Singles Reviews Diary 16 – 24th May 2010

The sixteenth edition of the Singles Reviews Diary is here. Again it’s a bit late but what the Hell, it took a long time to write and I’ve been busy.

Singles Reviews Diary 16 – 24th May 2010:

01. Alicia Keys: Try Sleeping With A Broken Heart (Video)
This is possibly my favourite track from Alicia Keys The Element Of Freedom album. Most of Britain seems to agree with me as the track has already hit the #13 spot before an official release. Try Sleeping With A Broken Heart mightn’t have the killer choruses of Alicia’s biggest hits such as Fallin’No-One and Empire State Of Mind (I and II) but what we get is a much more subtle approach that’s no less engaging. Containing pounding ‘80s drum machines, underlying synths and soft breathy vocals from Keys’, the track is a seductive and passionate performance from Alicia that deserves to go down as one of the top hits from her catalogue. 4 STARS

Try Sleeping With A Broken Heart

02. Ash: Binary (Video)
Well, well, well. After some understated and fairly inoffensive singles from their A-Z Series, Ash decide to go all out with this single. Featuring a futuristic video, Ash provides us with a huge up-tempo electro-rock number with giant pop chorus to boot and “oh-oh-oh” hooks. I think the band have regained my interest again. 4 STARS

Ash - Binary: 7-inch + Download: £5.00 packshot

03. Detroit Social Club: Prophecy (Video)
I can see why this band is favoured by NME so much… this is rather epic! Featuring fuzzy guitars and drum claps, the song is a definite must have on this Summer’s rock playlist, allow this to grow on you and before you know it you will be bobbing your head and jumping around your room to the massive and powerful chorus. 5 STARS

04. Dizzee Rascal featuring Daniel Pearce: Dirtee Disco (Video)
I really have a fractured relationship with Dizzee Rascal. I hated Dance Wiv Me in Summer 2008, I hated Bonkers in Summer 2009 and it’s now Summer 2010 and I hate Dirtee Disco. But the most likely thing is, I will be joining the masses, like I did in Summers 2008 and 2009, and loving this song before the season is out. You see Dizzee’s music of late seems to have this creeping infectiousness, it sounds terrible at first but radio seems to latch on and before you know it, Dizzee has another hit on his hands. Dirtee Disco contains the rapper’s brash rhymes over a ‘70s funky house beat and vocals from reality TV reject Daniel Pearce. It shouldn’t work, it doesn’t work but it will work in a few weeks time when the dancefloor will be full and moving to Dizzee’s dulcet tones. 3 STARS

05. DJ Team: Stereo Love (Video)
Edward Maya’s naff, accordion sampling Eurotrash number gets the remix treatment by the DJ Team. I can’t believe this crap got into the Irish Top 10 even if the DJ Team version is slightly better than the original, piling on a few extra beats. 2 STARS

06. Edward Maya featuring Vika Jigulina: Stereo Love (Video)
I think I said everything about this song already above. This is naff, Eurotrash trance which fits in perfectly with all the Eurovision guff sure to infiltrate the charts in the next two weeks or so. Maybe this would be passable fodder at a Spanish holiday camp but I certainly know I don’t want this accordion heavy trance track to be played anywhere in the vicinity near me! 1.5 STARS

07. Glee Cast: Dream On (Video)
Glee was back on form this week, mainly because they waited until about 20 minutes into the episode to start singing. In other words, they didn’t sacrifice the plot for the sake of cramming as many songs as possible into an episode. What they also got right is the choice of songs – no bad songs in Glee this week. Yay! This song, a cover of the Aerosmith 1973 classic, sounds rather good. It’s not a patch on the original but Matthew Morrisson and Neil Patrick Harris are vocally good here, well Morrisson is vocally good, Harris is vocally outstanding. I have a real hate for the too-perfect character of Will Schuester so I’m delighted to hear that Neil Patrick Harris absolutely kills him in the rawk vocal department. I say we get rid of Schue and replace him with Bryan Ryan. Who’s with me? 4 STARS

Dream On (Glee Cast Version Featuring Neil Patrick Harris)

08. Glee Cast: The Safety Dance (Video)
Artie’s learned how to walk!!! And also dance. The Safety Dance, originally by New Wave band Men Without Hats isn’t exactly the vocally outstanding number of the episode but it’s probably the most fascinating visual number. Artie never fails song-wise and re-creates the original funky, electronic sound while throwing out some choreography that would make a Jackson proud. Like I said, this isn’t the song of the episode but it’s actually a pretty good listen once you get used to watching the video over and over again. 4 STARS

Safety Dance (Glee Cast Version)

09. Glee Cast: I Dreamed A Dream (Video)
SPOILER! Rachel and her mother Shelby (Idina Menzel, who eerily looks like Lea Michelle) cover this song from Les Miserables. Both give an impassioned and vocally strong performance but I have to admit I’m really sick of that song now after it became synonymous with Susan Boyle, Britain’s Got Talent and any reality TV show that’s connected to Simon Cowell. Still a good performance earns… 3.5 STARS

I Dreamed A Dream (Glee Cast Version Featuring Idina Menzel)

10. Glee Cast: Dream A Little Dream Of Me (Video)
This is another heartwarming closer to a Glee episode. Again it sticks pretty close to the original 1931 dreamy, head swaying number made all the more vulnerable by the wheelchair bound Artie who is on lead vocals. It’s all made more irresistible by the show choir vocals in the background. 4.5 STARS

Dream A Little Dream (Glee Cast Version)

11. HURTS: Better Than Love (Video)
More ‘80s nostalgia from the Manchester duo. I’ve heard better tracks from the Manchester duo but this is an acceptable enough listen. It’s one of those tracks that starts off rather monotonous but builds up with sparse guitar licks, an explosion of synths and rising backing vocals. I’d give this a much higher rating if I wasn’t sick of listening to ‘80s throwbacks by now. However, I will keep this duo on my One To Watch list. 3 STARS

Better Than Love

12. Jamie Cullum: Wheels (Video)
This piano and string heavy number is yet another fantastic entry in Jamie Cullum’s song catalogue. Lyrically, it’s brilliant as always and the chorus with it “woah-oooah-ooah” hook may ensure this gets played on the radio…though I doubt it. Oh well, you can change that if you buy this new single. 4 STARS

13. Josh Dubovie: That Sounds Good To Me (Video)
The only word for this is naff, naff, naff. Maybe back in those dark days when Steps, Scooch and S-Club were ruling the charts, this might have been a hit and an acceptable entry into the Eurovision but I can’t see this doing well. Lyrically atrocious with cheesy backing vocals, it makes the UK look like a country devoid of any talent where’s there’s plenty. And the same goes for Ireland (although our entry isn’t as embarrassing, no offence to my British cyber friends). I cannot understand that the industry big wigs cannot get it into their thick skulls that you send a death-metal band that like to play dress-up (see: Lordi), faux lesbians (see: tAtU) or some sexy lady that can grind on a pole and you have it – WIN! WIN! WIN! Didn’t Lady GaGa teach these people? – the public love gimmicks! 1 STAR

14. K’naan featuring will.i.am. and David Guetta: Wavin’ Flag (Video)
This K’nann penned track was originally given to the Young Artists For Haiti as a charity single a few months ago and even won the prestigious Track Of The Week. However, something is lost in translation when sang by its original songwriter and *shudder* will.i.am with production credits from *shudder* David Guetta. I like K’nann’s international sounding voice and hope to see more of him in the future. The reason I’m not crazy about this version of the track might be because the lyrics have been changed around so that the wordplay sounds clumsy and overall ruins the song’s catchiness, moving it into really schmaltzy territory. The good thing is that David Guetta doesn’t turn the song into a remix, only adding a few extra beats to the track and will.i.am. lays of the Auto-Tune and becomes the much more likeable retro Will. (Okay, so his “rock the beat” voice comes out towards the end of the song but it’s not overbearing like much of the post E.N.D. material. To sum up, the song still remains enjoyable enough but it’s nothing compared to the Haiti version. 3 STARS

STINKER OF THE WEEK!
15. Margi Clarke: Like A Memory (Video)
When I sit down to type up my Singles Reviews Diary, I first have to choose among the 50+ singles released each week, which ones I’m going to review. I generally choose to review songs by well known artists, songs by hyped artists, songs likely to make the Top 40, songs by artists I’ve already reviewed in previous diaries and songs by artists with a certain ring to their name. Margi Clarke was one of those names that had a ring to them and so I went of typed her name into YouTube. Expecting to find an adult contemporary track á la Susan Boyle, I clicked play on the video and my ears were greeted by trippy noises and an even trippier video. I squinted at the screen… wait a minute! IS THAT TYRONE’S PINK HAIRED MUM FROM CORONATION STREET???! I was gobsmaked. What next – Peggy Mitchell leaving Eastenders to pursue a pop career??? Margi Clarke cannot sing at all and the electro track is complete trash. Poker Face 2.0it ain’t, honey. She actually does sound like Madonna in certain places, albeit less talented and more classy. Anyways I believe I’m scarred for life now. *goes to corner and cowers, rocking over and back* 1 STAR

16. Muse: Exogenesis: Symphony (Video)
Aww! Isn’t Muse good to their fans? This track, split in three parts at the end of their latest album The Resistance has been melded together into an epic 12 minute number and packaged as a single for their fans. The single really showcases Muse’s instrumental talents, the orchestra number is huge, atmospheric, overblown, epic and so completely Muse. However, this Muse fan believes that the track is better split in three parts and kept on the album because this constitutes as fun background music and nothing more. Oh well, each to their own I guess. 4 STARS

TRACK OF THE WEEK!
17. Muse: Neutron Star Collision (Love Is Forever) (Video)
Acting as the lead single from the wildly anticipated Eclipse film, Stephanie Meyer (author of Twilight) must be hopping up and down now that her favourite band Muse are soundtracking the never ending love of her protagonists Bella and Robert PattinsonEdward. For a big mainstream release like Eclipse, Muse are in mainstream mode here, the song has a big heart wrenching chorus that radio are sure to pick up, romanticised pianos and big crunching guitars. Hey, I think this is another fantastic entry into Muse’s catalogue and if it gets more people into Muse then I’m all for it. Actually, this is my favourite love song ever…so it gets…5 STARS

File:Neutron Star Collision.png

18. N-Dubz featuring Bodyrox: We Dance On (Video)
Once we get the trademark N-Dubz “na-na-nai” out of the way, this song is actually rather fantastic. Tulisa’s vocals are smooth and passionate and probably the best we’ve heard yet from her, Dappy and Fazer’s rapping is also very good – there’s definitely an American influence here, their rhymes have that very reflective feel to them, the sort of rhyming you’d expect from Jay-Z or Lupe Fiasco. The chorus has a real inspirational feel and the production by Bodyrox is pretty cool too although the best part (the strings) are sampled from Johann Pachelbel’s Canon in C (Thanks OddOne for that piece of information). Anyways, if N-Dubz continue to make music like thisStreet Dance 3-D soundtrack single for their US debut, then consider me a fan. 4 STARS

File:NDUBZ We dance on final.jpg

19. Nas and Damian Marley: As We Enter (Video)
One of my favourite underrated rappers Nas (probably better known as Kelis’ ex-husband) and Bob Marley’s son Damian come together to provide this head bobber. Nas is a great rapper and Marley’s lyrics are rather clever here, this is a real head-banger, great for playing while cruisin’. 😛 The fast paced back and forth rapping between Nas and Marley really push this song above mediocrity. 3.5 STARS

20. Neil Morrissey and England’s Pride: England’s On The Way (The Lion Sleeps Tonight) (Video)
This song was purely designed for English people to sing along to when getting excited about the World Cup. The recognisable twisting of the lyric The Lion Sleeps Tonight toEngland’s On The Way should make it easier for them to chant along to. To be honest, I thought this would be terrible but I’m a sucker for The Lion Sleeps Tonight and love the original chant and Africanised beats – which make it perfect for the World Cup really. It would be great if Neil Morrissey sang I in a less cheesy way but what the hell! “A wimoweh, a wimoweh, a wimoweh!” 3.5 STARS

21. Niamh Kavanagh: It’s For You (Video)
Niamh Kavanagh already won the Eurovision once – can she do it again? That’s the question on every Irish person’s lips as we get ready to send her off to ChartBlog legend Alexander Rybak’s homeland of Norway. It’s For You, like Jade Ewen’s It’s My Time, is a big power ballad sang by a soulful able voiced singer full of generic lyrics in the vein of any Celine Dion song ever. I imagine this could do pretty well, bland and dated material generally does well at Eurovision, but it certainly won’t win it. I think we should have sent the sexy and gimmicky Monica Ivkic instead. 2 STARS

22. Seán Óg: I Still Love You Without Your Car (Video)
You can probably tell by the title alone that this is a parody song. The production is cheap, the vocals are non-existent, this will probably have to get Stinker…and OH MY GOD THE VIDEO HAS DOGS PLAYING BANJOS, FIDDLES AND GUITAR HERO! THIS THE BEST SONG EVER! 5 STARS! Seriously though this video kicks GaGa’s Telephone video in the mud, Seán Óg needs to become famous and the song is actually a grower. 2.5 STARS but the video gets INFINITY STARS

Sean Og : The Answer

23. Rihanna: Te Amo (Video)
With her crotch grabbing in Wait Your Turn, her suicidal nature in Russian Roulette, her army promoting Hard and her explicitly sexual lyrics in Rude Boy, Rihanna has come a long way from the early days when she was just a cute 17-year old in a tank top singing about love in much more veiled terms. So it’s a relief to see Rihanna return to some cleaner, more island influenced material of her earlier career. Okay, so the song talks about her breaking some lesbian’s heart but it’s great to hear RihRih avoid singing about guns, bad language and parts of the male anatomy. Te Amo is a beautifully written mid-tempo pop song with lovely tribalesque island synths and percussion and Rihanna expresses emotion in her Marmite voice – listening to this song will transport you to a Caribbean island (figuratively of course). Probably my favourite track from her Rated R album, this strong Summery track is a worthy rival of Lady GaGa’s forthcoming Spanish tinged Alejandro4 STARS

24. White Rabbits: They Done Wrong/We Done Wrong (Video)
A brooding rock tune from the White Rabbits. I really like this group and I love the chugging guitars and bass in this but the track is lacking in something, I don’t know really. Perhaps it will grow on me but it’s a bit lacklustre really. Good instrumentally though. 3 STARS

They Done Wrong / We Done Wrong

I see the chart game never really took of last week so I guess it won’t go ahead this week either. But feel free to leave your single ratings below if you wish… and comments and feedback of course. 😛

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