe I’m just an industrial metal fan and I don’t know it yet. Anyways this gets…
4 STARS

26. We Are The Fallen: Bury Me Alive
Meet Evanescence 2.0 – former Evanescence founder Ben Moody, former members Rocky Gray and John Le Compt, random bassist Marty O’Brien and former Irish
American Idol finalist Carly Smithson – together they make up We Are The Fallen. Their debut single Bury Me Alive is so 2003 – it hurts. Well, I thought 2003 was the Golden Year for 21st Century music and this is no exception. Featuring crunching guitars, swooping strings, icy piano melodies and Carly Smithson sounding eerily like Amy Lee in the first two lines of the song before taking on a more Kelly Clarkson vibe to her voice as the song reaches its devastating climax, this is no Bring Me To Life or Going Under. However, no-one has managed to do mainstream goth-pop so well since Evanescene’s first album Fallen so I welcome We Are The Fallen despite their unoriginality and hope there’s a place for both them and Evanescence in the industry. With Evanescence (basically Amy Lee and her guitar playing slaves) promising to go in a more alternative electronic direction with their next album, We Are The Fallen can be a good bout of nostalgia to how great Evanescence were in 2003. 3.5 STARS

So that’s it. Comments and feedback as usual, please? I promise the next Singles Reviews Diary will arrive sooner – but be warned it will be a Eurovisiony one – but also a Musey one! 🙂