Thursday, April 29, 2010

Personal Airplay, April 29, 2010

TW LW Title - Artist
1 .... 1 .... OMG - Usher (2 weeks @ #1)
2 .... 2 .... Nothin' On You - B.o.B. feat. Bruno Mars
3 .... 4 .... Need You Now - Lady Antebellum
4 .... 5 .... Carry Out - Timbaland feat. Justin Timberlake
5 .... 3 .... Opposite of Adults - Chiddy Bang
6 .... 9 .... All Night Long - Alexandra Burke
7 ... 27 ... I Need You Tonight - Professor Green feat. Lily Allen
8 .... 6 .... Telephone - Lady Gaga feat. Beyonce
9 ... 11 ... She Said - Plan B
10 .. 19 .. Until You Were Gone - Chipmunk feat. Esmee Denters

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Album Review: Joshua Radin - Simple Times (3/5)

American singer/songwriter Joshua Radin's second album Simple Times definitely lives up to its title--it's warm blend of soft guitar strings and vocals sure is "simple" but original this is not. Gentle melodies and fluffy chorus' is nothing new, Jack Johnson, Jason Mraz and possibly even John Mayer have all done it before.

However, even without originality Simple Times isn't a bad album. There's a handful of good songs on here. Mellow opener "One of Those Days," sounds nice; softly blending breathy vocals, twingy guitar strings and light piano keys. Radio friendly lead single "I'd Rather Be with You," is nice too embracing a warm pop melody. "Sky" kicks up the tempo a bit, although still pretty subtle, same with the more heavily piano-backed "Brand New Day." I also like the folksy "We Are Okay."

A lot of the album is the same old same old. As a whole just blends together, making it a first-choise for background music on a Sunday afternoon. This probably too calm for my liking and it's not like Radin has the lyrics to make up for it, however I'm sure this could grow on me (a lot of Jack Johnson's album took a couple listens before I was sold) so my ratings pretty generous.

Best: I'd Rather Be with You, One of Those Days, We Are Okay, Brand New Day

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Billboard Hot 100, May 1, 2010

1. Nothin' on You - B.o.B. feat. Bruno Mars

Atlanta based rapper B.o.B. ends Rihanna's 5 week reign with "Rude Boy" with his debut single "Nothin' on You" featuring Bruno Mars, scoring his first chart topper. The single sold 184,000 digital copies this week.

8. OMG - Usher feat. Will.i.am

Following the weak performance of "Lil Freak" and "Hey Daddy (Daddy's Home)" Usher has finally got hmself a solid hit. "OMG" featuring Will.i.am rises up 2 spots up from #10. I hope this could be a #1 for him, it looks like it's definately in the running.

10. Whataya Want from Me - Adam Lambert

Like Usher, Adam Lambert also finally scores a top 10 hit from his recent album. Following the lowly peaking "For Your Entertainment," (#61) the second single released from For Your Entertainment "Whataya Want from Me," scores the American Idol runner up's first top 10.

12. Airplanes - B.o.B. feat. Hayley Williams of Paramore

B.o.B. scores his second top 20 this week, with his second single "Airplanes" interestingly featuring Hayley Williams of Paramore, didn't see that collabo coming.

23. Not Myself Tonight - Christina Aguilera

Christina Aguilera returns to the charts with her comeback single "Not Myself Tonight" the first to be released from her forthcoming fourth studio album Bionic out in june. The single debuts at a rather lowly #23, although it's her 12th top 40.

28. Alejandro - Lady Gaga

Lady Gaga scores her 7th top 40 with "Aljandro" the third single released from her Fame Monster album. Another hit I'm sure.

Personal Airplay, April 22, 2010

TW LW Title - Artist
1 .... 2 .... OMG - Usher (1 week @ #1)
2 ... 17 ... Nothin' On You - B.o.B. feat. Bruno Mars
3 .... 4 .... Opposite of Adults - Chiddy Bang
4 .... 5 .... Need You Now - Lady Antebellum
5 ... 10 ... Carry Out - Timbaland feat. Justin Timberlake
6 .... 1 .... Telephone - Lady Gaga feat. Beyonce
7 .... 7 .... On to the Next One - Jay-Z feat. Swizz Beatz
8 .... 3 .... Why Don't You - Gramophonedzie
9 ... 13 ... All Night Long - Alexandra Burke
10 .. 15 .. This Ain't a Love Song - Scouting for Girls

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

What I'm Listening To

I haven't done this in awhile. Here's what I've been listening to this lately:

OMG - Usher feat. Will.i.am. Raymond vs Raymond was a disappointment however with only a small handful of decent tracks, this lands atop of the pile. Nice piece of electro pop/R&B from the singer.

Memories - David Guetta feat. Kid Cudi. I like the orchestration and piano keys behind the bass line of this song. I think I prefer it more than "When Love Takes Over" and "Sexy Bitch" (which I wasn't crazy about anyway).

Until You Were Gone - Chipmunk feat. Esmee Denters. This the first song that has anything to do with Esmee Denters that I actually like (I didn't like the generic "Outta Here" or the obnoxious JoJo rip-off "Admit It"). It sounds awesome, I like it almost as much "Oopsy Daisy."

All Night Long - Alexandra Burke. I've really gotten into Alexandra Burke's debut album Overcome recently, I wasn't too sold on it last year. The albums third single "All Night Long" is awesome, embracing a cool clubby sound recalling the dance/pop of Chris Brown's "Forever."

Dirty Picture - Taio Cruz. I'm not a fan of Taio Cruz or the nobody featured on the song, but I like the piercing electronic romp of the song.

I Need You Tonight - Professor Green feat. Ed Drewett. Like Plan B, Professor Green has switched up his sound for a more commercial appeal, resulting in this funky INXS sampling tune.

Joshua Radin - I'd Rather Be with You. I like this song, it reminds me of some of the stuff Jason Mraz did for his third album We Sing We Dance We Steal Things. I like the guitat work too.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Diana Vickers "Once"

Looking good to top the UK singles chart next week is X Factor finalist Diana Vickers' debut single "Once." Whilst the song is a nice slice of radio friendly electro-pop written by Ellie Goulding, I'm not too sold on her voice. Vickers debut album Songs from the Tainted Cherry Tree is out May 3.

Album Review: Plan B - The Defamation of Strickland Banks (4.5/5)

UK based rapper Plan B has made the swift transformation from gritty foul-mouthed, trash-talking rapper to sweet soul vocalist for his second album, The Defamation of Strickland Banks, an inviting mix of old-fashioned soul, R&B and hip-hop at its finest. It's definitely one of the best releases of the year so far.

More interestingly, behind its well polished front lies a story about a singer who ends up in prison for a crime he didn't commit (It's hard to find a concept album that successfully amounts to its story, these days). Opening is the breezy "Love Goes Down," incorporating horns and guitars emulating the classic '70s soul sound of the likes of Smoky Robinson and Otis Redding, following in its path is "Writing's On the Wall," also very '70s soul influenced. Next are the radio friendly, "Stay Too Long" creating an interesting '60s Motown sound--with layers of electronic guitars and rapid drums and "She Said," which is great too, embodying a nice jazz influenced vibe--horns, drums and guitars intact.

"Welcome to Hell," emulates the same warm soul that made John Mayer's Continuum such a favorite of mine. "Hard Times," lays on the harmonies pretty thick on the chorus with a charming melody. Its sounds great especially when the strings and guitars kick in. "The Recluse," "Traded in My Cigarettes" and "Prayin'," follow nicely, all sharing a shimmering old-school R&B sound.

"Darkest Place," is a personal favorite, I love its climatic composition created nicely with the orchestra. "Free," is a jaunty horn and drums fueled number, an obvious climax to the albums story with the lyrics "I ain't guilty of no crime, get these chains off me." I also like the acoustic "I Know a Song," its also lovely when the piano and strings kick in on the chorus. "What You Gonna Do," is an awesome end to the album, which finds the singer back in the court: "The court rooms the same, but the jury's changed/just like it was, when I was here before."

The Defamation of Strickland Banks is definitely one of the best albums of the year. Its solid mix of soul, R&B, jazz and hip-hop sure does not disappoint even when you take into consideration that the lyrics are not as strong as they were on his gritty rap debut Who Needs Action, When You Got Words?

Best: Stay Too Long, Darkest Place, Welcome to Hell, Love Goes Down, Free, I Know a Song, Prayn', What You Gonna Do

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Album Review: Kate Nash - My Best Friend is You (4/5)

I didn't know it then, but Kate Nash delivered one of the best albums of 2007, her debut Made of Bricks, is now one of my favorite albums to listen to. Whilst Nash's voice isn't anything spectacular, her nack for social realism in her lyrics is something I adore; such as modern damaged British relationships ("Foundations") great storytelling ("We Get On" and "Birds").

Her follow-up album, My Best Friend is You, isn't as fun nor witty and tastefully silly ("Mouthwash")--she wants to mature and it shows. The new album showcases a rawer feel, an almost live sound, it's cool but with the fun taken out of the equation, the whole thing falls rather short. Opening is "Paris," a jaunty piano fronted tale about making mistakes, following is the '60s pop inspired "Kiss That Grrrl," which talks about jealousy in relationships with rather interesting lyrics ("I bet her feet don't even stink").

The first two tracks are good, however one of the albums biggest highlights is the third "Don't You Want to Share the Guilt," a brewing acoustic number also talking about broken relationships. It's random, but I like how the song ends with a spoken monologue about nothing. More highlights include, the heavily drum backed "Later On," which has some refreshing electronic undertones. "You Were So Far Away," is a quiet acoustic ballad (think Kelly Clarkson "Chivas"). "I Hate Seagulls" is also an acoustic-styled ballad about having that one person to share your likes and dislikes with.

Radio-friendly lead single "Doo-Wah-Doo" is good too, again sporting a nice '60s girl-band inspired pop, however it's too short to have a real impact on the album. There are a few songs on here that fall short. "I've Got a Secret," has a cool indie rock vibe. It's suppose to be about being gay and not being able to tell anyone, unfortunately the repetitive lyrics doesn't quite to the story it wants to tell. Similarly is "I Just Love You More," also has nice cool indie vibe which doesn't really have a point at all, just the same line over and over gain but it sounds good.

The last couple songs aren't a great nor bad. "Take Me to a Higher Plane" is a jaunty old-fashioned mix of pop and rock, it's about escapism but doesn't really fulfill it's intention. "Mansion Song," begins with a hard-hitting monologue, which is probably the only good thing about the song before it's dull second half kicks in. "Early Christmas Present" isn't bad, it sounds a bit like "Foundations," it brings to light the fact that in a relationship the person being cheated on is always the last to know, which is an interesting subject.

I applaud Nash for wanting to mature for her second album, but I feel her maturity may have dampened her appeal a bit. This album certainly doesn't embrace the fun of Made of Bricks nor its witty lyrics, which is shame as that's what I admired about her most, however the album does deliver a handful of good and interesting songs, so a disappointment this is not.

Best: Do You Want to Share the Guilt, I Hate Seagulls, Later On, You Were So Far Away, Paris, Early Christmas Present

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Preview Kate Nash's My Best Friend Is You

I'm VERY excited for Kate Nash's sophomore album, especially after loving her 2007 debut Made of Bricks so much (The track "Nicest Thing" is currently the most played on my iPod). I've listened to previews Amazon and already loving what I hear. Fair to say, it's not as fun as Made of Bricks, the sound seems more raw and serious. I can't wait to hear this in full.

Billboard Hot 100, April 25, 2010

1. Rude Boy - Rihanna
2. Nothing on You - B.o.B. feat. Bruno Mars
3. Hey, Soul Sister - Train

Rihanna extends her reign atop the chart to 5 weeks, only 2 weeks shy of her 7 week reign at #1 with her monster-hit "Umbrella."That Rihanna reign won't let up indeed, however her success means both B.o.B. and Train are bulleted at #2 and #3 for a second week with their singles "Nothing on You" and "Hey, Soul Sister" respectively.

4. Break Your Heart - Taio Cruz feat. Ludacris
5. In My Head - Jason DeRulo

Both previous UK number-ones are in the top 5, Taio Cruz returns to the top 5 with "Break Your Heart," whilst Jason DeRulo scores his second feat with "In My Head."

10. OMG - Usher feat. Will.i.am

Usher lands his 13th #1 with "OMG," it's about time his new album Raymond vs Raymond landed a solid hit, previous singles "Lil' Freak" featuring Nicki Minaj and "Hey Daddy (Daddy's Home)" both failed to crack to the top 20 and "Papers" which has now been written off as 'buzz single' also failed to crack the top 20. This is far cry from 2004, when the singer landed an impressive 5 top 10 hits in a row.

20. You and Your Heart - Jack Johnson

Jack Johnson scores his highest charting single with "You and Your Heart," which debuts at #20 this week. It's the first single taken from his fourth album To the Sea.

Personal Airplay, April 15, 2010

TW LW Title - Artist
1 .... 1 .... Telephone - Lady Gaga feat. Beyonce (10 weeks @ #1)
2 .... 5 .... OMG - Usher
3 .... 2 .... Why Don't You - Gramophonedzie
4 .... 4 .... Opposite of Adults - Chiddy Bang
5 .... 9 .... Need You Now - Lady Antebellum
6 .... 3 .... Rude Boy - Rihanna
7 ... 10 ... On to the Next One - Jay-Z feat. Swizz Beatz
8 .... 6 .... Rock That Body - Black Eyed Peas
9 ... 11 ... Drop the World - Lil Wayne feat. Eminem
10 .. 14 .. Carry Out - Timbaland feat. Justin Timberlake

Lady Gaga's "Telephone" featuring Beyonce becomes the tenth song to spend 7 weeks or more atop my chart. It ties "Because of You" by Kelly Clarkson in 2nd with 10 weeks, just a week behind Britney Spears' 11 week span with "Toxic." Lady Gaga and Beyonce are already in the top ten with "Poker Face" (7 weeks) and "Crazy in Love" (9 weeks) respectively.

1. Toxic - Britney Spears (11 weeks)
2. Because of You - Kelly Clarkson (10 weeks)
3. Telephone - Lady Gaga feat. Beyonce (10 weeks)
4. Crazy in Love - Beyonce feat. Jay-Z (9 weeks)
5. Hips Don't Lie - Shakira (9 weeks)
6. Hero - Enrique Englasias (8 weeks)
7. Your Beautiful - James Blunt (8 weeks)
8. Lose Yourself - Eminem (7 weeks)
9. Poker Face - Lady GaGa (7 weeks)
10. Can't Get Your Out of My Head - Kylie Minogue (7 weeks)

Friday, April 09, 2010

Album Review: Usher - Raymond vs Raymond (2/5)

Even some of the greatest pop singers can have their moment of weakness. Mariah, Madonna even Michael have spawned at least one weak release. So ultimately it would be right to excuse someone like Usher for his disappointing last album Here I Stand, which in no-way followed up nicely to Confessions, one of the best R&B albums of the last ten years. With an alleged new lease on life, we now have Raymond vs. Raymond, the singer's sixth album. It's only a slight improvement from Here I Stand, still lacking the swagger that I liked so much about Confessions.

What drags down the album a few notches is that Usher claims the title represents a story of the different sides of his personality, which would suggest that the album embraced some kind of depth, when in fact there's as much depth as Mariah Carey's 1999 album Rainbow (which ironically he featured on; heavy hip-hop beats and slow jams and 1 or 2 sensitive moments but doesn't amount to the story the artist claim), it isn't as much of an insult as it sounds--the comparative links between Mariah and Usher's careers are astonishing. Confessions was essentially Mariah's Emancipation of Mimi (both the biggest selling albums of their year) and Mariah's E=MC2 was ultimately Usher's Here I Stand (both weren't nearly as good as their predecessors both in quality or sales wise).

There are some good moments on here, in fact the first five tracks kick of the album well. "Monstar," which rocks a cool '70s influenced sound towards the middle, "Hey Daddy (Daddys Home)" and "There Goes My Baby" have a smooth kinetic bass lines, duped with synths and the rest of it. It sounds the kinda R&B The-Dream would do. "Lil Freak" isn't bad, sounds very "I Can Transform Ya." First UK single "OMG" is cool, rapid synths, bass lines and lots of chanting and is likely to be the albums first solid hit.

However, the rest of the album is underwhelming. Nothing really sticks, which is exactly the same problem Here I Stand had. The slow jams ("Mars vs. Venus," "Pro Lover," and "Okay") are just not that good and neither are most of the upbeat songs on here, "She Don't Know" and "So Many Girls" are particularly bad. There is the odd song within the last half of the album that's not too bad, such as piano and bass fronted ballad "Foolin' Around."

Raymond vs. Raymond
is a disappointment. It's probably just another nail in the coffin, that Usher just can't spawn a solid body of work anymore. Too bad.

Best: OMG, Lil' Freak, There Goes My Baby, Foolin' Around

Personal Airplay, April 8, 2010

TW LW Title - Arist
1 .... 1 .... Telephone - Lady Gaga feat. Beyonce (9 weeks @ #1)
2 .... 4 .... Why Don't You - Gramophonedzie
3 .... 2 .... Rude Boy - Rihanna
4 ... 15 ... Opposite of Adults - Chiddy Bang
5 ... 34 ... OMG - Usher
6 .... 3 .... Rock That Body - Black Eyed Peas
7 .... 5 .... BedRock - Young Money feat. Lloyd
8 .... 6 .... Pass Out - Tinie Tempah
9 .... 9 .... Need You Now - Lady Antebellum
10 .. 21 .. On to the Next One - Jay-Z feat. Swizz Beatz

Thursday, April 08, 2010

Billboard Hot 100, April 17, 2010

My excuse for the lack posts lately is that... I think I have writers block. Moving on swifty.

1. Rude Boy - Rihanna

In another pretty bleak week on the Hot 100, Rihanna's holds down the summit for a fourth week whilst the seven entereies below are also non-movers. Probably the most interesting thing to happen regarding the top ten this week is that Jason DeRulo returns to it, reboudning 11-9 with "In My Head."

As there's not much to talk about, over on the Billboard 200, Usher's new album Raymond vs. Raymond opens at #1 with a 329k haul, his third consecutive album to do so--although his lowest first week sales regarding the three; It's a huge drop from 1.1 million units Confessions moved in its first week. Usher's debut means, Justin Bieber is pushed down to #2 however becomes the first artist since the Beatles to sell more in the second week than their first... apparently.

Thursday, April 01, 2010

Personal Airplay, 1st April 2010

TW LW Title - Artist
1 .... 1 .... Telephone - Lady Gaga feat. Beyonce (8 weeks @ #1)
2 .... 2 .... Rude Boy - Rihanna
3 .... 3 .... Rock that Body - Black Eyed Peas
4 .... 5 .... Why Don't You - Gramophonedzie
5 .... 6 .... BedRock - Young Money feat. Lloyd
6 .... 4 .... Pass Out - Tinie Tempah
7
.... 9 .... Hey Soul Sister - Train
8 ... 11 ... According to You - Orianthi
9 .... 7 .... Need You Now - Lady Antebellum
10 .. 8 ... Starry Eyed - Ellie Goulding