Single Reviews Diary 23 – 9th July 2010

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

Single Reviews Diary 23 – 9th July 2010:

01. Alan Pownall: Colourful Day


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

02. Avenged Sevenfold: Nightmare

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

03. Crystal Castles: Celstica

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

04. Crystal Fighters: In The Summer


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

05. Darwin Deez: Up In The Clouds

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

06. Esmée Denters featuring Justin Timberlake: Love Dealer

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

07. Fight Like Apes: Hoo Ha Henry


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

08. I Blame Coco: Self Machine

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

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

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

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


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

11. Jet: Seventeen

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

12. Joshua Radin: Brand New Day

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

13. Kate Nash: Kiss That Grrrl

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

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

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

15. Kyrah: Uh Oh

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

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

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

17. M.I.A.: XXXO

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

18. Millionaires: Stay The Night


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

19. Paramore: Careful

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

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

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

21. Seth Lakeman: Tiny World

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

22. Trey Songz: Already Taken

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

23. Two Door Cinema Club: Come Back Home

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

24. We Have Band: Oh!

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

T.I. makes comeback with new Keri Hilson assisted single ‘Got Your Back’

Recently released from prison, T.I. is wasting no time with his eagerly anticipated comeback to the music industry. After releasing the rather brilliant ‘buzz single’ I’m Back a few months ago, the Georgian MC is here with the lead single from new album King Uncaged.

Produced by DJ Toomp and featuring Keri Hilson, the track Got Your Back is a decent but hardly groundbreaking urban pop rap tune that should do reasonably well. I have a feeling it will be a real grower in fact.

T.I.P. has also collaborated with woman of the moment, Lady GaGa for the RedOne produced song Lick It. The album will be released on 17th August and will feature other collaborations with Eminem, The-Dream and Trey Songz.

You can listen to Got Your Back below:

Singles Reviews Diary 13 – 30th April 2010

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

Singles Reviews Diary 13 – 30th April 2010:

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

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

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

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

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

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

__________________________________

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Singles Reviews Diary 5 – 5th March 2010

It’s getting even earlier and earlier…but I have my reviews for singles being released on Monday this week. Cos I’ll most likely be busy. It’s a whopping 37 singles I’ll be covering this week (all though not all of them will be major releases).

Singles Reviews Diary 5 – 5th March 2010

01. A Fine Frenzy: Happier
Better known to her Mom and Dad as Alison Sudol, this gorgeous singer is something like a combination of Colbie Caillat and some anti-folk artist from the
Juno soundtrack. As for Happier, it’s a breezy Summery track with some light breathy vocals. Really like this actually. 4 STARS

02. Agnes: On And On
Poor Agnes. Looks like she’s gonna be a #1 hit wonder after failing to replicate the success of her surprise smash Summer hit
Release Me. This basically sounds like an inferior version of that song. Theres nothing to distinguish this from any songs we’re likely to hear in the Eurovision, only a month and a half away. Yup, ’nuff said. 2 STARS

03. Alicia Keys featuring Drake: Un-thinkable (I’m Ready)
Alicia Keys keeps the momentum going for her
The Element Of Freedom LP with this promotional single. It’s actually a really beautiful song but probably wouldn’t work as an official single. Drake’s harmonies work well with Alicia’s soulful vocals. 3 STARS

04. Avril Lavigne: Alice (Underground)
“IIIIIIIIIIIII….Iiiii’lll get byyyyyyyyyyyy…” yells Avril on the lead single of the Almost Alice soundtrack. Well we certainly won’t Avril as you’re making my ears bleed with your banshee howl. I can’t help thinking this would have been way better in the hands of a more stronger singer like Alanis Morrisette or Amy Lee. However, the thundering percussion and the quiet piano melodies make this just about bearable. 2.5 STARS

Sidenote: What’s the deal with the Almost Alice soundtrack? I mean you think a soundtrack based on a Tim Burton film would be that bit more alternative and gothic sounding. But instead we get 3OH!3, All American Rejects, Owl City and Metro Station — talk about disappointing acts.

05. Bombay Bicycle Club: Evening/Morning
It’s okay and that’s all I have to say. It’s more of an instrumental than a song with vocals. The video disturbs me greatly.
2 STARS

06. Enter Shikari: Tribalism
The clue is in the title – this song is… um well…tribal. Enter Shikari are a hardcore punk band so vicious vocals and loud screaming are to be expected. This isn’t quite as noisy as official single Thumper though. 3 STARS

07. Evanescence: Together Again
Ahead of the release of their new album this Autumn, Evanescence do their bit for Haiti by releasing a B-side of their 2006 album
The Open Door as a charity single. This is a typical Evanescence track…dramatic strings, tinkling pianos, creepy choirs and Amy Lee’s haunted wail. It’s all a bit too melodramatic for a Haiti single but if you’re a fan of the band, I recommend you go out and buy this. 2 STARS

TRACK OF THE WEEK!
08. Gabriella Cilmi: On A Mission
All my personal (stalkerish) obsessive feelings of love (and lust) for Cilmi aside, this is actually a fantastic tune. It sounds like it came right out of the ’80s and everything from the production to the chorus to the verses and even the cringeworthy rap breakdown in the middle are all amazing. If this is what she’s doing at 18, can you imagine what a fantastic artist she will be in a few years time.
5 STARS

09. Glee Cast: Endless Love
It’s all about the ballads this week on
Glee as the episode these songs are taken from is called ‘Ballad’. A big solid cheesy cover of Diana Ross and Lionel Richie from Hot Social Outcast Girl and The Shoe (Uncool Glee Leader). I actually hope the TV footage is used as a music video for this song ’cause the Shoe’s facial expressions are absolutely hilarious. 3 STARS

10. Glee Cast: I’l Stand By You
The Jock takes the lead with this song. I cringed so much in his soppy cover of The Pretenders/Girls Aloud song/cover.
3 STARS

11. Glee Cast: Don’ Stand So Close To Me/Young Girl
The Shoe does a really good job of this mash-up of songs by The Police and Gary Puckett & The Union. However, this is more episode centric and works better if you see it on TV.
4 STARS

12. Glee Cast: Crush
This actually far surpasses the 1998 original by Jennifer Paige basically ’cause Hot Social Outcast Girl has a much better voice. My favourite
Glee track this week. 3.5 STARS

13. Glee Cast: (You’re) Having My Baby
This is a cover of a song by Paul Anka and Odia Coates. Again, I cringe everytime I hear the Jock sing and I’m kind of annoyed his Pregnant Baby Mama didn’t join him. Still his voice is good enough.
3 STARS

14. Glee Cast: Lean On Me
And this is the big heartwarming ballad that the whole Glee Club come out and sing for the Jock and his Baby Mama. It might bring a tear to some people’s eye but for a heartless cynic like me, I just stare stony faced at the screen when this is sang.
3.5 STARS

15. Goldfrapp: Rocket
As I’ve said on the Goldfrapp post already, it’s unlikely that they’ll ever surpass their hippyish folky album
Seventh Tree with me. However, Rocket, a synthy, icy mid-tempo ’80s throwback is a quiet grower. I love it. 4 STARS

16. Hadouken!: Mic Check
This is actually amazing. The ravey instrumental for this is worth purchasing alone. If this comes on in a club, I will definitely be first on the dancefloor for this beauty.
4.5 STARS

17. Hermione Hennessy: Fall At Your Feet
This song is by the British raised daughter of late Irish singer Christie Hennessy. This is actually a really enjoyable song. Might work best for the adult contemporary crowd but this actually sounds like The Corrs.
3.5 STARs

18. Ja Rule featuring R. Kelly: Incredible
Are we seeing the return of classic R&B? I sure hope so. But maybe just ’cause R. Kelly sings the chorus on this track. This takes me back to the early 2000s when R&B was so good and not trashy and generic like it is now. This is all classic piano loops and smooth harmonizing from Kelly. Ja Rule’s pretty good too.
4 STARS

19. Jimi Hendrix: Bleeding Heart
This is classic rock ‘n’ roll from the legendary guitarist. This is very enjoyable but I’m really against the release of posthumous singles and albums. These were all probably demos Hendrix created and didn’t think was good enough for a studio album and now they appear 40 years later after his death (my God, has it been that long)! Will appear on his upcoming album
Valleys Of Neptune. 3.5 STARS

20. John Mayer: Heartbreak Warfare
As much as it pains me to say this, this womanizing racist actually has a lot of talent. Great rock track. Kind of sounds like Coldplay.
3.5 STARS

21. Kat Deluna featuring Akon: Push Push
She sounds like a combination of Shakira and Rihanna. In other words, she has no originality and needs Akon to help her out on this dancehall R&B track. Unlikely to be a hit. If her brilliant
Run This Show couldn’t make it, then I doubt this will. 2.5 STARS

22. Kid Cudi: Know Why
Poor Cudi looks like he’s fallen into the same trap as fellow intelligent rappers Wale and Lupe Fiasco in that he’s unlikely to see the success of a hit like
Day ‘N’ Nite again. Can’t believe this song will be ignored when crap by Flo Rida and Pitbull will be snapped up by the masses. 4 STARS

23. Lil’ Jon: Get In And Get Out
I like the beat for this but that’s about it! Jeez John, do you actually talk like that in real life.
1.5 STARS

24. Livvi France: Automatik
After the terrible
Now I’m That Chick, Livvi returns with a rather good club banger. But aren’t we hearing this from everyone in the charts at the moment especially Lady GaGa. Sounds like Just Dance and Poker Face. 2.5 STARS

25. Ludacris featuring Chris Angel: Mindfreak 3 STARS

26. Ludacris featuring Trey Songz: Sex Room 3.5 STARS

27. Ludacris: Sexting 2.5 STARS

^^^^The above three are all promo singles from his Battle Of The Sexes album. It’s a fun album and the songs are all fine but fairly standard run of the mill rap tracks. I love Sexting. I thought I had made that word up myself but obviously not. 😦

28. Monica: Everything To Me
The incredibly soulful Monica makes a nice yet unextraordinary return to the World of music. This is really good but nothing we haven’t heard before.
2.5 STARS

29. McLean: My Name
Boring. Who is this guy? This sounds like a Taio Cruz B-side. Next!
1.5 STARS

30. Norah Jones: Stuck
I’m pleasantly surprised. I was expecting another sleepy ballad from Miss Jones but she’s really moving outside the box with this more interesting second single from upcoming album
The Fall. I might check it out if this single is an indication of the new album. 4 STARS

STINKER OF THE WEEK!
31.
Pixie Lott: Gravity
I really like Pixie and think she’s amazingly talented for her 19 years and think she gets an awful lot of unnecessary abuse. But this song is kind of disgraceful as a single. I haven’t listened to her album
Turn It Up but I’ve heard there’s much better songs on the album like Here We Go Again and Turn It Up. Okay, so it’s not the worst song ever but Pixie sounds like she has a headcold with that nasal singing against the mid-tempo setting. “Gravity, gravity, gravity…” is repeated too many times on the chorus and I don’t like that a deep male voice sings it too. Its just annoying. 1 STAR

32. Robbie Williams: Morning Sun
It’s good but it’s not great. Robbie plays it safe with this so-so ballad. I’d prefer
You Know Me anyday. 2 STARS

33. Sean Garret featuring Plies: Lay U Down
Ah go away, T-Pain impersonators!!!!
1 STAR

34. Shane McGowan & Friends: I Put A Spell On You
This is my favourite Haiti charity record. Really raw and emotive vocals from Shane McGowan, Paloma Faith, Johnny Depp, Bobby Gillespie, Glen Matlock, Chrissie Hynde and Eliza Dolittle. Not sure if a cover of the Screaming Jay Hawkins hit is appropriate in relation to Haiti. But hey! This is a good record people will want to buy instead of feeling obliged to buy.
3 STARS

35. Steve Aoki featuring [[[ Zuper Blahq ]]]: I’m In The House
This sounds suspiciously like Will.I.Am on this novelty dance track which uses the hook “I’m in the house!” for chart success. We all know how crappy Will is solo and over a dance beat, he’s probably worse. This isn’t Will.I.Am. but it sounds identical to him. This is obviously cashing in on the success of Sidney Samson’s
Riverside (Let’s Go!)which this track also sounds like. 2 STARS

36. T-Pain featuring Young Jeezy: Reverse Cowgirl
If you’ve heard one T-Pain track, you’ve heard ’em all. Auto-Tuned drivel.
2 STARS

37. Young Jeezy featuring Plies: Lose My Mind
Much like his collaborator above, if you’ve heard one Young Jeezy song, you’ve heard them all from the gruff voiced rapper. What’s he doing releasing his own solo material. Do what yo do best: being a rent-a-rapper.
1 STAR

That took FOREVER!!! Please feel free to compliment/argue with my reviews!