Archive for the 'Music' Category

Album Review | Alexz Johnson’s ‘Voodoo’

April 2, 2010

If you check my last.fm, you’d see that Alexz Johnson happens to be my third most played artist overall. I absolutely love her voice and her music, and naturally I thought she could do no wrong… well that was until I heard Voodoo. This album mark’s Alexz Johnson’s debut as an official solo artist, okay that may sound a bit confusing to anyone not familiar with this Canadian songstress. Have you ever seen, or possibly heard of, the Canadian television show Instant Star? Well it was a series by the creators of Degrassi that starred Alexz as a winner of an Idol-like show, and as it chronicled her life after winning it also created real songs that went along with the series that were compiled on original soundtracks at the end of each season. While the show was mediocre at best, the music was kind of outstanding (esp. seasons 1+2). I’d easily recommend those albums, though I can’t say I’d recommend Voodoo. Now I know there were complications in starting her career after she quit the show seeing how her old label, Epic, dropped her and kept all of the masters of what should have been released (easily 10x better than anything on this album), but I just expected better. Aside from “Gonna Get It“, this album bounces back and forth between being a borefest to being just plain awful. Don’t let the amazing back catalogue or the amazing album cover fool you, Voodoo fails to be nothing more than a bad decision made by a brilliant artist.

Score: 2 out of 5

What Epic decided to keep in the divorce, and what should have been on her debut:

Chicago, Golden, Easy, Running With The Devil, and Swallowed. (there could be more, but these are the ones I know of)

All of the Epic masters are GENIUS, it’s sad that these aren’t being released… as far as I know.

Album Review | Gabriella Cilmi’s ‘Ten’

March 27, 2010

This is somewhat of a late review, but it’s a review none-the-less…

After what I would call a not so exciting debut, Gabriella Cilmi is back and definitely better than ever. Aside from “Save The Lives” and the smash hit “Sweet About Me” Cilmi’s tune’s bored me a bit which I found a bit shocking do to the amazing production team behind the scenes: Xenomania. This time around she picks things up with a shift to an electropop, disco, 80s inspired beat that is done the best on “On A Mission” the album’s first single and key track. At first I would have said that it was my favorite track, but after a few listens through the entire album there are quite a couple that come very close to that title.

To start from the beginning of the record, Gabriella Cilmi leads the album with the strong opener, “On A Mission“, and following that the album continues with the possible second single and Xenomania tagged “Hearts Don’t Lie”, a less intense groove from the first track, yet still genius. Cilmi’s album continues to slow the beat down bit by bit with the next midtempo track “What If You Knew” which is a confessional tune about being in love with your best mate, again genius track. The descending tempo graph somewhat levels out to bring you another beautiful midtempo called “Love Me Cos You Want To“, folks.. the title pretty much tells you whats the what for this song. Bringing us back on the descending tempo track theme is the album’s ballad, well it’s one of two but this is the better one… by a lot, “Defender“. This song really puts it’s success in the hand’s of her voice and she nails it! She restrains it beautifully, as to not over do it, and gives the track it’s star power. Ok lets move on before I gush all over this… Okay you can forget the tempo chart because the rest of the album don’t really follow the aforementioned patterned. “Robots“, a brilliant midtempo electo beat filled track talking about that puzzling question of the ages: What if we were robots? Sort of serious yet fun song. Seven tracks in and sadly we come to the last of Miss Cilmi’s five star musical brilliance with “Superhot“, a sexy pace jumping tune that feels fairly 80s. Love it.

Now for the bad news… I’ll make this bit quick. Unfortunately what we have been left with was a half of a masterpiece. Ten‘s last six tracks fail to excite or even keep your focus. “Boys” and “Invisible Girl” bore, “Let Me Know” fits comfortably nowhere on this album, and “Superman” is yet another bore that by this point in the album you could possibly already be sleeping. “Glue” comes in as the best of the worst, a ballad that just doesn’t rise above okay (it’s good, but not great). And to wrap things up there is the absolute “what were you thinking?!?” track: “Sweet About Me (Twenty Ten Version)“… they pretty much took a shit one of Cilmi’s best releases. Shame.

Well it seems that this time around Gabriella Cilmi delivered, but where’s the other half? Maybe this could be corrected before it’s given an international release. The brilliance of the first half of the album is just about enough to overlook the mundane second act, but let’s shoot for a 100% when album three comes around cos I’d love to hear more, especially with the new direction you’ve went it. All in all I’d say that this ranks as one of the better releases of 2010 so far.

Score: 3.8* out of 5

*not counting the possible Record Label forced inclusion of “Sweet About Me (Twenty Ten Version)”

I don’t care if we’re just friends

March 11, 2010

Artist: Kate Nash

Song: “Do Wah Doo”

It’s the first single off her upcoming second album called: My Best Friend Is You which is released o April 10th, 2010 in the UK, hopefully followed by a US release soon after.

Current feeling: I’m in love with this track! The video is amazing. The Nash is back.”

That is all.

The things we do for success.

February 26, 2010

New Sugababes star Jade Ewen tweeted this lovely bit about flashing her bits earlier today:

(click the pic to maximize it for your pleasure)

I’d settle for a nice “thank you” or “cheers”, this seems a little much. I love me some Jade, just not some Jade, you know?

Come get your beat back in the game.

February 25, 2010

Xenomania is literally the mecca of outstanding pop music. New to the solo scene is Singer – Songwriter Florrie who was a drummer in Xeno’s house band (those drums in ‘The Promise’, that’s her). Check out a remix of what is possibly her first single. It ridiculously fresh, addicting, and extremely dance worthy.

Florrie – “Call 911 (Fred Falke Remix)”

Download this track for free @ Florrie.com

You have a way of moving me.

February 24, 2010

Brilliant mix, great video, and…

Possibly the year’s best dance track, so far.

Selena Gomez & the Scene – “Naturally (Dave Audé Remix)”

Gabriella Cilmi is ‘On A Mission’ to reach sophomore success with her newest single.

January 12, 2010

18 year old Australian popstar Gabriella Cilmi is proving she has what it takes to top the charts in 2010 with her new lead single ‘On A Mission’ out in the UK on March 7th. The new album will be out in the UK on March 22nd, and hopefully it will find it’s way to America very soon. My current thoughts: EASILY the most brilliant thing she has released so far, if this is the new sound for her then I’m on edge waiting for the new album. Like most people I’m was a huge fan of the star’s debut single ‘Sweet About Me’, but probably unlike most people… I didn’t care for Lessons To Be Learned. While Xenomania tends to be spot on for me (I mean hallo! Girls Aloud!!) Climi’s debut was a bit boring. The new sound that we hear in ‘On A Mission’ is pretty much on the level of pop BRILLIANCE, and that’s kinda high. The retro-futuristic scifi theme of the music video perfectly adds to the amazing. The chorus and verses are irresistible and addicting, go on and try not tapping your foot or singing/shouting along to this. Love it or not… I think this is a great start to 2010.

2009 Aloud: Favorite Albums

January 3, 2010

With 2009 done and a new decade looming here is a reflection on my top 10 favorite albums from the past year…

10. Been Waiting (Deluxe Edition) – Jessica Mauboy // The debut album from Australian Idol winner Jessica Mauboy, was first released in November 2008 in her home country, but was given a Japanese release in late 2009, which is when I discovered it. She has a great voice and it shows over the course of the album. The (6!) singles are great and most of the rest of the tracks remain consistent. My only complaints would be the terrible rendition of “Time After Time” and the album’s lack of true originality. It’s predictable R&B productions and pleasant poppy points aren’t anything new, but at least they are done well and are very enjoyable. Key Tracks: “Running Back”, “Burn”, and “Up/Down”.

9. Kris Allen – Kris Allen // Oh how I love me some Kris Allen. The second Idol series winner on my list is also making his debut on the music scene in 2009. On the show we saw him week after week tackle a range of songs and make them his own, most notably Kanye West’s “Heartless”. Unfortunately it didn’t exactly translate well. His debut album is a little less than stellar with only about 7 of the 14 tracks living up to his true talent. Most of the problem is the amount of slow monotonous  tracks. The album’s true highlights are the fantastic tracks: “Alright With Me”, “Written All Over My Face”, “Bring It Back”, and “Before We Come Undone”. If Kris just followed my blueprint post (Makeover!: Kris Allen’s post-Idol debut goes from drab to fab in four easy steps.) that I did this album surely would have placed much higher. Still it remains a good album that marks one of the years best, for me. Key Tracks:”Alright With Me”, “Written All Over My Face”, and “Before We Come Undone”.

8. She Wolf – Shakira // “She Wolf” was a single that was definitely different and unexpected, yet I’d expect her to do something like it. Too weird? My apologizes. This album marks a great new sound for Shakira and while being new it doesn’t feel like an alien sound for her to tackle. In all it about 10 tracks and 3 translations, which is ok, I would have liked to see a track or two more. The there is good (“Did It Again”), and there is bad (“Good Stuff”), but ultimately I like this album. Not as brilliant as Laundry Service, but on par with Oral Fixation, Vol. 1. I feel that it should have been more successful then it was, but that’s life. Key Tracks: “Did It Again”, “She Wolf”, and “Why Wait”.

7. It’s Not Me, It’s You – Lily Allen // Lily’s beautiful sophomore album is a collection of soft electropop filled with great lyrics and perfect vocals. From start to finish this album feels very cohesive and done so brilliantly. It’s hard to single out favorite tracks because all are on the same level of brilliance. Even the spawned bonus tracks and b sides (“Fag Hag” and “Kabul Shit”) fit the bill. The topics she covers in her lyrics range from lousy lays to ageist ways. Even a well done slam at our old president makes an appearance on here and is probably one the best bashings I’ve heard about him since P!nk’s “Dear Mr. President”, okay it’s like the only other one I’ve heard, but whatever! It’s good, ok!? My anticipation for this album was meet with material that delivers. Key Tracks: “22”, “Fuck You”, and “The Fear”.

6. Here We Go Again – Demi Lovato // Demi gets a little less Disney this time around and has done it a lot more successfully than her peers. With her sophomore album Here We Go Again we get a more mature set of tracks, well for the most part. Once you get past the horror that is “Gift Of A Friend” and “So Far So Great” (which have no place on the album) you have an amazing collection of collaboration between Demi herself and songwriting talent like of Jon McLaughlin (“Falling Over Me” and “Every Time You Lie”)  and John Mayer (“World Of Chances”). Minus the two horrors, the rest of the album’s tracks are amazing pop rock tracks well delivered by Miss Lovato’s powerful young voice. For the next album I’d like her to get even more mature and completely shed the Disney influence on her music. Key Tracks: “Every Time You Lie”, “Got Dynamite”, and “Quiet”.

5. 3 Words – Cheryl Cole // While being a rather disappointing debut for the Girls Aloud member and The X Factor judge, Cheryl Cole has still wowed me enough the make my top 5 this year. The decision to place her this high was a result of the sheer play count I’ve raked up on my iTunes for 6 of the 12 tracks on the album. Alright I’m just gonna say it… I LOVE CHERYL COLE. Overlook “Rain On Me”, “Stand Up”, and “Don’t Talk About This Love”, all of which should be replaced by her B Sides “Boys” and “Didn’t I”, and you have a pretty good album highlighted by the track  “Parachute” (the upcoming third single co-written by Ingrid Michaelson). The beats make the best tracks on this album great dancing hits, but still nothing on here comes close to her work with Girls Aloud. Main Post: Cheryl Cole: 3 Words | Album ReviewKey Tracks: “Parachute”, “3 Words”, and “Fight For This Love”.

4. Turn It Up – Pixie Lott // UK newcomer Pixie Lott is one of my favorite new artists to hit the scene this past year. Her number one hits “Mama Do (Uh Oh, Uh Oh)” and “Boys And Girls” and her third single “Cry Me Out” blew me away and earned high spots on my 2009 Aloud: Favorite Singles list. As for the rest of her debut album Turn It Up shines as one of the years best. Her amazing vocals power through a somewhat conventionally planned out album that delivers great pop music. With the exception of “Jack”, I’m a big fan of all of the tracks on the album, which Pixie, herself, helped write. One track that I have to point out because it’s basically screaming single is “Here We Go Again”, a brilliant dance track produced by RedOne (one of my favorite producers), if you haven’t heard it your missing out. In the end Pixie Lott’s Turn It Up is a conventional, yet well made pop album deserving of a top spot on my 2009 year end list. Key Tracks: “Boys And Girls”, “Here We Go Again”, and “Mama Do (Uh Oh, Uh Oh)”.

3. BoA (Deluxe Version) – BoA // I’m not even sure how I came about BoA’s debut American album earlier this year, but I’m glad I did. While the South Korean singer doesn’t posses the strongest vocals ever, she sure as hell made one killer of a dance album loaded with R&B tinged pop beats and lyrics. Every tracks is a sure mover and you can see how well it reflects her… I mean just check out the video for “Eat You Up”! That girl can sure move! The album dropped in about March of 2009 and by fall she had released a deluxe version that only made it even more outstanding. The beats beg you to move, the verses urge you to sing along as you dance the night away. This is both a fun and sexy album and has easily earned the a spot in my top three for the year. Key Tracks: “Eat You Up”, “I Did It For Love (feat. Sean Garrett)”, and “Did Ya”.

2. The Fame Monster – Lady GaGa // A very close second goes to possibly one of the greatest entertainers of the last decade. Her talent is seemingly endless as she spills out hit after hit. This album is no exception, with only 8 tracks Lady GaGa proves she has what it takes to stay on top after the massive hit album The Fame. My love for this album was reluctant at first, but somehow that’s how I first react to some of the greatest albums I know (i.e. Tangled Up, the forth studio album by the stellar Girls Aloud). The lead single “Bad Romance” is ridiculously outstanding not to mention the other masterpieces… “Telephone (feat. Beyoncé)” and “Monster”. How she does it I’ll never know.  I do still have a few things I wish that had happened with this album like me like “Speechless” more than I do and the inclusion of some of those killer demos floating around like “Dirty Ice Cream”, “Fever”, “No Way”, and “Reloaded (feat. Rodney Jenkins)”. Key Tracks: “Telephone (feat. Beyoncé)”, “Bad Romance”, and “Monster”.

1. Hassle – Erik Hassle // Swedish pop singer Erik Hassle’s debut album Hassle is hands down my choice as my number one favorite album of 2009. Every single track on this album is a perfect production of one my favorite variations of the pop genre. His take on the singer-songwriteresque branch of pop music is amazing. The outstanding and thoughtful vocals and lyrics he dedicates to each track shines through out the album. From the catchy hook ‘of all the lonely people, I wanna be loved by you’ in “Wanna Be Loved” to the beautiful verses and sweet sounds of his voice in “All That I Wanted Was You”, Erik has nailed this debut with a brilliant album which is set for international release sometime in early 2010. Which now that I think about it… Would it be legit to include it on my 2010 list too? Hmm. So the winner for my favorite album of 2009 and best debut goes to Erik Hassle!! Key Tracks: “Don’t Bring Flowers”, “Hurtful”, and “Wanna Be Loved”.

Honorable Mentions: They are all great albums, but these few didn’t quite make my top ten… La Roux’s La Roux , Alexandra Burke’s Overcome, JLS’ JLS, Frankmusik’s Complete Me, Kelly Clarkson’s All I Ever Wanted, and Annie’s Don’t Stop.

Biggest Disappointment: The Saturdays’ Wordshaker album. Their sophomore effort was possibly one of the year’s worst albums, and after the amazing debut Chasing Lights I am shocked and completely disappointed. Not one track shines above the rest and that’s even if your able to tell that the track has changed (they all sound painfully similar). Hopefully they go back to the sound they had with their genius debut and forget this mess.

Check Out Last Year’s List @ My Favorite Albums of 2008

Wanna know my favorite singles for 2009? Check out: 2009 Aloud: Favorite Singles

2009 Aloud: Favorite Singles

December 31, 2009

Listed below are my favorite singles for the year 2009! It was such a hard task to compile and rank these singles. I’m interested in what Dame James @ Rants of a Diva has to say about this list and who wound up on his. Well here we go: From the United States to the United Kingdom and Sweden to Australia, this list is a complete countdown of my favorite singles from all over the world.

Let’s Begin:

60. LEAVE! – VV Brown

58. Manos Al Aire – Nelly Furtado

57. Hush Hush; Hush Hush – The Pussycat Dolls

56. Outta Here – Esmée Denters

55. Waking Up In Vegas – Katy Perry

54. When Love Takes Over (feat. Kelly Rowland) – David Guetta

53. Wanted – Jessie James

52. Meet Me Halfway – Black Eyed Peas

51. Bulletproof – La Roux

50. In The Heat Of The Night – Star Pilots

49. On and On – Agnes

48. The Climb – Miley Cyrus

47. Up/Down – Jessica Mauboy

46. Body Language – Jesse McCartney

45. The Spell – Alphabeat

44. TiK ToK – Ke$ha

43. Fuck You – Lily Allen

42. 22 – Lily Allen

41. Good Girls Go Bad (feat. Leighton Meester) – Cobra Starship

40. Jai Ho! (You Are My Destiny) – A.R. Rahman & PCD

39. Hot Mess – Cobra Starship

38. Stone Cold Sober – Paloma Faith

37. How Do You Sleep? – Jesse McCartney

36. Did It Again – Shakira

35. Video Phone (feat. Lady GaGa) [Remix] – Beyoncé

34. I Did It For Love (feat. Sean Garrett) – BoA

33. Release Me – Agnes

32. Love Sex Magic (feat. Justin Timberlake) – Ciara

31. Candy – Paolo Nutini

30. She Wolf – Shakira

29. Beat Again – JLS

28. See U At The Club – Darin

27. Get Sexy – Sugababes

26. Halo – Beyoncé

25. The Loving Kind – Girls Aloud

24. Paparazzi – Lady GaGa

23. Untouchable (Single Mix) – Girls Aloud

22. Down (feat. Lil Wayne) – Jay Sean

21. 3 Words (feat. will.i.am) – Cheryl Cole

20. 3 – Britney Spears

19. Cry Me Out – Pixie Lott

18. Left My Heart In Tokyo  – Mini Viva

17. Better Off As 2 – Frankmusik

16. Love Love Love – Agnes

15. Eat You Up – BoA

14. LoveGame  – Lady GaGa

13. About A Girl – Sugababes

12. Just Can’t Get Enough (Radio Mix) – The Saturdays

11. Fight For This Love – Cheryl Cole

10. Sweet Dreams – Beyoncé

9. Work – The Saturdays

8. Mama Do (Uh Oh, Uh Oh) – Pixie Lott

7. Poker Face – Lady GaGa

6. Bad Romance – Lady GaGa

Ok now we’ve made it to my top 5 favorite singles of the year. Like the rest of the list I spent a lot of time taking into account the songs’ play count, my knowledge of the lyrics, how sick of it am I?, and of course… It’s amazing factor. So below is the result of a year long process of listening and loving hundreds of tracks. Excited?

My Top Five Single’s of 2009:

5. Viva La Vida – Darin // At first I was a little nervous to discover that my favorite popstar was releasing a Coldplay cover, seeing how I’m definitely not a Coldplay fan. Though I did enjoy the original I think that Darin absolutely blew me away and raised the song to a whole new level his version. The vocals and effort put in to this cover was brilliant and addicting. Love this tune!

4. Don’t Bring Flowers – Erik Hassle // Ok, I’ve just realized that my top 5 is predominately Swedish! Erik Hassle’s UK single “Don’t Bring Flowers” is easily the greatest track on the singers debut album Hassle. The guitar opener and electro-lite backdrop pulls you in as he perfectly delivers the track’s wicked brilliant lyrics. Kudos Hassle, Kudos.

3. Runaway – Darin // The second song by Darin to make it into my top 5 and the third to make the favorites list is one of his best works. “Runaway” has a smooth summery feel that is filled with infectious chorus. The electo-tinged beats backing this track add to the overall excellence. Darin is constant improving his sound and proving over and over to be one of the most talented young artists in music.

2. Boys And Girls – Pixie Lott // Still fresh on the scene Pixie Lott has already racked up two number one UK hits, this being her second and also the second on my favorites list. “Boys And Girls” is easily one of the year’s funnest and most danceable tracks. Her powerful vocal energy and delivery live up to the track and make it one of the years best to come out of the Britain.

1. Love Struck  – V Factory // This track seemed to come out of nowhere, I got it through iTunes ‘Discovery Download’ and immediately I was in love. This, so far, is the only single released by the American boy band. I love the beat, the lyrics, the vocals, pretty much everything about the song. I dug a little deeper to find out who created such a great pop track and to my surprise it was Darin! The song was written by the collaboration of  Sweden’s David Jassy and Darin, so in a way Darin pretty much dominated my top of the pops this year.

Well there you have it. My Favorite Singles of 2009! It’s been a great year, but I’m excited to hear and see the all sorts of crazy in the near future… as well as the return of GIRLS ALOUD!!!

Bonus Bit!

Best B-Side of 2009:

Memory of You – Girls Aloud // You can find this gem as a b-side of my #23 favorite single: “Untouchable”. If released as a single, “Memory of You” could have easily taken this year’s top spot. It’s a beautiful electropop masterpiece that I can’t help but be entranced by. Amazing verses and beautiful vocal arrangements make for one of the finest masterpieces Xenomania and Girls Aloud have ever made.

Hollywood infected your brain.

December 16, 2009

Marina & The Diamonds‘ newest music video just premiered a little while ago for her upcoming single ‘Hollywood’, released February 1st, 2010. In the video she (and everybody else for that matter) is clearly “obsessed with the mess that’s America”. The brilliant video was directed Kinga Burza and is quickly becoming one of my favorite videos/songs of the moment. Her debut album, The Family Jewels, will be released on February 15th, 2010.

I’m in love with this.

To find out more about Marina & The Diamonds go to:

www.myspace.com/marinaandthediamonds www.marinaandthediamonds.com