Monday, January 31, 2011

Singles Reviews


This weeks batch of singles:

Post Break-Up Sex - The Vaccines - (4.5/5)
Price Tag - Jessie J feat. B.o.B. (4/5)
Wonderman - Tinie Tempah feat. Ellie Goulding (4/5)
Good Girl - Alexis Jordan (3.5/5)
Black and Yellow - Whiz Khalifa (3/5)
Rocketeer - Far East Movement feat. Ryan Tedder (3/5)

Read reviews after the jump:

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Billboard Hot 100, 5 February, 2011


1. Grenade - Bruno Mars

Bruno Mars dethrones Britney Spears' "Hold it Against Me," returning back to the pinnacle with "Grenade." It's the second time it's returned to #1; being knocked off the top spot by Katy Perry's "Firework" two weeks ago and then again by Britney last week. It's also the first song to return to #1 more than twice since T.I.'s "Live Your Life" featuring Rihanna in the fall of 2008. "Grenade" sold a pretty healthy 204k this week.

3. Black and Yellow - Wiz Khlalifa
4. Tonight (I'm Lovn' You) - Enrique Iglasias feat. Ludacris

Rapper Wiz Khalifia and Enrique's new singles could be a strong contenders for #1, as they both ascend into the top 5 this week scoring the Spanish singer his 5th feat and the rapper his first. If Enrique does top the chart it'll be his first to do so since 2000's "Be with You."

6. Hold it Against Me - Britney Spears

After a massive #1 debut last week, Britney Spears' "Hold it Against Me" tumbles down to #6 from #1. I wouldn't worry though, apart from the fact that it's gaining heavily on Pop, Rhythmic and Hot AC radio--it's already at #11 on Radio Songs--the last time a song debuted at #1 and stayed there for more than a week as in 1998; Lauryn Hill's "Doo Wop (That Thing)," and also the video has yet to debut, as well as promotion has yet to kick in--so there is a great chance this could return to #1 in the oncoming weeks.

10. Hey Baby (Drop it to the Floor) - Pitbull feat. T-Pain

Cuban rapper Pitbull soars into the top 10 with "Hey Baby (Drop it to the Floor)" the lead single off his fifth album Planet Pit (sounds like a weird armpit fetish) scoring the rapper his third top 10 single.

11. Fuckin' Perfect - P!nk

With the controversial video out for P!nk's new single "Fuckin' Perfect," the single charges up 19 spots up to #11. It's currently #1 on iTunes therefore should definitely see a large increase next week too, possibly a top 3.

13. Coming Home - Diddy - Dirty Money

Diddy - Dirty Money's "Coming Home" climbs 6 spots up to #13.

37. Moment 4 Life - Nicki Minaj feat. Drake

I'm glad this is becoming a hit for rapper Nicki Minaj. "Moment 4 Life" her third single from her debut album Pink Friday, enters the top 40 at #37, scoring the rapper her fourth solo top 40.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Adele Explains 21

Following my review, I've still been listening to Adele's new album a lot this week so it was nice to find this clip of the songstress explaining the album track-by-track. Check it below:

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Personal Airplay, 27 January, 2011

TW (LW) Title - Artist
1.... (1).... What's My Name - Rihanna feat. Drake (6 weeks @ #1)
2... (10)... Hold it Against Me - Britney Spears
3.... (5).... It's Ok - Cee Lo Green
4.... (2).... Rolling in the Deep - Adele
5.... (3).... Grenade - Bruno Mars
6.... (6).... Moment 4 Life - Nicki Minaj feat. Drake
7... (14)... Coming Home - Diddy - Dirty Money feat. Skylar Grey
8.... (4).... Tonight - Enrique Iglasias feat. Ludacris
9... (21)... What the Hell - Avril Lavgine
10... (7)... Do it Like a Dude - Jessie J

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Album Review: Adele - 21 (4.5/5)


Booming vocal acrobatics perfectly matched with her deep bluesy tone; British singer Adele definitely struck a soulful chord with her soulfully enchanting début 19; remaining a cohesive set while experimenting with '70s inspired soul and modern pop with an expressive rhapsodic twist, which earned the singer numerous Grammy nominations for the albums biggest hit “Chasing Pavements,” including Record of the Year.

What I liked most about 19 is that despite its sharp adult contemporary sound and big Aretha-trimmed vocals, it still didn't sound like it was reaching purposely for a systematic sophisticated outlet—therefore it makes sense that its sequel, 21, aims to push the boundaries a little further, as she appropriately states on the track “I'll Be Waiting” (“I was a child then, now I'm willing to learn”)—showcasing a maturer outlook on the blending of soul, old-fashioned pop toppled with a gutsy rock'n'roll overtone channelling that of American singer Wanda Jackson, recognized as the first female to capitalize on the predominately male-dominated rock'n'roll sound.

While the subtle tuneful guitar-fiddling arrangement of “Daydreamer” greeted listeners on 19—on here we're welcomed with the fiery, toe-tapping, guitar-penetrating, military-stomping production of “Rolling in the Deep” with its big, brassy, roaring chorus highlighting Adele's bawling vocal. I like how she simultaneously sheds some sensitivity on the “we could have had it all” parts before the last chorus. It sounds awesome—although not as instant as “Chasing Pavements,” which could have been the objective.

Adele tries a hand at some chilling throwback rock on “Rumour Has It” bringing in those Wanda Jackson influences; Beginning with some crashing drum-beats with some harmonic “oohs” over the top, soon the tambourines, biting guitar chords and hand-claps come into play—utilizing that '50s rock production. Half-way through the atmosphere takes a dramatic turn for the bridge; haunting piano keys and strings before we're back on track with the crashing drum-beats. I applaud the complex arrangement.

Jim Abbiss of Arctic Monkeys lends his production skills on “Turning Tables” a chilling piano-laced ballad, flourished with sharp orchestratic strings—re-calling the same haunt of Rihanna's “Unfaithful” but less radio-friendly, more lyrically compelling and better. Of course she sounds wonderful—demonstrating an excellent vocal performance. Next up another heart-on-the-sleeve ballad “Don't You Remember,” but it sounds more folky, beginning quite subtle, before the soaring drum, piano, guitar deemed production kick in for the chorus.

Next up is “Set Fire to the Rain,” which has been chosen to be the albums single. And why not? It's the albums most radio-friendly moment—big chorus, cold layered production—It's produced by Fraser T. Smith who also produced Tinchy Stryder's “Number 1.” Next Adele brings in some nice R&B influences on “He Won't Go,” with a cool three-count burst of piano chord style on the chorus. “Take it All,” is another fantastic piano-laced ballad—almost re-calling the sensitivity and vulnerability of “Make You Feel My Love,” it's very heart-felt; successfully highlighting a distinctive rawness in her vocal that opens another layer of depth to this beautifully-arranged melody-strung ballad.

Similar to some of the songs towards the beginning, “I'll Be Waiting” illustrates a love for matching prominent drum beats and sharp piano chords, capitalizing on that old-fashioned '70s reminiscent pop sound, however have sharp horns on here too and the chorus packs quite the punch too, with the help of Adele's bold vocal and the vivacious production. “One and Only” is another ballad—slightly bluesy, or maybe even trailing a bit on a Gospel sound—I can definitely here some organs behind its big, declamatory arrangement. It's the longest song on here—that's because it has the biggest climax—even bringing the choir for that big finish.

“Lovesong” is a pretty simple acoustic-guitar driven number about a lover representing home: “whenever I'm with you, you make me feel like I am home again.” It's quite restraint, both vocally and arrangement-wise; plodding softly with acoustic guitars, percussion and strings. Closing the album is “Someone Like You” another heart-felt piano-driven ballad about avoiding bitter feelings when two lovers part—It got a lot of praise from critics, however I think “Take it All” is the best ballad on the album.

19 was a good album, but 21 is a stunner. Musically, more compelling—more complex—more endearing, showcasing musical growth on the most sophisticated level and lyrical maturity however in the midst of it all not losing that slight touch of youth (although it is slightly ballad-heavy, which is fine) therefore still acts as an idealistic sequel to 19. It's seeming progressively common for the new breed of British female singers who landed big débuts in the 2000s— I'm talking about the likes of Natasha Bedingfeild, Kate Nash, Leona Lewis and Duffy—to tank with their follow-up, playing right into the dreaded sophomore slump syndrome. So it's nice to see someone who got it right and joins Lily Allen in the elite club of young female British singers to avoided the slump.

Best: Rolling in the Deep, Take it All, Set Fire to the Rain, Rumour Has It, Turning Tables, One and Only, He Won't Go.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Rihanna "S&M"

With “What's My Name?” proving to be quite the success on both sides of the Atlantic, Barbadian singer Rihanna issues its raunchy follow up “S&M,” the third single lifted from the singer's latest album Loud. Sounds like a hit; heavy beats, sawing electronic overtones and sexually indulgent lyrics. It's out in the UK in April and released to US radio next week.

Friday, January 21, 2011

MTV's Track by Track Review On Adele's 21

The sophomore album, 21, from British singer Adele is only days away and MTV have done an in-depth track-by-track review on the 11-track album. They claim it will be “one of the essential albums of the year.” I'm really looking forward to it—I love the lead single “Rolling in the Deep” and I only recently just got into her acclaimed soulful début 19. Check out their review here.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Billboard Hot 100, 29 January, 2011


1. Hold it Against Me - Britney Spears

It's been quite the week for Britney Spears' new single "Hold it Against Me," breaking records left and right, here's a breakdown after the jump:

Personal Airplay, 20 January, 2011

TW (LW) Title - Artist
1.... (1).... What's My Name? - Rihanna feat. Drake (5 weeks @ #1)
2.... (6).... Rolling in the Deep - Adele
3.... (3).... Grenade - Bruno Mars
4.... (5).... Tonight - Enrique Iglasias feat. Ludacris
5.... (8).... It's Ok - Cee Lo Green
6... (13)... Moment 4 Life - Nicki Minaj feat. Drake
7.... (4).... Do it Like a Dude - Jessie J
8.... (9).... Invincible - Tinie Tempah feat. Kelly Rowland
9 .... (2).... Lights On - Katy B. feat. Ms. Dynamite
10.. (40).. Hold it Against Me - Britney Spears

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

The Strokes Return

American rock band The Strokes have their eyes set on March for the release of their upcoming fourth album, entitled Angles. It's going to be their first release since 2006's First Impressions of Earth, which landed the band's first UK top 5 hit "Juicebox." According to NME the lead single is likely to be titled "Under Cover of Darkness" and I presume it'll be set for a release some time in February.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Album Review: White Lies - Rituals (4/5)


English alternative rock band released their début album To Lose My Life... early 2009, a time where that '80s induced new wave indie rock sound had been done to death. To say the blackening set was heavily inspired by the likes of Interpol, Editors, The Killers and Elbow would be quite the understatement—and ultimately, not quite matching the level of critical acclaim of those that came before, however commercially it was a hit, earning the band a first #1 album.

I thought the title was slightly ironic as the one thing I thought Life... needed was a little more ...Life. While it definitely had its highlights, it definitely indulged in a bit too much gloom-rock for my liking. Thankfully, its follow-up Ritual packs a tougher punch, packing more enthusiasm and conviction, verging into electronic territories and grander anthemic rock, while still maintaining that atramentous element that made Life... a hit.

The progressive opener “Is Love” highlights Harry McVeigh's blusterous, audible vocal over the prominent continuous heavy drum beats, raised over the murmuring layers of guitar chords beneath. It's a strong opener; gradually introducing the blackish soundscapes and hazy electronic undertones. Turning up the rock grandeur is “Strangers,” multiple energetic muffled guitars take the prominent role here, straining through the the underbelly of the song, while Jack Lawrence-Brown gets quite energetic with the drums—more energetic is lead single “Bigger Than Us” which clocks in the anthemic rock quite nicely; big vocal-charging chorus and soaring layered electronic guitar backing.

From upbeat anthemic rock to the more downbeat, the aptly titled “Peace & Quiet” flourishes with '80s inspired electronic undertones undercut by pulsing synths, strings and quiet beats. It's tame, but still exudes confidence—“Streetlights” has a very strong Killers feel, working prominent drum beats, big '80s influenced synths and a haunting connotation. It's still very downbeat.

The upturn in “Holy Ghost” is awesome. It's shimmering rock-studded production is flawless—great blusterous synths, Muse-inspired grovelling electronic guitaric undertones. In fact, the whole song reminds me of something Muse would do—and it works very well. “Turn the Bells” plays down the emphasis on the guitars and ups the warbling synths, while strange sonic clattering clangs beneath the haunting production—it sounds a little Middle-Eastern and very experimental.

Skewed electronic beaming and pulsating synth-bass lines make up the pulsing “The Power & The Glory.” I'm not sold on this, I think it's a little underwhelming, however better is “Bad Love” another fantastic demonstrating of anthemic rock; chugging guitar chords, whittling synth beats and a powerful induced melody-strung chorus. Closing the album is “Come Down” another vocally-charged number, but with a very underwhelming clanging production.

Ritual marks White Lies venture into more anthemic, upbeat (give or take), melody-driven rock as well more experimental territories. It's definitely a more coherent set than To Lose My Life... as well as emerging as a more confident set of songs and indeed exudes more Life.

Best: Holy Ghost, Bigger Than Us, Bad Love, Strangers, Is Love, Peace & Quiet

Diddy – Dirty Money "Coming Home"

I haven't been that receptive of rap mogul P. Diddy's new business enterprise Diddy – Dirty Money, which features Dawn Richards from pop group Danity Kane. However they have finally released a song that has really caught my ear. “Coming Home” featuring American songwriter Skylar Grey is the fifth single lifted from their debut album Last Train to Paris. It might be a tad generic but it's still an awesome hybrid of beat-heavy pop and hip-hop in the same vein as T.I.'s “Live Your Life” and it is doing quite well on iTunes too, currently at #3. Check it out below:

Bruno Mars 'Doo-Wops & Hooligans'


American singer/songwriter Bruno Mars releases his début album Doo-Wops & Hooligans in the UK this week. It's preceded by his two #1 singles “Just the Way You Are” and more recently, “Grenade.” The track listing is identical to the US release however substitutes the American rapper Lupe Fiasco assisted “Just the Way You Are” remix for a acoustic piano version of ballad “Talking to the Moon,” as a bonus track along with ”Somewhere in Brooklyn” which was featured on his It's Better if You Don't Understand EP. It's on course to top the UK albums chart on Sunday. Check out my review.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Avril Lavigne, Kanye West and Jay-Z

With the release of the new Britney Spears single “Hold it Against Me,” you may have (or maybe it's just me) forgotten that there were other releases too, such as “What the Hell” pop/rock singer Avril Lavigne's first proper single in 3 years and “H-A-M” a collaborative between American rappers Kanye West and Jay-Z.

What the Hell – Avril Lavinge

Very upbeat Max Martin co-produced catchy pop—in the same vein as her smash hit “Girlfriend” but less edgy or endearing. Kinetic hand claps and beats with a young cheerleading-type romp. I wouldn't be surprised if the video was set in an American high school with Lavigne pretending to be 16 year old with a Glee inspired set. It's not great but nothing terrible either. Her fourth album Goodbye Lullabye is out March 8.



H-A-M – Kanye West and Jay-Z

Less impressive is “H-A-M” a subtle abbreviation for Hard Ass Motherfucker. The lead single from the forthcoming collaborative album from both Kanye West and Jay-Z. It's a standard (very standard actually) hip-hop production; skittering drum beats with synthetic undertones; lyrically talking about vaginas, white girls, penis' and “niggas.” It's basically every hip-hop stereotype rolled into a 4 minute track. “I'm about to HAM,” I'd rather you not.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Billboard Hot 100, 22 January, 2011

1. Grenade - Bruno Mars
2. Firework - Katy Perry

Bruno Mars' "Grenade" switches places with Katy Perry's "Firework" for a second time, returning to #1 this week, the first song since Usher's "OMG" to return to the summit after being held off for a week (Far East Movement's "Like a G6" was held off for 2 weeks before it returned) selling just under 300k. Perry's "Firework" dips a notch to #2, losing its bullet despite it still being #1 on Mediabase.

3. What's My Name? - Rihanna (feat. Drake)
(10. Only Girl (In the World) - Rihanna)

Rihanna's this week's airplay gainer with "What's My Name?" featuring Drake, which rises a spot up to #3 this week. She also closes off the top 10 as "Only Girl (In the World)" climbs back into the top 10--strangely without a bullet.

12. 6 Foot 7 Foot - Lil Wayne (feat. Cory Gunz)

I think rapper Lil Wayne had a pretty good sales week last week, which resulted in his latest single "6 Foot 7 Foot" rebounds 5 spots back up to #12.

13. No Hands - Waka Flokca Flame

American rapper Waka Flocka Flame climbs a further 2 spots up this week with "No Hands." I haven't heard this yet, but I have been hearing a lot about this. Is it about oral sex? I'm not slating him for it, but where's the creativity if it is?

22. Hey Baby (Drop it to the Floor) - Pitbull (feat. T-Pain)

Cuban rapper Pitbull climbs 5 spots up to #22, edging closer to scoring his third top 20 his last being 2009's top 10 hit "Hotel Room Service."

23. Rocketeer - Far East Movement (feat. Ryan Tedder)

Far East Movement's "Rocketeer" storms up 11 spots this week, obviously a future hit for the musical group in the on coming weeks.

37. Higher - Taio Cruz (feat. Travie McCoy)

British pop singer Taio Cruz scores his third American top 40 single with "Higher" featuring Travie McCoy. The European release of this substitutes McCoy for Kylie Minogue.

39. Who Dat Girl - Flo Rida (feat. Akon)

Understanding that nobody is interested in a Flo Rida album, the American rapper cracks on with the singles which ultimately work out better for him. He lands his 8th top 40 single this week with "Who Dat Girl," the third single from the first part of his third album Only One Flo (Pt. 1).

Personal Airplay, 13 January, 2011

TW (LW) Title - Artist
1.... (1).... What's My Name? - Rihanna feat. Drake (4 weeks @ #1)
2.... (3).... Lights On - Katy B. feat. Ms. Dynamite
3.... (2).... Grenade - Bruno Mars
4.... (4).... Do it Like a Dude - Jessie J
5.... (8).... Tonight - Enrique Iglasias feat. Ludacris
6.... (7).... Rolling in the Deep - Adele
7.... (5).... Raise You Glass - P!nk
8... (16)... It's Ok - Cee Lo Green
9... (13)... Invincible - Tinie Tempah feat. Kelly Rowland
10... (6)... Your Song - Ellie Goulding

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Plan B Readies Third Album

Photo from http://www.guardian.co.uk

According reports from NME, British rapper/singer Plan B is putting the finishing touches on his forthcoming third studio album entitled The Ballad of Belmarsh set for a March or April release. Following the soulful Motown influenced detours of his last album The Defamation of Strickland Banks (my favourite album of 2010) It's set to be a return to the cut-throat hip-hop of his début Who Needs Actions When You Got Words, however still very plot-heavy. It probably won't have the same commercial appeal as Defamation—if that's the case I hope it's just as obnoxiously vulgar, gritty, pornographic and lyrically compelling as Actions. I'm very excited for this one.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Britney Spears "Hold it Against Me"

The new Britney Spears single has arrived! “Hold it Against Me,” a pulsing, bass-heavy number flourished with demanding electronic and synth undertones topped off with a dark metallic dub-step influenced breakdown. It sounds awesome. Way more fulfilled than “Womanizer” and “3.” It's out in the US tonight and in the UK in February. Spears' currently untitled seventh album is out March 15.

Saturday, January 08, 2011

Michael McIntyre's Life and Laughing



A little off-topic, I know, but I don't read a lot so when there's a book I've gotten into willingly I feel the urge to put up a post about it. What I am reading at the moment is British comedian Michael McIntyre's autobiography, which I got for Christmas (as well as two of his DVDs). It's halarious—written in the similar style to the way he would narrate his observational humour at one his shows. I started reading this morning and I'm on chapter 5 and in stitches. It's also a nice switch up as when I do actually read it's always a novel—which I have to because of school.

The last novel or book I read was Michael Frayne's Spies about a German boy oblivious to the fact that he's German living in Britain in the '30s. Even with its thrilling storyline I probably wouldn't have finished it if it hadn't been for my English teacher reading it our class and that my coursework was based on it. Apart from that, I don't remember the last I actually finished a book—I've bought every entry in J.K Rowling's Harry Potter, I've only read the first half of the first book and I couldn't even finish Twilight.

I'm determined to finish this one though. Who would have thought the first book I'd ever really get into would be an autobiography and not a thrilling novel about German identity issues.

Friday, January 07, 2011

New Britney Single to Premier Next Week


The new Britney Spears single, titled "Hold it Against Me" is set to premier next week Tuesday. It's the lead single from Spears' forthcoming currently untitled seventh studio album out in March. The demo for the single leaked earlier today featuring vocals by singer/song-writer Bonnie McKee. It's a bit too much Kesha for my liking, but it sounds nice Check it below:

Thursday, January 06, 2011

Billboard Hot 100, January 15, 2011

Not that interesting this week.

1. Firework - Katy Perry

Returning to #1 this week is pop singer Katy Perry's "Firework," extending its reign at #1 to 4 weeks, selling nearly 400k digital copies. It's the first female single since Beyonce's "Single Ladies (Put a Ring On It)" to return to #1 in the new year and stay there for a week or more. It's also the first female single to spend 4 or more weeks at #1 since Perry's own "California Gurls," that's if you don't count in Eminem and Rihanna's "Love the Way You Lie."

2. Grenade - Bruno Mars

Bruno Mars' "Grenade" may have been dethroned by Perry's "Firework," and dipped a notch to to #2, but it's still proved to be the more popular track in sales, selling over 420k, Billboard note as the 11th best sales week since tracking bagan in 2003. I don't understand why it's not bulleted, it's holding up pretty well on top 40 radio, hanging on in the top 5 this week.

3. We R Who We R - Kesha
4. What's My Name? - Rihanna feat. Drake
5. Raise Your Glass - P!nk

All three non-movers this week remain bulleted. Why are they bulleted and Bruno isn't? I'm convinced it's a typo.

12. Only Girl (In the World) - Rihanna
13. Dynamite - Taio Cruz
14. Like a G6 - Far East Movement
18. Teenage Dream - Katy Perry

Quite big jumps for these old releases, but they aren't bulleted. Why?

Personal Airplay, 6th January, 2011

TW (LW) Title - Artist
1. (1) What's My Name? - Rihanna feat. Drake (3 weeks @ #1)
2. (2) Grenade - Bruno Mars
3. (9) Lights On - Katy B. feat. Ms Dynamite
4. (11) Do it Like a Dude - Jessie J
5. (3) Raise Your Glass - P!nk
6. (7) Your Song - Ellie Goulding
7. (13) Rolling in the Deep - Adele
8. (14) Tonight - Enrique Iglasias feat. Ludacris
9. (5) When We Collide - Matt Cardle
10. (6) The Flood - Take That

Rihanna singles discography chartings:

2005:

Pon De Replay - #3
If It's Lovin' That You Want - #18

2006:

SOS - #2
We Ride - #5
Break it Off (feat. Sean Paul) - #39

2007:

Umbrella - #1 (4 wks)
Shut Up and Drive - #4
Don't Stop the Music - #1 (2 wks)
Hate that I Love You - #2

2008:

Take a Bow - #1 (2 wks)
Disturbia - #1 (3 wks)
Rehab - #11

2009:

Russian Roulette - #3

2010

Hard - #5
Rude Boy - #2
Rockstar 101 - #12
Te Amo - #5
Only Girl (In the World) - #2
What's My Name? - #1

2011

S&M - #26

Saturday, January 01, 2011

Nicki Minaj "Moment 4 Life"

I'm loving the new Nicki Minaj single "Moment 4 Life" featuring label-mate Drake. It's way less pop than "Right Thru Me" and "Your Life;" very heavy on the drums, flourishing more in R&B territories.



The line-up of upcoming singles from Pink Friday are pretty awesome, according to Minaj's twitter the following singles will be:

Moment 4 Life
Fly (feat. Rihanna), I think this will be quite the big hit.
Did it On Em
Save Me
Girls Fall Like Dominoes (an iTunes bonus track that samples The Big Pink "Dominos")

January - New Album Releases

Happy new year! Here's how January is shaping up for new album releases--quite disappointing, there's no major releases yet unfortunately:

Jan 17. White Lies - Ritual. British alternative rock band White Lies ready their follow-up to 2009's well-received debut To Lose My Life... a strong '80s new wave influenced set, clocking in heavily on melodies and lavish soundscapes. They weren't quite the biggest alternative breakthrough band of 2009, as the buzz behind their debut would have suggested but did land the top 40 hits "Farewell to the Fairground" and title track "To Lose My Life." Their sophomore release Ritual is preceded by lead single "Bigger Than Us," which is out in the UK today.

Jan 11. Cake - Showroom of Compassion. California based alternative rock band Cake release their sixth album, their first release since 2004's Pressure Chief. It's preceded by lead single "Sick of You," which earned the band a fourth top 10 on the US alternative songs chart last year.

Jan 11. Cage the Elephant - Thank You, Happy Birthday. American rock Cage the Elephant's second album, preceded by the two singles "In One Ear" and "Shake Me Down" which have already landed them hits on the US mainstream rock charts.

Jan 18. The Script - Science & Faith. The Americans finally get the second album from Irish alternative rock band The Script. Lead single "For the First Time" has currently peaked at #97 on the Billboard Hot 100 so far. Click the link to read my review.

Jan 25. Amos Lee - Mission Bell. American singer/songwriter Amos Lee releases his fourth full-length album--featuring appearances from Willie Nelson and James Gadson. Give this a chance! If you haven't checked out Amos Lee before, definitely do so; He's a fantastic acoustic/jazz singer. I would recommend his first self-titled debut. Great stuff.

Happy New Year!

Happy new year to all my readers! Thank you for the comments, compliments, criticisms, I really appreciate them. Here's some interesting news: This year, according to Blogger's new stats feature, my blog had an average of 600 hits a day! (and around 60,000 hits since I started two years ago) Here's to another successful year!