Best of 2009 ~ Best New Artist.

. Wednesday, 30 December 2009

As it's coming up to the new year, and decade (!!) I knew everyone would be doing their yearly countdowns or lists, but I have decided to do something slightly different, and write my Best of 2009 in an awards sort of format, so here is my first award- Best New Artist.

There is-in my mind- absolutely no doubt who this award should rightfully go to: Lady Gaga. She has come from being an 4 year-old living in New York with a dream, to global stardom with a number-one album and songs to match. The Pop music industry has literally blow-up around her, and everyone- including my Grandma- knows who she is! The saying 'Any press is good press' comes to mind when I think of the whole 'Hermaphrodite Scandal' earlier on in the year, and I wonder if this was just to keep the public interested.
Her music is widely, critically-acclaimed, and has changed the way we think of pop-electro music forever. Lady Gaga also made a maturer step with her darker, and more genuine album: The Fame Monster (review here). She is certainly not scared to take risks and speak her mind- a problem that holds many aspiring artists back. A lot of people say Lady Gaga was just in the right place at the right time, but do you really think that we would of been without her talent for too long?
The Fame
Best: Just Dance, Love Game, Paparazzi, I Like It Rough, Starstruck, The Fame, Money Honey.
Worst: Summerboy, Disco Heaven, Brown Eyes.
The Fame Monster
Best: Bad Romance, Alejandro, Speechless, Dance In The Dark, Telephone.
Worst: So Happy I Could Die.
Love her or Loathe her Lady Gaga is undeniably the thing to look out for most next year, and I don't think she will be leaving us anytime soon.


. Monday, 28 December 2009

Hope you all had a good holiday!- mines been great! As you may know from Twitter, I was unfortunately ill on the run-up to Christmas, so I was unable to post the final of my Classic Christmas Countdown posts, but I decided to post them now- so here they are!

I was completely undecided between these two festive favourites, so I placed them as joint winners. Both songs are possibly two of the most influential songs ever. White Christmas, because it's the biggest selling song EVER, and Band Aid, because it must have been the first time that that amount of superstars grouped together to collaborate for charity.
These two are, without a doubt, my favourite Christmas tunes- The Crosby Classic is amazingly soothing, and calming Whereas, Do They Know It's Christmas Time is fun, vibrant, new, exciting, the list goes on and on...
The original Band Aid is clearly the best, as the newer version- although featuring so many talented artists- sounded so tacky. I love the great chimes, and originality of the original and it's a timeless classic. Talking of classics, we have White Christmas which is undoubtedly the most well-known song in the world. It's staggering how many copies of White Christmas have been sold.
So there we have it, my favourite festive song(s)- hope you have enjoyed the list, and have a Happy New Year!

Classic Christmas Coundown. #3 ~ ALL I WANT FOR CHRISTMAS IS YOU

. Tuesday, 22 December 2009

This song is undoubtedly one of the best things MiMi ever produced, if not the best. All I Want For Christmas Is You has become a modern classic, and is widely regarded as one of the better songs during the festive period. Despite common misconception, this track is actually an original written by Carey herself- of course she had help!
I love the whole jazzy feel to it, and her vocals are chilling- she can really hit those high notes! I found myself swaying along to it very quickly, because of the festive bells and excellent backing track. Mariah makes this song her own, and it isn't hard to think why this song is as popular as it is.

Again this song has been covered many times... Shania adds her own twang, but doesn't pull it off and it sounds truly awful. John Mayer's version is definitely original, but his voice is too husky for my liking. Samantha Mumba sounds heavily intoxicated in her version, and it sounds to harsh. My Chemical Romance's is dire. 'Nuff said. The ever-so-annoying Miley Cyrus's version should be on one of the adverts for a bad cold- she could be the 'before' and Mariah would be the 'after'. My favourite version (apart from Mariah's) would be Olivia Olsen's from the film Love Actually. It's far from original, but it's sweet which is just what the song needs. I couldn't find a good video from the film so here is Olivia Olsen singing Halo by Beyonce.

Classic Christmas Countdown. #4 ~ WONDERFUL CHRISTMASTIME

. Monday, 21 December 2009

This Christmas tune is a fabulous showcase of what Paul is capable of- pure festive perfection. Granted, his vocals aren't amazing, but the lyrics and quality of the song more than make up for this. I suppose I like this song so much, because it featured in my favourite festive film- Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer. Although, I suspect that the magical, mystical chimes would have attracted me even if I hadn't seen the film. Apart from the techno chimes, my favourite part is the choir bit- inspired! If this song doesn't get you in the Christmas mood, I don't know what will.

Even though Paul's vocals aren't perfect, I really wasn't sure if anyone else could pull this song off. Christmas songs seem to be a target for all Disney Princesses much to my dismay. Demi Lovato's version is painfully diabolical, and Hilary Duff's isn't much better- the backing vocals are actually laughable. The only half-decent cover I found is one from Family Force 5- it's fresh, and sounds live and acoustic. Although I don't like the Metro Station style talking over the track.

Classic Christmas Countdown. #5 ~ LAST CHRISTMAS.

. Saturday, 19 December 2009

How could it possibly be Christmas if you don't attempt to sing along to Wham!'s insanely catchy chorus every festive season. The chimes are magical and very festive, and I love the falsetto (?) note that begins this festive classic. George's vocals are impeccable and are just what the song needs without making it too cheesy- although there is still a lot of cheese there!
The lyrics are actually quite deep in a 'kind-of' way, and the harmonies are spot-on. The drums just add a great new dimension to the song, and the chimes and bells help to increase the cheesiness and festiveness. "Last Christmas" is a great little gem on the top of the festive treats pile, but I can't help feeling that the repetitiveness will soon bore me.

This song is a target for a lot of cheesy pop artists, and has been covered the likes of disney-princess Ashley Tisdale, Alcazar, Cascada, and Taylor Swift. Ashley managed to produce one of the worst covers EVER. Her voice is so nasally- divine! Taylor has added her own, little country vibe and has produced an average cover- I'm not a fan. Cascada has totally surprised us all and made a dance number.. ZZzzz. The Alcazar version is camper than Christmas and the video is absolutely hilarious (here) The only cover I actually like is- surprisingly- Metro Station's. I actually enjoy the indie feel to it. I realise it's not totally original, but it's the best cover I found.

Sugababes ~ Santa Baby. Review.

. Friday, 18 December 2009

Finally, I got the chance to review Santa Baby (below) by the Sugababes- my favourite girl-band. And I have to say it is the best cover of Santa Baby I have ever heard. The girls have managed to bump this song into the top-five of my festive favourites.
The whole song has an electrifying live feel to it, with the stripped-down vocals and harmonies, and the simple drum-stick banging in the beginning is just the icing on the cake.

Amelle's voice is excellent, and her low register complements the harmonies to a tee. The production is incredibly smart, and this must be the best the girls have sounded in ages- Heidi sounds so sweet, and Jade's adlibs and powerful background vocals are just what this song needs. This cover is very original, and the girls sound great on it. I'm not expecting this to chart amazingly well, as it's being on the 21st (who's idea was that?), but it's a must-have for all die-hard fans. Even if you aren't a massive fan, this should be on every one's Christmas playlist this year.

If there's one thing this song has achieved, it has cemented Jade's place in the new and fresh Sugababes and told everyone that she is here to stay. Pure Christmas perfection, and one of the best covers I've heard in ages.

Classic Christmas Countdown. #6 ~ SANTA CLAUS IS COMING TO TOWN.

. Thursday, 17 December 2009

Just being kicked out of the top-five, Santa Claus is Coming to Town is a sure Christmas classic, and has arguably been covered the most amount of times out of any Christmas song.
As I don't know (and I'm not sure any does) who originally sang this track, I have decided to use my two personal favourite versions- Jackson 5, and Mariah Carey.

The Jackson 5 version is so incredibly fun, and energetic it's hard to resist dancing- or at least tapping your foot- to it. Michael's voice is note-perfect, and so full of potential. From this track it isn't a surprise how big he became. The brothers provide excellent harmonizing and backing vocals, and I love the powerful chorus that is backed by Michael's vocals. Just listening to the instrumental is interesting as the track is so simple, yet so very effective. Marvelous.

Mariah's version is (as expected) again note-perfect, and she doesn't strain to hot those high-notes. If possible, Mariah's version is even more jazzy that Jackson 5's which I love. It's original, and ever-so fun like every Christmas song should be. Mariah used the soul choir to her advantage as she warbles for America. Although, I do sometimes find the talking over the track annoying, I suppose it adds originality. Overall, it's great fun and a must-have festive track.

Classic Christmas Countdown. #7 ~ RUDOLPH THE RED-NOSED REINDEER.

. Tuesday, 15 December 2009

This classic Christmas song holds a special place in my heart, because it was probably the first festive song I ever learnt to sing for one of those god-damn awful (but fun) Christmas plays at school.
Sometimes it's best just to keep it simple, and that is exactly what Gene Autry (above) does in his Number-One hit. I love how stripped down the original feels, and how warm it makes you feel inside when you hear it. This is such a down-to-earth song, that captures the essence of Christmas well. The writers have achieved all that they intended and more- every child in the UK can probably recite the song word-perfect. If that isn't an achievement that what is?

As usual there have been numerous covers of this classic, and I tend to lean more towards the ones that make the song their own, and use an original idea. Dolly Parton's crazy effort makes me laugh, like many others, but my overall favourite has to be Destiny's Child's cover as it is completely different. The vocals are obviously note perfect, as are the harmonies. The beginning is just divine.

ITunes Roundup. 13.12.09.

. Sunday, 13 December 2009

This week is not surprisingly X-Factor fuelled, but this will be over soon...

10: Chipmunk ~ Look For Me (9) C
I have already expressed my feelings for this tacky, although radio-friendly single (read last weeks article here), and the lyrics still irritate me along with the unimaginative 'warbles', and rapping skills. Not his best effort.
9: Jason Derulo ~ Whatcha Say (7) B+
Continuing to decline rapidly, Jason's debut hit still rings in my head, and I doubt it will ever become old in my mind, with its slick and confident vocals. I love the Imogen Heap sample, although I feel she perhaps should of been credited. Fresh, and cool- just what we needed.
8: Alicia Keys ~ Doesn't Mean Anything (6) B
I actually really enjoy this track even though it's admittedly a cheap, "No One" knock-off- but to be honest, who cares? The British public certainly don't, and her debut single has firmly cemented it self into the top-ten thanks to her X-Factor performance a couple of weeks ago. It's emotional, but similar.
7: Robbie Williams ~ You Know Me (NE) C+
Normally I'm not a fan of Robbie, but I did enjoy his 'comeback' "Bodies". "You Know Me" is more stripped down, and lyrically-lead (does that make sense?). His vocals are questionable-as always- I can't help feeling this single wouldn't have made the top-ten without his X-Factor 'blessing'. One for the Robbie fans.
6: Cheryl Cole feat Will.I.Am ~ 3 Words (NE) E-
Surely one of the worst singles (and videos) of the year, maybe even the decade. Why did you buy this?
5: Chuckie & LMFAO ~Let The Bass Kick in Miami Bitch (NE) C
You either love or hate this tune, apparently. However I'm undecided. The riff sounds too similar to "Sexy Bitch" for my liking, and the talking is quite annoying really. Although it's nothing new, this song is a must for all clubs, and is extremely danceable. Nothing new- a total club-banger.
4: Ke$ha ~ Tik Tok (4) B
Gifted with one of the best chorus's of the year, "Tik Tok" actually managed to climb up a spot. There is no doubt that this girl has talent, and I'm looking forward to "Animal" (The 303!H single sounds intriguing), but this song is rapidly boring me, and I feel it's over-welcomed its stay a bit.
3: Black Eyed Peas ~ Meet Me Halfway (NM) C
Hasn't this been here for like a billion weeks?
2: Rihanna ~ Russian Roulette (1) A-
The most emotional song of the year- without a doubt. I can't believe that "Rated R" (my review here) hasn't has the colossal amount of success it deserved, but at least the lead single has. "Russian Roulette" is a wonderful piece of art. A timeless classic.

1: Lady Gaga ~ Bad Romance (2) A-

Surely one of the best songs (and videos) of 2009. The exact opposite of Cheryl Cole. This is a pop-tastic classic, with a mischievous and dark meaning.

Classic Christmas Countdown. #8 ~ MERRY XMAS EVERYBODY

. Saturday, 12 December 2009


The famous line from the slightly mad, one-and-only Noddy Holder. A line that will be probably be remembered forever amongst the greats. Merry Xmas Everybody just had to make my top-ten.

The build up with the scaling chords is magical, and really gets you in the festive mood. The guitar riffs are without fault, and the vocals are rough and husky- a perfect compliment to the backing track. The track is a must for drunken office parties, but is also a favourite for Grandparents to nod their head along to on Christmas day. People may say that this song is very similar to Wizzard's classic, Slade have made this their own, and made it totally original. I would choose this every time over Wizzard, because of it wackiness, bounciness, and Christmasy-ness (is that even a word- it should be!). A must have for all festive fans.

There have been plenty of covers of this Slade classic, and- not surprisingly- I have yet to find one that matches the greatness of the original. Anyway here are the ones that tried. Girls Aloud: I don't know why I bother with this girl-group- I don't like any of the songs included on their Christmas special. The cheesy-pop group Steps covered the classic, and actually pulled it off in their own weird, camp way. The electro chimes added work well, and the vocals aren't actually that terrible. The best cover I have come across has to be Noel Gallagher's (from Oasis). His crisp vocals add a new dimension to the song, and the acoustic works well. However- as I have said numerous times before- nothing can match the original.

Alexandra Burke ~ Broken Heels. Music Video.

. Friday, 11 December 2009

This is a great choice for a single, but I wouldn't have made it one straight after "Bad Boys" as they are both similar in many ways. However, the song is contagious and is gifted with a great hook. The electro chimes are a work of art. Read my full review of "Broken Heels" and Overcome here.

First Impressions. Sugababes ~ Santa Baby.

. Wednesday, 9 December 2009

Well, after placing the original in my top ten Classic Christmas Countdown, I was extremely hopeful that this version would be good, as the Sugababes are one of my favourite bands. And let me tell you this... they don't disappoint!
After reviewing Eartha Kitt's original I realised how much this song would suit the new Sugababes- although I would have loved the hear Keisha on the track. Amelle's husky voice is perfect, Jade's power-house vocals are an excellent back-up, and Heidi's sweet vocals are just sensual. I especially love Amelle's low register, and Jade's warbles that echo around the back in perfect harmony. If there's one thing I can always expect from any Sugababes incarnation- it's perfect harmony's.
I desperately hope the rest of the song lives up to expectations, and you can expect my full review shortly after the release of the single- here's to a Christmas Number One!

Classic Christmas Countdown. #9 ~ I WISH IT COULD BE CHRISTMAS EVERYDAY

. Monday, 7 December 2009

Although I don't wish it was Christmas everyday, this song is clearly a classic and I would be faced by an angry-mob if I didn't include this number-four hit by Wizzard in my Classic Christmas Countdown.
The whole song-especially the beginning- has a very comedic and fun feel to it. Although keeping to the classic feel with the festive bells, the band have incorporated their own style, and feel to the song. I love the instrumental sections, and the choir backing vocals that force you to sing along. This song is so unbelievably infectious that you can't help yourself screeching "Let The Beeeeeeeeeeells Riiiiiiing out for Christmaaaaaaaaaas!" The husky vocals are perfectly matched by the brass instruments, and the vibrant tempo.
Concluding the song is the choir again, accompanied by more bells- pure Christmas magic. A true classic.

It's pretty common for an artist (or band) to fail miserably trying to cover a Christmas song, and Girls Aloud are no exemption to this rule. Their rendition of "I Wish It Could Be Christmas Everyday" is supremely awful, and could never match the greatness that is Wizzard. The Spice Girls attempted too, but failed- not surprisingly- although I did strangely prefer it to the Girl's Aloud version. The version below is the closest to Wizzard's crown.

ITunes Roundup. 6.12.09.

. Sunday, 6 December 2009

The ITunes round-up has now moved to Sundays, and the NE's are new from last week, not a new entry into the chart. Another X Factor influenced week...
10: Jay-Z feat. Alicia Keys ~ Empire State of Mind (NE) B
Clawing its way back into the top ten-due to Alicia's inspiring performance on the X Factor last week- "Empire State of Mind" is energetic, fun and patriotic. I adore the hi-hat that vibrates throughout the whole song, and although rapping isn't really my cup of tea, Alicia's vocals are chilling and just what the song needs. It is clear that a lot of time and energy has gone into making the instrumental as catchy and complicated as possible to hide the repetitiveness of the rap. The build-up to Alicia's chorus is inspiring.

9: Chipmunk ~ Look For Me (NE) C
Why do rappers find the cheapest singers they can find to feature in their songs? I mean, who's heard of Talay Riley? The usual slightly tacky, and cheap "Woo" begins and concludes this Chipmunk track. The whole song sounds too much like a "Number 1" rip-off, and I can't stand the cheesy lyrics. It's nothing new, but not a bad effort from a rapper who's only just finished his A-Levels.
8: Pixie Lott ~ Cry Me Out (NE) B+
A great new direction for one of my favourite break-through artists of this year. This girl is full of talent, and has written for the likes of Alexandra Burke. Pixie really brings out her more mature side, and manages to sustain a great vibe throughout. Her voice shines, and is especially great towards the end- so controlled, and strong.
7: Jason Derulo ~ Watcha Say (1) B+
Falling a massive six places, Jason's voice is still sleek, cool, and controlled. Although he didn't reach the top-spot, Peter Kay's charity single was a worthy winner. "Watcha Say" does become tiresome quickly though, and it won't be remembered. Fun, but too computerized.
6: Alicia Keys ~ Doesn't Mean Anything (NE) B
The second time Alicia appears in this list, is with her first single from her fourth album "The Element Of Freedom". At first I'm reminded of "No One", which isn't a bad thing. Both songs share the same qualities, and flaws. I instantly prefer "No One", as "Doesn't Mean Anything" lacks a punch, and a massive chorus. Although I would gladly listen to it, this track lacks 'the X-Factor'. Calming, but something missing.

5: Ke$ha ~ Tik Tok (4) B
Refusing to budge from the top-five, "Tik Tok" firmly cements its place with in the UK Top-Ten with digital sales alone. This is no small feat, achieved by a relatively unknown American singer. As with many other songs on this chart, "Tik Tok" suffers from the repetitiveness curse. Her echoing vocals do still sustain my interest and curiosity into what she's going to do next.

4: Timbaland feat. Nelly Furtardo & SoShy ~ Morning After Dark (NE) B
Making a welcome return to the music-industry, Timbaland brings another star-studded cast to complete his album. Leading the pack of potential-hits is "Morning After Dark". Lead by its electro beats, Timbaland and Nelly bend their vocals around the vibes with great success. The same qualities that made us fall in love with "The Way I Are" are here, and I love Nelly's vocals- very different to what she has done before. Club-friendly, and produced by Timbaland- what's not to love?

3: Black Eyed Peas ~ Meet Me Halfway (2) C
Why? Just, why?

2: Lady Gaga ~ Bad Romance (5) A-
Battling it out for the top-spot are two of my favourite songs of 2009- I would be equally happy to see either of them make it. This single is surely a classic, and I'm so glad to see it climb, probably ready to over-take "Russian Roulette" after Lady Gaga's performance tonight on the X-Factor. This song will never get old, for me.
1: Rihanna ~ Russian Roulette (3) A-
A true classic. Deserves the top-spot. Need I say any more?

Alicia Keys feat Beyonce. Put It In A Love Song. Review.

. Friday, 4 December 2009

Just a few hours ago "Put It In A Love Song" was leaked-surprisingly- to the eager world of the Internet. The track is part of "The Element of Freedom", Alicia Keys's fourth studio album that will be released shortly on December 15th. I have high expectations of this album, as I have been so impressed with her lyrical, writing, and vocal abilities especially in the last year. When I heard that my favourite female artist of the past two years: Beyonce was collaborating with Alicia, I jumped at the chance to review the collaboration. Here are my thoughts...
The song begins with the two divas facing each other off- Alicia taking the lead and Beyonce echoing her beautifully. The intro is swiftly over, and Keys brings in her own vibe and style to the first verse. Although the writing is clever, Alicia sounds strained and a tad over-whelmed especially during the second-half.
With Beyonce's backing the vocals are magic, and the chorus is very successful, and the driving drums leading the way is a clever idea. The song is very empowering, and sounds like Single Ladies slightly. I love the "Work it Out" bit, and I can imagine the crowd chanting with the two divas when this is performed live. The song is a great crowd-pleaser, but sounds increasingly repetitive after the 2 minute mark, which really isn't acceptable.
I really do want to love this song and for most of it I do, but I can't escape the feeling that the original wow-factor is going to wear away. Saying that, the song is a grower even though the wow-factor will be gone, and I'm sure in a few days my score will be higher, but for now this song only deserves a B

Classic Christmas Countdown ~ #10 SANTA BABY


How could Christmas possibly be complete without the erotic, vibrant "Santa Baby"? Originally sung by Eartha Kitt, the song has been covered countless times sung the likes of Britney, Kylie, and the Pussycat Dolls, but none could quite compare to the authenticity of the original.
Eartha had a massive hit with this song, and attempted to create a sequel called "This Year's Santa Baby" with no success. Eartha's subtle and soft vocals complement the backing track, and she reminds me slightly of a 1950's Paloma Faith. Although her vocals aren't the strongest she has no trouble in commanding the song and making it her own. She creates a cheeky, tounge-in-cheek vibe, and Joan Javits has no problem in writing the lyrics to match. The cheekiness provides an excellent contrast to most other Christmas anthems, and will surely be remember for a very long time...
Although there is no doubt nobody could match Eartha's brilliance many singers have come close. Taylor Swift is successful, but looses the vibe of the song when she converts it to Country. Kylie is also mostly successful in her rendition, but I'm not really a fan of her work. I can't stand Madonna's nasally attempt, and my favourites would have to be the Pussycat Dolls and Shakira. They are the only two singers who have matched the edginess of the original. Shakira's voice is positively perfect for the song, and she should record it (listen below). The Pussycat Dolls, I have to admit aren't usually top of my 'Bands-To-Praise' list, but their rendition is vibrant, sexy and fun. They may not have amazing vocals, but the song packs a punch.

Classic Christmas Countdown~ The Runners- Up.

. Tuesday, 1 December 2009

Thanks to QueenBeeSasha for Fan-art
Yep, you guessed it. It's that time of year.... Decorations are being stuck to spindly trees, Lights are being lit, spoilt children are demanding expensive gifts, and Grannies are busy knitting jumpers. I feel that a compulsory subject in the school of blogging must be creating some sort of a 'Christmas' list, whether your passion is Science or Food.
My first ever Christmas list will consist of my personal favourite classic songs of the festive period. This means that songs by Rihanna or Alicia Keys will not feature in the list even though I think highly of their Christmas songs, as I do not think of these as classics, although they may creep into the runners-up (below).
Over the next few weeks I will reveal #10 - #1, and give an in-depth review of each individual track. However the runners-up list just consists of 'honourable-mentions' and will not be reviewed in such full detail. Here it goes...
My first just has to be A Fairytale Of New York ~ The Progues feat Kirsty MacColl. I realise that many people would argue that this was a stand-out Christmas track, and it firmly deserves its place on the countdown, but I disagree. Yes, it did well sales-wise, but I really don;t think it pushed any boundaries, and the huskiness of their voices just gets rather annoying after a while.
Secondly is an extremely new song that only came to my attention today, but I'm mighty glad it did. Lady Gaga has done it again. Teaming up with Space Cowboy to create the brilliant Christmas Tree. Unlike the the song above, Lady Gaga manages to push every boundary possible, and even squeezes a cheeky rap in- listen below.
The classic Let it Snow! just manages to be bumped off my favourite list, along with John and Yoko, followed closely by Shakin' Stevens. More hits from The Carpenters, Mud, and Destiny's Child deserve an honorable mention. One of my favourites, Rockin' around the Christmas Tree is possibly my favourite track from this list, because of it's catchiness and likability factor, but again it was just pipped to the post, along with Chris Rea, and Sir Elton.
This list has been impossibly hard to compile, and I apologize if it's a bit of a mess, but there are so many great Festive tunes that I probably haven't mentioned already that will be included in my proper countdown, or mentioned below in an update.
For now listen to this masterpiece. Can't say it gets you in the festive mood though.

ITunes Roundup. 28.11.09.

. Saturday, 28 November 2009

I have decided to introduce a new weekly post to my blog called the Itunes Roundup- I am hoping to post this every Saturday. Basically, I will partially review each song on the Top Ten Singles list, and give my thoughts and opinions on the chart performance and placing.

10: X Factor Finalists ~ You Are Not Alone D-

Having already allowed myself to stay awake long enough to review Hero Part II- NO sorry "You Are Not Alone" (here)- I don't think that I can put myself through the pain again. Alright, it's fair to say that their voices sound above-average, but the production is lazy and it was probably put together in 5 minutes. The single has been 'collecting-dust' in my ITunes library ever since I bought it, and I doubt it will ever be dusted. Nevertheless it is all for a good cause, and I'm glad that the single went to #1 last week.

9: JLS ~ Everybody In Love B

Following "Beat Again" as JLS's second #1, "Everybody In Love" manages to create a simple hook with the right amount of cheesiness to please all those girly fans out there. Having already expressed my feelings on this impressive single here, there isn't much else I can say. I still find this song mildly entertaining, and I still hate "Beat Again". I'm glad this track got its own moment to shine.

8: Cheryl Cole ~ Fight For This Love B-
What can I say? After reviewing "3 Words", it's very clear that FFTL is the best song on her debut album, although that isn't saying much. Her vocals are still childish, and nasally with no uniqueness or emotion. This is the only track that is worthy of becoming a single, apart from "Happy Hour", which isn't even that good. Cheryl needs to invest more of her time into singing lessons, than attempting to mentor two boys who would probably benefit more if you stayed out the way. Not surprised this was a #1 a few weeks back.

7: Leona Lewis ~ Happy B
After failing to grab the #1 spot two weeks ago, Leona Lewis has failed to impress me lately. Sure, this single is pretty decent with her epic vocals, and wonderful arrangement, but Echo was such a bore I turned it off before the end. I realise that Lewis wanted to challenge herself with a new direction, but where is the "Bleeding Love" diva that we fell in love with not that long ago. Not surprisingly Echo rocketed to Number 1 in the UK, however the Americans came to their senses and "Happy" flopped. Badly!

6: Susan Boyle ~ Wild Horses C
Yes, yes. I know she has a nice voice, but that's about it. I am terribly bored with Susie, she reminds me of a Leona Lewis O.A.P. With all the resources that have been invested into Susan, I'm not really sure why she hasn't released an original- let alone choosing a Rolling Stones song to cover. Emotions, and feelings are expressed beautifully, but it's not really my cup of tea. Number One album tomorrow I predict.

5: Lady Gaga ~ Bad Romance A-
Easily one of the best songs of 2009- how has this not been #1 yet? My favourite Gaga tune. The eccentric riffs complement Gaga versatile voice to the very core. This single hasn't got the credit it deserves, and I can't believe that it has only just peaked inside the Top Ten, after being released a few weeks ago. My "Fame Monster" review here. Absolutely Gaga-tastic!

4: Ke$ha ~ Tik Tok B
This year has been fantastic for the upcoming singer-songwriter Ke$sha. After featuring on two of Flo Rida's tracks- "Right Round" and "Touch Me"- the first being a record breaking #1, things could have only gone up with her debut album. First single "Tik Tok" is extremely successful it what it sets out to achieve- naughtiness, rebelliousness, and having fun- a perfect remedy for a modern pop song. Although it's a tad repetitive.

3: Rihanna ~ Russian Roulette A-
The only single here that I believe is capable of competing with the genius that is "Bad Romance". Undeniably great, this emotion-driven first single shows the rest of the world how to produce a proper ballad with feelings. My full review here. A true classic.

2: Black Eyed Peas ~ Meet Me Halfway C
How is this still here?

1: Jason Derulo ~ Watcha Say B+

'Borrowing' a sample from Imogen Heap's "Hide and Seek". Jason cries his name in true American R'n'B fashion, and declared he's been wrong. I would of scored this great track higher, but I can't help to think the whole concept was built around the sample. Nevertheless this is easy to forget as the fresh vibes complement his smooth, slightly computerized vocals. I am eager to hear more songs from this new 'man-of-R'n'B', as I believe his writes his own material and has also written the smash "Replay" sung by Iyaz. A worthy #1, and I'm glad it has finally reached the top spot on the ITunes chart.

Note: All positions are correct to 17:10 GMT on ITunes Chart.

Cheryl Cole. Three Words. New Video

. Friday, 27 November 2009

Diabolical Single. Diabolical Video. One of the worst songs of 2009.

Adam Lambert. For Your Entertainment. New Video.

. Thursday, 26 November 2009

Here is Adam Lamberts- the American Idol Season 8 runner up- debut single video. I'm really not that fussed by the new single, although both the video and the vocals suit him enormously.

Rihanna. Rated R. Review.

. Tuesday, 24 November 2009

Rihanna has carefully stayed under the radar since the whole Chris Brown 'incident'. She has only just started giving interviews to promote her album, and hadn't performed live for months. There is no doubt that this album- even if she will or won't admit it- is about the terrible domestic abuse committed against her, and how she is overcoming the struggle to face the world again. The startling black and white cover gives some inclination into how the album will pan out, but nothing could prepare you for this. My thoughts...
The album opener starts with a haunting, chilling speech that sounds like it come straight from the circus. If "Mad House" is anything to go by this album is going to be emotion-driven, and as far away from Good Girl Gone Bad as possible.

The first 'official' track- "Wait Your Turn"- which I have reviewed here, is still as edgy as ever, but I don't believe this 'ball of fire' is a grower, and the song can become tiresome after the tenth-or-so listen, but only die-hard fans will listen to it that much, but they won't care!
Preceding "Russian Roulette", is the second single "Hard"- an authentic piece of work that definitely doesn't disappoint. Rihanna's voice is perfectly suited to this chilled music that I believe reflects her resistance to Chris Brown. Is that a slight Jamaican influence I hear?..
A re-vamped, faster version of "Take a Bow" is the fourth track: "Stupid in Love". Although I prefer TaB, this song could easily be a single, and with the right promotion, Rihanna may have another top-five ht on her hands. I love the continuous clicks, and synthesised drums that don't drop the new emotional and sincere pretence.
To prove that Rihanna has finally gone to the 'dark-side' her record company have plonked Slash (!!) into "Rockstar 101" even though it's already incredibly strong and doesn't actually need him, but the guitar he adds is pretty spectacular. The stripped-down beat suits her voice perfectly, and shows off how much it has matured over the years. The collaboration will probably mean that this track is a single, which isn't a bad move. Love it.
Next is one of my favourite singles of this year, and is by far the most superior track on the album. "Russian Roulette" is written from the heart, and is the most deep and emotional song from the album. Ne-Yo works his magic. Again. And creates another masterpiece- my review here.
The glitchy, shaky beginning leads into "Fire Bomb". This is perhaps the greatest use of Rihanna's experienced, rough voice throughout the album. I prefer this track to "Stupid in Love", and I would must rather this was a single. The crazy, jittery riff introduces a new way to present a ballad. I love the burning city ending.
Moving swiftly into a electro-synthy vibe is "Rude Boy". This is the closest Rated R gets to Good Girl Gone Bad. Rihanna creates a sweet edge to her voice, and this complements the experimental lyrics and bouncy beats. Not my favourite, but still pretty nice. Not what I would expect from a track called "Rude Boy".
Another star-studded track is "Photographs" featuring BEP singer Will.I.Am. The lyrics and slow beat remind me instantly of "Cry". Will's voice blends instantly to RiRi's, but I'm not sure if this is natural. A track to please her fans at concerts. Sound like something Cheryl Cole would record-dare I say it- but a lot better. The album's weakest point, I believe.
As the album progresses I feel that we slightly lose the roughness, which I adore so much. "G4L"- a strange name- is again full of electro vibes. The track with the most 'Parental-Advisory', Rihanna is not afraid to experiment, and set the bar with this funky number.
The only leaked track that made the album is "Te Amo", and shows Rihanna stripped down to her bare emotions. A sweet, strong consistent song, with a great drum-line pulsating through the potential-single. Slightly Brazilian?
Penultimately is "Cold Case Love" beginning with haunting, echoing spurt of vocals that send a chill through you spine. The song doesn't pick up speed, and is the slowest of all thirteen- an haunting number? It's fresh and nearly sounds live with the heavy bongos.
To finish this one hell of an album, Rihanna presents "The Last Song"- ironic huh? It follows suit of the track before. It's soft, and therefore making it hard to escape Rihanna not-so-subtle hints of domestic abuse. A perfect ending, that shows off her adaptable voice with ease.

Wow, this is possibly the best album of the year. I would never of thought four years ago that the cheesy "SOS" star could ever be capable of anything like this. Granted, that she had an army of producers and writers to assist her, but there is no doubt Rihanna has a rare, raw talent.

Lady Gaga. The Fame Monster. Review.

. Monday, 23 November 2009

Originally intended by her record company to be a re-release of the multi-platinum album "The Fame", once again the genius that is Gaga stepped in and decided it would also be released as a stand-alone, as the eight tracks could stand on their own 'two feet'. "The Fame Monster" was produced with Lady Gaga's dark-side in mind, as opposed to her attention-grabbing, and shout-out to fame that was her last album.
This album is eagerly awaited, and everyone is expecting big things from the "Just Dance" star. Does she live up to these expectations, or will it be just another 'poker-face'?- see what I did there. Here is my in-depth review...
Kicking of this re-release is the spanking, spectacular, super "Bad Romance". I have to admit that the demo didn't sound promising- she sounded pretty drunk, but sobering up I have fallen in love with this timeless classic. My favourite part has to be the "Ra, ra, ra"- quirky, fun and so Gaga. Best song on the album. Fact.
Attempting to follow one of the best pop tracks of the year is the authentic, emotional "Alejandro". Throwing in as many accents, and club-beats as possible Lady Gaga creates a partial success. As said before, the song is ever so slightly Eurovision- something I thought I would never speak of involving Gaga until now. The song dips in places, but is on-average pretty good. Not single material.
The metaphor-cramped "Monster" is both disturbing as it is deep. Gaga cries: "That boy is a Monster.... He ate my heart, and then he ate my brain."- lyrics that aren't usually popular in normal pop circumstances, but who can expect Gaga to stick to the rules. It's nothing special, but certainly listenable.
The very "Again, Again" sounding "Speechless" is supposedly the 'best song Lady Gaga has ever written'- yeah right! Not to say that it's rubbish, but "Speechless" is the closest the album gets to a filler, although it is far from one. I prefer this track to her other 'ballads', but she should stick to upbeat, eccentric songs. Nevertheless it's nice to have a change.
After already reviewing "Dance in the Dark" here, there isn't much else I can say. The song still sounds as fresh and vibrant as the first time I listened to it. If there's one word you won't use to describe this album, it's boring. One of the best tracks.
My second favourite track on the album- "Telephone"- is the only collaboration, but who better to collaborate with than Beyonce? I've also reviewed this track here, and it's safe to say this track is amazing, and is almost as good as "Bad Romance" with it's phone metaphors, and strong vocals.
"So Happy I Could Die" is the penultimate track, and it's probably my least favourite. There is no immediate Gaga hook, and even though the wacky vocals and lyrics: "I touch myself and it's alright" don't sound out of place, the track isn't really anything to rave about, and doesn't achieve anything new.
"Teeth" is the strangest track to pick for the finale, although everyone knows Gaga likes to go out with a bang! Continuous chants of "Show me your teeth" pulsate throughout, and add an extra layer to the song. It's pretty meaningless, but who cares! The drums are quite often over-powering, but Gaga shows them who's boss with her ever-improving vocal capability that didn't get shown off enough times in her debut.
Although no tracks could live up to the explosion that is "Bad Romance", this album is certainly far from a disappointment. The new Lady of Pop refuses to drop her energy throughout, and I believe the album will be a commercial success.

Energetic, new, experimental. B+

Rihanna. An Overview Review. 2005-2009

. Sunday, 22 November 2009

To think that once every one's favourite pop-star that is now a fashion icon with over 12 million records sold, was once a long-haired, kind of bland, Beyonce-wannabe, with a maximum 2 years of success in the music industry.

To celebrate the release of Rihanna's highly anticipated, latest album: Rated R, which is released tommorow (UK). UpdateTheBeat has written a quick overview of each and everyone one of Rihanna's previous three albums...

Music of The Sun. C
Rihanna appeared in the year of 2005 out of nowhere and immediately hit radio and TV faster than you can say "DefJam", probably due to her Ashanti-esque vocals and lyrics, and her friendly Barbadian face.
"Music of the Sun" opens with the great, smash hit "Pon de Replay"- a fun, base-influenced club single. Rihanna's young voice copes well with the uptempo UK #2, and I feel her voice should be left for these sort of songs. Second single "If It's Lovin' That You Want" is okay, but nothing special and is actually quite sleep-inducing. The rest of the album is so samey, I would just be writing the equivalent review over and over if I was to scrutinise each song. Each song has a very strong Reggae-influence which I feel is a great advantage when used in the more uptempo songs.
However amongst the strong accent, and childish lyrics there are some a few gems; "That's La, La, La" is a welcome surprise with it's hip-shaking bass line, and no meaning, and the unreleased third single "Let Me" although sounding slightly too "Pon de Replay" is successful in becoming probably the most danceable song on the whole album with it's head-nodding beat, and pleasing vocals produced with ease from Rihanna. "Rush" is pretty good too.
Highlight: "Pon de Replay"

A Girl Like Me B-

Rihanna's sophomore album- "A Girl Like Me"- commences with her first Billboard Number #1, and club-stomper "SOS". It's a sort of revamped, new, unique way of thinking about "Pon de Replay" and again it's as catchy as hell. Her voice had definitely matured since her last album, or maybe it's just that more effort has been put into the production. No. It's surely the more established vocals that make this album more successful.
The Caribbean influence is still present, but is not featured in all the songs. In the Reggae-overloaded "Kisses Don't Lie" Rihanna shows her native side, and the more relaxed third single "We Ride" talks about a painful relationship which surprisingly the Barbadian Princess pulls off well, although I'm not sure if it's single material.
Second single, "Unfaithful" is one of my favourites from the album although receiving mixed reviews. The secretly dark ballad cleverly uses multiple metaphors to talk about an affair she is having. However I agree that her voice sounds strained and under-experienced in some areas, but this is easy to overlook.
The least successful songs on the album, are the tracks that follow in the footsteps of "Music of the Sun" like "Dem Haters" which embarrassingly uses text language to appeal to a more R'n'B audience. Several forgettable songs follow: "Final Goodbye", "Selfish Girl", and "Crazy Little Thing Called Love". Sean Paul collab "Break It Off" is fun, with a nice synth beat and cheeky lyrics that is forgettable fun- think a cheap "Baby Boy" (Beyonce).
Highlights: SOS, Unfaithful.

Good Girl Gone Bad A-

By now, Rihanna had established her rightful place in the music industry. She worked with some amazing people on "Good Girl Gone Bad" like Ne-Yo, and Jay-Z, to make sure she had more than one Number 1 this time round.
Gone are the Jamaican vibes, and childish lyrics. Rihanna's third album- as the title suggests- is about a new grown-up 'bad girl' RiRi who is now prepared to sing about sex "Shut up and Drive", and rebellion.
Kicking off this ace album is the lead single "Umbrella" featuring Jay-Z. The perfect single for Rihanna. I love the quirky hi-hat, and floundering bass line, but best of all who could forget the amazingly, annoyingly catchy tag line. Every time somebody says Umbrella it's automatically followed by "Ella, Ella, Ella!"- amazing! The song stayed at Number in the UK for a staggering 10 weeks!
"Push Up On Me" follows with it's strange 90's synthy beats and it sounds like a "SOS" demo- not finished- totally forgettable. Every one's favourite dance club number "Don't Stop The Music"- the fourth single- is very trance-y and fun and is a timeless classic in clubs across the country, although it can become slightly repetitive. "Shut Up and Drive" and "Breakin' Dishes" share a lot of similarities. They are both rebellious, upbeat, and sexy. Perhaps SUaD is a lot more erotic; everybody knows what it's about. I prefer BD although I would gladly listen to either.
"Hate That I Love You" is the first ballad on the album, and it features musical-mastermind: Ne-Yo. As RiRi says herself it's incredibly "deep" song, but I much prefer "Unfaithful".
"Say It" and "Sell Me Candy" aren't actually that good, they're very forgettable- fillers. I love the continuous, slightly over-powering drums in "Lemme Get That". It reminds me of Breakin' Dishes- this is the direction she should be heading in.
In the re-release version- Reloaded- "Rehab" follows. The simplicity of the track is its main appeal, not to mention the fact it was written by Justin Timberlake. It's one of my favourites not only on Reloaded, but overall. It didn't get the attention it deserves.
"Question Existing" is nothing special, along with the title track. The Unfaithful type ballad "Cry" is successful, but is shadowed by the greatness of "Take a Bow". Again using a simple idea TaB becomes absolutely amazing: one of the best pop ballads of the year. Ending this brilliant is "Disturbia" and "If I Never See Your Face Again"- a Maroon 5 remix of their original song. Both-again- are a pop-lovers dream. Disturbia with it's freaky, wacky "Bum, Bum, Bum" and IINSYFA (!!) with it's bouncy beats and energetic vocals.
Highlights: Umbrella, Breakin' Dishes, Rehab, Take a Bow, Disturbia, If I Never See You Face Again.
So there we have it. My extensive review of everything Rihanna has released (album wise). Hope you enjoyed. Can't wait for "Rated R" now!

Russian Roulette.

Jennifer Lopez. Louboutins. Review

. Saturday, 21 November 2009

American pop princess Jennifer Lopez, has just released her first single from her seventh, yes SEVENTH album, but don't expect it to involve a more mature and adult side to JLO- it's about an expensive brand of shoes. Can't say it sounds great on paper, but let's give it a spin. Here are my thoughts...
I do really love the synthy beginning followed by a quick spurt of trumpet hoots that should have stayed a lot longer- it really would of been a great feature throughout the song. Everything is going well until about seven seconds in, and she starts singing "Taking back my love,". There's nothing wrong with this until you realise she has sang it a staggering EIGHT(??!) times, which is crazily annoying and repetitive.
Then we get to the chorus...
There three words in the chorus repeated over and over and over and over.... (you get the point!) The synthy beats are boring by now, and once I actually checked the video to see if it was stuck on repeat, it was so repetitive.
There's nothing unique about this song, and if this is supposed to mark JLO's comeback to the music industry then I'm afraid to say: you failed. It sounds like a "Licky" (Shontelle) cousin, and her vocals are questionable throughout the track. Everything just goes downhill after the chorus...
Annoying. Repetitive. D+

Listen here.

The Saturdays. Ego. Review.

. Wednesday, 18 November 2009

The Sats (left to right: Mollie, Una, Rochelle, Vanessa, Frankie)

After "Forever is Over" failed to debut at number-one, The Sats have decided to place their bets with second single "Ego" a raunchy, upbeat, women-empowerment number that they are hoping will become their first ever #1. Here are my thoughts and opinions...

The heavy beat is the first thing to strike you, as the girls warble away chanting: "You need to have a sit down with your ego!" If I was to describe the song in one word it would have to be- confident. Confident. CONFIDENT- oh that was three... The girls have clearly matured and become more willing to be more deep in their songs, and have even co-written a track incidentally called "Deeper". All their voices have progressed, and Vanessa steals the song with her great, power-house vocals.

Back to "Ego". The girls sound much fiercer in this track than many other on the album, and I love the arrogance that is portrayed in the lyrics and electro-vibes that pulsate through the chorus. "Ego" is definitely a stand-out track on their sophomore album: Wordshaker (cover above), and I am glad this is the second single. I love the new edge and sound- I would even go as far as saying it sounded slightly pop-rocky a hurdle I never thought the girls would jump even with the army of producers and writers they have.

So there you have. It's actually pretty good. B+

Here's the video.

Shakira. Give It Up To Me. Video Premiere.

. Tuesday, 17 November 2009

"Give It Up To Me" features Lil' Wayne and is the second single in the US from Shakira's newest album "She Wolf", but strangely it doesn't appear on the international edition. Enjoy!

Beyonce feat Lady Gaga. Video Phone. Video Premiere.


Well haven't we been treated with some nice videos lately?- "Bad Romance", "Russian Roulette"- and now we have this to add to the collection of 'epics'. I don't get the toy guns though... but I love when Beyonce dances with Lady Gaga in the white- some great choreography. The video ties in nicely to the all the others from "I Am..." especially "Single Ladies". It's pretty much a futuristic, colourful "Single Ladies". Well enjoy!..

X Factor Finalists. You Are Not Alone. Review.

. Monday, 16 November 2009

Another year. Another X Factor charity single. Oh dear... Here are my thoughts..
First impressions are not good. It sounds like "Hero" part II, and Hero was awful. "You Are Not Alone" is droney, cheesy, boring and everything else you would expect from twelve average, inexperienced singers 'hand-picked' by Simon Cowell, boy-band picker, I'm-not-as-good-as-my-sister Dannii, and Chezza.
The whole song is extremely over-produced, and I find it very hard to tell the difference between each singer. None of the contestants shine, but I'm surprised to say that I enjoyed Rachel's husky, but short piece.
The song hasn't really achieved anything, but it's all for a good cause, so I encourage everyone to buy the single even if you don't force yourself to sit through it. Actually, it has achieved something- with little effort it has managed to be a lot better than Cheryl's album.

*Yawn* D-
The 'live' performance


Beyonce feat Lady Gaga. Video Phone. Review.

. Saturday, 14 November 2009

stills from the video

In just one day, we were delivered not one but two(!!) Lady Gaga/Beyonce collaborations through the magic of youtube, and I know this review is rather late, but it's better now than no time at all. Anyway, this is going to be a sure hit for the 'divas' around the world, mainly because of all the hype surrounding this collab and "Telephone". Here are my opinions on Beyonce's whopping eighth single!

Firstly, I love the vibe and groove that vibrates through the song. Beyonce's 'swagger' is strong throughout the song, and this is something Lady Gaga can only dream of having. Although, the "Uh, Uh"s annoy me slightly- they're just to constant and repetitive.

Then comes Lady Gaga's part- which I have to say is amazing- obviously not as good as Beyonce though. Gaga sings "Hubba Hubba" seductively and convincingly, and her voice sounds very convincing and genuine- a quality that most of her songs lack.

To finish "Video Phone" Beyonce concludes with a short harmony, and the couple join again to sing orgasmic "Uh Uh"s- a downfall if you ask me.

How could they go wrong? A-