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.