Single Reviews Diary 25 – 26th July 2010

 

I’MMMMMM BACCCCKKKKKK!!!!!!

Anyway for those of you wondering where I was – my laptop charger broke and I was left Internet-less for a whole two and a half weeks! You won’t believe the trouble I have had trying to find a laptop charger. Thankfully my dad is quite handy with electronics and he managed to do a rather crude job of fixing my laptop charger. Still, the charger seems to be stable, intact and powering up my computer again so time for me to power up my writing skills and catch up on the three SRDs that I’ve missed so far.

Naturally, these reviews are going to be shorter than usual because I simply have so many things to get out of the way. At least, there will be a lack of my infamous rambling. There will also be no single artwork or video links because I have no time. Go search yourself, you lazy bums! 😛

Lots of 5 STAR singles this week! 😀

Single Reviews Diary 25 – 26th July 2010:

01. Ali Love: Smoke & Mirrors
This British singer provides something a little different to the dancefloor with this tune from his sophomore album 
Love Harder. Rather than overly Auto-Tuned Europop, instead we get some funky disco. The skittering ‘80s synths of this track are the real standout of this song. While the verses and chorus are relatively catchy, it doesn’t sound very different from anything Pet Shop Boys, MGMT or Sam Sparro would do. Still, this is something I’ll have no problem bopping to on the tiles this Saturday night. 3.5 STARS

02. Amy Macdonald: This Pretty Face
I was a massive fan of Amy Macdonald’s debut album 
This Is The Life but her sophomore effort A Curious Thing has failed to live up to my standards. The whole project just feels tired and like a rocked up rehash of her first LP with the whole tracklisting just feeling stale in comparison to her older songs. While her previous two singles Don’t Tell Me That It’s Over and Spark grew on me immensely, I haven’t enjoyed this track at all. Sounding like her album track Footballer’s Wife, Amy’s rich voice is not enough to save this ultimately dull song. The chorus is weak and meandering, the instrumentation is nothing extraordinary and the lyrical content, while true, is just more tired celeb bashing. I find Amy likeable, talented and wise beyond her years but she’s really going to have to come up with something more exciting for her next musical project.2.5 STARS

03. Chicane featuring Owl City: Middledistancerunner
There’s a definite case of recycling going on here. While Chicane’s trademark euphoric synths and Owl City’s (a.k.a. Adam Young’s) trademark emotive whining work well together on this track to provide a lonely dancefloor anthem, the two are on autopilot for this track, never straying outside their comfort zone. This sounds more like a mash-up of 
Hiding All The Starsand Umbrella Beach rather than a brand new single. Granted both songs were pretty cool so… 3.5 STARS

04. Crystal Castles: Baptism
After releasing their brilliant promo single 
Celestica over here, Canadian duo Crystal Castles are releasing their first proper brand of ethereal trance over here. UnlikeCelestica, this track is unlikely to have any crossover appeal because the song barely contains any vocals apart from a icy pulsing dance beats and high pitched, barely distinguishable screaming from singer Alice Glass who reminds me of Yeah Yeahs Yeahs Karen O on this track. While this is not a song for the radio, it is actually an IMMENSE club track and will definitely go down a storm with me when it’s played there or pumping out of my car like the boy racer I so desperately want to be. 4.5 STARS

05. Drake: Find Your Love
Drake is without a doubt one of the most exciting rappers to climb out of the woodworks recently, reminding many of a young Kanye West. The only problem is that Drake sounds a little to like Kanye and this track sounds like a cut from West’s Auto-Tune heavy album 
808s & Heartbreak. Despite, Drake’s eerily similar flow to Kanye’s and Kanye’s production credits on this song which push the track into unoriginality, Drake makes this song his own by crooning out a vulnerable, heartfelt chorus. While he doesn’t have one of the strongest vocals about, Drake ditches the rappingand sounds nothing but sincere as he sings all melancholicon the track. The laidback yet primal production on the track give it a warm Summery feel that still grabs your attention thanks to its loud squelchy beats. Now if only I didn’t keep going to my 808s & Heartbreak CD everytime I listen to this song, it might score higher. 3.5 STARS

06. Fugative: Bad Girl
Fugative is basically a puberty conquering Justin Bieber meets Chipmunk. He’s quickly causing the hearts of girls to race with his youthful, 16 year old looks but sounds nearly exactly like Chimpunk, in both his flow and musicality. Which is not really a good thing. I am so sick of this urban pop crap trying to get its way into the charts. These guys are hailed as the new princes of grimes and then they go along and rap about shallow subject matters and get someone else to sing a dreadfully Auto-Tuned catchy chorus on their song, without even crediting said vocalist, which I think is just plain rude. It’s clear Fugative is looking for crossover appeal, judging by this single and its predecessor
Crush but he’s going to need to do something a little more original if he wants to get noticed. Unlike Bieber, Fugative doesn’t have the best team or Usher behind him to ensure his looks allow him to go all the way. 3 STARS

07. Goldfrapp: Alive
Okay so this single was cancelled but since the duo went to the trouble of filming a video for it and with its ascent to the top of the US Dance Charts, I feel it’s only fair that it deserves a review. This track is gorgeous and heavenly with Alison’s sweet, soaring vocals providing a magical chorus that is far catchier than you’d first give it credit. It’s not as infectious or singalong as their floptastic 
Rocket but it does the job of keeping up with their consistent singles catalogue. 4 STARS

TRACK OF THE WEEK!
08. Gorillaz: On Melancholy Hill
A simply marvellous laidback Summer pop tune with enough organic quirkiness to make you feel like you’re transported to another World – which is where the Gorillaz ingenious appeal applies. Damon Albarn’s soft mumbling works perfectly against the skittering chirpy synths and epic backing vocals of the track. It’s official, Gorillaz are one of the most innovative, sonic pleasing bands of our time. 
5 STARS

09. Grafitti6: Annie You Saved Me
A really promising new band. Okay, so indie singer Jamie Scott and TommyD are no strangers to the music industry but now that they’ve teamed up, they’ve managed to create a really appealing song. Scott (sure to set many a female heart a flutter) is a mighty vocalist and TommyD manages to produce a song that marries rock and electro perfectly. What we get is a song that manages to have an indie sound to it but enough pop smarts to please casual listeners. If only the track had a catchier chorus… 
4 STARS

10. Katie Melua: A Happy Place
Katie Melua has quickly become one of my most favourite female artists with her latest album 
The House. Following on from the sonic masterpiece that is The FloodA Happy Place doesn’t quite live up to the standards set by its predecessor but still contains plenty of charm and avant garde influences. Seriously I think KM is the new Bjork! This track sounds a little like her earlier work, which is either a mildly bad thing or a very good thing. The verses are sang in a whimsical, run-on way and the lyrics have an other-worldly feel to them and although I am reminded slightly of her irritating signature hit Nine Million Bicylces with this song, the music has enough quality to stand on its own and almost erase that memory from my head. 4 STARS

11. LCD Soundsystem: I Can Change
LCD Soundsystem, a.k.a. James Murphy’s latest single from 
This Is Happening lacks the energy of previous single Drunk Girls. While the sparse wonky electro and Murphy’s vocals are on point, the song isn’t particularly exciting or interesting. It sounds like strong album filler and probably shouldn’t have been chosen as a single. 3 STARS

12. Lissie: When I’m Alone
This single was released a while back but I didn’t bother reviewing it because…y’know…I can’t review everything. Since Lissie has been met with much hype and critical acclaim since, I feel like I have to throw my two cents into the mix. I’m glad I listened to this tune because the former YouTube star from Illinois lives up to the height. Starting off in stunning acapella, Lissie reminds one of Fleetwood Mac’s legendary Stevie Nicks but can stand on her own with a building folk backing and a powerful, catchy chorus which sounds like a raspier Florence Welch. Definitely checking out this chick’s album if the songs are as good as this. 
5 STARS

13. The Pipettes: Call Me
Unlike Girls Don’t Catch (RIP) and Mini Viva, The Pipettes are unlike them as they don’t appear to be interested in cracking into the mainstream with any of their singles. The ladies don’t have a Top 20 hit to their name but that actually makes them appear less manufactured than the other competitive girlbands such as The Saturdays, Girls Aloud, Mini Viva and Sugababes. Mini Viva are a rather posh band you see and the second single from their album 
Earth Vs. Pipettes is another slice of shameless ABBA-esque pop that is a little cheesy for my taste but I know would appeal to certain major pop enthusiast so I’d recommend if ABBA, Spice Girls and early Take That are at the top of your record collection, giving this single and its parent album a try. 3.5 STARS

14. Plan B: Prayin’
This is a rousing dramatic third single from Plan B. I recently bought his 
The Defamation Of Strickland Banks LP and I’m in love with it. This is the album’s standout track, being a large orchestral ballad that is simply epic, no question! The prison riot video that accompanies the track only further highlights the cinematic nature of the song and fits with it perfectly. 5 STARS

15. Preeya Kalidas featuring Mumzy Stranger: Shimmy
Ugh, this is terribly generic. While former EastEnder Preeya Kalidas, better known to some as Amira Masood (the only hot person in 
EE), doesn’t take the overused Auto-Tuned dance route, her music is still lacking in soul. With clichéd lyrics about “not frontin’” and a tired Middle-Eastern urban pop backing, I just can’t get behind this song. While the bhangra influences are apt considering Preeya’s and guest rapper, the unfortunately named Mumzy Stranger’s, ethnicities, the song just comes across as a completely corporate and comparable to Alesha Dixon or Sugababes 4.0 – which isn’t very good to be honest. Mumzy’s guest rap, where he does his best Sean Paul impression, is completely uncalled for too. I will say this though, Preeya has a much better voice than I expected from her – her vocals are really strong and commanding. Perhaps with the release of her album this September and a better second single, she might be able to turn this cheap mess around. She’s got the looks, fame and talent to do it! 2 STARS

16. RPA & The United Nations Of Sound: Born Again
The Verve’s Richard Ashcroft has set out on a new project with his brand spanking new band The United Nations Of Sound. Unlike his work with The Verve which was generally cold symphonic rock, his new music sees him embrace some Gospel style rock with an uplifting sound and harsh yet impassioned vocals. While this is nowhere near as good as anything the Verve have put out and with the album receiving mainly negative reviews, things don’t look good for Ashcroft’s little venture but this isn’t a bad lead single at all.
3.5 STARS

17. Swedish House Mafia featuring Pharrell: One (Your Name)
The Swedes are basically running pop and mainstream dance music at the minute so it’s about time three Swedish producers in Axwell, Steve Angello and Sebastian Ingrosso teamed up with American rapper/producer Pharrell for a masterful dance smash. This is screaming at you to get that thang popping on the dancefloor because those massive pounding synths, bassline and Pharrell’s surprisingly commanding, sometimes warped vocals are just the perfect tonic to forget your troubles and just dance. Wow that line was clichéd and sounds like I’ve taken it from every pop song circa 2009 to 2010 but I’m tired. Great dance tune, a little unoriginal but completely thumping. Great work to all involved. 
4.5 STARS

18. Tom Jones: Did Trouble Me
Wow! Tom Jones is certainly impressive with his second A-side single from his latest album 
Praise And Blame. Ditching the guilty pleasure naff pop of his earlier records, Jones is really suited to the stripped back Gospel rock of this new album. Rousing yet intimate and undoubtedly sounds great live, Tom sings the lyrics of this song with great passion. 5 STARS

19. Tom Jones: Don’t Knock
Jones is in upbeat mode for this foot-tapping country tune. This is really very good with some great female backing vocals and shows that Tom has plenty of energy for his age. If you’re not a fan of country music, this is hardly going to peak your interest and it doesn’t really standout from other country tracks but it still will prove to go down a storm at Tom’s live shows. 
4 STARS

20. Travie McCoy featuring Bruno Mars: Billionaire
This song isn’t going to change the World but it’s a fun and beautiful Summer pop tune. Bruno Mars continues to be a scene stealer on the two singalong choruses of this song, having last won us over with his romantic vocals on B.o.B.’s 
Nothin’ On You and Travie’s cheeky chappy rapping against a bouncy reggae backing is completely charming. Unlike the majority of rap tunes, Travie doesn’t just about material possessions and getting in girls’ panties, although, they understandably are part of the lyrical content too, but also rhymes about adopting kids that ain’t as fortunate as him and donating money to the victims of Hurricane Katrina. No doubt, radio is going to play this to death and perhaps Travie could have delved deeper lyrically and less superficially into the track but as a fun, relatable Summer pop tune, this does the trick! 4 STARS

21. Wallis Bird: An Idea About Mary
Hippie chick Wallis Bird sings in an Irish accented voice for this autobiographical, folk track with some witty, relatable lyrics that are odds with the morbid subject matter which detail the death of a woman named Mary. Wallis manages to really appeal with the anguished chorus and climax of the song but the humdrum production and verses sadly suck the momentum out of that stunning chorus and hence ruin this from being a defining single. Sad. 
3 STARS

22. The Wanted: All Time Low
I’m sorry but this song is completely lame. Okay, not 
completely lame but not much better from what JLS are inflicting upon. I’m not exactly excited about the sudden resurgence of popularity in boy and girl bands because boy and girl bands are just corny, products of sex that make shoddy, manufactured music. I do quite like the pompous strings during the first minute or two of the song, some of the guys have interesting voices and the chorus does quickly bury itself in your head but the song just feels very clunky, random 😉 and unfinished. Like a demo or something. The way the song builds up from pompous indie ballad to ravey pop tune just brings back too many bad memories of JLS’ One Shot and the video has to go down as one of the worst clips of 2010. They look so corny jumping around in the air with flares, repeating ”low-a-low-a-low-a-low” over and over and over again. Aren’t they supposed to be in the throes of depression? Why are they dancing in a crumbling warehouse? Probably hoping the building falls on them, I guess. 2.5 STARS

23. Yolanda Be Cool and D-Cup: We No Speak Americano
Please, one 
Riverside (Let’s Go) is enough! I do not want another gimmicky, irritating dance tune, thanks! You can call me boring and humourless but even when off my face in a club, this headwrecking tune still remains unappealing to me. I researched last weekend, y’see. And Yolanda Be Cool have lost all credibility as a starting out band. 1 STAR

STINKER OF THE WEEK!
24. Young Money: Every Girl In The World
Originally released as the record crew’s first single in the US back in April 2009, the song has now been released over here for a bid at Irish and British stardom. Well it’s not going to get it because unlike there previous hit 
Bedrock, this song lacks a strong chorus or an interesting production. This is your typical misogynist hip-hop track with pain-wrenching use of Auto-Tune from Lil’ Wayne, Drake, Jae Millz, Gudda Gudda and Mack Maine (“Who?” at the latter three). There is absolutely nothing redeemable about this track. 1 STAR

 

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