Monday, June 29, 2009

Best albums of 2009 (so far)

So far this year, I've reviewed 36 albums--possibly the most diverse in the music I've listened to in comparison to any other year, the best albums have come as surprises rather than expectations. I can't wait for the second half of the year, with releases from Mariah Carey, Whitney Houston and Jay-Z, it should be really good. Here are the 10 best reviewed albums of the year so far (based on rating); subject to change:

  1. Dave Matthews Band - Big Whiskey & the GrooGrux King
  2. India.Arie - Testimony: Vol. 2, Love & Politics
  3. Chrisette Michele - Epiphany
  4. Kelly Clarkson - All I Ever Wanted
  5. Lily Allen - It's Not Me It's You
  6. Rascal Flatts - Unstoppable
  7. 311 - Uplifter
  8. Andrew Bird - Noble Beast
  9. K'naan - Troubadour
  10. Lady GaGa - The Fame

Honorable mentions:

There have been releases I've enjoyed extensively but didn't get the chance to review. Green Day's, 21st Century Breakdown was the best of the three I didn't review. Following is Little Boots', Hands and U2's, No Line on the Horizon. Maybe I'll do a full review later on, but with so many new releases in the forthcoming months this looks unlikely.

Album Review: Moby - Wait for Me (4 / 5)


Moby's last album, Last Night was the first of his albums that I payed attention to since 1999s, Play which became his first offering to receive commercial success--crossing over to pop, selling 10 million copies worldwide and spawning the fantastic single "Porcelain" which also became his first top 5 hit. Last Night, was nowhere near as compelling--but cooked up a decent, heavily '80s and '90s inspired listen, Incorporating everything from well crafted house ("Disco Lies" and "Everyday It's 1989") to smooth synth soaked numbers ("Live for Tomorrow").

Wait for Me, Moby's ninth album already shows signs of amendment (not that its predessor was anything defeicient). Wait for Me, takes a more soft and angelic approach--it's possibly more instrumental driven, that idea comes to the forefront after the symphonic celestial opener "Division" indulging in smooth orchestration which eventually drowns itself pacidly into the first track "Pale Horses" a mid-tempo, shadowed by a depressing, fairly static styled female vocal. Following up swiftly is the alterative styled "Shot In the Back of the Head" which delivers an amiable configuration of strings, drums and immobile electronic piano keys.

The piano, drum and violin backed "Study War" contains an empowering speech vocal loop. I know the speech from somewhere, but I can't put my finger on it, at first I was so sure it was Dr. Martin Luther King's. Wait for Me, may not be Moby's most diverse offering--it seems to stay within a tight shift between his signature electronica (both in soft and more upbeat forms) and largely watered down pop and trip-hop (a genre of music, which is near extinct). "Walk with Me" begins with some horns, with haunting thumps in the background. This is one of the few songs that tries to obtain a traditional song structure, the (what I guess) is the chorus is simple but dauntingly effective. I also really like the extensive instrumental mid-section.

"Mistake" is the more assertive tracks on the album, also taking up a more missionary configuration. It's noticeably more upbeat then most of the other stuff on the album, pulsing with synth and melodic orchestration. I love it when the drums becoming more distinctive when the chorus approaches. "Scream Pilots" acts as a 2 minute play out to "Mistake" so it's nothing really that noteworthy, but it does add a nice piano to the already brilliant composition.

Whilst some faint darkening moments have been explored before the halfway point on the album ("Walk with Me" is pretty darkening and so is "Shot In the Back of the Head") but the true darkening moments of the album begin with the 1 minute set of dim orchestrations on "JLTF 1" before emerging into "JLTF" which is one of my favorite tracks on the album. Taking a John Mayer-ish route, it's a haunting and beautiful acoustic styled downtempo number.

Moby pulls out the choir on "A Seated Night;" staring out a wonderful gathering of vocals back with a rhythmic hi-hat and great mostly violin based orchestration. The title track "Wait for Me" begins with piano keys and some hums from the female vocal. It does start fairly dark and depressing but does light up halfway through. I don't particularly care for "Hope Is Gone;" it's a bit too slow and tepid for my taste.

With the addition of "Hope Is Gone" the quarter part of the album is really lackluster compared to everything else. Seeming more as a set of bonus tracks, rather than part of the album. "Ghost Return" obtains a nice melody, specially during the first few moments but then fizzles after. "Slow Light" brings back the drums and orchestration, but I'm not too fond of it. Closing the album is the moody "Isolate" backed tightly with faint strings and bleeps. Maybe not the best closing song but I do like it.

Wait for Me, could be Moby's second best album (to, Play) and I wouldn't know it--I've still yet to check out his albums, 18 and Hotel although I've heard some singles fro them. Apart from a 2 or 3 downers, this is a pretty solid album, so it's another winner from Moby.

Best: Shot In the Back of the Head, Walk With Me, JLTF, Study War, Scream Pilots, Mistake

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Mariah unveils new album cover


Check out the cover of, Memoirs of an Imperfect Angel, Mariah's forthcoming twelfth studio album, due out August 25.

Friday, June 26, 2009

R.I.P. King of Pop


Yesterday night, Musical Legend--King of Pop, Michael Jackson passed away at the subtle age of 50. This post is heartbreaking to write, I couldn't possibly explain the misery that shadows me this very moment. Not growing up where Jackson hit peak, I still know exceptionally well, how legendary and influential this man is. Getting his start with the family group, Jackson 5, generating the well know hit "ABC"--Jackson then went on to become a global phenomenon, releasing a string of hit albums throughout the late 70s, 80s and 90s, essentially becoming the worlds biggest star. His 1982 breakthrough album, Thriller is the biggest selling album of all time, moving a whopping 109 million copies worldwide--it is among the best pop albums ever created. This will take me long time to get over; I still can't come to terms with his death. My wishes are with his family and hoping he is in a better place now. Despite his much publicized downs, which stem back to the 90s, Michael Jackson will always be the King of Pop--his legacy lives on.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Billboard Hot 100, 27/06/09

1. Boom Boom Pow - Black Eyed Peas
2. I Gotta Feeling - Black Eyed Peas

Black Eyed Peas continue their reign on the Hot 100 this week, occupying the top 2 slots for a second week. "Boom Boom Pow" acquires its 12th week atop the chart, whilst their latest single "I Gotta Feeling" (which I feel is now better than "Pow") remains at #2 for another week. "Feeling's" digital sales were great this week, I was so sure it was going to top the chart this week. I would love to see BEP replace themselves on here; it would be such a cool feat for them to have. "Pow's" isn't selling as well as it was a couple weeks ago and it's losing points on radio--which is why I think this could be the last week for it at #1, well hopefully anyway--I don't like the song as much as I did a few weeks back, it's all about "Feeling" now.

3. Best I Ever Had - Drake
4. Knock You Down - Keri Hilson Featuring Ne-Yo & Kanye West
5. I Know You Want Me (Calle Ocho) - Pitbull
7. Fire Burning - Sean Kingston
8. Birthday Sex - Jeremih
10. Every Girl - Young Money

Just like it was back in 2003 and 2004, the Hot 100 is clogged up with R&B and Hip-Hop this week--I was wondering when this was going to happen again. The Hot 100's accompanying chart The Pop 100 (which measures and combines statical audience impressions, digital sales and single sales) was made back in 2005 to relieve this "problem" I'm still angry about to this day, is it such a sin thing to have lots of urban songs inside the top 10? I mean, would they have made such a big deal if it was only pop songs making the top 10? Anyway, Leading the pack is Canadian actor turned rapper, Aubrey Drake Graham a.k.a. Drake--releases his first mainstream single "Best I Ever Had" which rises 24 spots up this week, scoring the rapper's first top 10 and 5 single. I really like this song, I've been seeing it everywhere this week--I only checked out yesterday. Drake's last single "Replacement Girl" with Trey Songz, released back in 2007, only managed a peak at #21 on the R&B/Hip-Hop Bubbling under chart. Keri Hilson's fantastic single "Knock You Down" drops a spot to #4, but still remains bulleted, I so desperately wanted to see this at #1, but as of now it looks like that won't be happening. After scoring his highest charting single ever (peaking at #2) Cuban rapper, Pitbull falls to #5 with, "I Know You Want Me (Calle Ocho) losing its bullet. I download and listened to this song a couple times last week but I'm only really loving it now--funny it's the same time it loses steem. Sean Kingston will probably never have another single that will be as big as his debut "Beautiful Girl" --his latest "Fire Burning" is nowhere near as good, but it's decent but at the speed it's going I doubt it will stay popular long enough to break the top 5. Newcomer, Jeremih falls 2 spots to #8 after peaking at #4 (scoring his first top 5) with "Birthday Sex," I actually believed this would reach #1. I was so adamant on it. Rap supergroup, Young Money Entertainment score their first top 10 with "Every Girl" in which rapper, Drake scores his second song in the top 10. Incase your wondering, Young Money Entertainment is a rap group that features Drake Lil Wayne, Jae Millz, Gudda Gudda, and Mack Maine. The group's currently preparing their debut forthcoming collaboration. It should be good.

6. LoveGame - Lady GaGa

After her performance on the Much Music Video Awards, Lady GaGa falls one spot but still bulleted at #6 with her latest US single "LoveGame."

11. Waking Up In Vegas - Katy Perry

Katy Perry remains bulleted at #11 with "Waking Up in Vegas" which only cracked the top 10 once since its release on the chart 8 weeks ago. Normally (well telling from "I Kissed A Girl" and "Hot N Cold") Perry's singles always shoot up the chart--whats going on with "Vegas." Really, it's nothing that different from "Hot N Cold" or is that the problem?

16. You Belong With Me - Taylor Swift

Taylor Swift continues her re-rise back up the chart with her newest single "You Belong With Me" which got its boost due to last weeks performance at CMT Awards. It's orignal peak was #12, but can it go higher? Whilst I really like it, it's not "Love Story" unfortunately.

31. Battlefieled - Jordin Sparks

Jordin Sparks receives another boost, her new single "Battlefield" rises a solid 20 spots this week. This song deserves to be a hit.

32. You're A Jerk - New Boyz

What the hell is this? I previewed this on iTunes last week and listened in full on YouTube and I was disgusted. I like hip-hop (of all sorts) but this is really taking the mick. Tuneless, lyrically illiterate, retardedly repetitive. I don't like how you can throw a "boom, tap" beat over some casual speaking and can call yourself a rapper. How this earned a top 40 debut is beyond me

44. Ego - Beyonce

Beyonce's new single "Ego" is currently on the rise, just breaking into the top 50. A top 40 is certain for next week.

Personal Airplay, 25/06/09

TW LW Title - Artist
1 .... 3 .... Release Me - Agnes (1 week @ #1)
2 NEW> When Love Takes Over - David Guetta & Kelly Rowland
3 .... 8 .... Mama Do (Uh Oh, Uh Oh) - Pixie Lott
4 ... 10 ... Knock You Down - Keri Hilson Featuring Ne-Yo & Kanye West
5 .... 1 ..... Boom Boom Pow - Black Eyed Peas (3 wks @ #1)
6 .... 2 .... Waking Up In Vegas - Katy Perry
7 .... 4 .... I Do Not Hook Up - Kelly Clarkson
8 .... 9 .... Untouched - Veronicas
9 ... 12 ... New In Town - Little Boots
10 .. 6 .... Red - Daniel Merriweather

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Mariah's albums: Looking back



Mariah Carey's new album, Memoirs of an Imperfect Angel is just over 2 months away (finding its release August 25). Here is my analysis of her previous 10 releases:

Mariah Carey (1990). (4.5/5) Conjuring up everything that was perfect adult contemporary pop in the 1990s was Mariah Carey's eponymous debut. Carey's then fresh eight octave vocal managed to churn out the classic dramatic ballad "Vision of Love" which started a string of 4 #1s from this album, this has to be my favorite Mariah songs of all time. The more conventional ballads on the album "Love Takes Time" and "Vanishing" also capitalized on Carey's magnificent vocals. Whilst Mariah Carey was pretty big on its ballads, it did produce a couple of pretty good uptempos too like "Prisoner" and "There's Got to Be a Way" clearly showing the variety. Essential: Vision of Love

Emotion (1991). (4/5) Carey's second album didn't venture too far away from the blueprint of her first, essentially it incorporated a more distinctive dance pop production, noticeable on the upbeat title track "Emotions" which also became her 5th #1 and the hidden gem "You're So Cold." Despite the lack of differentiation, I've never thought Emotions was as good as, Mariah Carey. Where it falls short is that its ballads are pretty much second rate carbon copies of the ones on the first ("And You Don't Remember" and "Til the End of Time" are the most creditable) but apart from that it's a pretty good album. Essential: Emotions

Music Box (1993). (4.5/5) Selling nearly 30 million copies worldwide, Carey's third album was indeed a smash, making up for the light sales reception of her last album. Apart from being just a tad overrated, this among Carey's best work. Not switching up the forumla much; keeping and modernizing the balladry, spawning her signature song "Hero" and including more watered down urban dance pop--her 7th #1 "Dreamlover." I believe this is the first time Carey worked with Babyface, my favorite producers of all time--producing the more R&B sounding ballad "Never Forget You." Essential: Hero

Daydream (1995). (5/5) This was the first Mariah albums I ever bought, Daydream has to be among the best pop albums ever made, if not the best adult contemporary. This album was a transitional stage for Carey--as previously she had limited control over how her albums turned out--this time it was all about her vision, and what a vision it turned out to be. Venturing away from her traditional conventional ballad and dance pop formula, emerging in a slightly more hip-hop territory. Just a few of the albums highlights are, the monster hit ballad, duet with R&B quartet, Boyz II Men on "One Sweet Day" which topped the US chart for an unprecedented 16 weeks. The upbeat and breezy lead single "Fantasy" using the Tom Tom Club "Genius of Love" sample, is among Carey's strongest lead singles ever. The single also became the first by a female artist to debut at #1. Fantasy marked the first time Carey would work with hip-hop producer Jermaine Dupri, who would became a recurrent staple in her career, the product was the melodic, guitar strung, "Always Be My Baby." Essential: One Sweet Day

Butterfly (1997). (4.5/5) (see original review). I won't say too much on this as I've already reviewed this, but this was a great follow up to, Daydream marking Carey's transition from adult contemporary to 90s R&B. Essential: Breakdown

Rainbow (1999). (3.5/5) No longer acquiring her early '90s vocals, Carey's seventh album took quite a hit to the quality as Carey tried to take a tentative step into more young territory, emerging as more R&B than she's ever been, Carey discovered singing through her nose. Whilst for the most part being quite bland and lackluster, Rainbow wasn't a complete disaster "Crybaby" Featuring Snoop Dogg is brilliant mid-tempo hip-hop number. The introspective but dreary ballad "Petals" isn't bad too. Essential: Crybaby

Glitter (2001). (3/5) This is where it all went wrong. Carey made her movie debut in 2001, quickly following was the accompanying soundtrack--both resulting in box office and chart slump--leading to her eventual breakdown. Despite the indescribable backlash against both the film and the album; the album wasn't as disgusting as many made out to be. Glitter was suppose to be a blend of modern and '80s pop--although the combination itself didn't work, it spawn some pretty songs, the ballads "Reflections (Care Enough)," "Never Too Far" and "Lead the Way" are actually pretty good and the more upbeat "Don't Stop (Funkin' 4 Jamaica)" is pretty good too. Essential: Reflections (Care Enough)

Charmbracelet (2002). (2.5/5) Carey's ninth album was the first step into her eventual comeback. I think this actually sucked way more than the people said Glitter did. Apart from my favorites "The One" the cabaret styled "Subtle Invitation" and the guitar strung, Eminem attack, "Clown" I don't really like anything else on here. It's pretty much a singing through nose vs. screaming on top of your lungs. Essential: The One

The Emancipation of Mimi (2005). (4.5/5) 3 years away from the spotlight and the songstress was back and better than ever, after 2 back to back flops, The Emancipation of Mimi marked the return of Mariah Carey. The album became the best selling album of 2005, moving 10 million copies worldwide and 5 million in the US also spawning Carey the biggest hit of career "We Belong Together" which spent 14 weeks atop the US chart. As far as quality goes this is among my favorite Mariah albums (strongly rivalling Butterfly, Daydream and Music Box). Essential: We Belong Together

Monday, June 22, 2009

Album Review: Vanessa Williams - The Real Thing (4 / 5)


I pulled a sickie today so I had chance to listen to the new Vanessa Williams album, The Real Thing. Without losing any credibility that I assume I acquire in the process, I've been really enjoying this album. Williams is best known these days as Wilhelmina Slater on the US sitcom, Ugly Betty--It's easy to forget (or avoid) the fact that she's a brilliant underrated singer.

I'm not a die-hard fan or a general fan for that matter (I'm actually only familiar with one song of hers; the elegant "Colors of the Wind," from the Pocahontas soundtrack) but I have previewed some of the stuff she's released over course of this decade and my verdict is: adult contemporary has never sounded better; she adds a certain appeal to your typical adult contemporary (and that's not a genre I tend to associate my self with, well if it doesn't have pop or R&B, I don't) and The Real Thing, is no different, indulging in smooth, lighthearted soul with some sightings of jazz--not as 70's R&B influenced its predecessor Everlasting Love.

"Breathless," is a silky, hard and soft guitar strung mid-tempo, setting a blissful and serene tone for the rest of the album. Swiftly following is, "Just Friends" which fairly more uptempo, backed nicely by a piano and a very eccentric composition. Showing probably the most jazzy presence is the title track, "The Real Thing" sounding very old fashioned, but works fairly well, considering the direction of the album. I love the horns and piano on here. It carries one of the more distinctive melodies on the album.

Taking a Nora Jones style production is, "Hello Like Before" except more backing itself widely with violin based orchestration, but the subtle vocal deem it more mellow. "I Fell In," has the best chorus on the album; probably the most contemporary sounding. "Loving You," and "Lazy Afternoon" follow consecutively and pretty much go in the same direction. Ironically their the two I'm not too fond of.

Everything else on here isn't anything noteworthy but gives a pretty productive listen. Honorable mention: The closing track, "Come on Strong" acquires a brilliant vocal performance from Williams. The Real Thing, is by no means anything ground breaking, but does make for a solid adult contemporary album, as it should be. I'm only 15 years old, but finding Williams, let alone the AC genre, appealing makes me feel freakin' 30.

Best: The Real Thing, Hello Like Before, Breathless, Just Friends, Come on Strong

Thursday, June 18, 2009

New music I'm listening to

Mama Do - Pixie Lotts. I don't review the UK singles chart anymore, but it's really been a great source for great new music for me lately. This weeks chart topper, Pixie Lott's, "Mama Do" is a great Duffy-styled pop song and Lott's isn't bad herself. I heard the song last month but didn't really pay attention. Sometimes I feel I'm very unappreciative of the music my country serves up. "Mama Do," now that I think about it, reminds of former S Club 7 member's, Rachel Steven's "LA Ex."



New in Town - Little Boots. Why didn't I listen to Ken? Newcomer, Little Boots' debut single is a fantastic pop song with a killer chorus. I've never been one to ride on hype, which would probably explain why I ignored this for awhile--but it's probably one of my biggest mistakes. Little Boots completely rocks.



Release Me - Agnes. I ordered an import of her album, Love Dance Pop (check out ww_adh's pretty awesome review) and I'm loving it. "Release Me," I've been listening to for awhile and it's an killer song. Sweden artists are brilliant when it comes to good o' dance-pop (see: Robyn, "With Every Heartbeat"). Another song I think people should start getting into is, "On & On" which shares just about the same brilliance as, "Release Me."



When Love Takes Over - David Guetta Featuring Kelly Rowland. French DJ, David Guetta teams up former Destiny's Child member, Kelly Rowland for this classic, trancy piano key aligned--heavy dance-pop number. I've never been a fan of songs like these --I've only liked a few over the years and if I could remember which ones they were I would note them down-- but this pretty appealing, I love it.



Untouched - Veronicas. Gosh, they're so adorable. Australian twins, Veronicas' European debut, "Untouched" is essentially a fantastic violin backed, pop-rock number, employing a great haunting element with brilliant chorus--which compliments the creatively structured verses. I also love the electronic guitar in the mid-section.



Paparazzi - Lady GaGa. It seems Lady GaGa can do no wrong. "Paparazzi," could well be her third UK #1. I've loved this song ever since purchasing her album back at the start of the year. A smooth mid-tempo pop song.



Sugar - Flo Rida Featuring Wynter Gordon. I don't like it when I really get into a song way before it gets released in the UK, then it just sounds overplayed to me. Thankfully, that's not the case with the new Flo Rida single, "Sugar." I love it just as much as I did months ago.



Knock You Down - Keri Hilson Featuring Kanye West & Ne-Yo. I think I've talked about this enough. I think Keri Hilson's new single is just brilliance (109 listens and counting).



I Know You Want Me (Calle Ocho) - Pitbull. Newest reader of the Billboard Files, rcLoy made me want to give this a chance. It's not bad, the only thing I've heard of Pitbull was, "Go Girl" with Trina and Young Bo$$. The song is doing incredibly well in the States, currently at #2 on the Hot 100.



If Today Was Your Last Day - Nickelback. I was listening to this a lot last year too. A nice rock ballad from Nickelback.

Preview Vanessa Williams' The Real Thing


Amazon have put up previews of singer, Vanessa Williams' eight studio album, The Real Thing. Obviously not as popular as she never was (more famous for her role as Wilhelmina Slater on the US sitcom, Ugly Betty) William's is more of a guilty pleasure for me; her single for Dinsey's Pocahontas movie, "Colors of the Wind" has always been a favorite ballad of mine. Although what I've heard sounds good; I don't think it's worth ordering an import--I'll probably just download it instead.

Billboard Hot 100, 21/06/09

1. Boom Boom Pow - Black Eyed Peas
2. I Gotta Feeling - Black Eyed Peas

Nothing new at the top, except for it's an 11th week at #1 for the Black Eyed Peas with, "Boom Boom Pow." Their the fifth to score more than 10 weeks atop the charts this decade:

  1. Mariah Carey - We Belong Together (2005, 14 weeks)
  2. Usher - Yeah! (2004, 12 weeks)
  3. Eminem - Loose Yourself (2002, 12 weeks)
  4. Destiny's Child - Independent Women, Part 1 (2000, 11 weeks)

Could it unseat Mariah Carey's, "We Belong Together" as the longest run of the decade? presumably not; I'm expecting "Pow" to loose momentum within the forthcoming weeks. With the release of their fifth album, their second single, "I Gotta Feelin" smashed straight in, at #2 -- become the groups highest debut on the chart and their and fourth top 5.

3. Knock You Down - Keri Hilson Featuring Kanye West & Ne-Yo

Keri Hilson stays bulleted with, "Knock You Down" at #3. God, how I'll love to see this at #1. Hilson's first feat, is way overdue.

5. LoveGame - Lady GaGa

Lady GaGa scores her third top 5 with, "LoveGame" --undeniably this could well be her third #1.

18. You Belong With Me - Taylor Swift

Being among the biggest winners at the CMT's Awards, Taylor Swift's, "You Belong With Me" makes a rapid rise up the chart, rising 32-18. It's intial peak was at #12, last year due to iTunes exlcusive, Countdown to Fearless, thing.

21. Please Don't Leave Me - P!nk

As I predicted; P!nk scores her 13th top 10 with, "Please Don't Leave Me" this week. The rise of this song is going way to slow for my liking--I'm pretty sure it will peak somewhere between 15 and 19. Maybe her new single, "Bad Influence" will fare better

46. Battlefield - Jordin Sparks

After 3 weeks on the chart Jordin Spark's new single, "Battlefield" began to spiral down the chart, but this week it sees a substancial boost, rising back into the top 50 at #46. It peaked at #32 a couple weeks ago, due to her American Idol appearence.

Personal Airplay, 18/06/09

TW LW Title - Artist
1 .... 1 .... Boom Boom Pow - Black Eyed Peas (3 weeks @ #1)
2 .... 4 .... Waking Up In Vegas - Katy Perry
3 .... 2 .... Release Me - Agnes
4 .... 7 .... I Do Not Hook Up - Kelly Clarkson
5 .... 3 .... We Made You - Eminem
6 .... 9 .... Red - Daniel Merriweather
7 .... 5 .... Day 'n' Nite - Kid Cudi (2 wks @ #1)
8 ... 25 ... Mama Do - Pixie Lott
9 ... 10 ... Untouched - Veronicas
10 .. 16 .. Knock You Down - Keri Hilson Featuring Ne-Yo & Kanye West

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Album Review: Jonas Brothers - Lines, Vines and Trying Times (4.5 / 5)


"A little bit longer," sang the Jonas Brothers' on their last album, A Little Bit Longer (see review), which became among the best selling albums of 2008 and earning the bands first entry in the Rolling Stones Best 50 Albums of 2008, coming in at #40. Ironically the bands third album, Lines, Vines and Trying Times follows up less than year than the previous--not so long.

When a previous album succumbs to massive success, there's always the hard task of following up with something just as good or better. Lines, Vines and Trying Times, successfully avoids the lackluster, presenting something much more grown up and appealing than the last album. Whilst, A Little Bit Longer was pretty big on its catchy pop hooks and sugary ballads--this album is much more adult contemporary; brimming with some pretty brilliant pop/rock tunes; sounding almost just as good as today's biggest alternative (or pop/rock) bands. A Little Bit Longer, kicked off with the cheeky, guitar strung "BB Good," on here we find a more subdued start with, "World War III," (which isn't as epic as it sounds) is a nice blend of horns, strings and drums; a brilliant start to the album.

The single, "Paranoid" which is currently making waves at pop radio; I didn't particularly care for to begin with, but essentially it grew on me--as I expected it to do. Revering with a chastened guitar, It's hard to point out what I didn't like about it before. Following swiftly is, "Fly With Me" which has a more strong pop presence that most of the stuff on the album, followed with a great hook and killer chorus. I was just thinking this could be the next single and it turns out it could well be. "Poison Ivy," is your typical, classic 80's influenced mid-tempo pop/rock, backed with a brilliant melody, especially in the chorus. The 70's and 80's inspired "Hey Baby," has a nice bassline--it sounds like a slightly more acoustic version of Kelly Clarkson's, "Gone" from her sophomore album, Breakway. There's a lyric in the song that says ("I'm already gone, I'm already gone") using the same melody, those are exactly the same lyrics that Clarkson uses. Interesting.

The first ballad pops up halfway through the album and features fellow Dinsey star, Miley Cyrus "Before the Storm" is a very good ballad from the Jonas Brothers; It's not as soppy as, "When You Look Me In the Eyes" which I really loved--It's less lighthearted and more AC, adopting some brilliant orchestration. "What Did I Do Your Heart," has a spontaneous country-styled composition--sound something off a Rascal Flatts album. The Neil Diamond influenced, "Much Better" is one of my favorites on here. Pacing with drums and strings, eventually incorporating horns.

"Black Keys," is a simple piano and vocal ballad, embedded is some faint orchestration. "Don't Charge Me for the Crime," featuring rapper, Common--is a gritty rock number, finding some grittier vocals from the brothers. I love the guitar solo, I just think it's really cool. Common puts some good word too, it's nice to see some rap incorporated into the mix. After "Before the Storm," with Miley Cyrus, "Turn Right" is my favorite ballad on here, it's an acoustic offering--indulging in an absolutely beautiful melody. The album closes with, "Don't Speak" (an apparent ode to U2) it begins with an instrumental--Joe Jonas takes over here. It's a great ending to the album.

Lines, Vines and Trying Times, isn't life changing or groundbreaking, but the Jonas Brothers are on the right track. The album shows maturity and growth in their music, also showing some diversity in genres (I love that in an album) so it's a job well done.

Best: Paranoid, Fly With Me, Poison Ivy, Before the Storm, Turn Right, What Did I Do to Your Heart, World War III, Hey Baby

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Mariah Carey "Obsessed"


Mariah Carey's twelfth studio album, Memoirs of an Imperfect Angel is scheduled to drop at the earlier date of August 25th (avoiding competition from Whitney Houston, Christina Aguilera and Madonna). The new single, "Obsessed" (check out cover above-provided by MariahDaily) is set to debut on Chicago's #1 station, B96 in 5 hours.

Update:

Check out the song below. I like it!

Friday, June 12, 2009

Album Review: Black Eyed Peas - The E.N.D. (4.5 / 5)


With the Black Eyed Peas, the energy really never dies. Their latest, The E.N.D. an abbreviation for The Energy Never Dies, to dismiss thoughts of a misleading title, is essentially a huge step into the forthcoming age of electronica. I've been patiently awaiting the arrival of this album for a long time and now that it's finally here, I can say it's left me adequate impressed. Filled with great club-ready tracks, measured perfectly with some electronic mid-tempos and some futuristic slow numbers, although the album doesn't have any tracks you consider a ballad or a "Where Is the Love?" reminiscent — keeping the tempo nice and evened. Their last album, Monkey Business was a major commercial success, but didn't have as many credible songs as their debut (with Fergie) Elephunk which spawned the hits ("Shut Up," "Where Is the Love," and "Hey Mama").

So, kicking off the album is the track we all know and presumably love, "Boom Boom Pow" — this version begins with a haunting introduction to the album; a deep voice telling the listener: "the energy cannot be destroyed" — I can't say this has the effect that it should've had, I just wanted it to get into the song. Topping the U.S. singles chart for its ninth week now, "Pow" is BEPs best selling/charting song to date, and why shouldn't it be? it's a catchy, kinetically generated, futuristic cut — supported with a polished repetitive chorus. When I first heard it I wasn't too sure, but now I'm completely won over. Another song I wasn't too sure about, upon initial listens to the album was, "Imma Be" which somewhat takes the same direction as, "Pow" starting out a simple handclap and click venture, with Fergie taking the vocal lead, before Will.I.Am takes control when the songs picks up on its second half, when the synth, horn and violins kick in, aslo supported by a heavier bassline. The song ends in a 70s-ish disco fashion — except more electronic. I do like the track now, it's not as lazy as I initially thought it was.

"Rock That Body," is probably among the best song on the album (rivalling "Pow," and a couple others) It supports a slick, upbeat disco vibe — Think Will.I.Am's "Heartbreaker" expect more futuristic and more electronically compositioned. The songs killer chorus is sung by a squeaky voice, repeating: ("rock your body, c'mon rock your body") I presume it's Fergie with some some extreme tweaking bestowed on her voice. Another knockout is, "Meet Me Halfway," which seems to have proven itself among fans. It's a mellow, 80s influenced number — with Fergie taking the lead on the chorus, it sounds like a sequel to her 2007 hit, "Glamorous" with rapper, Ludacris. The current single, "I Gotta Feeling" I still like and could well be another hit for the group. It begins with some distorted strings pacing slowly throughout the first half of the song as Will.I.Am repeats: ("I gotta feelin', tonight's gonna be a good good night") before the song picks up dramatically on the song (kinda like "Imma Be") acquiring a more distinctive bassline.

As expected, this album does have its clunkers — luckily not that many. "Out Of My Head," starts out with a thumping bassline for about 8 seconds — which is really the best bit of the song, at least before Fergie begins her rant about... shoes, walking out the door, getting a drink and hitting the streets (interpret that how you will). The song is lacking in general, even the repetition in the chorus can't change its fate. "Ring-A-Ling," isn't a bad song, but it's pretty weak when compared to the other stuff on the album. It's combination of synth, kinetic handclaps and random electronic noises doesn't work on here, not as well as it works on some of the other tracks. "Rockin' To The Beat," (as advised by, "Pow") I don't like much either, but that's just a personal opinion — It's most likely a grower, It has a nice 70s disco theme to it, but I'm just not that into it.

"Alive," among my favorites. Starting out with a nice piano-based bassline — following swiftly a more electronic line. Some of Fergie's lines in the song throws a harsh reminiscent to 2007s hit, "My Humps." Now that I think about it, it also sounds like Tinchy Stryder's recent UK #1, "Number 1" with N-Dubz. The next track, "Missing You" is great. The animated handclaps at the beginning of the song really work — before it breaks into a Kid Cudi "Day 'n' Nite," style verse — then subsequently breaking back into a spacey vibe on the chorus, following is a collection of random electronic sounds.

"Party All the Time," is a brilliant piece of dance-pop, not really different from anything all other dance-pop styled stuff on the album, but brilliant nonetheless, I like the lyric ("If we call party all night, and sleep already and throw all my problems away, my life would be easy") one: because it's so true; two: because it makes for a catchy lyric. Admittedly the song does loose some grip towards its middle, as the more hip-hop elements are added in, but does draw the dance-pop back towards the end. Why does it sound like Fergie and Will are the only ones singing? the last time I checked there were two other members, or am I just mistaking the vocals? Fergie takes control on the eccentric, "Electric City" which pretty much sums up the album, putting a fake Jamaican accent, Fergie raps her way through the song — accompanied some very compelling electronic synth. Will joins in on the repetition of the title.

"Showdown," isn't anything special but its nonetheless a pretty good track. Very fast paced, supporting a thumping bassline — surprisingly not as electronic as the majority of the stuff on here. I know I made the point about the album lacking any remembrance to BEPs "Where Is the Love?," days, but "One Tribe," does come pretty close. Starting off with some angelic piano keys and melodic chantings of: "whoah-oh" before bursting into a nicely structured bongo drum and handclap configuration. It's not as good as "Love," but it does carry a very inspiring message. The title is bit of a give-away. I guess the lyrics make reference to the unity of Internet, in an attempt to keep the electronic factor.

The E.N.D. essentially has its downers ("Out of My Head," and "Ring-A-Ling") but it is a very good album, I couldn't have asked for more, except for the two tracks to be left off. Definitely modern, electro-pop at its best. When you compare this to BEPs first album Bridging the Gap, they've made quite the transformation — and very successful one, in my opinion.

Best: Boom Boom Pow, Rock That Body, Meet Me Halfway, Imma Be, Party All the Time, Alive, I Gotta Feeling

Thursday, June 11, 2009

New Brian McKnight album on the way

Billboard report that R&B singer, Brian McKnight is putting the finishing touches on his forthcoming album. He plans to duet with Stevie Wonder and Jill Scott on the new offering. My life is now complete.

Billboard Hot 100, 13/06/09

1. Boom Boom Pow - Black Eyed Peas

No change at the top. Black Eyed Peas top the Hot 100 for a tenth time this week with, "Boom Boom Pow". Their new single, "I Gotta Feeling" could well replace "Pow" at the top next week, as its currently gaining digital sales very quickly.

2. I Know You Want Me - Pitbull

I still haven't heard this song. I haven't really listened to anything from Pitbull since, "Go Girl" with rappers, Trina and Young Bo$. His latest single, "I Know You Want Me" scoots 1 spot up to #2 (scoring the rappers highest charting song ever) where it will most likely peak - I don't think, "Pow" is going anywhere, anytime soon.

3. Knock You Down - Keri Hilson Featuring Kanye West and Ne-Yo

Also scoring a new feat, is Keri Hilson. Her latest single, "Knock You Down" shoots into the top 5, scoring her first feat.

6. LoveGame - Lady GaGa
9. Fire Burning - Sean Kingston

Lady GaGa scores another week with 2 singles in the top 10. Her latest, "LoveGame" elevates to #6. Out of all the songs in the top 10, I think "Game," has the most potenital to displace, "Pow." Sean Kingston's, "Fire Burning" may have stayed at #9 again this week, but it could be a contender for #1 next week, it was released digitally last week (hitting #2 on the iTunes chart).

12. Waking Up In Vegas - Katy Perry

After a slight drop last week, Katy Perry's "Waking Up In Vegas," rebounds, rising 14-12. It peaked at #10, but I still think it could be another hit for Perry.

19. Use Somebody - Kings of Leon

Kings of Leon score their first top 20 with, "Use Somebody" after 19 weeks on the charts. The song rose a whopping 33 spots up this week. I wonder what they owe the dramatic rise.

20. I Do Not Hook Up - Kelly Clarkson

Kelly Clarkson hooks up witth her 10th top 20 with "I Do Not Hook Up," this week. Her past top 20s:

1. A Moment Like This (#1, 1 week)
2. Miss Independent (#9)
3. Breakway (#6)
4. Since U Been Gone (#2)
5. Behind These Hazel Eyes (#6)
6. Because of You (#7)
7. Walk Away (#8)
8. Never Again (#9)
9. My Life Would Suck Without (#1, 2 weeks)
10. I Do Not Hook Up (#20)

21. Please Don't Leave Me - P!nk

P!nk's, "Please Don't Leave Me" rises 34-21, inching closer to her 13th top 20.

Personal Airplay, 11/06/09

TW LW Title - Artist
1 .... 1 .... Boom Boom Pow - Black Eyed Peas (2 weeks @ #1)
2 .... 2 .... Release Me - Agnes
3 .... 5 .... We Made You - Eminem
4 .... 9 .... Waking Up In Vegas - Katy Perry
5 .... 3 .... Day 'n' Nite - Kid Cudi (2 wks @ #1)
6 .... 4 .... In for the Kill - La Roux
7 ... 10 ... I Do Not Hook Up - Kelly Clarkson
8 .... 6 .... Love Sex Magic - Ciara Featuring Justin Timberlake
9 ... 18 ... Red - Daniel Merriweather
10 .. 24 .. Untouched - Veronicas

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

New Carey single out soon

MariahDaily confirm Mariah Carey's forthcoming single, titled, "Obsessed" will be the lead single from her upcoming album, Memoirs of an Imperfect Angel due out in September. "Obsessed," will be hitting airwaves next week Tuesday. Please be good.

Three months and I'm still sober...

I absolutley adore "Sober," taken from Kelly Clarkson's, My December which I'm strangely obsessed with at the moment. Check out this cool video made for the song.

Monday, June 08, 2009

Album Review: 311 - Uplifter (4.5 / 5)

With no more pop albums being released this month (Black Eyed Peas' The E.N.D. is the only one left and newcomer Little Boots I still have to check out) I've had a lot more time to check out some new music, or in this case, music I started to listen to but stopped years ago. This week I've been constantly listening to Kelly Clarkson's third album, My December which essentially was a more angrier rock sound for her (see, "Never Again" and "Sober") wanting to explore of the genre –I came across American rock band, 311 – they're style of rock is very interesting as they incorporate elements of rap into their work. I remember receiving their third album, 1995s The Blue Album (also known as 311) as an unwanted present early last year ("Down," was a magnificent alternative piece) – I also remember admiring their work very much, but my admiration never materialized.

Uplifter is 311's first album in almost 5 years, following up to 2005s Don't Tread on Me, and the result of their lengthy break from music are somewhat messy but essentially a very good alternative-meets-pop album. Uplifter differs from the last album, as it ventures in a more , pop contemporary direction, not incorporating such afflictive elements such as reggae – but still holds some faint Caribbean vibes, giving most of the songs on here an ethnic feel. Additionally also disposing of the rap constituent. The opening song and lead single, "Hey You" is an upbeat rock number – backing itself well with a wall of guitars and drums before detonating into a Jason Mraz style sound on the verses. "It's Alright," swiftly follows, It's not so much rock but a nice breezy pop-forced number enduring a nice composition of strings and drums – possibly showing the most pop presence out of all the songs, but with that said, most of the songs on here do have some pop existence in there somewhere.

"Mix It Up," (not to be confused with "All Mixed Up," from The Blue Album) starts out very gritty and abrasive before it brings in the electronic guitar, which hangs very effectively in the background – rounding off the piece very well. The drums also linger in the background, but are nowhere near as effective as their not a dominant element to the song. "Golden Sunlight," is a dainty, blusterous rock ballad, which really receives its credit when it approaches its climax – It's also nicely backed with a killer chorus. "India Ink," is a haunting dark number – really paving its way through the adamant strums of the electronic guitar, it's really the albums more hardcore rock devoted moments. I'll admit the chorus is lacking a bit – It's missing some sort of spice that the other more haunting songs have.

Following up is "Daisy Cutter," which quickly recovers the pop – supported by a very nice melody, well before the guitars and drums kick in, when the chorus approaches – where it ventures into a more alternative rock composition. "Too Much Too Fast," is nice mix of contemporary pop with just the right dose of alternative. This would make a good single, maybe even give the band their first taste of chart success (their highest charting singles in the U.S. are "Down," and "All Mixed Up," which both peaked inside the top 40; #37 and #36 respectively, but not ascending any higher). It nicely paces with buoyant configuration. "Never Ending Summer," is very lackluster when it comes to its verses but only revives itself a tad in its messy chorus – the song is pretty much all over the pace, its instruments don't seem quite in line with each other. This marks the albums not too spectacular moment.

The mushy mid-tempo, "Two Drops In the Ocean," adopts a mellow arrangement traipsing with strings and very conspicuous drums. It's very uncomfortably placed in the middle of the album – It obviously has its poppy moments, but I feel this may be going over the edge. Maybe if they incorporated some electronics it would've sounded more fitting to the album, but it's not a bad song. "Something Out of Nothing," brings the album back to prominence and does it very well. I love the melody in the chorus, building the acoustics and electronic guitars around it immaculately.

After, ("Hey You" and "Too Much Too Fast") the best track on the album is, "Jackpot" which finds the band returning to their rock-rap days, even if its just a quick reminiscent. It's a boisterous number, indulging in a rugged heavy groove – sounding a tad Limp Bizkit, vocals clearly presented upong the raging disposition. Faultless track. Slowing things down is, "My Heart Sings" a fragile mid-tempo, showing moments of percussion in the chorus – admittedly I do find the verses very bromidic, nothing really noteworthy. The chorus only does a little to revive its fate. "I Like The Way," thumps a slick eletronic bassline – powered by non-other than the electronic guitar and some drums lingering in the background, but here it's really all about the chorus, venturing in an anthem like configuration ("baby we're ready; yeah, yeah... can we rock-steady, yeah, yeah, yeah") very catchy. Another track I really love.

"Get Down," begins with a nice mellow presentation, offering a peaceful accumulation of strings – as presumed, the songs kicks it up a notch (well a couple notches) as it brings in the electronic guitar and embarks on the thundering chorus – which is also another quick reminiscent of their signature rock-rap. I really appreciated the fact that they didn't overuse it on here. The song draws some harsh influences from some of Linkin Park albums, er, notable, Hybrid Theory. The album closes with the Carribean flavored, "How Long Has It Been" which abandons the electronic guitar and brings in acoustics, a more soulful composition and a relatively more clear vocal arrangement.

Uplifter is a great alternative-pop contemporary-rock album, but it's not without its flaw, while the alt," "My Heart Sings" and "Never Ending Summer") but apart from that it's a great album. It combines the three genres really well without seeming as though its genre hopping, which is essentially a very hard thing to do, when a band (or artist) want to show their versatility in a more in-your-face way. I'll make sure to check out more of their older stuff, everything before, The Blue Album (Unity, I read that this album was no longer in print, but I should be able to find it on the internet somewhere; Music, which was essentially their first official studio album; Grassroots, which saw critical acclaim) and everything after it (Transistor, which is beheld as the albums most experimental offering to date; Soundsystem; From Chaos; Evolver and heir last album, Don't Tread on Me).

Best: Hey You, Too Much Too Fast, Jackpot, Mix It Up, It's Alright, Daisy Cutter, Get Down

Sunday, June 07, 2009

Personal Airplay, 1st Quarter 2009

To make it easier to calculate the top 40 biggest songs of the year, at the end of the year — here are the biggest hits on my chart as of 31/03/2009:

# PK Title - Artist
1 .... 1 .... Poker Face - Lady GaGa (2 wks @ #1; later 5 more wks @ #1)
2 .... 1 .... Circus - Britney Spears (2 wks @ #1)
3 .... 1 .... Just Dance - Lady GaGa (3 wks @ #1)
4 .... 3 .... I'm Yours - Jason Mraz
5 .... 1 .... Single Ladies - Beyonce (1 wk @ #1)
6 .... 1 .... The Fear - Lily Allen (2 wks @ #1)
7 .... 1 .... Use Somebody - Kings Of Leon (2 wks @ #1)
8 .... 2 .... Love Story - Taylor Swift
9 .... 5 .... Day 'n' Nite - Kid Cudi (later 2 wks @ #1)
10 .. 2 .... My Life Would Suck Without You - Kelly Clarkson

Friday, June 05, 2009

Album Review: Dave Matthews Band - Big Whiskey & the GrooGrux King (5/5)



Dave Matthews Band's seventh album Big Whiskey & the GooGrux King is essentially a tribute to LeRoi Moore, the band's saxophone player who passed away last year during the making of the album. To put it in a nutshell it is among the best (alternative rock) albums I've heard this decade and that's really saying something — Coldplay's, A Rush of Blood to the Head, Snow Patrol's, Eyes Open, The Killers' Hot Fuss and Kings of Leon's, Only By the Night are just a few of the masterpiece's to be released his decade, concerning the alternative rock genre and GooGrux King perfectly settles in with that feat. It's inspired me to put a halt to my countdown of the 100 greatest albums of the decade, if in 2009 albums can still be released worthy of the masterpiece status then I'm just being daft compiling a list now. Unintentional underestimation is a terrible thing.

So what makes GrooGrux King worthy of a 5/5 rating? The general case in all albums, despite the genre is that there's always one or two songs that don't necessarily click or fails to win me over or there's a song that I love but then the virtue of the song withers away after a couple a couple listens — no matter how good the album is overall. GrooGrux King conjures up the perfect recipe for the ideal alternative rock album, as well as acquiring a polished structure for a flawless offering. A solid 13 tracks — built up of a satisfying ratio of uptempo's, mid-tempo's and some pretty compelling ballads.

The album opens very angelically with the 1 minute introduction, "Grux." The song opens with a moment of silence before introducing a gentle saxophone — in tribute to Moore. The sax is smoothly backed by drums broken up throughout. A very mellow start to the album, but thinks pick up swiftly on "Shaking Me Like A Monkey," is a fun, energetic number, a very enjoyable listen and a very lighthearted sense of rock, pacing with the archetypal drums, straining with gushes of electronic guitar with sprinkles of synth. "Funny the Way It Is," is a more tender mid-tempo number, taking a more acoustic route, with the occasional electronic outburst. I also like the melody, especially in the chorus.

"Lying In the Hands of God," is a tender rock ballad, accompanied by some angelic vocal work. Acquiring a rare simplicity that manages to tickle the heart without coming across anemic. Really among my favorites on here, although it's really hard to pick a group of favorites when really every track is a gem. Another ballad is "Dive In," which is just as good — adopting a Snow Patrol at their more subtle moments kinda sound — they sound really good on here. Incorporating distorted strings, drums and violins. "Time Bomb," is pretty much the same gist as, "Drive" and "Lying," with a more angelic flair. Brilliant stuff.

"Why I Am," is cleverly mastered with a sharp contrast of string styled rock and a touch a breezy styled venture. Following is, "Spaceman" which has a unique start-and-stop during the first half of the song, the other half sounds very folkish — banjo and drums are the source of the folkish result. "Squirm," is albums most theatretically dramatic and more rockiest moment, pursuing a thick string of electronic guitars and raging drums.

"Alligator Pie," is a pretty gritty number, another one that sounds pretty folkish. "Seven," incorporates a brilliant drum, string and horn element. The horns are especially effective. "Baby Blue," is a subdued and tender acoustic ballad — reminds me of something from a Snow Patrol or Killers album at their more softer moments.

Putting a close to a truly wonderful album is, "You & Me," is another gentle, acoustic ballad but has a more of an uplifting theme, accompanied by nice raspy vocal.

Big Whiskey & the GrooGrux King is an alternative masterpiece, a truly faultless album. I am not much too interested in the lyrical content of the album, but for the most part it does revolve for the most apart about death, but there are also moments where you can moments of love and loss rawly through the music. It also takes some noticeable influence from today's biggest acts in alternative music. This is the second album this year to receive a 5/5 rating from me, following India.Arie's Love & Politics.

Best: Lying In the Hands of God, Shake Me Like A Monkey, Dive In, Seven, Time Bomb

Preview Black Eyed Peas The E.N.D.


Amazon have put up previews of the tracks on the upcoming Black Eyed Peas album, The E.N.D. And from what the previews show, this is looking to be a pretty good album, as good as Monkey Buisness and Elephunk I'm not too sure. The retro styled "Rock that Body," and 80s influenced, "Meet Me Halfway," which conjures up a haunting eery theme, are my current favorites. The E.N.D. (The Energy Never Dies) comes out June 9.

Update: "Imma Be," seems a bit more interesting now, wasn't a fan of it before.

Thursday, June 04, 2009

Billboard Hot 100, 6/6/09

1. Boom Boom Pow - Black Eyed Peas
3. I Know You Want Me - Pitbull
4. Birthday Sex - Jeremih

No change at the top. Black Eyed Peas hold on to a 9th week at #1, not really fending off any real competition. With both "Pow," and "Poker Face," holding strong in the top 2 positions --Pitbull's "I Know You Want Me," and Jeremih's "Birthday Sex," will most likely peak in their current positions, although "Birthday," has a pretty good shot at reaching the top spot-- as it's now the most popular song on U.S. urban radio and it's still gaining digital sales.

6. Halo - Beyonce

Beyonce's "Halo," almost fell out of the top 10 last week, this week it makes a swift rebound, rising 8-6.

7. Knock You Down - Keri Hilson Featuring Kanye West and Ne-Yo

Keri Hilson scores her first top 10 with, "Knock You Down." A well deserved feat, I absolutely love this song at the moment - it's just brilliant. It's this weeks airplay gainer.

9. Fire Burning - Sean Kingston

Sean Kingston's new single, "Fire Burning" is getting a better reception than I'd thought it would. I don't like the song that much, but it seems to be really catching on --this week Kingston scores his third top 10 (following his #1 smash, "Beautiful Girls" and "Take You There").

10. LoveGame - Lady GaGa

"Lets have some fun this beat is sick:" Lady GaGa continues her chart dominance as she scores her third top 10 single this week with, "Love Game" becoming this weeks sales gainer. GaGa currently has 2 songs in the top 10, the other being "Poker Face," which is up at #2.

24. My Life Would Suck Without You - Kelly Clarkson
26. I Do Not Hook Up - Kelly Clarkson

Both songs rise up a couple notches this week, I wonder what Kelly Clarkson owes this feat.

New Whitney Houston album

Billboard report on the new Whtiney Houston album, due out September 1. It's about freakin' time. Houston's last album was 2002s Just Whitney which failed to produce any substantial sales. Hopefully taking everything into account (the divorce, the long wait and overcoming of drug use) this album will fare better. Producers said to be working with the songstress are, Akon, Black Eyed Peas' Will.I.Am and Sean Garrett, who recently produced for Beyonce ("Diva") and some of the stuff on Ciara's latest album, Fantasy Ride.

Personal Airplay, 04/06/09

TW LW Title - Artist
1 .... 7 .... Boom Boom Pow - Black Eyed Peas (1 week @ #1)
2 ... 13 ... Release Me - Agnes
3 .... 1 .... Day 'n' Nite - Kid Cudi (2 wks @ #1)
4 .... 2 .... In For The Kill - La Roux
5 .... 8 .... We Made You - Eminiem
6 .... 3 .... Love Sex Magic - Ciara Featuring Justin Timberlake
7 .... 4 .... If U Seek Amy - Britney Spears
8 .... 5 .... Halo - Beyonce (1 wk @ #1)
9 ... 11 ... Waking Up In Vegas - Katy Perry
10 .. 14 .. I Do Not Hook Up - Kelly Clarkson

Wednesday, June 03, 2009

Black Eyed Peas "I Gotta Feeling"


Following up to Black Eyed Peas' smash hit single, "Boom Boom Pow" is the latest from the forthcoming fifth album, The E.N.D. "I Gotta Feelin'," (check out video below) which succumbs to a more alternative routing-- pacing with strings in the beginning before bursting into its synthesized glory on the chorus. Whilst still repetitive, it's more lyrically structured than, "Pow." The obvious question is how will this chart in comparison to, "Pow"? While it sounds like a top 10, I doubt it will have the chart dominance of, "Pow."

Recent artists who have released singles that have topped the U.S. charts, haven't performed that well with their follow-ups --P!nk's ("So What") became her first #1, topping the chart for 1 week --her second single ("Sober") only reached #15. Britney Spears' ("Womanizer") became her first #1 in almost 10 years, topping the chart for 1 week --her follow-up ("Circus") managed a #3 peak (on download sales alone) but steadily descended out of the top 10. Kelly Clarkson's ("My Life Would Suck Without You") became her first #1 in almost 8 years, topping the chart for 2 weeks. Her second release ("I Do Not Hook Up") halted at #23. Lastly, FloRida's ("Right Round") topped the chart for 6 weeks, but his second release, ("Sugar") peaked at #5. It's only sensible to presume BEP will suffer the same fate, but who knows?

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

Preview Dave Matthews Band's Big Whiskey and the GooRox King


Dave Matthews Band's seventh album, Big Whiskey and the GooRox King has been receiving some stellar reviews from critics. Allmusic awarded the album a 4.5/5 and Rolling Stone gave a generous 4/5, seeming as they're always strict with their album ratings. I'm halfway through listening and it's the best light-rock album I've heard in awhile. I'm currently listening to, "Spaceman" which is backed nicely with acoustics, essentially playing off a more folksy, country vibe. "Dive In," is another favorite, pacing with faintly distorted strings, drums and violins.

Monday, June 01, 2009

Album Review: Daniel Merriweather - Love & War (3.5 / 5)


Australian singer, Daniel Merriweather finally puts out his long awaited commercial debut Love & War, following up to 2006s, The Fifth Season that failed to take off. Whilst Love & War leaves more to be desired, essentially it's a well crafted soul album, drawing in some 70s and 80s influences. Giving the album that extra push is Mark Ronson, who's produced hits for major British singers like Adele ("Cold Shoulder") and Amy Whinehouse ("Love Is A Losing Game," "You Know That I'm No Good" and "Back To Black"). He lends his producing talents on every track on the album.

Whilst Love & War is definately no Back to Black or show any signs of becoming the latter, it does conjure up a slick collection of mid-tempo grooves and uptempo numbers only sustaining a couple of dry spots. The album kicks of with the piano ballad, "For Your Money" which also uses drums and faint violins, giving the starter some sort of structure. Following up not-so-swiftly is, "Impossible," which I don't like so much. It has a nice melody in the build up towards the chorus but never really progresses, although I like the drums and horns which is basically the only feat that interests me about this song.

"Change," was the first song I've ever heard by Merriweather. I first heard it near the beginning of the year and I was thoroughly impressed. The funky bassline, the nifty production and burst of horns in the background are just archetypal Ronson production and I love it. The other single, "Red" is another knockout, a classic weepy ballad --I especially love the acoustic feel, the combination of drums and strings and Merriweather's sentimental vocal.

More highlights on here include, "Cigarettes" which inherently is completely backed by an acoustic guitar and some fortuitous catchy lyrics: ("Now my clothes smell like Cigarettes, but I don't smoke at all"). "Could You," is another favorite, very upbeat and cheery, aided by some melodic, layered soaring vocal in the chorus. "Water And A Flame," with Adele, is an obvious highlight --Mark Ronson produced some wonderful stuff for Adele's debut album, Nineteen so with the 2 together, plus a new talent, Merriweather, this had to be a gooden.

Whilst the rest of the album isn't bad, there's nothing that really standout in comparison to the noted highlights. "Live By Night," is a bluesy ballad, with some nice keys running through but nothing major. "Giving Everything Away For Free," has a very nice melody and "Chainsaw," is a pretty bland ballad, but the recurring burst of organ does some-what save the song from complete bleakness. "Not Giving Up," should've been really good, but falls short as it maintains no notably melody to draw any interests to the song.

"Getting Out," has a reasonably rugged throwback-soul vibe, especially during the verses, but mellows out when it reaches the chorus. The album closes with the smooth, "The Children" which takes a care-free route, fueled with some: "la la las" to materialize the idea.

Mark Ronson sure didn't go all out as he did on Amy Whinehouse's Back to Black, but he did help make a decent introduction to Merriweather, as a force to be reckoned with in the near future. Love & War isn't anything spectacular but is definitely not underwhelming --a good jump off point for his next album.

Best: Red, Change, Cigarettes, Could You, Water And A Flame, Giving Everything Away For Free

Sugababes "Teardrops"

A cover of Bobby Womack's 80s hit, "Teardops" by the Sugababes has recently surfaced. And a very good cover I may add. The song is set to feature on the, 50 Years of Island Records compliation out today. Check out the song here.