Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Preview Alexandra Burke's Overcome


Amazon have put up previews of X-Factor winner, Alexandra Burke's debut album, Overcome, whilst I've already picked out a couple favorites (the lighthearted "Bury Me" and the orchestrated ballad "They Don't Know"), I am a bit disappointed although I did expect them to take the generic route. Songs aside, that cover is just awful.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Britney Spears "3"

Britney Spears debut her new single "3" today. I love it already. It's stomping clubby number, backed with synthetic horns and the rest of it. It reminds me of "Brave New Girl" from the, In the Zone, album. "3" is the first (and possible only) single to be released from Spears' forthcoming Singles Collection, out November 24. And yes she's talking about threesomes.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Reviews for Mariah's Memoirs looking strong


Reviews are in for Mariah Carey's new album, Memoirs of an Imperfect Angel, which arrives in stores tommorow and their looking pretty good. This was one I was automatically going to get despite reviews, but now I want it even more.

Allmusic (my favorite source for album reviews) give the album a 3.5, calling it a "genuine pop thrill," choosing the two singles "Obessed" and Foreginers cover "I Want to Know What Love Is" as track picks. They also note "H.A.T.E.U." one of my favorites on the album thus far. It seems they like it more than last years' E=MC2, which landed a 3 out of 5 rating.

LA Times give the album a 2.5 out of 4, calling it "an experiment that illuminates her place in the pantheon," they note on the breathiness of the album, which doesn't only elude a sexy element but a more emotive one, which I picked up on too. Another interesting comment: "Her ability, even when she's scaling vocal heights, to still come off as just another girl at the nail salon."

The Times aren't too impressed, giving the album a 2 out of 5. Weirdly their review doesn't seem as bitter as the rating.

I've been listening to the album since yesterday and I'm widely impressed, possibly her best since, Butterfly, (no offence to Mimi). The slick, piano laden "Inseperable" and the whimsical slow jam "H.A.T.E.U." are my current favorites. Review on the way.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Album Review: Muse - The Resistance (5/5)


I've found my fourth major contender for album of the year (which now only 5 and selected 4.5 star reviews can achieve) following India.Arie's Testimony: Vol. 2, Love & Politics, Dave Matthews Band's Big Whiskey and the GrooGrux King and Green Day's 21st Century Breakdown. Muse have always been that type of band whom I know exist but haven't bothered to pay attention. In 2006 they delivered one of the best albums of the year with, Black Holes and Revelations but it wasn't until my purchasing of the Twilight soundtrack that I realized how much I actually liked them due to their popular electrifying single "Supermassive Black Hole."

I've recently given, Black Holes and Revelations, a good listen-through and I definitely would bestow the title masterpiece upon it; an enjoyable restrained dramatic masterpiece. To say, The Resistance, follows up well would be an understatement--It's rare that I would enjoy a symphonic/alternative rock album so excessively as that genre isn't necessarily my strong suit, although there are exceptions (Kings of Leon's Only By the Night and 3 of 4 Coldplay albums, which have all been on repeat on my iPod for a considerable amount of time). The Resistance, is an impulsive and interesting set of songs; just one of the reasons why I'm so drawn to it. "Uprising," the groups third top 10 hit, is a sensational opener--clobbering with synths, electronic guitars and drums fronted by Matthew Bellamy's intense vocals.

Title track "Resistance" heads a prodigious set of harmonies soaring behind the tightly composed acquisition of rapid drums and punching strings. Ballemy and the backup singers both sound good on the evenly sung chorus, I like the double repetition of: "Could be wrong, could be wrong" as Ballemy adds another segment each time as his layered harmonious vocals escalates behind. This was an intital favorite. Next up is the otherworldly "Undisclosed Desires" the first slow song of the album, providing various soundscapes, fixed with an appealing bassline which supports the admirable burst of syths and strings. The chorus is haunting, but the rendering combination of drums, synth and light strings convey a slight radio friendly appeal, it kind of sounds like Lady GaGa's "Paparazzi" but more stripped down and less poppy--It's a strange comparison, I know, Lady GaGa + Muse, but the two songs do dispense some similarities.

The outlandishly titled "United States of Eurasia [+Collateral Damage]" begins with deep piano chords, before it ascends into a Queen esque composition, where the orchestration picks up and drums come into play and the piano chords become even deeper as Bellamy belts and stylishly repeats the lyric ("Unless we do as we're told"). This is a fantastic song and the harmonies are just as commendable as some of the other tracks, it's possibly my favorite track on here (at the moment--I've been through quite a few over the last couple of days). The slow burning atmospheric "Guiding Light" is another personal favorite, It starts of raw and stripped down--hard hitting drums and a running light electronic guitar before it picks up greatly for the fantastic guitar solo. It's pretty amazing--I could imagine the perfect '80s styled 'performance' video, where a man in leotard and sweaty vest with a ribbon tied around his head comes out and goes crazy with an electronic guitar.

Soaring "Unnatural Selection" portrays a starling production--melodically tied with tastefully structured drums and raging electronic guitars, building up to that beatitude closing on the chorus, which features energetic chanting as Ballemy passionately belts: ("I want the truth.") and if 6 solid songs in a row wasn't good enough, the album continues to shine as it precedes into its second half, which is just as compelling as the first to my delight. "MK Ultra" hits hard with penetrating drums, running consistently throughout the song--the melodies are awesome, they sound so good, especially the layered effect on the lyric ("we're breaking through.") Or is this my favorite track on here? It's unbelievably hard to choose.

The last part of the album is clunky in a good way. The aptly titled "I Belong to You [+Mon Coeur S'Ouvre A Ta Voix]" is surprisingly less epic that you would expect (mostly because of the title) It's possibly the albums most solid moment out of the first 7 tracks. It depicts lenient piano keys as well as consistent drums--It enters poppy territory, it sounds very radio friendly to me (but that's just me). It may not be as dramatic as some of the previous tracks, but it works well and keeps the album on its toes and aware and you just can't argue with that. The three part Exogenesis series, which has to be among the most extravagant pieces of music I've ever heard. It's aesthetic all around--so much feeling and eagerness. First up is "Exogenesis: Symphony Part 1 [Overture]" which begins with a glossy orchestration, violins intact as drums become the centrepoint and the violins become more haunting.

"Exogenesis: Symphony Part 2 [Cross-pollination]" incorporates a nice piano keys enlightened start before breaking into heavy electronic guitars and drums. Lastly, "Exogenesis: Symphony Part 3 [Redemption]" ends the album, with an atmospheric, whimsical type feeling--angelic piano keys and a soaring orchestra, still keeping those drums intact. The artistry on these tracks are amazing, they give me goosebumps.

The Resistance, is a fantastic album--solid, robust and just tastefully creative. I was a tiny bit sad there was no "Supermassive Black Hole" the song that made me want to find out more about the band, that's more than ok--as delivering such an outstanding piece of work makes up for it. Just a couple months ago I thought Dave Matthews Band's Groo Grux King was the best alternative/rock (symphonic) album of the year--oh, how opinions have changed.

Best: United States Of Eurasia [+Collateral Damage], Uprising, MK Ultra, Guiding Light, Undisclosed Desires, I Belong To You [+Mon Coeur S'Ouvre A Ta Voix], Exogenesis: Symphony, Three part series.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Billboard Hot 100, 3rd Oct. 2009

1. I Gotta Feeling - Black Eyed Peas

The Black Eyed Peas continue to dominate as "I Gotta Feeling" nabs a thirteenth week at #1. If they can keep it up for two more weeks then they'll surpass Mariah Carey's triumphant 14 week stay with 2005s smash "We Belong Together." Ooh, the intensity.

2. Run This Town - Jay-Z Featuring Rihanna & Kanye West
3. Empire State of Mind - Jay-Z Featuring Alicia Keys

As predicted last week, Jay-Z scores a double wammy with two singles from his new album, The Blueprint 3, "Run This Town," which rises to #2 and is this weeks airplay gainer and the latest "Empire State of Mind," which I'm currently in love with and scores his fourth top 5 single, rising a staggering 45 spots up and is this weeks digital gainer--it topped the iTunes chart for a considerable amount of days.

7. Paparazzi - Lady Gaga

Possible due to that intruiging VMA performance, Lady GaGa's "Paparazzi" storms into the top 10, at #7--scoring her fourth feat (following "Love Game" which made it to #5 and the two #1s "Just Dance" and "Poker Face").

8. Forever - Drake Featuring Eminem, Lil' Wayne and Kanye West

Rapper Drake's new star studded single "Forever" makes an impressive debut at #8, his first top 10 debut.

18. Sweet Dreams - Beyonce

Another effect of the VMA's, Beyonce's "Sweet Dreams" scores her, her 17th top 20.

Britney Spears to release Singles Collection

My beloved Britney Spears is set to release her second compilation album titled, The Singles Collection, set to feature all her 28 singles stemming back to 1998 and a new single entitled "3" which is set to hit radio stations next week. I've never been a fan of Greatest Hits/Collections type albums (iTunes playlists can do wonders) but I'll buy anything with 'Britney' on the cover. Can't wait to hear the new single.

Personal Airplay, 21/09/09

TW LW Title - Artist 
1 .... 3 .... Down - Jay Sean Featuring Lil' Wayne (1 week @ #1)
2 ... 1 .... I Gotta Feeling - Black Eyed Peas (5 wks @ #1)
3 .... 2 .... Use Somebody - Kings of Leon (2 wks @ #1)
4 .... 4 .... Boys and Girls - Pixie Lott 
5 .... 5 .... Run This Town - Jay-Z Featuring Rihana & Kanye West
6 .... 7 .... Holiday - Dizzee Rascal 
7 ... 10 ... Sexy Bitch - David Guetta & Akon
8 .... 6 .... You Belong With Me - Taylor Swift
9 ... 14 ... She Wolf - Shakira
10 .. 11 ... Obsessed - Mariah Carey

*Notable moves:

11 .... 23 .... Celebration - Madonna
12 .... 16 .... Break Your Heart - Taio Cruz
39 .. RE> .. Evacuate the Dancefloor - Cascada 

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Sugababes discography

It's recently been uncovered that Keisha Buchanan, the last original member of the ultimate British female group, Sugababes had left. This is really saddening as I'm beginning to think the Sugababes are over now, which is a shame too as I've grown up listening to their music (which wasn't that long ago). Here's a look back at their wonderful catalog.

One Touch, 2000 (4/5). It all began 10 years ago. The Sugababes formed in 1998 initially made from fresh faces, Keisha Buchanan, Mutya Buena and Siobhán Donaghy. From the downbeat "Overload" which became the 'Babes first top ten hit, to the dramatic violin and drum studded "Run For Cover," the Sugababes' first album was a subdued and restrained endeavour, implementing moments of youthful soul (which soars seamlessly in the dreamy "Soul Sound" and funky "Real Thing") and pulverant breezy pop on the drum tied "Promises," the dark string and drum fixed "Just Let It Go" and the more lighter but still moody "Look At Me," and also packed with tastefully accessible chastened post-millennium garage on "One Foot In." Best: Overload, Soul Sound, Run For Cover, Just Let It Go, One Foot In

Angels with Dirty Faces, 2002 (5/5). The Sugababes' first album had been relatively unsuccessful, in hopes to get their career back on track, they were dropped from their record label, booted Siobhán out of the group, signed to a different label (Island Records) and released their masterpiece second album, emulating a retro/pop affair with doses of an urban flair. The album scored the group their first #1 with their aphotic remake of Adina Howard's "Freak Like Me" and followed it with (song of my childhood) "Round Round." "Stronger" is the among albums biggest standouts; a blackish, disheartening but still beseeching number another is "Shape" which was built around a sample of Sting's "Shape of My Heart" (he can be heard in the backing track). It's sweetly downbeat and dark but with a charming pop appeal. The electronic pop sounding title track "Angels With Dirty Faces" is another favorite. Best: Stronger, Freak Like Me, Round Round, Shape, Agels With Dirty Faces, Supernatural, Virgin Sexy, Blue

Three, 2003 (4.5/5). I didn't think the Sugababes third album was good as their last--it was indeed their last relatively good album, but wasn't as consistent. The album enjoyed a more rougher production, stemming from the urban tigned, third number-one single "Hole in the Head," the clanging "Million Different Ways" and the heavily electronic guitar based "We Could Have It All."The album was pretty big on ballads too, the deep piano chord fueled "Caught in a Moment" and the throbbing ode "Maya" are standouts. The albums best moment is "Too Lost in You" which also has to be my favorite song from the 'Babes--a perfect showing of melody, drums, piano and raw vocal another knockout is classic poppy "In the Middle." Best: Too Lost in You, Hole in the Head, Caught in the Moment, Million Different Ways, Whatever Makes You Happy, In the Middle

Taller in More Ways, 2005 (3/5). The Sugababes decline began on their fourth album--after rumors of splitting they stuck it out long enough to release their fourth album, producing average results, little did we know it would be Mutya Buena's last outing with the 'Babes. The first three tracks give a good start. The fun number-one single "Push the Button" is great, the sassy R&B tinged "Gotta Be You" is good too and the ballad "Follow Me Home" follows on nicely, after this point things get patchy--"Joy Division" isn't a favorite, but the fantastic "Red Dress" follows up brilliantly, packed with energy and the acoustic pop styled "Ugly" round out the albums solid first half and begins its weaker second half which is packed with mostly filler. The daunting ballad "2 Hearts" is the highlight from the second half. Best: Push the Button, Red Dress, Gotta Be You, 2 Hearts, Follow Me Home, Ugly

Change, 2007 (2/5). Arguably the Sugababes' worst album, largely bland and uninteresting--definitely the girls at their lowest, however I did like hit lead single "About You Now" and the breezy, heavily drum anchored "Denial," the title track "Change" lacks a distinctive melody, but it's still decent and maybe the string and drum backed "Back When" holds some appeal but apart from that, Change, was indeed lackluster. Best: About You Now, Denial, Back When

Catfight and Spotlights, 2008 (4/5). The Sugababes latest album was indeed an improvement from their last, presenting a satisfying blend of retro soul, classic pop ballads and cool funk throwbacks. Lead single "Girls" was a fantastic funky number, "No Can Do" was even better. The Coldplay styled piano keys of "Sound of Goodbye" and the whimsical combination of strings and drums in "Nothing's As Good As You" are just great. "Side Chick" and "Beware" are good too. Best: No Can Do, Girls, Sound of Goodbye, Nothing's As Good You, Side Shick, Every Heart Broken, Beware

Alexandra Burke's Bad Boys video

Here's the video for recent X-Factor winner Alexandra Burke's video for her new single "Bad Boys" which surfaced a couple days ago, I managed to catch a first look at midnight on ITV. It's brilliant--I love the dancing, the strutting--definately not what I was expecting but very pleased. In other Burke news, Ken's Beat Review uncovered her debut album will be titled, Overcome, (click link to see the cover). If the songs are anything to say for the cover then I'm worried.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Album Review: Boys Like Girls - Love Drunk (3/5)

I was originally planning on giving the new Boys Like Girls album a miss--I loved the first single and title track "Love Drunk" but I assumed the album would be largely uninteresting. Awaiting my copy of Muse's The Resistance to arrive, I thought I'd give it a chance and the results are fairish.
Love Drunk, is the bands second album, mostly fixated with catchy, poppy hooks--the albums sound has been labeled 'emo-pop' with an absence of the tough edge (that similar bands such as Daughtry and Simple Plan seem to do so well with) to pursue a more distinctive pop sound that the teenage girls seem to thrive upon.
I liked the album more than I thought I would, but one problem that bugged me, that most pop/rock albums face was that the album was particularly samey--most of the songs stemming from the same type of sound, but within that I did manage to capture some favorites. The albums opener "Heart Heart Heartbreak" is a lighthearted number, fronted by your typical drums, airy electronic guitars and fun melody that make today's best pop/rock songs.
Title track "Love Drunk" is an obvious favorite, capturing that radio friendly breezy alternative rocker feel. Following is "She's Got A Boyfriend" which has a fantastic melody, with booming chorus to match, it's still guitar and drums with more emphasis on the drums.
Taylor Swift makes an appearance on the albums first ballad "Two is Better Than One" a sweet string and drum affair. It sounds like something Rascal Flatts would single, yes as you would expect with the Swift feature, there are some country influences which is a nice surprise, it's probably the most distinctive song on the album.
After the more standard rock sounding "Contagious" the rest of the album is just mostly filler. The only other notable track is the kiddish "Chemicals Collide" which I liked a lot and maybe the stripped down "Go" which is a nice juxtaposition of vocals and strings.
Love Drunk, isn't a terrible album, I'm sure it holds appeal to a large amount of music listeners, especially its target audience, but from a general music listener's point of view, it's just ok. I've also read it's an improvement from their first album.

Best: Love Drunk, Two is Better Than One, Heart Heartbreak, Chemicals Collide

Friday, September 18, 2009

Livvi Franc "Now I'm That Bitch"

Bought this off iTunes today. It's not bad, Livvi Franc hasn't got a distinctive voice--some would even say she's a Rihanna-rip off, but her debut single "Now I'm That Bitch" (cencsored to "Now I'm That Chick") is hot, I love the sassy attitude, it really works well. She also looks hot in the video, check it out below:

The Veronicas' Hook Me Up

I've been listening to Australian duo, The Veronicas' second album, Hook Me Up, for the last couple of weeks--stemming from my interest in their dramatic breakout single "Untouched" (which landed their first top 10 in the UK and first top 20 in the US.) I haven't been this into an album for awhile. Hook Me Up, thrives on anger and heartbreak measured with a bold set of darkening, Avril Lavgine esque songs. The vengeful "Revenge Is Sweeter (Than You Ever Were)" is currently my favorite on here. "This Is How It Feels," arguably the darkest song on the album, pulses with bold synths, an eerie electronic guitar and not to mention the impassioned lyrics. "Somebody Wake Me Up" is lighter, but still stems from the same resentful vein. They do however let up on songs such as the confident, electronic influenced "Popular" and the sexually driven "Take Me On the Floor." A repackaged version of the album arrives in the UK October 5, featuring the single "4Ever" which was included on their first album.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Muse "Uprising"

I've been trying to get into Muse lately. I decided to buy their last album, Black Holes & Revelations, because of the single "Supermassive Black Hole" which I heard from the Twilight Soundtrack last year. The band is back with their new single "Uprising" a stomping synth driven number, fixed with their typical drums and electronic guitar. It's the first single from their upcoming fifth album, The Resistant. Check out the video below:

Billboard Hot 100, 26/09/09

1. I Gotta Feeling - Black Eyed Peas

The Black Eyed Peas top the chart for a 12th week, this ties the song with "Boom Boom Pow" for the longest stay atop the chart this year, I suspect their reign to continue just a little longer as their still bulleted and the highest digital gainer--It's pretty astounding how long "I Gotta Feeling's" stayed atop the chart, I wonder if it has a chance of beating out Mariah Carey's "We Belong Together's" 14 week stay--or possibly even the 16 stay of Carey's and Boyz II Men's "One Sweet Day," I guess we'll see.

2. Down - Jay Sean Feauturing Lil' Wayne

Jay Sean's "Down" stays bulleted at #2 receiving the airplay gainer award.

3. Party in the USA - Miley Cyrus
4. Run This Town - Jay-Z Featuring Rihanna and Kanye West

Miley's "Party in the USA" stays bulleted at #3, whilst Jay-Z's "Run This Town" nips at its heels at #4. The new Jay-Z single " Empire State of Mind" with Alicia Keys, should be looking for a massivde debut next week--as it resides atop the iTunes top 100, thanks to both Jay-Z and Alicia Key's performance on the VMA's.

5. Use Somebody - Kings of Leon

Kings of Leon stay bulleted #5, will this ever become a #1 hit for the band.

8. Obsessed - Mariah Carey

After scoring her 27th top 10 last week, Mariah Carey's "Obsessed" dips down to #8, but reminas bulleted. Carey's new single "I Wan to Know What Love Is" is another song looking forward to a debut next week.

10. Good Girls Go Bad - Cobra Starship Featuring Leighton Meester

Cobra Starship re-enter the top 10, rebounding 13-10 this week with their fantastic single "Good Girls Go Bad."

19. Be On You - Flo Rida Featuring Ne-Yo
35. Already Gone - Kelly Clarkson

Flo Rida scores his sixth top 20 with his new single "Be On You." I wasn't surprised last week when I thought Kelly Clarkson's "Already Gone" was going to flop--momentum for her latest album, All I Ever Wanted, died down fast--but this week it picks up 5 notches scoring Clarkson's 11th top 40.

Personal airplay, 17/09/09

TW LW Title - Artist
1 .... 1 .... I Gotta Feeling - Black Eyed Pead (5 weeks @ #1)
2 .... 2 ... Use Somebody - Kings of Leon (2 wks @ #1)
3 .... 4 ... Down - Jay Sean Featuring Lil' Wayne
4 ... 12 .. Boys and Girls - Pixie Lott
5 .... 7 .... Run This Town - Jay-Z Featuring Rihanna and Kanye West
6 .... 3 .... You Belong With Me - Taylor Swift
7 .... 8 .... Holiday - Dizzee Rascal
8 .... 9 .... Get Sexy - Sugababes
9 .... 6 .... Remedy - Little Boots
10 .. 13 .. Sexy Bitch - David Guetta & Akon

Monday, September 14, 2009

Janet Jackson "Make Me"

Shortly after Janet Jackson's tribute to her brother on the VMA's, a new song from the singer surfaced. "Make Me" is a fun electronic number... It's growing on me.

Video Music Awards '09 Wrap-up

I enjoyed this years Video Music Awards very much, much more than last year, although Britney's triumph with her 3 wins for Best Female, Best Pop and Video of the Year award didn't bother me. The atmosphere just seemed more intense. I found Russell Brand's jokes more funny and possible more relatable (especially the UK vs. US health care one). The performances were awesome--standout was P!nk's phenomenal performance of her single "Sober" which featured a loose P!nk soaring acrobatic style in the air (video below).



Lady GaGa's performance of "Paparazzi" freaked me out. She's definitely a fantastic performer, but one can't help but wonder why the performance was so overworked and ridiculously dramatic. Janet Jackson's tribuit to her brother was brilliant, only wish she had graced the stage a little longer. The rage in her movements, just showed so much passion. I liked Green Day's performance a lot. The part where Billie commands the audience to mob the stage was awesome.

Beyonce took home Video of the Year for "Single Ladies," my beloved Britney nabbed Best Pop Video for "Womanizer" and the biggest news of the night, Taylor Swift's win for Best Female Video for "You Belong With Me", which was interrupted by a retarded Kanye West who insisted the award belonged to Beyonce. Well from an amateur blogger to a multi-platinum selling rapper, West, you are a prick.

The night was awesome, I do however wish Britney had been there, I'm sure a performance from her is due.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Album Review: Pixie Lott - Turn It Up (4.5/5)


I've been looking forward to Pixie Lott's eagerly anticipated first album for awhile now. She may be a pop artist, but I find something intriguing about her. Her voice embodies a powerful, soulfulness that just seems to lie absent in some of today's other female pop artists. After listening through the whole album, Lotts debut single and UK #1 hit, topping the chart for a week, "Mama Do (Uh Oh, Uh Oh)" doesn't do her voice justice, but did make for a fantastic pop song, which, Turn It Up, contains lots of. Her style reminds me a lot of Duffy, except way more contemporary pop than '60s sounding endeavors, I can also sight some Natasha Bedingfield influences on here.

Turn It Up, takes up the structure of the typical pop album--a couple mid-tempos, light urban influenced dance tracks and a couple ballads here and there--which hypothetically makes today's perfect pop album--but in the end I guess it boils down to consistency. The album reminds me a lot of Katy Perry's first One of the Boys, except a whole lot more solid and consistent. There maybe no "I Kissed A Girl" dubbed efforts, but the promiscuous opening track "Mama Do (Uh Oh, Uh Oh)" kinda comes close, a stomping, kinetic handclap fronted track with a lot of attitude, more about the swagger and less about vocals.

Next up is the albums first ballad "Cry Me Out" the kind of ballad I enjoyed as a child (2001-2003). It acquires a soulful composition, with a powerful chorus that shows off Lott's fantastic range as she pleads ("You'll have to cry me out, the tears that fall mean nothing at all, you'll have to get over yourself").

A real standout is the cold Natasha Bedingfield sounding "Gravity" which sounds like it could be a great third single. It's classic pop. Incorporating angelic piano keys, artificial drums and slightly tweaked vocal work, which builds up nicely towards the orchestrational part mostly fixed with layered violin sounds. I really like this a lot, the repition of ("Pulling me back, pulling me back, just like gravity") in the chorus, is great--I think it's the only part of the song where she sounds natural. "Band Aid," the albums most subdued number, it's great nostalgic pop, with light melodic soaring vocals in the chorus, which sounds really good. I like composed agglomeration of instruments: violins, handclaps and live drums (I think).

The title track, "Turn It Up" is another Natasha Bedingfield sounding number, it's a great lighthearted poppy number, the melody in the song is brilliant. The bells, drums and light synths really hold up the song well. When English people sing they sound American (exclude Kate Nash) so it's nice to hear Lott exaggerate her English accent on the last part of the chorus, where she sings ("Turn it up, turn it up for the people that say were moving on and we'll be ok"). Following swiftly is the current single "Boys and Girls" goes for that big sound, backed heavily with jaunty trumpets, drums and a strutting kinetic handclap, which makes up for the fantastic chorus. I love the lyric ("The boys and the girls, oh you just can't stop").

The highlight of the albums weaker second half is "Jack" a '60ish melody backed number--fixed with piano chords, drums, strings and a faint Coldplay styled electronic guitar running in the chorus. The passionate ballad "Nothing Compares" where Lott gives a terrific vocal performance with a soaring orchestration running behind her, it's really beautiful. The verses are made up of angelic piano keys, strings and drums before ascending into a more bold composition in the chorus. "My Love" is an acoustic pop venture, it could be seen as your typical Beyonce "Irreplaceable" or Chris Brown "With You" retread, but it still sounds pretty good. Admittedly, the chorus is noticeable powerful, thanks to the strong layers of Lott's vocals. The verses lay gently as their softened by recurrent entracing piano keys, bass and strings.

"Here We Go Again" is a bit of a slow burner, as it doesn't get interesting for me until the chorus hits, the static styled vocals don't work as well as it should. I quite like the sirens (at least that's what I think they are) at the beginning. Lott gives her most compelling vocal performance on "The Way the World Works" which adopts a distinctive motown sound, you can tell she's really into it and not just singing lyrics to a really nice backing track. I really love the runs in the chorus, they're almost Christina Aguilera (in her prime) reminiscent.

Towards the end of the album we find the softening "Hold Me In Your Arms" a nostalgic number, fueled with some R&B influences, but still mostly pop sounding. I don't like as much as the other tracks, but it's still a decent number. The album closes with an acoustic cover of Kings of Leon's hit "Use Somebody," she covers it beautifully as the acoustic guitar runs smoothly behind her softening voice. Turn It Up, is more of a solid debut than I would have ever imagined. A brilliant collection of slick, cohesive pop songs.

Best: Mama Do (Uh Oh, Uh Oh), Gravity, Jack, Boys and Girls, Cry Me Out, How the World Works, Band Aid, My Love

Friday, September 11, 2009

Album Review: Jay-Z - The Blueprint 3 (4.5 / 5)


From my discography review earlier this month, you should know what terms I'm on when it comes to Jay-Z. He is indeed my favorite rapper, possibly of all time, and with a consistency of 11, mostly solid albums--he never fails to impress me, his last album, American Gangster, based on the movie of the same name, was a solid effort--maybe not as strong as his first album, Reasonable Doubt or even his second, In My Lifetime, Vol. 1, but who's ever been able to top a masterpiece successfully and also its lack of commercial singles may have damped it a little, but for the most part it was all good.

The last installment in the, Blueprint, series was actually pretty disappointing, it featured the hit "03 Bonnie & Clyde" with Beyonce, which was only among the very few highlights. To say, The Blueprint 3, was an improvement would be an understatement as it's probably Jay-Z's most undoubtedly solid efforts in awhile without comparison--even more solid than, American Gangster. The formula is no different, maybe a bit more pop sounding than expected--the wonderful collaboration with Rihanna and Kanye West on "Run This Town" is great--currently a #1 hit in the UK (his first ever one as a lead artist and 6th overall) a cutting edge composition, with a light rock/pop feel without dismissing the key hip-hop element. The electronic guitar running in the back is just awesome. With that said, Jay-Z's never been a stranger to poppy endeavours. In My Lifetime, Vol. 1, was his first trip, I thought it was brilliant--not many others thought so though.

The rest of the album holds up just as well, opening with two Kanye West produced tracks. "What We Talkin' About" an eerily horn and bass backed number, featuring vocals from Australian vocalist, Luke Steel. It's sounds pretty cool and downbeat, which is a bit of a shake up, it's not epically composed like the first track "Pray" from, American Gangster. Following is the self-indulgent "Thank You" (one of the few cuts Jay-Z appears on alone) It sounds good. It's fronted by the archetypal layered horns and handclap venture, Jay-Z has fashioned over the last couple albums.

The lead single "D.O.A. (Death to Auto-Tune)" I've been listening to for a long time and I still like it, maybe not as much as before--or as much as "Run This Time" but still a great deal. It's a stripped down venture, stripped down to trumpets, drums and an electronic guitar--giving a raw edge, hence the title. It sounds like a more raw version of "Roc Boys (And the Winner Is)..." without the blasts of horns and jaunty ambiance. More indepth into the album we find a great collaboration with Alicia Keys on "Empire State of Mind" a jolly string, drum and piano key composition. Keys also sounds great on the chorus--definite choice for next single.

There's a lot of chanting in "Real As It Gets" with Young Jeezy--the chorus sounds like it could use a bit of shaking up, but for the most part makes for that great nostalgically styled hip-hop (darkening horns, light drums--I'm thinking hi-hats and bass) that has become a personal virtue. "Off That" with Drake, is a favorite--a haunting number, fixed with continuous clanging and recurring handclaps.

"A Star Is Born" has an awesome rhythmic handclap--almost armature cheerleading type--trip, which I really like. J. Cole sings the chorus wonderfully. Kanye West lends his producing talentds again on "Already Home" inwich Kid Cudi also lends his vocals. I really like this. It's a mostly orchestrated number, for the most part backed with violins. The albums weirdest moment, but still great moment is "Hate" which actually features vovals from Kanye West, who also produces the song. It's a darkening number, with gritty and static styled beat--also accompanied by a stynth soaked vocal in the background, which sounds like it would fit perfectly on West's 808s & Heartbreak, album.

I like the cool effects in "Reminder" and the sharp horns in "So Amibtious" with Pharrel Williams, which both set up the perfect leeway for the albums fantastic closing track "Young Forever" with Mr. Hudson. It's a spacey number, with crashing drum beats--Hudson, I'll admit, makes the song as good as it is as Jay-Z does sound a tad out of place, this is so not his style of music, but that doesn't detract from the fact that this is indeed a wonderful song.

Generic hip-hop fails to win me over on "On to the Next One" with Swizz Beatz, which is my least favorite track on the album. The Blueprint 3, is definitely the best hip-hop album of the year so far, beating out Busta Rhymes' Back on My B.S. which has unfortunately been flying under the radar. There was no douting Jay-Z was going to deliver on this album as he's done many times over on past albums and the number-one debut in the U.S. next week is well deserved.

Best: Run This Town, Young Forever, A Star Is Born, Death to Auto-Tune, Hate, So Amibitious, Reminder, Already Home

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Preview Mariah's Memoirs

Amazon have put up 30 sec previews of the new Mariah Carey album, Memoirs of an Imperfect Angel, out September 29. The album is more in the same vein as, Butterfly, mostly fixed with downbeat mid-tempos and slow jams. It sounds pretty good.

Billboard Hot 100, 19/09/09

1. I Gotta Feeling - Black Eyed Peas
2. Down - Jay Sean Featuring Lil' Wayne

The Black Eyed Peas claim an 11th week atop with "I Gotta Feeling" extending the acts run at the top to 22 weeks, combined with "Boom Boom Pow." Jay Sean & Lil' Wayne stay bulleted at #2 with "Down," this could be a serious contender for #1 in the oncoming weeks.

7. Obsessed - Mariah Carey

YAY!!! Mariah Carey finally scores her 27th top 10 with "Obsessed" after four weeks trapped at #11 and with no promotion, this is certainly an achievement. Carey now ties with Elton John and Janet Jackson as the fifth artist with the most top 10's on the Hot 100. Could this be a top 5 hit next week?

10. Jason DeRulo - Watcha Say

Newcomer, Jason DeRulo lands his first top 10 with his debut single "Watcha Say."

14. Break Up - Mario Featuring Gucci Mane & Sea Garrett

I still don't think this holds a (dim) candle to "Let Me Love You" so I'm a bit flustered as why it's become a top 20 hit. It seems people do like it. This week the song jumps a spot up to #14.

30. I'm Yours - Jason Mraz

Only weeks ago, Jason Mraz earned the accolade for longest charting song on the Hot 100--beating out LeAnne Rimes' "How Do I Live." This week it extends its reign to 73 weeks.

Personal Airplay Charts, 3/09/09 and 10/09/09

Here are both last weeks and this weeks personal airplay charts:

10/09/09:

1 .... 1 .... I Gotta Feeling - Black Eyed Peas (4 weeks @ #1)
2 .... 3 .... Use Somebody - Kings of Leon (2 wks @ #1)
3 .... 2 .... You Belong With Me - Taylor Swift
4 ... 16 ... Down - Jay Sean Featuring Lil' Wayne
5 .... 4 .... Knock You Down - Keri Hilson Featuring Ne-Yo & Kanye West (1 wk @ #1)
6 .... 6 .... Remedy - Little Boots
7 ... 12 ... Run This Town - Jay-Z Featuring Rihanna & Kanye West
8 ... 13 ... Holiday - Dizzee Racal
9 ... 16 ... Get Sexy - Sugababes
10 ... 5 ... Never Leave You - Tinchy Stryder

3/09/09:

1 .... 1 .... I Gotta Feeling - Black Eyed Peas (3 weeks @ #1)
2 .... 2 .... You Belong With Me - Taylor Swift
3 .... 6 .... Use Somebody - Kings of Leon (2 wks @ #1)
4 .... 3 .... Knock You Down - Keri Hilson (1 wk @ #1)
5 ... 14 ... Never Leave You - Tinchy Stryder
6 .... 9 .... Remedy - Little Boots
7 .... 8 .... No Surprise - Daughtry
8 .... 4 .... Sweet Dreams - Beyonce
9 .... 5 .... Supernova - Mr. Hudson & Kanye West
10 .. 10 .. She Wolf - Shakira

Wednesday, September 09, 2009

OneRepublic "All the Right Moves"

OneRepublic return with their new single "All the Right Moves." It sounds good, I don't love it yet though. It's not as pop as their breakthrough hit "Apologize" (but it's still produced by Ryan Tedder) or as alternative rock sounding as "Stop and Stare," It say it's more of a mixture of both.

I loved thier first album, Dreaming Out Loud, which was among the best efforts of 2007, hopefully, Waking Up, their second album will follow up well. The album drops November 17.

Whitney debuts at #1


Whitney Houston's new album, I Look to You, debuts at #1 on the Billboard 200 tomorrow with sales of 305,000, nabbing her highest first week sales ever. What a way to top off a comeback with a #1 album.

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

Singles Roundup

I haven't done one of these in awhile. Here's this weeks singles round-up split into ratings:

5/5

Run this Town - Jay-Z Featuring Rihanna & Kanye West. Among the best singles from Jay-Z. The star studded "Run this Town" is a haunting, almost Gothic (from the video) venture, aligned with a stomping bassline and an electronic guitar, keeping that fresh hip-hop appeal.

Good Girls Go Bad - Cobra Starship Featuring Leighton Meester. Pop punk band, Cobra Starship are on their third album and I've only just heard them--not to dismiss that their first 2 weren't exactly big hits. The first single "Good Girls Go Bad" from, Hot Mess, has become a breakthrough hit for the band, landing them a top 10 hit. It's a firey, electronic studded number with a fantastic chorus.

Sexy Bitch - David Guetta & Akon. This rocks. I've too much about it already--but I can't resist, It's just such as cool club song.

4.5/5

Down - Jay Sean Featuring Lil' Wayne.
This has grown on me a lot during the course of last week. Upon initial listens, I wasn't sure if I was liking Jay Sean's venture into more club styled music, a slight detour from his typical British-urban appeal.

Love Drunk - Boys Like Girls. I still really like this. I haven't really paid attention to any other Boys Like Girls release, as much as I have with this one and I'm really enjoying it.

Fireflies - Owl City.
I had fun reviewing one man band, Owl City's first album a couple months ago--I wouldn't have picked this as a single as there are better songs on the album but I still really like this a lot. In the review I said: ("Fireflies," starts out quite dark alternative sounding, before breaking into a more light dance pop sound.").

Beverley Knight - Beautiful Night. Beverley's new album, 100% is out, facing positive reviews but little commercial success. "Beautiful Night" is an awesome song. A soulful mid-tempo.

Kelly Carkson - Already Gone. I'm still listening to this. I'm shocked it's yet to become a hit.

4/5

Mika - We Are Golden.
I really like the new Mika single, everything from Mika's off-beat vocal, the drums, strings--it's a really nice song. I'm looking forward to his second album, The Boy Who Knew too Much.

Party in the USA - Miley Cyrus.
I didn't want to like this, but I can't resist. Miley Cyrus' "Part in the USA" certainly has a certain ring to it. Despite her sounding so processed on the fun chorus, it still sounds good. It's definitely best I've heard from her.

Falling for You - Colbie Caillat. I don't like this as much as Colbie's more solid efforts like "Bubbly" or "Realize" but the acoustic and light pop combination seems to be a winning formula for the singer--so I this is pretty good too.

Be on You - FloRida & Ne-Yo. This is a cool R&B tinged number, it has nice melody. Only downer is it's suppose to be FloRida's single but Ne-Yo easily outshines by delivering the songs great chorus. Sorry Flo.

LOL :-) - Trey Songz Featuring Gucci Mane & Soulja Boy. This is pretty good, one of the few R&B songs these days where the instruments are audible. I really like the kiddish chorus.

3.5/5

One Time - Justin Bieber.
Fifteen year old Justin Bieber releases his debut single "One Time" a compact, generic pop and R&B fuse number with cliche lyrics, but it's not all that bad--as if I downloaded it, I'd probably still listen numerous times. He reminds me of a young Jesse McCartney, but I feel their trying to make him the male Britney Spears.

30H!3 - Starstrukk. Not as good as "Don't Trust Me" but I still really like it a lot--the "whistles" in place for the word 'boner' is hilarious I still haven't given their album, Want, a proper listen.

Face Drop - Sean Kingston. I wasn't too big on "Fire Burning" although it's grown on me quite a bit now, Sean Kingston's follow up "Face Drop" isn't bad--but leaves me wondering if he will top "Beautiful Girls."

3/5

Imma Star (Everywhere We Are) - Jeremih.
As a fan of "Birthday Sex" I'd say "Imma Star (Everywhere We Are)" is a pretty weak follow up, but it was among the highlights from Jeremih's first album, which isn't saying much, but it is beginning to grow on me considerably.

Chillin' - Wale Featuring Lady GaGa. This isn't bad. You may remember Wale from the Daniel Merriweather single "Change." Lady GaGa's bit in the song is infectious, Wale's verses, not so much. Maybe I'm not paying enough attention.

Basement Jaxx & Sam Sparrow - Feelings Gone. The layers of violins at the beginning are calming but the burst into the pounding synth basslines gets old quick. It's probably a grower.

2.5/5

Break Up - Mario Featuring Gucci Mane & Sean Garrett.
No melody, no solid chorus and very dry sounding. I tried to give it a chance, but Mario's new single doesn't do it for me.

2/5

Your A Jerk - New Boyz.
How is this mess of a single, still climnig the iTunes chart? Shamefully, I found myself singing along to the "chorus" when the video popped up on BET.

Sunday, September 06, 2009

New music from Leona and Robbie

The new Leona Lewis single "Happy" is set to debut on BBC radio 1 today, but it's already leaked. It's not bad--I jumped the gun, expecting something more upbeat, however I don't think it's as good as "Bleeding Love" or maybe "Better in Time" but it's still pretty good. I'm definately looking forward to the new album, check out the song below:



Robbie Williams also releases his new single "Bodies" from his upcoming album, Reality Killed the Video Star,It's great, but did you expect anything less. I love the lyric: "Jesus didn't die for you, what are you on?." The chorus is awesome.

Saturday, September 05, 2009

Jay-Z discography

Next week Jay-Z will release his twelfth album, The Blueprint 3, his first in 2 years. He is my favorite rapper of all time or possible the best. Here's a look back at his arresting catalog:

Reasonable Doubt, 1996 (5/5). With the changing faces of Hip-Hop during the '90s, Jay-Z's masterpiece debut arrived at the right time, the album joined the debuts of fellow rap artists Snoop Dogg and Nas who both released theirs around the same era of hip-hop and no more was hip-hop synth laden funk but instead broiling laid back grooves. Reasonable Doubt, is among the most strongest hip-hop debuts of all time, bringing in the producing skills of DJ Premier, Clark Kent, Knobody and Ski. The album provides a compelling storyline throughout, as Jay-Z narrates through songs like the Knobody and Hitmen produced hit "Can't Knock the Hustle" featuring Mary J. Blige. The politically driven "Politics As Usual" and "Dead Presidents II." He dictates his experiences on the streets in cacophonous honesty, which builds up to the albums defining moment "22 Two's" in which Jay-Z also shows his skills as a freestyler. Best: 22 Two's, Can't Knock the Hustle, Feelin' It, Ain't No Ni--a, Can I Live, Politics As Usual, Dead Presidents II, Cashmere Thoughts, Friend or Foe

In My Lifetime, Vol. 1, 1997 (5/5). Similar to his debut, but maybe not quite as good, Jay-Z churned out another solid piece. From the opening bars of the DJ Premier produced "A Million and 1 Questions" (which sampled Aaliyah's then current hit "One in a Million") you can tell his sophomore album was going to be a more commercialized effort, showing more pop presence than usual. The albums most notable poppy moment was the happy synth laden "(Always Be My) Sunshine" with Babyface and Foxy Brown. Many fans failed to embrace the change, but I still liked it a lot. The flow isn't as tight as it was on the last album, but despite this Jay-Z still makes up for it by providing a series of excellent tracks. The rapid bassline of "The City is Mine," the '80s inspired synth chords of "I Know What Girls Want" with Foxy Brown and P. Diddy, the bass driven "Imaginary Player" which all builds up to the albums best moment "Streets is Watching" in which Jay-Z provides a lyrical skeptical--taking two or three listens to completely clock on to everything he says: ("If I shoot you, I'm brainless, but If you shoot me, you'll be famous"). Best: Streets is Watching, The City is Mine, Imaginary Player, I Know What Girls Want, Lucky Me, Where I'm From

Vol. 2... Hard Knock Life, 1998 (4/5). By this time, hip-hop faced yet another change, it had now become an necessity to incorporate a sense pop presence within your music, with P.Diddy being the front runner with that trend. Jay-Z's third album acquired a more tougher production than the last album, but still met with commercial success, but it wasn't as consistent as his last two, seamlessly riding mostly on beats rather than lyrics, but still presenting a handful of great tracks, some credible for how the sound and a couple for how well Jay-Z lyrically runs the song. The albums biggest hit "Can I Get A..." with Ja Rule and Amil, is one of the highlights. The biggest highlight is "Hard Knock Life (Ghetto Anthem)" sampling the Broadway musical, Annie's "Hard Knock Life," it's possibly among the best hip-hop track ever recorded. Other highlights include the downbeat "Money, Cash. Hoes" and the R&B sounding "Reservoir Dogs" with The Lox, Beanie Sigel and Sauce Money. Best: Hard Knock Life (Ghetto Anthem), Can I Get A..., Reservoir Dogs, Money Cash Hoes, It's Like That, Ni--a What Ni--a Who, If I Should Die

Vol. 3… Life and Times of S. Carter, 1999 (4/5). After pursuing pop territories with his last two albums, Jay-Z returned to the grits of hip-hop on his fourth album. An array of cutting edge tracks which made the album more exhilarative than the last, but it wasn't wildly better and whilst his rap style and flow tightened, the albums production seems to be the centerpiece of this project--at times proving to overshadow the music itself. Timbaland makes numerous appearances; the albums biggest hit "Big Pimpin," the more R&B sounding "It's Hot (Some Like It Hot)," the Aaliyah styled "Snoopy Track" and the thumping "Come and Get Me." After working on "Heartbreaker" Mariah Carey returned the favor on the Swizz Beats produced "Things That U Do" a downbeat, flute and bass fronted track. Timbaland's contribution surely overshadowed everyone elses, you may even miss that DJ Clue fronts the innovative "Pop 4 Roc" or Rockwilder and DJ Premier collaborate on "So Ghetto." Best: Big Pimpin', Things That U Do, S. Carter, Pop 4 Roc, There's Been A Murder

The Dynasty: Roc La Familia, 2000, (4/5). In 2000, Jay-Z returned with the freshest album of his career (at the time), back with a more updated and fresh sound. It wasn't necessarily a better offering than his last two, but for what it set out achieve--it's still pretty good. Roc La Familia, was only suppose to be a Roc-A-Fella collaborative effort, but was marketed as Jay-Z's fifth album--which would explain the limited number of big name guest appearances: Snoop Dogg on the string laden "Get Your Mind Right Miami" and R. Kelly on "Guilty Until Proven Innocent." Other guest appearances are more lesser known names on the Roc-A-Fella label. The album landed the fantastic Neptunes produced lead single "I Just Wanna Love U (Give It to Me)" which became Jay-Z's biggest hit at the time. Also Kane West produced one of the albums finest tracks "This Can't Be Life."Best: I Just Wanna Love U (Give It to Me), This Can't Be Life, Guilty Until Proven Innocent, Parking Lot Pimpin', Change the Game, Get Your Mind Right Miami, Where Have You Been

The Blueprint, 2001 (4.5/5). The first in the, Blueprint, series. From the opening bars of "Takeover;" If it seemed like Jay-Z was running out things to say on his fourth and fifth album, his sixth album definitely brought to the table a creativity recharge, proving he was indeed the top MC in the industry, at the time. The album landed the popular single "Izzo (H.O.V.A.)" (which I first heard in an episode on UPN's Girlfriends) produced by Kanye West and samples the Jackson 5's "I Want You Back" and the brilliant, breezy second single "Girls, Girls, Girls" which follows consecutively. The Blueprint was definately Jay-Z tightest album since his debut--or if anything, his second album. Best: Girls Girls Girls, Izzo (H.O.V.A.), U Don't Know, Takeover, Heart of a City (Ain't No Love), Song Cry, All I Need

The Blueprint²: The Gift & the Curse, 2002 (3.5/5). I use t0 be very big on Jay-Z's seventh album, but I don't like it that much anymore. The second part in the, Blueprint series, did feel a bit lackluster (especially in comparison to the first). It definitely wasn't as consistent as previous offerings and Jay-Z's flow really didn't hold the whole through and as a two disc special, it did seem wastefully lengthy. The albums best moments (mostly located on the first disc) were the string and bass fronted collaboration with Beyonce on "'03 Bonnie & Clyde" which unsurprisingly became a top 5 hit. The sultry "Excuse Me Miss" is another winner. On the second disc, the haunting "Diamonds if Forever," the Kanye West produced "Some People Hate" and the surprising rock orientated "Guns & Roses" are quite good. Best: '03 Bonnie & Clyde, Excuse Me Miss, Some People Hate, Guns & Roses, Some People Hate

The Black Album, 2003 (4.5/5). Jay-Z's eighth album was promoted as his final album, as he announced retirement. (At the time) The Black Album, definitely showcased the rapper going out on top. Not losing momentum anytime through, the album pushed a compelling storyline, narrating through an imperative series of tracks--beginning from the horn and bass fronted "December 4th" where Jay-Z dictates his life until present time, adding to the intimacy of the song, his mum opens with a touching somewhat awkward dialogue. The albums three singles also stack up as among its best moments--the slick, piano key backed, Neptunes produced "Change Clothes," the more cultured Timbaland carved "Dirt off Your Shoulder" and the slightly rock tinted "99 Problems." Other highlights include the horn laden Kanye West produced "Encore" and the dramatic "What More Can I Say." Best: Change Clothes, December 4th, 99 Problems, Moment of Clarity, Dirt off Your Shoulder, Lucifer, Justify My Thug

Kingdom Come, 2006 (4/5). Before Jay-Z dismissed thoughts about retirement, he had previously collaborated with rock group, Linkin' Park for the fantastic album, Collision Course (2004) and re-collaborated with R. Kelly for the poor, Unfinished Business (2003) before the release of his ninth album, which was also marketed as his comeback album. Whilst it wasn't a very consistent or noticeably solid effort (which I still put down to sequencing) it did provide a handful of great tracks, including the jaunty horn fronted lead single "Show Me What You Got" which sould have opened the album. The piano key and bass laden "Lost One" and rejoyceful "I Made It" are pretty good too. Best: Show Me What You Got, I Made It, Lost One, Hollywood, 30 Something

American Gangter, 2007 (4.5/5). Inspired by the movie, American Gangster, Jay-Z released his tenth album of the same name--which I put down as one of the best of his career. The album wasn't as narratively stricken as, The Black Album or Reasonable Doubt, nor did it try to be mainstream and poppy like, The Blueprint 2 or In My Lifetime, Vol. 1. It was solid 15 track set, leaving little room for filler, starting from the stomping basslines of opener "Pray" which also features spoken vocals from wife, Beyonce. The biggest highlights include the soft, piano key laden "American Dream'," the vibrating, bass driven "Hello Brooklyn 2.0" with Lil' Wayne, the horn and drum charged lead single "Roc Boys (And the Winner Is)..." and the Neptunes produced "I Know." Best: Roc Boys (And the Winner Is)..., I Know, American Dreamin', Hello Brooklyn 2.0, Ignorant Shit, Blue Magic, Party Life

Friday, September 04, 2009

Album Review: David Guetta - One Love (3.5 / 5)


It seems French DJ, David Guetta is to today's music what hip-hop producer, Timbaland was 2 years ago. One Love, is the DJ's fourth album and it's already landed him 2 #1s--"When Love Takes Over" with Kelly Rowland and "Sexy Bitch" with Akon.

What makes, One Love, a very exciting fourth album is star studded line up of features. There are at least 5 different ones I can pick out. But what makes the album seem a tad leaden, is the lengthy 16 track (18 if purchased from iTunes) set, which throws off all signs of consistency, however it still is packed with more than a handful of great dance tracks.

The albums best tracks are scattered around on the first half. The vibrant, European dance-pop inspired "When Love Takes Over" (Kelly Rowland) is the opener, following is "Gettin' Over" (Chris Willis) staring out a whimsical set of different synth chords with Willis' vocalizing over the top before ascending into a dark clubby rooted composition. Next up is the current single "Sexy Bitch" (Akon) which is among the albums best tracks, it's an established club banger.

For "Memories" (Kid Cudi) Guetta shows some signs of orchestration, starting out with repetitive piano keys--taking place behind the pacing rocky bassline and tambourines, Cudi sounds really weird but lets up on the chorus, which features nothing more than Cudi's attempts at ablibbing. It's a pretty awesome track. The overall ambiance is quite dark, but it is something I would listen to over and over again. "On the Dancefloor" (Will.I.Am) features some sharp synths, recurring hand claps and a drum styled bassline that holds up. Kelly Rowland makes a second appearance on "It's the Way You Love Me." The chorus isn't as catchy as "When Love Takes Over" but it's still pretty good--it features some nice harmonies.

Rowland pops up again on the subdued electronic "Choose" this time with Ne-Yo. They both sound good on here, but it's pretty missable for me--which introduces us to the albums weaker second half. "How Soon is Now" (Sebastian Ingrosso, Dirty South & Julie McKnight) spruces up a fine piano fronted bassline, but there's not much else to be accounted for. There's no chorus that sticks and the verses are messy. There's a remix of Black Eyed Peas' monster hit "I Gotta Feeling" which I don't particualy care for and Will.I.am's second apperence on the energetic "I Wanna Go Crazy" definately lives up to it's title as he sounds like a maniac on the verses.

There are a couple of good ones within the second half. The title track "One Love" (Estelle) isn't bad, it had a great melody, nicely backed with recurring hi-hats, before it emerges into a more upbeat composition. The heavily synth fronted "Sound of Letting Go" (Chris Willis) and the less energetic and some what urban nutured "Toyfriend" (Wynter Gordan--know for her apperence on Flo Rida's "Sugar") aren't bad either.

I suspect, One Love, could've been better, there are so many songs--especially on the second half that could use some re-working, but with that said, the album still managed to deliver some great dance tracks eveneing out the ratio between its lacklusters and hard hitters.

Best: When Love Takes Over, One Love, Sexy Bitch, Memories, On the Dancefloor, Toyfriend

New Leona single "Happy" on BBC Radio 1

The new Leona Lewis single "Happy" is set to debut on BBC Radio 1 on Sunday, can't wait for it. Lewis' second album, Echo, is out November 16.

Mariah Carey's Memoirs Confirmed Tracklist


The tracklist for Mariah Carey's upcoming twelfth studio album, Memoirs of an Imperfect Angel, has now been unveiled. The new album will be a 2-disc set; the first CD (the actual album) will feature 17 tracks (with 5 interludes, I suspect) and the second CD will feature 4 different remixes of the first single "Obsessed" and 2 videos (the normal and the remix version):

Disc 1
1. Betcha Gon' Know (the prologue)
2. Obsessed
3. H.A.T.E.U.
4. Candy Bling
5. Ribbon
6. Inseparable
7. Standing O
8. It's A Wrap
9. Up Out My Face
10. Up Out My Face (the reprise)
11. More Than Just Friends
12. The Impossible
13. The Impossible (the reprise)
14. Angel (the prelude)
15. Angels Cry
16. Languishing (the interlude)
17. I Want To Know What Love Is

Disc 2
1. Obsessed - Cahill Radio Mix
2. Obsessed - Seamus Haji & Paul Emanuel Radio Edit
3. Obsessed - Jump Smokers Radio Edit
4. Obsessed - Friscia and Lamboy Radio Mix
5. Obsessed - (Video)
6. Obsessed (Remix) - (Video)

We've only heard 2 tracks from the lengthy 17 track set, but just from looking at the tracklist I get a, Rainbow, vibe--as that was the only time Mariah used interludes and with "Betcha Gon' Know (the prologue)" I suspect this is the first time she's going to be using an introduction.

Wierdly, there's actually only 12 full tracks here--but that actually depends on wether all the tracks with "reprise" next to them are actually full songs or not. Tracks I'm already looking forward to hearing (apart from the one's we've already heard) are "H.A.T.E.U." (the 30 sec, LQ leak left me wanting more) "Up Out My Face" (R&B singer, The-Dream leaked a version sung by him) and "The Impossible" (It got a pretty poor reception from critics, but I want to check it fot myself).

I can't wait for this--just incase you forgot, Memoirs of an Imperfect Angel, drops September 29. Expect a pretty lengthy review.

Tuesday, September 01, 2009

Album Reviews

So many albums to review, so little time. This year I've listened to way too many albums than I can review fully, so I've put them all into one big bundle, doing short reviews for each--like ww_adh did--to get it over with before the last quarter of the year.

Older:

Green Day - 21st Century Breakdown (5/5). Green Day's eighth album was definitely a very formidable effort. It's surely a contender for best album of the year. Fueled by a lengthy 18 tracks, the album provides a compelling story line, sectioning into 3 parts--each part administering an alternative era of rock. A nice follow up to their modern masterpiece, American Idiot. Best: Know Your Enemy, 21 Guns, Murder City, ¡Viva la Gloria!, Before the Lobotomy, 21st Century Breakdown

Agnes - Love Dance Pop (4.5/5). Swedish Pop Idol winner, Agnes released her third (first worldwide) album--a top notch, quality pop album, which fulfills its title to the fullest. It's jam packed with upbeat dance-pop, like the old school dance flavored lead single "Release Me" or the rejoyceful, synth covered "Look at Me Now." It has everything you would expect from a solid pop album. Best: Release Me, On and On, Look at Me Now, Love Me Senseless, Big Blue Wall, How Do You Know

Little Boots - Hands (4.5/5). With such well crafted modern sounding, '80s influenced synth styled dance tracks, what's there not to like about Little Boots debut and with all the hype surrounding her at the beginning of the year, it sure doesn't disappoint. The is verges on pop perfection, from the pounding electronic lead single "New in Town" to the more stripped down closing track "Hands." Best: New in Town, Stuck on Repeat, Mathematics, Hands, Symmetry, Earthquake

La Roux - La Roux (4/5). Elly Jackson may not be a great singer, but that doesn't stop pop duo's La Roux's self titled debut from being a great piece--filled with some fantastic pop production and although Jackson's vocals can be earsplitting at times, that doesn't stop tracks like "In for the Kill," "Bulletproof" and "Quicksand" from being splendid moments on the album. Best: Bulletproof, In for the Kill, As If By Magic, Quicksand, Cover My Eyes, Colourless Color

Newer:

Colbie Caillat - Breakthrough (4/5). Colbie Caillat captured my musical heart with her debut single "Bubbly" two years ago--which lead me to also fall in love with her debut album, Coco, it wasn't perfect but it was a great album. Caillat's second album still uses that winning forumla of breezy acoustic and contemporary pop--It's not wildly better than her first, but there is some growth. Best: Falling for You, I Won't, Rainbow, Begin Again, Break Through, I Never Told You

Jeremih - Jeremih (2.5/5). I shouldn't be surprised R&B newcomer, Jeremih's self titled debut left me unsatisfied. I was actually expecting it. It has a handful of good tracks, like the lead single "Birthday Sex" which is unsurprisingly the albums best moment, the breezy, click and clap "Break to Make Up" and the ballad "Starting All Over." In a nutshell: Most of the stuff on the album sound like left overs from Chris Brown's first album--added to it; a bit of vododer and sexually explicit lyrics. Best: Birthday Sex, Break to Make Up, Starting All Over