Single Reviews Diary 21 – 28th June 2010

After celebrating its 20 week anniversary last week, things are looking interesting for this week’s Single Reviews Diary. Not only is it the diary with the least singles reviewed to date (not necessarily a bad thing – for me!) at a mere 14 but it’s also. But quality over quantity and three quality dance divas are going head to head this week to see who has the best single – Kelly Rowland, Kylie Minogue or Lady GaGa. Perhaps most intriguing of all though is this piece of news… I am shocked to report this week that Justin Bieber is releasing a very good pop song. Read below to find out what’s happening the week of the 28th and let me know your thoughts in the comments below.

Single Reviews Diary 21 – 28th June 2010:

01. Bon Jovi: When We Were Beautiful

Bon Jovi - When We Were Beautiful (Radio Edit)
This track started off really promising but sort of fizzled out before momentum got going. Opening with some fanciful guitar work, pounding drums and brooding vocals from Jon Bon Jovi, I thought this would be another track to go alongside some of Bon Jovi’s classic power ballads but alas no! The chorus on this track is too weak, the “sha-la-la” shout along is corny and the lyrics are clichéd and written in several different forms by Bon Jovi already. This is a grower but will only be loved by the hardcore Bon Jovi fans.3 STARS

02. Coronas: Someone Else’s Hands

The Coronas - Someone Else's Hands
The talented Irish band had a massive hit last year in their homeland with the up-tempo pop rock track Listen Dear so can they manage it with the third single from their second album Tony Was An Ex-Con. This is the token power ballad from the album and to be honest, it’s a nice song, not top-notch and would probably be crap in the hands of a less talented band but is saved by the distinguishing and emotionally pierced voice of lead singer Danny O’Reily and the well written lyrics. I’d go back and listen to Listen Dear again (check it out, non-Irish readers). 3 STARS

03. Enrique Iglesias featuring Juan Luis Guerra: Cuando Me Enamoro

File:Cuando me enamoro single cover.jpg
This won’t get much attention next to the mainly English spoken (and terrible) single I Like It but Enrique is actually releasing dual singles from his bilingual album Euphoria – one in Spanish and the other English. It’s actually a crying shame that this will be overlooked because I think it manages to capture the sound of Summer much better than the robotic I Like It. Okay so the song is completely in Spanish which is something of a language barrier but there’s plenty to keep you interested in this old fashioned mid-tempo duet. Iglesias and Guerra both have fine voices, the former’s making every girl’s heart melt with its swoon-worthiness while the latter adds a little more richness and maturity. Plus there’s the understated Spanish instruments such as maracas which give a lovely Summer evening vibe. Plus you’ve got to love the sensual “ooooh-oooh” hook. Who cares if you don’t understand the language? That certainly hasn’t stopped me from listening to many great Spanish records! 3.5 STARS

STINKER OF THE WEEK!
04. Enrique Iglesias featuring Pitbull and Lionel Richie: I Like It

File:Enrique-iglesias-i-like-it.jpg
This is probably one of the worst songs of the year. I will admit that Enrique’s music is a not-so-guilty pleasure of mine and he sure knows how to vocally provide the catchy tunes, probably mostly due to his angsty voice (P!nk also does this) but a mildly repetitive chorus of “I Like It” followed by some Auto-Tuned muttering and a lot of Spanish gibberish is not going to cut it this time. Enrique enlists RedOne once again for his new track but RedOne’s sound is starting to sound old here – all his usual tricks are used – horns, bombastic synths, loud choruses and name-checking. But worse still because Enrique is Spanish, i.e. European, he has taken things further down a notch by giving it a really cheesy Eurodance Cascada-esque sound. Enrique’s voice is completely drowned out by ‘80s robotic Auto-Tuned effects as is the re-recorded Lionel Richie snippet from All Night Long. Pitbull’s fast paced hyperactive rap is actually a lot of fun but amounts to nothing as it has nothing to do with the song at all. A terrible song like JLS’ The Club Is Alive which we’ll be snapped up by the public because Enrique is “soooooo totally hot” and “OMG! RedOne’s the producer and Nicole Richie’s dad is on part of it wiv that seriously cool rappa Pitbull!” 1 STAR

05. Futureheads: I Can Do That

I Can Do That
The follow-up to the Futureheads Heartbeat Song definitely takes some major influences from 1970s punk. The repetitive chorus is very weakthough and the track definitely recalls the Sex Pistols, although a bit watered down and dull. It’s not exactly bad just nothing special. 2.5 STARS

06. Imelda May: Psycho

Imelda May - Psycho
The super talented and super sexy rockabilly singer Imelda May is back with a new single from her third album Mayhem, released this September. The track has a global appeal and all Imelda needs is some good old promotion and attention to make it. The song has a great dirty feel to it with May providing her lusty, strong vocals as usual. It also features some top quality howling, the best use of howling in a song since Shakira’s She Wolf. It mightn’t be as instantly catchy as Johnny Got A Boom Boom but a terrific lead single none the less with a great video to match. 4 STARS

07. Justin Bieber featuring Usher: Somebody To Love (Remix)

File:Justin-Bieber Someb40D5FE8rev.jpg
For many people who have read my posts, it’s no secret that I’m no fan of Justin Bieber, the young guy having won two Stinker Awards for his smelly contributions in music, which includes the infantile Eenie Meenie and the bland ballad (blandad?) Never Let You Go. But I am not a biased person and I will artists credit where credit is due and tell you all that Justin Bieber’s new single Somebody To Love is actually rather good. No, thankfully he didn’t cover Queen and STL is an original song that ropes in his mentor Usher. The song has some well crafted verses, a quiet grower of a chorus and some shiny, shiny production by production crew The Stereotypes. There’s a noticeable strain on Bieber’s puberty stricken voice on this track but he holds it up well and Usher more than makes up for it in the vocal department with his seductive crooning. The only part I don’t like is at the end when Usher says something and Bieber replies “Yeah man!” all smug. What we’ve got though is a decent dance pop smash that might just show Bieber has potential as a star. *avoids rotten fruit thrown at me by Bieber haters* 4 STARS

TRACK OF THE WEEK!
08. Kelly Rowland: Commander

Kelly Rowland / David Guetta - Commander
Can Kelly Rowland finally find true success as a popstar after going from yet another R&B vocalist to a fierce and fabulous dance diva? I think so and to do that, Kelly has teamed up with old pal and collaborator David Guetta, who she most noticeably worked with on last year’s dance smash When Love Takes Over. I have a bit of a hit and miss relationship with Guetta but he certainly delivers on this track, providing a pounding baseline, wonky synths, huge rave-tastic beats and a futuristic sound. We can’t forget the star of the show Kelly, who provides a stunning vocal performance which even manages to outsing the sheer amount of Auto-Tune layered thick on her voice. The chorus is massive and soaring with Kelly conveying oodles of confidence. Lyrics like“The DJ is my bodyguard” and “There’s no-one here who does it like I does it” are a little cheesy not to mention grammatical murder but there all part of the song’s charm and I wouldn’t have them any other way. This is probably the best dance-pop track of the year exceeding all expectations in the vocal, production, catchiness and lyrical department. 5 STARS

09. Kid British: Winner

Kid British - Winner
Is retro back again? The band return with this soulful ska pop track that sounds like it came straight out of the 1960s. The song was included on the latest World Cup video game and it’s not surprising seeing as it’s got that upbeat marching feel to it and inspirational lyrics. A definite crowd pleaser for the returning band. 4.5 STARS

10. Kylie Minogue: All The Lovers

Kylie Minogue - All The Lovers
The sweet and sexy Kylie Minogue makes her comeback with this near-perfect little number. Normally, I’m not a Kylie Minogue fan at all but this track is just gorgeous. Featuring Kylie’s sweet, seductive, whispery vocals over a breezy bassline and gentle synths, this song is absolutely heavenly. Even though Kylie is pretty much saying that she’s been around the block before she met this incomparable guy, she manages to make her former promiscuity sound strangely romantic just like the accompanying video which sees a large orgy on the street. I have to dock half a point for the loud and squeaky synth breakdown towards the end but Kylie, we welcome you back to the throne as Queen of Pop! 4.5 STARS

11. Lady GaGa: Alejandro

File:Alejandro LG.png
RedOne is on production duties for the fifth single of eight in GaGa’s career but rather than recycle the same old beats like he’s being doing recently, the Moroccan DJ actually thinks outside the box and pays homage to Ace Of Base and Madonna during the True Blue era with Ibiza friendly bouncy beats perfect for Summer. Pop megastar Lady GaGa continues this Latin theme by doing a bad Spanish accent, the occasional use of a Spanish word here and there and shooing off the attentions of Hispanic men Alejandro, Fernando and Roberto. The chorus is catchy, GaGa trades in her usual sexual innuendos for something tamer and the first minute of this track is pure pop magic. Sadly after that one minute, the remaining three minutes (seven in the bleak music video) just sort of plod along in repetition with the listener left thinking “How many times has she said Alejandro now?” While this is still a catchy pop song with a fun, sunny vibe (in contrast to the video), the track says everything it wants to say after one minute and doesn’t have the plentiful hooks that have become a staple of GaGa’s singles so far. The ‘90s Latin beats might be infectious, endearing and provide a bout of nostalgia but this lacks the pop power that every GaGa single before had (excluding Eh Eh (Nothing Else I Can Say) and LoveGame). 3.5 STARS

12. The National: Anyone’s Ghost

Anyone's Ghost
An atmospheric and brooding track from the shoe-gazing band. It starts off sounding like any old miserable rock track with poetic lyrics but once the guitar chords build up and the strings are added, the song takes on a subtle beauty which only increases as the song goes on. It won’t appeal to the mainstream but should keep National fans happy. 3.5 STARS

13. Skepta featuring Greg: Rescue Me

Rescue Me
Roll Deep member Skepta returns with a gritty dub-step track following the ravey Bad Boy. This song wouldn’t be anything without the chorus though – which is provided by Greg. The chorus is really strong despite its robotic sound – but that robotic sound reminds me of some singer (and not one of the many who are using Auto-Tune at the moment). It’s suitably angsty too and makes you listen to the lyrics which I guess is a subliminal way of getting you to love all the song. Not original but definitely better than former #1 Good Times3 STARS

14. The Unconventionals: Push The Button


I feared that these X-Factor losers would do a cover of Sugababes 2.0’s song of the same name and I was right. However, my fears were unnecessary because this is surprisingly charming and catchy. The Unconventionals have given it a real ‘60s doo-wop makeover and it’s sung extremely well with some toe-tapping backing vocals. While its uncomfortable to hear a bunch of middle aged people use the slang of the old edgy Babes, it’s certainly not half as comfortable as listening to any of Sugababes 4.0’s material. 4 STARS

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1 Comment

  1. Dara Hickey

    I’ll agree that ‘Commander’ has some of the best pop lyrics ever, probably not as good as “I want you and all your lover’s revenge” but “Champagne spillin’ from the walls”.

    COULD YOU ACTUALLY IMAGINE THAT? A dirty club that is THAT swanky it has CHAMPAGNE? :O

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