Singles Reviews Diary 20 – 21st June 2010

t’s twenty weeks old! It’s twenty weeks old! It’s twenty weeks old! I am so delighted with the achievement of having written twenty of these diaries now and I think I’ve managed to cover pretty much every major single in them. To add to this being the twentieth (week) anniversary of the Singles Reviews Diaries, there are also 20 singles to review below. Check out my reviews and let me know what you think of the songs or the reviews in general. What’s your Track Of The Week? What’s your Stinker? Which band/artist are you really loving at the moment? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

Singles Reviews Diary 20 – 21st June 2010:

01. Adam Deacon and Bashy featuring Paloma Faith: Keep Moving

Adam Deacon & Bashy feat. Paloma Faith - Keep Moving (Explicit Album Version)
While Chipmunk and Tinchy Stryder can be described as the British equivalents to American counterparts Flo Rida and Soulja Boy Tell ‘Em, I think it’s fair to describe Adam Deacon as a British equivalent to T.I. or Jay-Z. Teaming up with fellow occasional actor Paloma Faith, the two create a mature but not entirely original hip-hop track witha soulful chorus. Faith’sbeautiful vocals bring a hint of retro-ness to the track while Deacon is a surprisingly good rapper. Bashy joins halfway through to add a little diversity to the track. What we get in the end is a fairly typical hip-hop track – but a
very good fairly typical hip-hop track at that! 3.5 STARS

02. Ash: Spheres

Ash - S
This is Single Letter S from Ash’s 
A-Z Series. They should really get to promoting this single because it’s probably the best track we’ve heard from the singles collection so far. Ash’s music is normally simple catchy pop rock but with Spheres, we see the Northern Irish trio go over to the dark side. Featuring an eerie piano line which runs from the intro throughout the whole song, pounding drums and a hammering bass. It all comes to a stunning climax when the guitars crunch up and the chorus becomes more aggressive. The song is definitely worth a buy. 4 STARS

03. The Automatic: Cannot Be Saved

The Automatic - Cannot Be Saved
The Automatic return with the third single from their 
Tear The Signs Down LP. If you’ve heard Automatic before – and many of you have – remember that song ”What’s that coming over the hill, is it a monster? Is it a monster? – then you’ll know what to expect. A song that doesn’t take too seriously, a fun shout-along punk pop track that travels at 100 mph, this isn’t going to be the highlight of the year. But it’s a fun track to add to that Summer playlist. 3.5 STARS

TRACK OF THE WEEK!
04. Big Boi featuring Cutty: Shutterbug

Big Boi / Cutty - Shutterbugg (Explicit Version)
One half of the genre defining hip-hop duo Outkast and the lesser known member to Andre 3000, Big Boi has struck out on his own with new single 
Shutterbug and like his band continues to show some innovation in hip-hop. While hiring an R&B singer like Cutty to croon over the song isn’t entirely original, this track is all about Big Boi. Lacking any real chorus, Big Boi raps along with an incredible flow while the instrumentation of funky ‘80s synths, drumclaps and samples of Soul II Soul’s Back To Reality provide the main hooks of this song. I really love this track because it has a chilled out yet cocksure vibe that you rarely hear in rap nowadays. I’m seriously looking forward to Big Boi’s album now. 5 STARS

05. Cypress Hill featuring Pitbull and Marc Anthony: Armada Latina

Cypress Hill featuring Pitbull and Marc Anthony - Armada Latina (feat. Pitbull and Marc Anthony)
Sigh. Another week. Another Pitbull feature. Why must he torment me so?! That said Cypress Hill’s track will provide a little Latin flavour this Summer. With a repetitive “oooh-oooh-oooh” hook running through the song, Jennifer Lopez’s husband Marc Anthony provides the Spanish sung chorus while the rapping is provided in English by Cypress Hill and Pitbull. Cypress Hill’s rapping is fairly passable and Pitbull continues to rap random words in Spanish over an unrelated rap about him not being an “asshole”. Right. *side eye*. Still those oooh-oooh hooks and Marc Anthony’s chorus is what make this must have on the Summer playlist. But then again…I am a sucker for pretty much every Spanish song in existence. 
4.5 STARS

06. Daisy Dares You: Rosie

Daisy Dares You - Rosie
This is a pretty catchy pop rock jam with a massive chorus. That said so was her last single 
Number One Enemy. And that song drove me mad for a few weeks. Daisy manages to provide radio friendly fodder that will get airplay all over the place before being completely forgotten about in a few weeks. I appreciate the fact that Daisy has said she wants to stay away from the clichéd teen romance lyrics on her debut album, something she’s managed so far, singing about rowing with her sister Scarlet (ginger?) and backing up her friend Rosie (another ginger?)but she hasn’t managed to stay away from the clichéd Auto-Tune. Plus the electro breakdown with the fast paced rap doesn’t really gel well towards the end. All I’m hearing is a Z-grade Avril Lavigne mixed with a Z-grade Lily Allen. But points for only being 16 and making music a little more bearable than other 16 year olds *cough Justin Bieber*cough*.2.5 STARS

07. Dan Balan featuring Katie DiCicco: Chica Bomb


WTH? Why is Dan Balan credited as a lead artist on this track when Katie DiCicco, the sexy, breathy singer isn’t even credited? Last time I looked, practically whispering “chica-chica-bomb” over an unoriginal Eurodance backing constituted this being his song. I would give this Stinker Of The Week but DiCicco’s breathy vocals are seductive (I may be blinded by my urge to have sex with her), the cheesy Ibiza beats are just right for Summer and the middle eight is actually rather gorgeous. Dan Balan is a complete tool though. Many of you will agree with me as he was one-third of defunct band O-Zone (
The Numa Numa Song), possibly the most annoying Moldovan poppers anywhere. 2.5 STARS

08. Declining Winter: Official World Cup Theme 2010


Something for the UK to be proud of, Declining Winter have been given the honourary role of providing the theme song for World Cup 2010. Really it’s a strange choice of theme song, it doesn’t particularly draw you in or have a very celebratory sound. In fact, it’s very ‘indie’ and brooding in its sound. The instrumentation is rather good though with some beautiful string sections. Only the end of the song with some World Cup commentary makes you actually believe this song is for the World Cup though. 
3 STARS

09. Dirty Money featuring Rick Ross and T.I.: Hello Good Morning

Diddy - Dirty Money / T.I. - Hello Good Morning (Explicit Version)
Diddy, Timbaland called and asked what you’re doing right and what he’s doing wrong. Because 
Hello Good Morning sounds like it could have been released as a single of Timbaland Presents: Shock Value. Seriously? Yup. Diddy and his new ‘band’ of female rappers spit out some clichéd lyrics about being in a club and being so ‘fly’ with a little help from Rick Ross and recently freed T.I. over some wonky synths. It offers nothing new to the table at all but if you liked the singles from Timbaland’s FIRST Shock Valuealbum, then you should like this. Plus the epic breakdown at the end reminds us of why Sean Combs aka Puff Daddy aka P. Diddy aka Diddy is one of the most revered rappers out there. 3 STARS

10. Feeder: Call Out


‘90s rockers make a return with a big heavy rock number that grabs your attention as soon as the opening chords kick in at a lightning speed. Combined with a catchy chorus, Feeder have returned with a solid lead single from the forthcoming album
Renegades. Hopefully with the right promotion and airplay, this track can introduce the band to a whole new generation. 4.5 STARS

STINKER OF THE WEEK!
11. Justin Bieber: Never Let You Go


This is simply being released as a promo single so its unlikely to blow up like previous singles 
One Time andBaby, thank goodness. Now I could be nice and say I’m that I’m not 3 years old so I’m not the target market for this audience. However, J. Bieber has just released another stinker that only his die-hard fans can enjoy. I’ll admit Babygrew on me eventually and his forthcoming single with Usher Somebody To Love is actually rather good but this…this is just terrible! Not only is it bland, insipid and clichéd but who wantsto hear an eight-year-old boy sing about heartbreak in the form of an Auto-Tuned ballad. Yeah, we’re really reading into your soul there, Justin. Stick to the catchy dance-pop, methinks! 1 STAR

12. Katy Perry featuring Snoop Dogg: California Gurls

Katy Perry featuring Snoop Dogg - California Gurls (feat. Snoop Dogg)
Despite it’s huge commercial success, this song has divided critics. Probably Katy’s own fault for declaring this as the LA equivalent to Jay-Z and Alicia Keys’ timeless modern classic 
Empire State Of Mind. Now California Gurls will probably be timeless too – but more in the way of “Oh crap! I can’t believe I actually liked that song” and then giving it a sneaky listen on your iPod or whatever replaces iPods in the future. BecauseCalifornia Gurls is just a fun pop song – nothing more. Combining Calvin Harris like synths, ‘90s wah-wah guitars, sunny melodies, a West Coast rap and a gigantic chorus, I think California Gurls deserves its huge success it will have this Summer. Oh sure, some of it sounds like Ke$ha’s TiK ToK and its clearly gimmicky but that doesn’t matter, as it is the must have song to play at the pool party this Summer. The song is so hot…my popsicle just melted. 4 STARS

13. K’nann: Wavin’ Flag (Celebration Mix)

K'Naan - Wavin'  Flag (UK Version)
The original version. The Young Artists For Haiti version. The will.i.am and David Guetta featured version. This Celebration Mix. I am absolutely sick to my teeth of this song and its many incarnations. Even though a few months – hell, a few weeks ago – I would have being encouraging you all to start checking out K’nann. No need now he’s so well known. Now, I know K’nann wrote this song but nothing for me will trump the Young Artists For Haiti version of this song. NOTHING! I find the verses are a bit lyrically clunky on this but that chorus still gives me goosebumps everytime it’s sung. So credjt to K’nann for writing such an inspirational chorus and introducing this song to the World. A few points off though for the song’s overexposure. 
3.5 STARS

14. Pearl Jam: Amongst The Waves

Pearl Jam - Amongst The Waves
The third single from Pearl Jam’s 
Backspacer album finds the band in an uplifting mood with some inspirational, gruff yet impassioned vocals from Eddie Vedder. This is a great rock mid-tempo that really picks up towards the end with some great guitar solos from Stone Gossard. One of the standout tracks from the album, this is another Summer playlist option if you want to shake it up a bit. 4 STARS

15. Rihanna featuring Slash: Rockstar 101


This is only being released as a promo single over here so no need to worry if you’re tired of Rihanna overexposure or think 
Te Amo has been cancelled. This track is probably one of the weakest songs of Rihanna’s Rated R. Although the prospect of Slash appearing as a feature on this track initially sounds exciting, it wears off pretty quick as this is far more heavy urban than it is rock. Rihanna’s claims of being a rockstar are ridiculous despite her level of swearing, the chorus is repetitive and wears thin fast and the only thing I like about it is the beat heavy production and the guitar solos towards the end. If Rihanna wanted to release some rock numbers from the album, she could have chosen the absolutely brilliant Fire BombCold Case Love or The Last Song. However, record companies probably thought these ballads would be too depressing after the sunny Rude Boy so have gone with this relatively upbeat track. I’m just glad it doesn’t have an official release over here. Poor America! 2.5 STARS

16. Rusko featuring Amber Coffman: Hold On


Dubstep producer Rusko, who has worked on M.I.A.’s new album and also rumoured to be working on Britney Spears’ new record, provides a bass heavy club track here with some decent yet unoriginal vocals from Amber Coffman. There are a few different layers to the song but overall this doesn’t step out too far from the dubstep genre or do anything new. Good club record though. 
3 STARS

17. Scissor Sisters: Fire With Fire

Scissor Sisters - Fire With Fire
Starting off as a subdued ballad, this track quickly takes off and becomes a big, anthemic fists-in-the-air dance rock number thanks to Jake Shears’ uplifting vocals and the synth rock instrumentation from the rest of the band. This a terrific comeback single from the New York quintet and as many people have pointed out, it has a whiff of Elton John to it. My only problem is that it’s a bit subtle. Compared to earlier lead singles like 
Laura and I Don’t Feel Like Dancing which were instantly infectious, Fire With Fire takes a few spins to get into. In a year where two of our biggest hits have song titles that are misspelled (California Gurls) or an Internet/text speak acronym(OMG), can this song have any lasting appeal when attention spans appear to be getting lower and lower? 4.5 STARS

18. Shout For England featuring Dizzee Rascal and James Corden: Shout

File:Shout by Dizzee Rascal and James Corden.jpg
The only good thing about this song is the Tears For Fear and Blackstreet samples. The rest of the song is utter cack. This is probably the most creative thing Simon Cowell has put his name to but then again that’s not saying much considering 
The X-Factorwinner singles. I’ve lost all respect for Dizzee Rascal as a rapper and James Corden always annoyed me and I don’t find him particularly funny. This is basically a crowd shouting aloud to the rhythm of Shout which I don’t find particularly appealing because I can hear that down in my local at the weekends anyway. 2 STARS

19. Tegan And Sara: Alligator


Fresh from their recent collabo with Tiësto, Canadian duo Tegan and Sara have just released new single 
Alligatorover here. I’ve just figured that the two girls have those distinctive, borderline annoying vocals that Irish band Heathers have. The song is a catchy little toe-tapper but in all honesty, the girls have brought out much better. This sounds like it should be soundtracking the latest Apple ad…which is maybe T&S’s goal. Either way, enjouable but passable. 3 STARS

20. Wolfmother: Far Away

File:WolfmotherFarAway.jpg
I’m definitely noticing a 1970s Led Zeppelin vibe with this song. Amongst an electric piano, acoustic guitar and laidback drums, lead vocalist Andrew Stockdale sings in a relatively toned down voice compared to what we’re used to hearing from him. His voice definitely has echoes of Robert Plant, Axl Rose and to a lesser extent Jack White. If you’re looking for something that recalls a little ‘70s rock, then this is your song. Although to me, this is kind of your typical indie love song and doesn’t come close to Zeppelin. Still, this Aussie band don’t do a bad job of paying homage to them so I’ll keep an eye out to see if they progress in sound and maturity. 
3.5 STARS

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1 Comment

  1. Gerard McGarry

    I’ve never been a big Scissor Sisters fan – the trend when they broke kind of passed me by. And I’ve been hearing Fire With Fire a lot lately without realising who made the song. I was surprised to hear it was Scissor Sisters, honestly.

    It comes across to me as big, anthemic indie music, like a cross between The Killers and Coldplay. Brilliant tune, and as you say takes a few listens before the rewards start flowing.

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