Wednesday, December 31, 2008

2008 in Review: Personal Airplay Top 40

Britney Spears was the biggest artist on my chart this year, ("Womanizer") topped my chart for 5 non-consecutive, becoming the longest running #1 single this year. This list is based on compiling points from my charts.

1. Womanizer - Britney Spears
2. I Kissed A Girl - Katy Perry
3. Disturbia - Rihanna
4. The Man Who Can't Be Moved - The Script
5. Forever - Chris Brown
6. All I Ever Wanted - Basshunter
7. Clumsy - Fergie
8. Sex on Fire - Kings Of Leon
9. No Air - Jordin Sparks Featuring Chris Brown
10. Warwick Avenue - Duffy
11. Viva La Vida - Coldplay
12. American Boy - Estelle Featuring Kanye West
13. Mercy - Duffy
14. Closer - Ne-Yo
15. Hot 'N' Cold - Katy Perry
16. Dance Wiv Me - Dizzee Rascal Featuring Calvin Harris & Chrome
17. Don't Stop The Music - Rihanna
18. 4 Minutes - Madonna Featuring Justin Timberland & Timbland
19. Human - The Killers
20. So What - P!nk
21. The Promise - Girls Aloud
22. Touch My Body - Mariah Carey
23. Lollipop - Lil' Wayne Featuring Static Major
24. Miss Independent - Ne-Yo
25. Love Lockdown - Kanye West
26. All Summer Long - Kid Rock
27. Giv It 2 Me - Madonna
28. Chasing Pavements - Adele
29. Piece of Me - Britney Spears
30. Take A Bow - Rihanna
31. Love In This Club - Usher
32. That's Not My Name - The Tings Tings
33. 2 Hearts - Kylie Minogue
34. Live Your Life - T.I. Featuring Rihanna
35. Run - Leona Lewis
36. Spotlight - Jennifer Hudson
37. Feedback - Janet Jackson
38. Take Back The City - Snow Patrol
39. When I Grow Up - Pussycat Dolls
40. Girls - Sugababes

Monday, December 29, 2008

UK Singles Chart, 28/12/08

1. Alexandra Burke - Halleluajh

Alexandra's, "Hallelujah", remains at #1 for a second week. The song is also the biggest selling single of 2008 as announced by Fearne Cotton on the radio 1 chart show, coming in the second place is the X-Factor finalists remake of Mariah Carey's, "Hero", so Burke scores a double this week. In term of sales Burkecomes second place for largest first week sales for an X-Factor single. "Hallelujah," moved 576,000 units in it's first week, behind Shayne Ward's, "That's My Goal," which moved 742,000.

5. Kings Of Leon - Use Somebody
12. Kings Of Leon - Sex On Fire

I'm completely in love with Kings Of Leon at the moment, I can feel an obsession coming on next year. "Use Somebody", are their second top 10 single after their previous "Sex On Fire", peaking at #2 a couple week back, the single slipped a couple notches but airplay for the single is rising excessively, I can see it taking the #1 position early 2009. "Sex On Fire," makes a huge rise, thanks to some heavy-airplay, it rises up 9 places from 21-12 this week, the single hit #1 a couple months back, becoming their first.

13. Akon - Right Now

"Right Now", rises into the top 15 this week, I thought the single was going to flop in the UK, but thankfully I was wrong, "Right Now" is Akon's 7th solo UK top 20, with #1's from 2005's, "Lonely", and 2006's, "Smack That", with Eminem.

14. Girls Aloud - The Promise
15. Pink - So What
16. T.I. featuring Rihanna - Live Your Life

Girls Aloud's, "The Promise", became their 4th UK #1 a couple months back, since then it began declining down into the top 30, this week it rises back up into the top 20. Other singles rising back into the top 20 thanks to heavy-airplay are Pink's, "So What", T.I and Rihanna's, "Live Your Life".

22. Katy Perry - I Kissed A Girl

I wonder what Katy Perry owes this dramatic rise back into the top 30, "I Kissed A Girl", was this years summer smash in the UK and in the US. I'm guessing airplay is to thank.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Rihanna, Re-Reloaded

Pop singer, Rihanna is expected to release her third album, Good Girl Gone Bad again, this time as a remix album. You can only reload an album so many times--As much as I liked this album, having it released so many times over a short period of time is rather annoying. So far the album has spawned 7 singles, of which; 3 were #1s and the rest were top 20s. An eighth single "Breakin' Dishes," is expected for release too. I think it's about time for a new album.

Best albums of 2008

Here's my sum of the best albums of 2008. Starting my blog halfway through the year, I missed out the chance to review some of the albums I really enjoyed listening too this year. Topping my list is Lil' Wayne, who delivered the best album of the year, let alone the best hip-hop album.

1. Lil' Wayne - The Carter III. Once in the shadow of his hip-hop peers (Jay-Z, Nas and Nelly to name a few) Lil' Wayne emerged back onto the scene with his third installment in the, Carter trilogy. Conjuring up a solid hip-hop complimented with some slick R&B grooves album, packed with some contemporaries and something die-hard fans can also enjoy. Essential tracks: Lollipop, Mrs Officer, Mr. Carter, Comfortable, Tie My Hands, A Milli

2. P!nk - Funhouse. The years best pop/rock album. P!nk's fifth album maybe best known for the jaunty lead single, "So What" but the album looks way deeper into P!nk the artist, rather than P!nk the somewhat crazy and carefree chick, employing moments of sentiment, rage and some beautiful balladry. Essential tracks: It's All Your Fault, So What, Glitter In The Air, Sober, Please Don't Leave Me, I Don't Believe You

3. Ne-Yo. Year of the Gentleman. After last years' Because of You, R&B superstar Ne-Yo returned with the best R&B album of the year. His third album was immaculately faultless. If I were to do the cruel thing of comparing--It's maybe not as good as Usher's masterpiece, Confessions, but sure does come close--It is better than what Usher delivered this year. Essential track: Miss Independent, Closer, Single, Mad, Why Does She Stay, Lie to Me

4. Coldplay - Viva La Vida or Death and All His Friends. 2005s, X&Y was hailed upon by practically anyone who enjoys alternative music--I've never been a solid alternative fan or a Coldplay fan for that matter (although I've always liked, "Clocks" and "The Scientist"), but their fourth album has completely won me over on the genre and the band. Essenital tracks: Viva La Vida, Violet Hill, Lover's In Japan, Yes

5. Madonna - Hard Candy. Madonna's last album showed a re-installment of the pop legend, proving after 2 and a bit decades in the business, she's still got it. Hard Candy, proved it again--seeing Madonna venture in a more contemporary R&B fieled, bringing the producing talents of Pharell Williams and Timbaland. Essential tracks: 4 Minutes, Heartbeat, Miles Away, Giv It 2 Me, She's Not Me

6. Kanye West - 808s & Heartbreak. Admittedly I didn't like this album at first, but it grew on me tremendously. Kanye West really explored different wings in hip-hop--going for a more futuristic, electronic and synthesised venture. Although now I see the gold in what he did, I hope he doesn't do it again. Essential tracks: Love Lockdown, Heartless, Paranoid, Street Lights, Coldest Night

7. Duffy - Rockferry. Released at the beginning of the year, Duffy's '60s inspired outlet is very addictive. Putting together a nice mix of sentimental ballads accompanied by Duffy's frail vocals and some catchy uptempos. Essential tracks: Mercy, Delayed Devotion, Warwick Avenue, Hanging On Too Long, I'm Scared, Rockferry

8. Britney Spears - Circus. What makes Britney Spears' sixth album that much sweeter is her triumphant comeback story behind it. Last years' Blackout was a good album considering everything that took place at the time. Circus, isn't widely better and is by no means her best work--but it does prove that Spears' is still relavent after 10 years in the game. Essential tracks: Shattered Glass, Circus, Womanizer, If U Seek Amy, Out From Under, Unusual You

9. Estelle - Shine. After her debut album, The 18th Day failed to generate any success, British singer, Estelle sook the guidance of American singer, John Legend--subsequently producing this great modern contemporary album. Spawning her biggest hit to date, "American Boy" with Kanye West: Essential tracks: American Boy, Wait A Minute (Just A Touch), Come Over, Pretty Please

10. Mariah Carey - E=MC2. The Emancipation of Mimi, proved the relevancy of Mariah Carey and E=CM2 furthered on the notion. Although a very good offering from Carey, it doesn't go without its flaws--which I've learned to overlook. Essential tracks: Migrate, I Stay In Love, Touch My Body, Love Story, I'll Be Lovin' U Long Time, Bye Bye, Cruise Control, Side Effects

11. Brandy - Human. Brandy's fifth album failed to generate any commercial success as predicted, but it didn't detract from the quality, I still love it as much as I did at the beginning of the month, a fantastic R&B album. Essential tracks: The Definition, Right Here (Departed), Camouflage, Warm It Up (With Love), Long Distance, Piano Man

12. T-Pain - Thr33 Ringz. Not that different from last years' Epiphany, just a bit more distinctively innovative--making another great hip-hop/R&B album for T-Pain. Essential track: Chopped 'N' Screwed, Freeze, It Ain't Me, Keep Going, Change

13. Fall Out Boy - Folie A Duex. Fall Out Boy's fifth album didn't differ that much from their previous, Infinity on High--exploring the alternative rock/pop genre a bit more, it only edged it out a bit, still a great rock album--but not that amazing. Essential tracks: I Don't Care, 20 Dollar Nose Bleeds, What A Catch, Donnie, Coffee's For Closers, America's Suithearts

14. Kings of Leon - Only by the Night. My initial enjoyment for this album, wore off eventually but I'm dismissing the fact this is infact an amazing alternative rock album. Essential track: I Want You, Use Somebody, Sex on Fire, Revelry, Crawl, Closer

15. Beyonce - I Am... Sasha Fierce. I wasn't too adamant on 2006s, B'day--but comparing to, Sasha Fierce--I'd say It's way better. I despised Beyonce's third album at first but it grew on me, like many albums this year. Essential tracks: If I Were A Boy, Halo, Single Ladies (Put A Ring On It), Brokenhearted Girl, Radio, Ego

16. T.I. - Paper Trail. The weakest album from T.I.'s last 3 albums, but it's a good hip-hop album, proving a very enjoyable listen. Essential tracks: Live Your Life, Whatever You Like, Dead and Gone, Slide Show, Swagger Like Us

Friday, December 26, 2008

Something Lady GaGa said...

I was watching an interview of Lady GaGa on the US chat show, The Today Show and the interviews asked her, what is it about her single, "Just Dance", that draws people it and she said it's because it's "super fun" and "one of those good times songs" then she added "it's what everybody's looking for at the moment", which brings me to my point, although she probably didn't have no substantial depth behind that, it occurred to me how we've seen less and less ballads reach atop the US Hot 100.

Depending on wether you count Leona Lewis's, "Bleeding Love", and Coldplay's, "Viva La Vida", as ballads, actual contemporary ballads seem to be struggling to be reaching the top spot these-days, I would've thought it woulda been easier these days, especially with the help of digital sales helping literally any track reach the top spot. Analyzing the top 10 now, it seems, it's true generally people seem to be all about upbeat rather slow and tepid.

  • Beyonce - Single Ladies = Extremely upbeat
  • T.I. and Rihanna - Live Your Life = Fairly upbeat
  • Lady GaGa - Just Dance = Extremely upbeat
  • Kanye West - Heartless = Not too slow, but not as upbeat neither
  • Britney Spears - Womanizer = Electro-pop, extremely upbeat
  • Katy Perry - Hot N Cold = Extremely upbeat
  • Taylor Swift - Love Story = Fairly upbeat.
  • Kanye West - Love Lockdown = Sure it's slow, but it's not a ballad.
  • Beyonce - If I Were A Boy = Very slow, but you wouldn't count it as your casual contemporary ballad.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Personal Airplay, 25/12/08

TW LW Title - Artist
1 .... 1 .... Womanizer - Britney Spears (5 weeks @ #1)
2 .... 2 .... Live Your Life - T.I. Featuring Rihanna
3 .... 4 .... Run - Leona Lewis
4 .... 5 ..... Use Somebody - Kings Of Leon
5 .... 3 .... If I Were A Boy - Beyonce
6 .... 7 .... I Hate This Part - The Pussycat Dolls
7 ... 10 ... Rain On Your Parade - Duffy
8 .... 8 .... Right Now - Akon
9 .... 6 .... Hot N Cold - Katy Perry (1 wk @ #1)
10 . NEW. Hallelujah - Alexandra Burke

Monday, December 22, 2008

Album Review: Kings of Leon - Only by the Night (4.5/5)

Some Kings of Leon history: Kings of Leon came into the spotlight back in 2003, with their debut album, Youth and Young Manhood, whilst becoming a critic favorite; receiving some pretty rave reviews--it didn't become a stellar hit. Bypass their second album, Aha Shake Heartberak then you have their third album, Because of the Times delivered the band their big break--again receiving rave reviews from Critics; notable The Observer, who awarded the album a generous 5 star review--but this time matching it with some commercial success, producing a good jump off point for their fourth album.

And now Kings of Leon is a name known pretty much everywhere now, we have their much anticipated fourth album, Only by the Night (released back in September). A more sophisticated, clean cut alternative rock album with a dash of pop. Whilst, Because of the Times gave the band their big break, I think Only by the Night really shows Kings of Leon have arrived.

The album kicks off with the haunting, "Closer" which begins with dark misconstrued beeps, before the drums and the nostalgic electronic guitars kick in. It's a very eerie number, a great darkening start to the album. "Crawl," carries through the same theme--except the electronic guitars become more distinctive and rugged, while the drums fade into the background but still effective.

The first song I ever heard by Kings of Leon was, "Sex on Fire" earlier this year--instantly capturing my musical attention with its upbeat, fast paced rock sense, embedding a rush of drums and electronic guitars, becoming the bands first UK #1. The follow up single, "Use Somebody" just fends it out in quality, whilst I do love "Fire,"--"Use Somebody," is just fantastic, it's a breezy cut, noticeably more slower, taking influences from U2. The song doesn't have a traditional structure, which is what I love about it--the chorus is essentially an instrumental section, after the build of repetition of the lyrics ("you know that I could use somebody"/"you know that I could make you notice").

"Manhattan," is a soothing mid-tempo, notably more paced than some of the other tracks; pursuing some sharp vocals; a result of the distorted guitar and drums. "Revelry," is another mid-tempo, but still goes for a more edgy sound--it doesn't really build up to anything, but the beat does pick up half-way throughout. "Notion," begins with some revered strings, accompanied with some aggressive vocals, sounding like a slower version of, "Sex on Fire."

After, "Sex on Fire" and "Use Somebody," my favorite track on here is, "I Want You" which is a soulful mid-tempo--clanging with hi-hats, twiddling strings and pacing drums. It's a definite gem of the album--It's brilliant. It also has my favorite lyric of the album ("I'll call shot gun, you can play your R&B tunes"). The chorus is overbearingly melodic, the layred guitars are also pretty neat. "Be Somebody," is more dogmatic, it's verses are tuneless--making its chorus really standout.

The only tracks I don't really like are, "Cold Desert" it runs too long (5:35) not really building up to anything and "Beneath the Serivice," doesn't have the power of the other tracks, the electronic guitar doesn't have any notable effect.

The album closes with the mellow, "Frontier City." Kings of Leon deliver a very good alternative rock album, Only by the Night isn't outstanding, but is by no means undwhelming.

Best: I Want You, Use Somebody, Sex on Fire, Manhatten, Closer, Crawl

Daniel Merriweather "Change"

Australian singer, Daniel Merriweather makes his commercial debut with his single, "Change" a uptempo, a bluesy styled track. Merriweather's been working with Mark Ronson (responisble for the hit, "Valerie" with Amy Winehouse) on his forthcoming debut album. Check out the video to "Change," below.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

UK Singles Chart, 21/12/08

1. Alexandra Burke - Hallelujah
2. Jeff Buckley - Hallelujah
36. Leonard Cohen - Hallelujah

X-Factor winner Alexandra Burke snatches the christmas #1 as predicted with her debut single, remake of "Hallelujah", the single has broken the record, previously set by fellow X-Factor winner Leona Lewis, for fastest selling single for a female artist, "Hallelujah", moved 576k units in it's first week of release -- Leona's, "A Moment Like This", moved 571k, a mere 5k more but a records, a record; this leaves poor Leon Jackson, last years winner out of the equation; his winning song, remake of Whitney and Mariah's, "When You Believe", moved up to 371k in it's first week, the second lowest selling single from an X-Factor contestant, but the song did maintain a solid stay at #1, staying there for 3 weeks, the first winner Steve Brookstein maintains the lowest will only 127k moved with his remake of Phil Collins's, "Against All Odds". '05 winner Shanye Ward remains the highest with 721k moved with, "That's My Goal".

4. Beyonce - If I Were A Boy
8. Beyonce - Listen

Beyonce scores 2 #1's in the top 10 this week, another result of the X-Factor; "Listen", was released last year, taken from the Dreamgirls soundtrack, it orginally peaked #16; due to that mind-blowing duet with Alexandra on last week's X-Factor, it re-entered at #60 and this wwek, jumps all the way to #8, another result of this is that her album, I Am... Sasha Fierce, has jumped 15 places up the chart to #9, rising to a new peak; in it's first week of release it peaked at #10.

5. Geraldine - Once Upon A Christmas Song

I just heard this on, "The Box", Peter Kay's alter ego -- Geraldine releases her second single, "Once Upon A Christmas Song", which is disturbingly catchy -- it bows at #5; all proceeds for the song go to the NSPCC, that's so sweet oh him/her; his/her previous single, "Winners Song", peaked at #2, (it re-enters the chart at #46 this week); funnily enough stopping X-Factor winner Leon Jackson's, "If This Isn't Love", from achieving a proper top 3.

38. Girls Aloud - The Loving Kind

Girls Aloud latest release from their latest album, Out of Control, "The Loving Kind", only just started receiving airplay last week; it debuts #38 this week; with the success of, "The Promise", which gave them their 4th #1 single, I think this single could be the rising kind.

44. The Saturdays - Issues

Is it just me or has been really quiet for The Saturday's , apart from the videos for their singles, I haven't hard anything else, no interviews, no source of promotion for their album, Chasing Lights, which performed moderately on the album chart; their 3rd single taken from the album, "Issues", makes way up the chart this week rising 11 places up to 55.

Single Review: Alexandra Burke - Hallelujah (4/5)

This time last year, the buzz was surrounding, Leon Jackson--The X-Factor's fourth winner; putting out his remake of Mariah Carey and Whitney Houston's, "When You Believe" which became the Christmas #1 as predicted. Looking to be following in the footsteps of Leona Lewis ("A Moment Like This"), Shayne Ward ("That's My Goal") and the show initial winner, Steve Brookstein ("Against All Odds") is the show's latest winner, Alexandra Burke, 20 from London.

Her remake of Leonard Cohen's "Hallelujah," (which I first heard in, Shrek (2001) is actually pretty notable. Generally when an X-Factor winner records their debut song, it's more about the event of winning the show--but Burke gives an outstanding vocal performance. The only other X-Factor single I've liked is Leona Lewis remake of Kelly Clarkson's, "A Moment Like This." With only 3 days left until the Christmas edition of the UK sinles chart, "Hallejuah" currently has the fastest selling single in the UKs history, moving 105,000 copies in just 24 hours. Expect a pretty debut next week.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Album Review: Fall Out Boy - Folie à Deux (4 / 5)

Fall Out Boy's fifth album, Folie à Deux had some big shoes to fill; following up to last years' Infinity on High, which essentially turned me into a fan of the band. Conjuring up all the ingredients needed to produce the perfect punk-rock album, with a dash of modern pop, which was the result of the haunting but contemporary, "Thanks Fr Th Mmrs" and my favorite song from that album, "This Ain't A Scene, It's An Arms Race." Folie à Deux, fends out, Infinity only by inches, as it explores more territories within the punk-rock genre--It's not so captivated like its predecessors.

The opening number, "Disloyal Order of Water Buffaloes" kicks off with a weepy, vocal and organ composition--before the electronic guitars kick in, followed by the drums. It's a very upbeat start to the album. Whilst the first few seconds see to a more darkening venture, the song does however turn a bit more lighthearted as it runs. The single, "I Don't Care" is an enjoyable pop/rock song--and the best pop/rock song on the album, adopting a brilliant, killer chorus fueled by your typical drums, strings and electronic guitar. This song kinda reminds me off P!nk's "So What."

Getting into more depths of the album; "She's My Winona," shows a bit of pop presence, while still keeping that key rock edge. The verses are fast paced and I'm guessing unintentionally funky. "American Suithearts," kicks off with raging electronic guitar, backed with some cynical handclaps--before dialing up a more breezy composition. The chorus is brilliant, the melodic chant ("lets hear it for America's Suithearts") is undeniably catchy.

"Headfirst Slide Into Coopestown On A Bad Bed," is dials up a funky configuration, employing gushes of synth. The song is weirdly two sided--after the electronic guitars and drums do their job, the song surprisingly changes into a piano and vocal disposition. It's really cool. "The (Shipped) Gold Standard," runs with pacing drums and heavy strums of guitar--the first half of the song is not really that different from anything else on the album but the second picks up swiftly with a more distinctive melody and some high pitches vocal work.

(Aside from "I Don't Care") My initial favorite was, "Coffee's For Closers" which pounds with rhythmic handclaps and implements a breezy but compelling chorus; Fall Out Boy sure do well with these brassy type tracks. "What A Catch, Donnie," is the traditional ballad of the album--starting out a piano and vocal composition before the drums and electronic guitar kick in, making the latter more dramatic than it needs to be, but I love it.

"Twenty-Seven," begins with pacing drums and matching it are heavy strums of guitars. I really like the melody in the chorus, which makes up for the somewhat lacking verses. "Tiffany Blews," begins with a vocal and handclap configuration; which is nice but then turns into something not so nice, it seems tired and bland--Maybe it's a grower. "W.A.M.S." is okay, nothing spectacular.

"20 Dollar Nose Bleed," is a nice (somewhat soulful) track. Backed with the typical drums and strings, incorporating some whimsical horns, making the chorus the best on the album, maybe not the best, but certainly my favorite. Closing the album is, "West Coast Smoker" which is really a dance-pop/rock structured ending. I like it, but it's not as good as the other songs that use the same blueprint.

Folie a Deux does explore more sounds within the punk-rock genre and it doesn't sound as Captivated as, Infinity on High but despite what I said before, I think I prefer, Infinity. Folie a Deux, has many good tracks--but at times it does seems as if its sound-hopping, whilst, Infinity picks a sound and sticks with it throughout, only a altering a smidge.

Best: I Don't Care, 2o Dollar Nose Bleed, She's My Winona, Coffee's For Closers, What A Catch, Donnie

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Billboard Hot 100, Week Ending (27/12/08)

1. Beyonce - Single Ladies
2. T.I. featuring Rihanna - Live Your Life

For the second time in a row Beyonce's, "Single Ladies", and T.I.'s, "Live Your Life", swap positions on the chart. "Single Ladies", received a significant amount of airplay additional to over 155k in digital sales, pushing it back up to #1. "Live Your Life", still rules Rhythmic Radio.

4. Britney Spears - Circus
6. Britney Spears - Womanizer

Britney Spears' "Circus", takes a step down to #4 but Womanizer shoots up #6 -- the song peaked at #1 2 months ago. "Womanizer", claimed the top spot at top 40 radio 2 days ago, making it her first ince '04's, "Everytime". Unfortunately I'll predict "Circus", will continue to descend as airplay for song is still pretty weak. Last week it was the first time Britney had had 2 singles inside the top 10.

7. Kanye West - Heartless
10. Love Lockdown

Alongside Beyonce, Britney and T.I., Kanye West also has 2 singles inside the top 10 with, "Heartless", and, "Love Lockdown"; As "Love Lockdown", continues to descend down the chart, "Heartless", gains way by rocketing from 16-7 it's 'Airplay Gainer' of the week.

34. Brandy - Right Here

Brandy's, "Right Here", makes significant rise, rising 53-34, this is probably due to the release of her 5th album Human this week, the album debut at #15 becoming her lowest debut since her '94 self titled album, debut at #20. "Right Here", is her highest charting single since 2002's, "Full Moon", which peaked at #18. The song is also doing well at top 40 radio, it's at #25 with 50% increase in spins.

Personal Airplay, 18/12/08

TW LW Title - Artist
1 .... 1 .... Womanizer - Britney Spears (4 weeks @ #1)
2 .... 2 .... Live Your Life - T.I. Featuring Rihanna
3 .... 3 .... If I Were A Boy - Beyonce
4 .... 5 .... Run - Leona Lewis
5 .... 6 .... Use Somebody - Kings Of Leon
6 .... 4 .... Hot N Cold - Katy Perry (1 wk @ #1)
7 ... 12 ... I Hate This Part - The Pussycat Dolls
8 ... 19 ... Right Now - Akon
9 .... 7 .... Forgive Me - Leona Lewis
10 .. 22 .. Rain On Your Parade - Duffy

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

New music I'm listening to

Use Somebody - Kings of Leon. Following up their smash hit, "Sex on Fire" is Kings Of Leon with their second single, "Use Somebody" from their fourth album, Only By the Night. It's a brilliant alternative piece. Just slightly better than, "Sex on Fire --acquiring a bit more depth and produced by Angelo Petraglia, Jacquire King. Another winner for Kings of Leon, I should really look into checking out their album and maybe past ones too.

Spaceman - The Killers. Alternative group, The Killers' I'm definitely going to look into more next year. I liked their album, Hot Fuss but I never gave it anymore than a couple listens. "Spaceman," is the second single from their latest offering, Day & Age--the single follows up, "Human" and kinda uses the same blueprint and burst-of-melody formula in the chorus. love it.

I Will Be - Leona Lewis. After the upbeat, "Forgive Me" Leona Lewis returns to her typical balladry. Originally recorded by Avril Lavigne, "I Will Be" is a beautiful ballad, Lewis gives a stunning performance. Just flawless.

Mrs. Officer - Lil' Wayne Featuring Bobby Valentino. Produced by Deezle Lil' Wayne's new single, "Mrs. Officer" dials a more R&Bish composition. Probably the furthest Wayne's strayed away from hip-hop, rivalling his smash earlier this year, "Lollipop."

Issues - The Saturdays. Nice to hear something slow from The Saturdays. "Issues," is a brilliant acoustic pop song, very refreshing to hear after the upbeat "If This Isn't Love," and the playfully electronic, "Up."

Heartless - Kanye West. One of my initial favorites from Kanye West's latest album, 808s & Heartbreak.

Long Distance - Brandy. I reviewed her album. Absolutely stunning, Brandy's "Long Distance," is a beautiful piano backed number. This was one of my favorites.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

UK Singles Chart, 14/12/08

1. Leona Lewis - Run

Leona spends a second week at #1 with her remake of the Snow Patrol's, "Run", I'm pretty sure the song will be knocked of the top spot by one of the contenders for the Christmas number-one next week, probably ascending it down to #2 or #3. "Run", also tops the airplay char this week.

2. Kings Of Leon - Use Somebody

"Use Somebody", seem set to follow the success of Kings Of Leon's previous single, "Sex On Fire", the single rises 8 places this week from 10-2, if it weren't for the Christmas number-one next week; I could've seen this ascending to the top spot. Additionally, "Sex On Fire", continues to descend down the chart falling 14-15 this week.

3. Bandaged - Little Drummer Boy/Peace On Earth

Bandaged's, "Little Drummer Boy/Peace On Earth", is the highest debut for a main contender for the Christmas number-one; I just checked out the song on YouTube and personally I think it sucks but it obviously appeals to some, since X-Factor Winner, Alexandra Burke's, "Hallelujah", is probably locked in for the top spot next week; the real comepition is for #2 -- this song seems to have the spot wrapped up but with some hot comeptition from Leona Lewis's, "Run".

12. Mariah Carey - All I Want For Christmas

It's about that time of year again; it seems Mariah's classic, "All I Want For Christmas", never gets old -- I always do wonder howcome everyone who download the song last year and the year before download it again the year after when they already have it, anyway last year the song reached a peak position of #4, originally "All I Want For Christmas", peaked at #2 on the chart back in '94.

16. Rihanna - Rehab

Rihanna earns her 12th solo UK Top 20; her latest single, "Rehab", taken from her everlasting 3d album Good Girl Gone Bad rises 20-16 this week.

22. Boyzone - Better

Unfortunately the success of Take That couldn't rub of on Boyzone; their single, "Better", peaks at a disappointing #22 even with the release of the physical single last week.

24. Beyonce - Single Ladies

Byeonce's, "Single Ladies", makes a significant rise thanks to an increase in digital sales and some serious airplay, rising 37-24, earning her, her 13th solo UK top 30.

26. Wham! - Last Christmas
29. Gabriella Cilmi - Warm This Winter
31. Wizzard - I Wish It Could Be Christmas Everyday
32. Slade - Merry Christmas Everybody
36. Shakin' Stevens - Merry Christmas Everyone
38. Basshunter - Jingle Bells
40. Status Quo - It's Christmas Time

The UK Singles Chart gets it's dose of 'christmas' this week as 7 christmas-themed songs enter the top 40; It's hard to tell wether these songs will continue to rise up the chart or suffer a drop out of the top 40 next week -- if they do rise, it will be the 'christmas edition' of the chart to thank next week.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Billboard Year-End Charts

The Billboard Year-End Charts have been published. As predicted Flo Rida's "Low," tops the list--this year the single stayed atop the Hot 100 for 10 weeks straight. Here are the top 10 singles of 2008:

1. Low - Flo Rida Featuring T-Pain
2. Bleeding Love - Leona Lewis
3. No One - Alicia Keys
4. Lollipop - Lil Wayne
5. Apologize - Timbaland Featuring OneRepublic
6. No Air - Jordin Sparks & Chris Brown
7. Love Song - Sara Bareilles
8. Love in This Club - Usher Featuring Young Jeezy
9. With You - Chris Brown
10. Forever - Chris Brown

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Billboard Hot 100, Week Ending (20/12/08)

1. T.I. featuring Rihanna - Live Your Life

T.I. returns to the top spot for his third run there, continuing his 6th non-consecutive week. "Live Your Life", received a +1000 increase in spins at Top 40 radio, bringing the song back up to #1.

3. Britney Spears - Circus
10. Britney Spears - Womanizer
70. Britney Spears - Shattered Glass
86. Britney Spears - If U Seek Amy

Britney debuts big with, "Circus", the second single taken from the album of the same name, after racking up 212,000 copies in digital sales, Britney earns her first top 10 debut, it's also the second (tied with David Cook's, "Time Of My Life", and Kanye Wests, "Love Lockdown") highest debut of the year after David Archuleta's, "Crush", debut at #2 earlier this year. Additionally Circus makes a debut at #1 on the 'Hot Digital Songs' Chart, replacing Beyonce's, "Single Ladies". Although airplay for the song seems pretty weak at the moment garnering a timid 1.3 million audience impressions over the course of last week, I think Circus has the power to stay inside the top 10 at least until airplay picks up.

"Womanizer", takes a step down to #10 this week, which is surprising as it keeps on rising at top 40 radio reaching a new peak of #4, with a steady -8000 spins. More surprising debuts come from album cuts, "Shattered Glass", and, "If U Seek Amy", which debut at #70 and #86 respectively due to the release of Circus last week, expectedly these songs are probably gonna drop out the top 100 next week. Additionally Circus debut at #1 on the Billboard 200 this week, moving more than 505,000 units.

4. Lady GaGa featuring Colbie O'Donis - Just Dance

Lady GaGa's, "Just Dance", makes it proper top 5 debut this week, after rising 7-5 last week, it rises an additional 1 spot to #4, the song is also doing well at top 40 radio, currently at a peak position of #8, with more +6000 spins this week, I think this could just as well be Lady GaGa's first #1, if it keeps the pace of movement.

8. Kanye West - Love Lockdown
16. Kaney West - Heartless

"Love Lockdown", is this weeks 'Sales Gainer', rising a significant 13-8, putting itself back into the top 10. "Heartless", the second single taken from Kanye Wests 4th studio album 808s & Heartbreak begins to rise back up the chart after peaking #4 last month.

19. Akon featuring Colbie O'Donis and Kardinal Official - Beautiful

Akon makes his second highest debut, with "Beautiful", after, "Right Now", the first single taken from his 3rd album, Freedom, debut at #17 due to strong digital sales.

Album Review: Jamie Foxx - Intuition (3.5/5)

I'd say out of the all the R&B artist that have migrated into acting, the ones that can balance and success greatly both their acting and singing responsibilities, Jamie Foxx comes out on top. His films do well and his albums sell by the bucket loads. Foxx became the first R&B artist to win an Oscar and score a number one album. (Beyonce, Jennifer Lopez and Jennifer Hudson all do well at this too). His last album, Unpredictable was his album in 11 years; his debut album, Peep This went out virtually unknown. Unpredictable was the surprise hit of 2005; adopting a sultry sense of R&B, with lushes of pop. His latest, Intuition uses the same formula--but isn't a better offering. When compared to, Unpredictable this is a more pop contemporary offering--filled with many songs that would do well as singles.

What this and its predecessor share is that its a very star studded album. Finding features from Lil' Wayne, T.I., Ne-Yo, T-Pain and The-Dream. But despite the somewhat cramped amount of guests there are plenty songs on here, where Foxx performs by himself and he sounds immaculate. I like how he doesn't need features from rappers to make him sound good, but he features them anyway. The opens neatly with, "Just Like Me" with T.I., which begins with an acoustic guitar covered by T.I.'s ramblings. An R&B soaked bassline, with gushes of synth--it's the perfect opener. The songs lyrics talk about a man cheating on his girl and being mad when she does it back. I would like to hear a 100% acoustic version of this song, I believe it would sound really good.

The albums kicks it up a notch with the Justin Timberlake reminiscent, The Timbaland produced "I Don't Need" it sounds like Timberlake's, "LoveStoned" thumping with a funky vocalized bassline, with some faint clicks murmuring beneath the surface. Somewhere between the verses and the chorus, the horns begin to kick, which also sounds really good. "Number One," with Lil' Wayne, I shouldn't really like--because really it's a tuneless song with a bland distorted kinetic bassline. But there's something about it that keeps me listening, it's actually quite pleasing. I'll take it as a guilty pleasure, Lil' Wayne puts in a good verse too.

Kanye West and The-Dream pop up on, "Digital Girl" it's a spacey number, backed with tambourines and a thumping bass to keep it urban. It's a nice song, but does drag on a bit--5 minutes to be exact--Jamie Foxx doesn't actually start singing until minutes into the song, whilst he's waiting; Kanye West makes references to T-Pain's song, "Can't Believe It" with Lil' Wayne and The-Dream makes references to his own song, "I Luv Ur Girl."

Among the best on the album is the current single--the vocodered,"Blame It" with T-Pain, pulsing with synth a smooth beat and a killer chorus, it could be among Foxx's best song ever. The stuttering in the chorus ("Blame it on the a-a-alcohol"). It's more slower the other stuff on the album, but it still makes you want to move. The even slower, "She Got Her Own" with Ne-Yo, is a sweet piano backed number, with a smooth but faintly thundering bassline. It sounds like a part 2 to Ne-Yo's own, "Miss Independent."

The second half of the album is somewhat lacking, but maintains an above-decent-venture. "I Don't Know," is a smooth mid-tempo and has a nice melody but lacks a strong kick to solidfy the song. "Weekend Lover," another slow number, also has a nice melody but it's too empty lacking any sort of drive. It's pretty big on the 808 machine. "Why," falls into the same shoes as the previous 2, except this has a bit more drive with a stronger bassline and a more distinctive melody. I also like it when the strings kick in during the second half of the song.

"Freak'in Me," was one of the initial tracks I heard before hearing the album in full, I wasn't too happy with it at first, but I really like it. It's your archetypal bump'n'grind numbers; adding a haunting element to it.

The rest of the album is filler; "Slow," is another bump'n' grind number, but at this point it's overdone. "Rainman," and "Overdose," are just there to lengthen the album. Intuition is a good album, but falls apart when the second half approaches--but this can't overshadow the tracks worthy of praise. Unpredictable remains the surperior album.

Best: Blame It, She Got Her Own, I Don't Need It, Just Like Me, Number One

Personal Airplay, 11/12/08

TW LW Title - Artist
1 .... 2 .... Womanizer - Britney Spears (3 weeks @ #1)
2 .... 3 .... Live Your Life - T.I. Featuring Rihanna
3 .... 4 .... If I Were A Boy - Beyonce
4 .... 1 .... Hot N Cold - Katy Perry (1 wk @ #1)
5 .... 9 .... Run - Leona Lewis
6 ... 10 ... Use Somebody - Kings Of Leon
7 .... 6 .... Forgive Me - Leona Lewis
8 .... 5 .... Love Lockdown - Kanye West (1 wk @ #1)
9 .... 7 .... Papa - N-Dubz
10 .. 8 .... Human - The Killers

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Single Reviews, 09/12/08

Britney Spears - Circus (5/5) - I suppose you already know how I feel about this song, absolutely amazing R&Bish offering from Britney. "Circus" manages to combine pop and urban contemporary and strangely compliments the previous single "Womanizer" very well.

Christina Aguilera - Dynamite (2/5) - Yuck! worse than "Keeps Gettin' Better", what's up with Christina these days. I think she should re-discover her Stripped days.

Lily Allen - The Fear (4.5/5) - A nice retro offering from Lily Allen. "The Fear" is the lead single from her forthcoming album It's Not Me, It's You and it's a great lead single at that, it has a distinctive nostalgic feel to it.

Best of the lists (albums) 2000s

I'm currently in the process of compiling my best of the year lists for both albums and singles ready for publishing at the end of this month. Here is a look at the top 10 albums of the years in this decade.

Still a youngster, I only listened to what was receiving the most airplay on the radio or the television, which was mostly Britney Spears and a handful of girl and boybands. Some of the entries on my list are more of a recent detection. The album I listened to most was Britney's, Oops!...I Did It Again.

  1. Britney Spears - Oops!...I Did It Again
  2. Erykah Badu - Mama's Gun
  3. Madonna - Music
  4. Craig David - Born to Do It
  5. D'Angelo - Voodoo
  6. Westlife - Coast to Coast
  7. Toni Braxton - The Heat
  8. Linkin' Park - Hybrid Theory
  9. Kylie Minogue - Light Years
  10. N'Sync - No Strings Attached

  1. Aaliyah - Aaliyah
  2. Janet Jackson - All for You
  3. Alicia Keys - Songs In A Minor
  4. Mary J. Blige - No More Drama
  5. Usher - 8701
  6. Michael Jackson - Invincible
  7. Kylie - Fever
  8. P!nk - M!ssundaztood
  9. Shakira - Laundry Service
  10. Destiny's Child - Survivor
This year was the year where I can became a hardcore fan of Christina Aguilera (although I'm not so much anymore) I must have listened to her sophomore album, Stripped to death, I can't find that album anymore.

  1. Christina Aguilera - Stripped
  2. Shania Twain - Up!
  3. Sugababes - Angels With Dirty Faces
  4. Nelly - Nellyville
  5. Faith Hill - Cry
  6. Kelly Rowland - Simply Deep
  7. Stacie Orrico - Stacie Orrico
  8. Justin Timberlake - Justified
  9. Tweet - Southern Hummingbird
  10. Jay-Z -The Blueprint 2: The Gift & The Curse
Away from the spotlight for a year, Britney Spears returned with a killer of an album, In the Zone was the first album I'd bought for a long time--it became a must-have in my primary school. Luther Vandross released his last album, Dance With My Father before he passed away a couple years after. The album was an R&B masterpiece.

  1. Luther Vadnross - Dance With My Father
  2. In the Zone - Britney Spears
  3. Michael Buble - Michael Buble
  4. R. Kelly - Chocolate Factory
  5. Mya - Moodring
  6. P!nk - Try This
  7. Monica - After the Storm
  8. Erykah Badu - Worldwide Underground
  9. Jessica Simpson - In This Skin
  10. 50 Cent - Get Rich or Die Tryin'
This was, essentially the best year for music. Biggest artist of the year was Usher, releasing his monster hit album, Confessions.

  1. Usher - Confessions
  2. Alicia Keys - The Diary of Alicia Keys
  3. Green Day - American Idiot
  4. Kanye West - College Dropout
  5. Natasha Bedingfield - Unwritten
  6. The Killers - Hot Fuss
  7. Kelly Clarkson - Breakaway
  8. Gwen Stefani - Love.Ange.Music.Baby
  9. Maroon 5 - Songs About Jane
  10. Snow Patrol - Final Straw

  1. Mariah Carey - The Emancipation of Mimi
  2. Mary J. Blige - The Breakthrough
  3. Toni Braxton - Libra
  4. Sugababes - Taller In More Ways
  5. Kanye West - Late Registration
  6. Madonna - Confessions on the Dancefloor
  7. Craig David - The Story Goes...
  8. Keyshia Cole - The Way It Is
  9. Rihanna - Music of the Sun
  10. Westlife -Face to Face
  1. John Mayer - Continuum
  2. Rascal Flatts - Me and My Gang
  3. Jay-Z - Kingdom Come
  4. Evanescence - The Open Door
  5. Gwen Stefani - The Sweet Escape
  6. Daughtry - Daughtry
  7. Snow Patrol - Eyes Open
  8. P!nk - I'm Not Dead
  9. Ne-Yo - In My Own Words
  10. Lyfe Jennings - The Pheonix
  1. Kanye West - Graduation
  2. Robin Thicke - The Evolution of Robin Thicke
  3. Michael Buble - Call Me Irresponsible
  4. Kelly Clarkson - My December
  5. Robyn - Robyn
  6. Jay-Z - American Gangster
  7. Britney Spears - Blackout
  8. Chris Brown - Exclusive
  9. Fall Out Boy - Infinity on High
  10. Westlife - Back Home

Sunday, December 07, 2008

Preview Fall Out Boy's Folie à Deux

After, Infinity On High played out so well--It's only fair that Fall Out Boy's latest offering, Folie a Deux do the same. I previewed the album this morning on Amazon and I've unwillingly had some of the songs on repeat. From what I can tell, it's going to be just as good as, Infinity.

Britney Spears "Circus"

Check out Britney's new video, "Circus" taken as the second single from her sixth album of the same name. I like the 20s Circus theme. On a side note: I've really gotten into "Shattered Glass" from the album, as I described before, it's a great futuristic number, hopefully it's considered for a fourth single.

Saturday, December 06, 2008

Releases in early 2009

Whilst there are still many unconfirmed dates, here some of the forthomcing albums I'm looking forward to in early 2009.

Lily Allen - It's Not Me, It's You. The first single, "The Fear" is currently making waves on the radio. Lily Allen's second album could well be something more grown me. Her debut, Alight, Still was fantastic.

India.Arie - Testimony, Vol. 2: Love & Politics. India.Arie's last album, Testiomny, Vol 1: Love & Relationships I've been quite wish-washy about for awhile now. It wasn't brilliant, but it wasn't underwhelming though. Her albums prior to that (Voyage to Inida and Acoustic Soul) I condier masterpieces. From what I've heard from, Love & Politics It looks quite promising. The first single "Therapy," is currently on rotation on urban radio.

Bobby Valentino - The Rebirth. I've never been a big fan Bobby Valentino, but I did enjoy some of the stuff off his debut album, Special Occasion and the single, "Anonnymous" from his sophomore, Special Occasion. I'm willing to give, The Rebirth chance as I really like the single, "Beep."

K'naan - Troubadour. For me, K'naan is an unsual choice when I want to listen to hip-hop. I haven't listened to his past albums in depth but friends have told me he's brilliant, so Troubadour will be on top of my album list.

Kelly Clarkson. Yet untitled, Kelly Clarkson is prepping her fourth studio album, following up to last years' My December, which greatley explored Clarkson's angrier more rock investated nature.

Album Review: Brandy - Human (4.5/5)

Brandy's waited an extensive 4 years before putting another album. Her last album, Afrodisiac became Norwood's first critically acclaimed album, but became her first commercial failure. The album only spawned one notable single, "Talk About Out Love" with Kanye West --earning most of its success in the UK, giving Norwood her fifth top ten. Singles following ("Who Is She 2 u," and the title track, "Afrodisac") failed to generate any sort of success for the singer. I didn't enjoy, Afrodisiac as much as I should've done, but I guess it was a good jump off point for the next album.

Thinking about the commercialization of, Human will most likely put you off. It's not set to breaking any records with its sales or singles--but it will give Norwood a safe return into the spotlight, more as an artist with something to say, rather an artist looking for hits. She can spawn another "Have You Ever?" or "The Boy Is Mine," on the next album. Human, is a pretty compelling album, soaked in gritty R&B numbers (although not as gritty as the stuff on, Afrodisiac), balancing out a satisfying ratio between ballads, mid-tempos and upbeats--It is one of the better R&B albums of the year, I can only hope it receives the recognition it deserves.

After Norwood talks to the listeners abouts being a 'human' in the 20 second introduction. The opens nicely with, "The Definition" which was among my initial favorite cuts from the album. Pounding with hardcore urban soaked bassline, accompanied by Norwoods signature raspy vocal work. The lyrics talk about someone finding happiness through another person ("the definition of love is you"). The piano backed, "Warm It Up (With Love") was another initial favorite--who knew my favorites would follow consecutively--the piano give it a delicate feel and the tambourines bulk it up a bit. The chorus has an anthem feel to it.

Among the biggest highlights on the album are the singles; The Rodney "Darkchild" Jerkins produced "Right Here (Departed)," I thought was a brilliant comeback (obviously the charts disagree). Rummaging with layered vocals, a smooth distorted bassline and a powerful chorus--Norwood's never sounded better. The forthcoming single, "Long Distance" is beautiful piano ballad, pacing slowly throughout the first half before building nicely to its climax towards the second half. It could be Norwood's best ballad ever, closely rivalling "Have You Ever?"

"Piano Man," has an Usher "Love In This Club," swagger in the beginning and pacing out throughout the song. I'll admit the verses are somewhat lacking, but the chorus is killer--backed smoothly with syth and piano. "Camouflage," is a nice mid-tempo--sounding a tad like something you'd hear from teen singer JoJo's sophomore album, The High Road with an R&B edge. Although I'd say this one really among the few songs that show a strong pop-presence. "Torn Down," begins with a mash of acoustic and piano, before adding a kinetic handclap in the mix--it's another song that explores a more pop venture. It sounds like "Wow," from 2002s Full Moon.

The weepy title track, "Human" is the highlight on the somewhat weaker second half of the album. The chorus is surprisingly mellow--consisting of nothing more than faint orchestration, handclaps and clicks. The lyrics admit flaws as a human ("I'm no superwoman/I'm fragile and broke") also making references to past songs ("Angel In Disguise") from the Never Say Never album.

I knew, Human was going to be an album I would like, but I also expected some flaws, but there are way less than I had anticipated. "Shattered Glass," has a nice melody in some parts, but it's pretty uninteresting and for the most part boring. I don't really like, "True" that much either, but I expect it might grow on me, I've always been a sucker for ballads. "A Capella (Something's Missing)," is an interesting one, but maybe should've been left of the album. Norwood shows some nice vocal on this A Capella but it drags the album pace of the album way down.

"1st & Love," has a nice handclap beat, it does sounds like all modern R&B songs sound like these days, but it isn't bad. The album closes with the piano ballad, "Fall" throwing reminiscent of "Tomorrow," from the Never say Never album. It's really beautiful. Human, is an amazing album--aside from its flaws--an almost faultess effort.

Best: Right Here (Departed), The Definition, Human, Long Distance, Fall, Warm It Up

Friday, December 05, 2008

Mariah Carey "Right To Dream"

"Right to Dream," is the latest from Mariah Carey. Taken as the promotional single for her forthcoming movie, Tennessee. It's a nice acoustic ballad, with some very raspy vocals from Carey. The last time Carey saw the big screen was, Glitter (2001) and we'll leave it at that. Check out the song in full here.

Thursday, December 04, 2008

Personal Airplay, 04/12/08

TW LW PK Title - Artist
1 .... 3 .... Hot N Cold - Katy Perry (1 week @ #1)
2 .... 2 .... Womanizer - Britney Spears (2 wks @ #1)
3 .... 4 .... Live Your Life - T.I. Featuring Rihanna
4 .... 5 .... If I Were A Boy - Beyonce
5 .... 1 .... Love Lockdown - Kanye West
6 .... 9 .... Forgive Me - Leona Lewis
7 ... 10 ... Papa - N-Dubz
8 .... 6 .... Human - The Killers
9 . NEW. Run - Leona Lewis
10 .. 18 .. Use Somebody - Kings Of Leon

Blender name Lil' Wayne best of '08

Blender Magazine release their annual 33 best albums of the year, naming Lil' Wayne's The Carter III the best album of 2008 and I couldn't agree more (I'll be compiling my list soon). Looking at the list, I'm surprised to see some (I would've thought) great contenders for the top 10, not make it. Here are the highlights:

1. Lil' Wayne - The Carter III. It is the best album of the year, not just in the hip-hop genre. Lil' Wayne really pulled out all the stops on this one, even scoring his first U.S. chart topper in process ("Lollipop") followed by a string of other top 10 and 20 hits.

3. TV on the Radio - Dear Science. I read some pretty good reviews for this album and I previewed it on iTunes, I really enjoyed what I heard, but listening to the album in full never really materialized.
4. Metallica - Death Magnet. I was so adamant I was going to hear this album in full, but only ended up listening to a couple tracks. I've never been one to indulge too much in heavy metal, but I've always had a soft spot for Metallica. So I'm pretty happy to see it make the top 5.

6. Robyn - Robyn. Very pleased to see this here. Robyn's fourth (and essentially breakout) album was a brilliant dance-pop offering with a dash of R&B, definitely one of the highlights of the year for me.
10. Fall Out Boy - Folie a Duex. Just cracking the top 10 is Fall Out Boy, I wasn't planning on buying this album, despite really enjoying Fall Out Boy's last offering, Infinity on High but If it's made it this high on the list, maybe I should.

19. One of the Boys - Katy Perry. "I Kissed a Girl," was the summer hit of the year and Katy Perry's debut is one of the biggest pop albums of the year. This is a brilliant pop album.

21. Erykah Badu - New Amerykah: Pt. One (4th World War). I didn't love this album as much I loved her previous 3 albums (Baduizm, Mama's Gun and Worldwide Underground) but it wasn't too bad. Maybe a little too tame for Badu, but nonetheless glad to see it make the list.

22. Coldplay - Viva La Vida or Death and all His Friends. Probably the biggest shocker on the list. How did Coldplay end up ranking so low? Maybe I should expected it from their 3.5/5 rating for the album.
26. Usher - Here I Stand. I didn't like this album that much--especially not as much as, Confessions. Surprised to see it on here.
27. E=MC2 - Mariah Carey. I personally think this album should be higher (along with Coldplay) or at least higher than Usher. Mariah Carey's album was brilliant pop and R&B offering. No faults here.

32. Taylor Swift - Fearless. I've always been a general contry fan (I've bought stuff from Shania Twain, Rascal Flatts and Faith Hill) but Taylor Swift's new country-meets-pop approach, well really it's still pop has completely won me over on the genre.

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Leona Lewis "Run"

Amongst the competitors to top the UK singles chart this week is Leona Lewis. Her remake of Snow Patrol's "Run," is brilliant; excellent orchestration with a vocal performance to match. As I've only just begun getting into Snow Patrol's music, I do prefer Lewis' version. Check out the video:

Monday, December 01, 2008

Brandy "Human" album cuts

I found an album cut on the new forthcoming Brandy album, Human that I've already fallen in love with. It's called, "The Definition." It's a brilliant R&B soaked number, with a hard hitting bassline, giving the song some grit. The lyrics are uplifting, I'm thinking should sum up her whole 'human' theme. The melody is magnificent.

Another cut I really like is, "Warm It Up (With Love)" which is backed with recurring piano keys and similarly to "Definition," using nice chivalric bassline. I can't wait to here the rest of the album.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Musiq Soulchild "If You Leave"

Soul singer, Musiq Soulchild currently has single on heavy rotation on US rhythmic radio "If You Leave" (or "Ifuleave") Featuring Mary J. Blige. It's been out for awhile not, but it's the first I've heard of it. It's pretty good. His forthcoming fifth album, OnMyRadio, due out December 9.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

The Killers "Human"

The Killers, "Human", has been out for a while now, since I'm not a strong alternative fan this just flew past me, but I forced to listen today and I am now a growing Killers fan. The sound is awesome. "Human" is a melodic offering, oozing with gushes of rock built up of drums and strings.I've also been checking out some of their previous work (Hot Fuss and Sam's Town).

Album Review: Britney Spears - Circus (3.5/5)

The story of Britney Spears is quite the remarkable telling. A southern girl who hit it big in her teens; staying on top for a couple years, becoming the biggest thing in pop since Madonna; hitting rock bottom and returning to prominence --leaving all hardships and struggles on the backburner. Britney Spears' sixth album, Circus marks that return. It's astonishing to have whiteness such a harsh transition in Spears' life over the course of this year. 10 months ago, she was shaving her heard, attacking cars with umbrellas and being carried away to a general ward on a stretcher. Fast forward 10 months and now we have a more sane Spears', who looks to be getting back on track. But does the music live up to the life turnaround?

Last years' Blackout was released in the mist of all the chaos, but proved to be a very decent effort, indulging in an electronic venture, which found Spears' vocals completely dubbed with almost inaudible vocoders. It seems as though Spears' was really just the vocal behind the producer's masterpiece. Now, Circus isn't nearly as futuristically adventurous as, Blackout, It takes a more missionary route --A couple uptemos, mid-tempos and ballads-- but it gets the job done.

Whilst, Circus can be seen as more soft encounter in comparison to, Blackout, it does aquire some musically strong moments. The comeback single, "Womanizer" can be described as electronic, but is essentially made up of gushes of syth and a catchy kinetic handclap backed with alerting sirens going off in the background. Probably Spears' best singles since, "Toxic" (not to say "Piece of Me," "Gimme More" and "Break the Ice," weren't good too) although just not as good --it's the perfect comeback single.

Following swiftly is the title track, "Circus" which finds a more urban venture. I've always wanted Spears' to explore the urban genre more in her music, whenever she puts a song out of the latter she always sound amazing ("Why Should I Be Sad," "Boom Boom," "I'm a Slave 4 U," "Don't Go Knockin' On My Door" are just a few examples) and "Circus," is no exeption, riding on an compelling, cutely synthed R&B bassline, produced by Dr. Luke and Benny Blanco the brains behind Katy Perry's biggest hits this year.

The last ballads Spears' spawned was 2003s ("Everytime," and "Shadow") which were both brilliant. "Out From Under," is definitely a moment to appreciate as they often come as rarities when it comes to Britney Spears (Blackout lacked in ballads). Accompanied by an acoustic guitar, it's a beautiful haunting ballad and she sounds the best she has in a long time, it's great to hear her without all the electronic and vocoders beheld on her vocals. Another ballad on the album is, "My Baby" which also rides on an acoustic guitar, only on here it sounds a tad empty, overall sounding very unfulfilled -- It's not as good as "Under". Like her single, "Someday (I Will Understand)" "My Baby" is a sweet dedication to her sons.

There are only two more songs that I don't particularly fancy. Like last years' "Piece of Me," -- "Kill The Lights," is another song of Spears' that takes a stab at the Paparazzi, only it's not as good. It contains some very strong vocals, especially during the beginning but quickly fizzles as she works her way through the song, it sounds very bland and lacks a catchy hook. The last is, "Blur" which is almost a direct reminiscent of "Early Morin'," from the In the Zone album -- again-- only it's just not as good. It starts off a tad cartoonish before breaking into 3 minutes of utter bleakosity.

The rest of the album is genuinely good. The futuristic, "Shattered Glass" is among favorites, pulsing with layers of synth and layered vocals. Another highlight, "Unusual You" is similarly futuristic, portrayed in a more elegant manor, also pulsing with synth toppled by Spears' distorted vocal work. The song is also backed with delicate piano keys, which gives a fragile effect.

Pop genius, Max Martin lends his producing talents on the albums most provocative number, "If U Seek Amy" say it really fast and it spells out F-U-C-K me. The profanity is cleverly disguised, not because of the name 'Amy' but because she's actually talking about a girl called Amy in the verses. The song itself is your typical upbeat-pop number, thumping a slick synthesized bassline building up to a killer chorus, which is essentially backed by the repetition of ("la la la la") similar to singer, P!nk's "So What" where she exclaims ("na na na na"). Funnily enough, produced by the same person.

"Mmm Papi," is a cheeky number -- Spears' at her most jaunty. It has a swinging 60s beach scene to it, featuring a catchy kinetic handclap and a very awkwardly funny chorus where she proclaims ("mmm papa love you, mmm papa love you"). "Mannequin," is the albums more inventive moments --Spears' vocal becoming virtually inaudible but thumping a bricky bassline and featuring some cool lyrics ("you cry eyes outta your head"/"you cry cry cry again again, my face like a mannequin").

The funky, "Lace and Leather" is an interesting number, starting off with a nice string and drum venture before bursting into a breezy chorus. Circus, is by no means Spears' best album, but it marks a safe return to the top ("Womanizer" scoring her first #1 in 10 years) and despite its flaws Spears managed to churn out winner, a safe winner, but nonetheless a winner. Hopefully on her next album, we find a more risk taking spears. I would die for another In the Zone.

Best: Womanizer, If U Seek Amy, Circus, Out From Under, Shattered Glass, Unusual You

Gym Class Heroes "Guilty"

Taken from their somewhat lackluster, but still decent fourth album. "Guilty" Featuring Estelle, was probably the best song on the album, along with "Cookie Jar," so it's not as surprising now it's a single. Check out the video below:

The Saturdays "Issues"

I'm absolutely loving The Saturdays so far all the singles released from their debut album, Chasing Lights, have been outstanding. Here is the video for the third single, "Issues".

Album Review: Britney Spears - In the Zone (2003, 4.5/5)

As the release of Britney's sixth studio album Circus creeps up, I thought I'd take a lengthy reminiscent back to 2003s In the Zone, which I think is indeed her best album in her entire catalog. In the Zone marked Britney's departure from her sugary-sweet bubble-gum pop cuts, embracing a more cutting edge, adult sound. Her debut album ...Baby One More Time was simple yet remarkably well crafted into perfect cut pop --bringing the help of pop genius, Max Martin, who produced the title track which was among the albums best highlights (along with "Born To Make You Happy"). It's follow up Oops!... I Did It Again used the same formula, indulging in a more aggressive state of pop (on "Stronger" and "Don't Go Knockin' On My Door").

Her third album Britney was a slight departure from bubble-gum pop, teaming up with The Neptunes and Rodney Jerkins, the album spawned its key hit accompanying her successful transition from sexy, mid-riff baring teen to fiery, sexed up vixen ("I'm A Slave 4 U") backed with sultry and layered vocals. Max Martin also put his touch on the album to keep up the Pop side. The album also spawned the whispery, broiling ("Boys") which is among my favorite songs her.

Catching us up to In the Zone. Ditching the help of long time producer Max Martin, Britney pulled in the help of Bloodshy & Avant, who produced her biggest hit in years "Toxic", a dramatic, bond-themed, guitar-backed number, with a just as equally dramatic video. The rush of violins during various portions of the song never failed to amuse me. Also hopping abord the Britney-bandwagon was R. Kelly who produced the flirtatious, urban, indian-styled "Outrageous", the song has a killer chorus --a cloying, dulcet combination between whispered vocals and background sonant. Moby churns out the throbbing and pulsating "Early Morin" which is backed with a blustery and buoyant chorus.

In the Zone is a nourishing consolidation between Pop AC and Firey Urban AC. The hot collaboration with rap stars, The Ying Twins on "Boom Boom" is very out of the blue, definitely something I didn't expect when I first listened through the album. Thrusting rhythmic handclaps and drums against a hardcore hip-hop bassline, followed by random screams from The Ying Yang Twins and a very voluptuous vocal performance from Britney. Admittedly this song took awhile to grow on me, but now I really do love it. "The Hook Up" carries another surprise --an irascible jamaican vibe, even finding Britney adopting a terrible Jamaican accent during the round off of the bridge. The broiling "Showdown" also has a distinctive Caribbean vibe, another one that took awhile to grow me --I always thought the verses were very weak and uninspired-- now I think their sexy and sultry.

The underappreciated collaboration with Queen of Pop, Madonna on the lead single "Me Against The Music" is an ultimate favorite. I love the recurring guitar and drums in the song --the incredibly fastly sung hook. Madonna does a good job on her part, the bridge and the breakdown is very libidinous. "Brave New Girl" is strangely very more pop than anything else on the album, bringing in synthesizers, vocoders and what-not. I love the blusterous chorus.

In the Zone constitutes 2 key animalistic moments on the throbbing "Breathe On Me" which finds some deeply oppressive vocals, backed with an enticing, resonating bassline. "Touch Of My Hand" is the most provocative song on the album as it's suppose to simulate masturbation with lyrics like: "I shut myself out from the world so I can draw the blinds... I love myself it's not a sin, I can't control what's happening". The song carries a very mellow, enchanting vibe. I love it.

The best song on the album is The Matrix-produced "Shadow" --which I love to pieces. The song starts out very mellow dramatic, with wolf howls and faint piano keys, building through a rush of delicate violins before everything ties in together in the climax of the song (drums, violins, piano keys and faint strings). Britney's vocal performance is stunning on here. The Guy Sigworth-produced "Everytime" is another favorite, finding Britney using very gentle vocal work on here. These 2 songs are possible among her best ballads ever.

In the Zone is a fantastic offering, definitely Britney at her best, creatively. So, What does the upcoming Circus have in store, from what I've heard so far, It couldn't be any more different to this --verging more similar to 2007s Blackout. It's lead single, the electronic "Womanizer" definitely holds a promising status for the upcoming album. I can't Wait.

Best Tracks: Shadow, Toxic, Everytime, Me Against The Music, Breathe On Me, Showdown, Touch Of My Hand, Outrageous, Early Mornin', Boom Boom

Thursday, November 27, 2008

More Single Reviews...

Here are some brief single reviews I missed out from yesterdays batch...

"No Can Do" Sugababes. A brilliant second single, I love the old school motown throwback vibe. Definitely better than the previous single "Girls".

"Just Dance" Lady GaGa Featuring Colbie O'Donis. Lady GaGa brings good old pop back with her debut single "Just Dance" with Colbie O'Donis who's known for his hit with Akon "What You Got". "Just Dance" is a great pop - dance contemporary song, Lady GaGa could just have struck gold with this.

"Run" Leona Lewis. Leona offers a great cover of Snow Patrol's2 2003 hit "Run". But will it be a hit for her?

"Sober" P!nk. A great but depressing offering from Pink, a very wierd direction to go after the success of the previous single "So What".

"Right Here (Departed)" Brandy.
I love this song so much. "Right Here" marks Brandy's return to the scene after her 4 year break. It's her first decent offering since 2004s "Talk About Us" with Kanye West. Follow up singles to that weren't anything past decent.

Personal Airplay, 27/11/08

TW LW Title - Artist
1 .... 2 .... Love Lockdown - Kanye West (1 week @ #1)
2 .... 1 .... Womanizer - Britney Spears (2 wks @ #1)
3 .... 3 .... Hot N Cold - Katy Perry
4 .... 4 .... Live Your Life - T.I. Featuring Rihanna
5 .... 5 .... If I Were A Boy - Beyonce
6 .... 7 .... Human - The Killers
7 .... 8 .... The Boy Does Nothing - Alesha Dixon
8 .... 6 .... So What - P!nk (3 wks @ #1)
9 ... 10 ... Forgive Me - Leona Lewis
10 .. 19 .. Papa - N-Dubz

Kanye West scores his 5th #1 single on my chart, dispacing Britney to #2, but still staying bulleted and could reclaim the top spot again next week if it can fight off tight competition from Katy Perry, Beyonce, T.I. and potentially The Killers. This week only has 1 new top 10 entry, which comes from N-Dubz scoring their 3rd top 10.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Pink "Sober"

"Sober" is taken as the second single from P!nk's latest album, Funhouse. Check out the video below:

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Should rappers sing?

This is a question I've been asking for a long time now, due to the release of Kanye West's fourth studio album, 080's & Heartbreak this question has arose "Should rappers sing?" here's MTVs lengthy report on the matter.