Thursday, August 28, 2008

Album Review: Jonas Brothers - A Little Bit Longer (4/5)

After hitting it big with their self titled sophomore album almost 2 years also Disney heart throbs release their much awaited third studio album A Little Bit Longer. Their last disc was a wonderful combination of contemporary pop-rock and soft edged balladry, this disc doesn't differ greatly but embarks on a more uptempo clean rock direction. Unfortunately aside from a couple standouts, it doesn't have any major highlights like ("When You Look Me In The Eyes") and ("SOS") from their last disc.

"BB Good" is a wonderful almost 60s rock inspired opener, very fun and a very nice catchy chorus. Funnily enough my favorite tracks on here follow up next the lead single "Burnin' Up" and "Shelf" --"Burnin' Up" is a fun uptempo groove, with a great summery vibe to it plus a very addictive chorus and a nice little chant towards the end. "Shelf" has the best melody on the album, the chorus is extremely remarkable, I love the rush of electronic guitars and drums in the chorus. Other highlights are "Lovebug" which is another remarkable joint, the first half of the song is very mellow, consisting of nothing more than an acoustic guitar and vocals before breaking into a wonderful full throttle production, taking control of the ever so popular electronic guitar.

Another highlight is "Tonight" --It's a fast paced electrified number, showing off fantastic instrumental work, the chorus is brilliant. "One Man Show" is another of my favorites, great combination of drums and guitar.

Just as well as their some really great numbers, the album is not without the clunkers. But luckily their aren't many. "Can't Have You" is the one of the more slower songs, but it isn't as epic is ("When You Look Me In The Eyes") it's a tad bland, no distinctive melody. "Video Girl" and "Sorry" are boring, they sound more like fillers than anything else, their the biggest downfalls on the album. A Little Bit Longer just about complies what modern teen pop music should sound like, unfortunately Jonas Brothers last album is superior, but they do show some noticeable maturity here. It's a real life saver that the standouts outweigh the clunkers.

Best Tracks: BB Good, Burnin' Up, Shelf, One Man Show, Tonight, A Little Bit Longer

Personal Airplay, 28/08/08

TW LW Title - Artist
1 .... 1 .... Disturbia - Rihanna (2 weeks @ #1)
2 .... 3 .... All I Ever Wanted - Basshunter
3 .... 4 .... Closer - Ne-Yo
4 .... 5 .... No Air - Jordin Sparks Featuring Chris Brown
5 .... 8 .... The Man Who Can't Be Moved - The Script
6 .... 7 .... All Summer Long - Kid Rock
7 .... 2 .... Viva La Vida - Coldplay (1 wk @ #1)
8 .... 6 .... Dance Wiv Me - Dizzee Rascal Featuring Calvin Harris & Chrome (2 wks @ #1)
9 .... 9 .... Sex On Fire - Kings Of Leon
10 .. 10 .. Miss Independent - Ne-Yo

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Personal Airplay, 21/08/08

TW LW Title - Artist
1 .... 2 .... Disturbia - Rihanna (1 week @ #1)
2 .... 1 .... Viva La Vida - Coldplay (1 wk @ #1)
3 .... 4 .... All I Ever Wanted - Basshunter
4 .... 5 .... Closer - Ne-Yo
5 .... 6 .... No Air - Jordin Sparks Featuring Chris Brown
6 .... 3 .... Dance Wiv Me - Dizzee Rascal Featring Calvin Harris & Chrome (2 wks @ #1)
7 .... 7 .... All Summer Long - Kid Rock
8 ... 10 .. The Man Who Can't Be Moved - The Script
9 ... 18 ... Sex On Fire - Kings Of Leon
10 .. 16 ... Miss Independent - Ne-Yo

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Album Review: Cheetah Girls - One World Soundtrack (3/5)

The Cheetah Girls soundtracks are one of a kind when it comes to Original Disney Movie Soundtracks. Unlike the likes of Hannah Montana and High School Musical --The Cheetah Girls music is heavily based around modern urban pop. Their first soundtrack was more R&B based, my favorite was ("Cinderella") which showed of a remarkable combination of upbeat R&B and balladry. Their second soundtrack was another knockout, churning out the electronic guitar based ("Strut"). So what does the third have to offer? I have to say allot, even with Raven Symone out of the group, the album still holds a sustainable quality.

Keeping consistent throughout the album the album manages to weigh up the contemporary, ballad and upbeat side of things. "Cheetah Love" is a pleasing opener, but it isn't as epic as ("The Party's Just Begun") from the last album, it has nice electronic feel, bulked up with synthesizers and other stuff. "Dig A Little Deeper" is among the weakest on the album, very boring and bland.

Starting the exhibition on the whole Indian theme is "Dance Me If You Can" which sounds vaguely like Britney Spears's ("Boys") with the spoken verses. My favorite song on here is "Fly Away" --It has an amazing chorus, brilliant vocal performance, the verses are very haunting, love it. "Stand Up" performed by Adrienne Bailon who plays the character Chanel, the song's okay, it has a nice melody but not a standout. "What If" once again performed by Adrienne Bailon, the song is an amazing guitar based ballad, it's almost reminiscent to Vanessa Hudgens ("Gotta Go My Own Way") performed in High School Musical 2 and featured in its accompanying soundtrack, definitely among the best on the album.

"I'm The One" sounds very filler, I like the synthesizer in the chorus, but apart from that it's pretty so and so. Another knockout is "No Place Like Us" I absolutely love this so much, brilliant melody, best song on here. "One World" the main song on the album, it's a brilliant Indian themed number, admittedly the verses are pretty bland but the chorus is very remarkable, excellent melody.

Really the album should end at "One World" the upcoming 3 songs aren't that good, they should be bonus track. "Feels Like Love" is boring. "Crazy On The Dancefloor" is a cringe worthy number. "Circle Game" is decent, it has a nice mellow chorus, but it's nothing special.

Best Tracks: Fly Away, What If, No Place Like Us, One World

Sunday, August 17, 2008

New videos this week

Viva La Vida - Coldplay. I really like this video, It finds the band performing infront of a blurry and distorted version of Eugene Delacroix's painting, La Liberté guidant le peuple.

The One - Kylie Minogue. The video for "The One" the song second single from Kylie's latest album X is a very creative one, definitely better than its predecessor ("2 Hearts").

Sandcastle Disco - Solange. Brilliant upbeat song accompanied by a brilliant, very creative video.

Good Good - Ashanti. Check out the new video for "Good Good" the second single taken from Ashantis latest album The Declaration.

Bad Girl - Danity Kane Featuring Missy Elliot. "Bad Girl" is the second commercial release from girl group Danity Kanes sophomore album Welcome to the Dollhouse.

Friday, August 15, 2008

New Sugababes

British girl group, Sugababes are prepping their sixth studio album titled, Catfights and Spotlights. Checkout the lead single, "Girls" on their official website:

Album Review: Lil' Wayne - The Carter III (4.5/5)

Once in the shadow of his hip-hop peers, Lil' Wayne never could quite ascend to same heights of the likes of Kanye West, Jay-Z or Nelly. His last album, The Carter II--the second installment in the Carter trilogy became his first commercially successful album and also the first album I bought from the rapper. Now we have, The Carter III, to put it in a nutshell; the best hip-hop album of the year (so far). I almost feel a fool for not checking this out earlier; what was missing from, II is definitely delivered on, III. There's the right balance between it's contemporaries and the more gritty numbers, that only hardcore fans will enjoy--what the last album lacked was this balance. Essentially, The Carter III uses the same blueprint any decent hip-hop album would use, but its Wayne's vocal versatility and lyrical work that makes me love the album.

The last album opened with, "Fly Out" a dramatically structure, piano backed number--this album does the same with, "3 Peat" but there's no piano this time, but a slick bassline and more rugged lyrics ("swallow my words, taste my thoughts and if it's too nasty, then spit it back at me"/"abracadabra, I'm up like Viagra") I'm not one to pay attention to lyrics that much, Wayne of the rare artist that can effortlessly make me pay attention. Following swiftly is, "Mr. Carter" which features Jay-Z--popping up on the second half of the second; the way the chorus is configured, Jay-Z's arrival is pretty smart--a squeky voice singing questions ("Hey Mr. Carter, tell where you've been?") Jay-Z's last name is Carter and so is Wayne's--not to sound too patronizing but it just works. Wayne also notes on his 16 bars in the mid-section of the song ("Next you mention Pac, Biggie and Jay-Z don't forget Weezy Baby") we won't. The song ends nicely with piano keys and a big choir singing along with the chorus.

As I said before, this is probably Wayne's most contemporary album ever. The hit single, "Lollipop" featuring Static Major, is a brilliant mid-tempo, backed with an 808 machine and recurring bleeps, heavily influenced by auto-tune. The more traditional rap structured, "A Milli" is probably among favorite songs by Wayne ever, his opening verse is instantly catchy--backed nicely with a kinetic bassline. "Got Money," featuring T-Pain is another winner; nice horn and fast-drum backed number.

Exploring its horizons way more than I expected; it ventures in some R&B territories, which surprisingly make some of the albums best moments. The Babyface produced (and featured), violin based, "Comfortable" is just brilliant--beautiful melody. I like the way the lyric on the chorus is broken up ("don't you. ever. get too. comfortable"). I also like the references to Beyonce ("Feeling "Irreplaceable," listening to Beyonce, Imma throw you out on your B'day"). "Tie My Hands," with Robin Thicke is sweet acoustic number, talking about the world. Thicke deliverers a very sultry chorus.

Another good R&B moment is, "Mrs. Officer" with Bobby Valentino. It has a great bassline--somewhere along the lines incorporates a guitar. I love how Valentino simulates a police siren at the end of every chorus.

Wayne takes the roll as a Doctor on, "Dr. Carter" I'm not too sure what to make of this song--It's probably the only song I'm too fond off, the beat is really dodgy. Starting out as an acoustic style, before the horns kick in. "Phone Home," begins with nice piano chords--with some violins, essentially building up to some dramatic orchestration with some futuristic elements, before the bassline kicks in.

"Let the Beat Build," acquires a gospel orchestration (obviously not due to Wayne's choice of language) but with the piano and choir, but it ends with the bassline only with Wayne's raspy vocals ("and the beat goes boom-b-b-boom boom"). "Shoot Me Down," is the albums first more haunting moment, beginning with some watered down keys and a recurring drum roll--I would assume it's something Eminem would do, but it works well. The song features vocals from D.Smith, who deliveres the sentiment vocal on the chorus ("please don't shoot me down").

Busta Rhymes pops up on "La La," It begins very cartoonish, not really building up to much, but I do like it. "Playing With Fire," is a great piano, string, vocal and bass number. Closing the album is the guitar strung, "Nothing On Me"--It sounds more 50 Cent, than Lil' Wayne. Out of six album Lil' Wayne's released and the two that I've bought, I think The Carter III, is his best work. It's just as good as anything Jay-Z's put out (and I consider Jay-Z and ultimate legened when it comes to hip-hop). Apart from the one song, this album verges on perfection.

Best: A Milli, Lollipop, Mr. Carter, Comfortable, Shoot Me Down, Tie My Hands, Got Money, 3 Peat, Mrs. Officer

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Personal Airplay, 14/08/08

TW LW Title - Artist
1 .... 2 .... Viva La Vida - Coldplay (1 week @ #1)
2 .... 3 .... Disturbia - Rihanna
3 .... 1 .... Dance Wiv Me - Dizzee Rascal Featuring Calvin Harris & Chrome (2 wks @ #1)
4 .... 4 .... All I Ever Wanted - Basshunter
5 .... 5 .... Closer - Ne-Yo
6 .... 7 .... No Air - Jordin Sparks Featuring Chris Brown
7 ... 10 ... All Summer Long - Kid Rock
8 .... 6 .... I Kissed A Girl - Katy Perry (2 wks @ #1)
9 .... 8 .... Give It 2 Me - Madonna
10 .. 17 .. The Man Who Can't Be Moved - The Script

Coldplay fends out Dizzee Rascal, scoring their fourth #1 single on my chart, Rihanna looks set to be their successor next week. Irish rock group, The Script score their second top 10, following their debut single "We Cry" which peaked at #9, but can their latest go higher?

Album Review: Usher - Here I Stand (3 / 5)

Usher has always stood as one of the legends when it came to modern R&B, his last album Confessions, was an absolute masterpiece, spawning the worldwide monster hit ("Yeah!"), the mellow Hot 100 #1 hit ("Burn") and the uptempo top 10 hit ("Caught Up") the album was urban perfection, some definite 5 star stuff. His latest work Here I Stand. falls very short of the perfection that was, Confessions.

The album suffers from blandness and unoriginality, although not a complete disaster, it is his worst effort since his sophomore album My Way, released back in 1997, even though that album contains of my favorite ballads of all time ("Bedtime") and the acoustic hit single ("U Make Me Wanna").

Opening the album is a 1 minute piano intro, I've never been a fan of intros (outro's and interludes) but this is rather enjoyable, slurring on dramatic. The first song on the album "Love In This Club" is a brilliant opener, it serves as the albums lead single, topping the Hot 100 for 2 weeks even before the official video, radio and single release. It's a nice slick, synth based track, with a very catchy chorus and throwing in some sexual slurs. Young Jeezy is also featured on the song, he throws in a pretty good verse too. The song is accompanied by a remix titled "Love In This Club Part II" it features Lil' Wayne and Beyonce, the song seems more of an alternative version rather than a remix, it consist of a slick sultry beat, although the chorus is tad repetitive. Beyonce and Lil' Wayne add in a good verse on their part.

Next up is "This Ain't Sex" which is nice offering --the track is very smooth and steady, one of my favorites on here. "Trading Places" follows up as another pretty solid track, it embarks on a slick and sultry direction backed by a wonderful piano riff. "Moving Mountains" is set as the albums next single, it's another of my favorites on here, it's more slower the previous track, very contemporary, it's sure to do well, especially on rhythmic radio.

The synthesizer based "What's Your Name" with Black Eyed Peas member Will.I.Am is a pretty funky number, but it's not that great, it's very basic --the more moderate of the album. Not a downfall though. "Prayer for You" is an 1 interlude lullaby to his son, it's very cute but it's nothing crucial to the albums performance. "Something Special" has nice melody but is potentially the most bland on the album. "Love You Gently" is another clunker, it looks to create the key sensual moments that were on Confessions more notably ("Can U Handle It?") unfortunately this falls way below the decent mark, the song is remarkably boring and tuneless, "sex" just doesn't work here.

Similarly to "Moving Mountains" the next track "Before I Met You" is another heartfelt ballad with "Moving Mountains" being its superior, it's not that great, just a really tepid ballad. Stopping the series of clunkers is "His Mistakes" which is yet another slow song but verges on a more dramatic venture. "Appetite" is really tasteless, it's rapid chorus really underachieves, yet another clunker on the album.

The highlight of the album is "What's A Man To Do" it's really a diamond in the rough --the song is a nice mellow guitar based track with recurring handclaps in the back ground, it almost reminiscent to Chris Browns ("With You"). "Lifetime" is a basic mellow R&B track, nothing special, a filler more than anything else. The title track "Here I Stand" closes the album well, incorporating a nice mellow motown throwback with some beautiful piano riffs.

I wanted to like this album so bad, but it gives me little reason to. Here I Stand, could be an enjoyable album but unfortunately has way too many rough spots something that Confessions didn't have any of, so what's going here? I don't feel guilty of having sky high expectations for this album, Confessions lefts me hungry for more so it's really unfortunate Here I Stand doesn't follow up that well.

Best Tracks: Love In This Club, This Ain't Sex, Something Special, His Mistakes, Lifetime, Here I Stand, Will Work For Love

Saturday, August 09, 2008

Janet Jackson "Can't B Good"

Following the success of, "Feedback" and the flops of the follow up singles "Luv," and "Rock With U," Janet Jackson has released her fourth single, "Can't B Good" from her latest album, Discipline--which is probably the worst decision for a single--can't see it doing much, but we'll see. Check out the song below.

Thursday, August 07, 2008

Personal Airplay, 07/08/08

TW LW Title - Artist
1 .... 1 .... Dance Wiv Me - Dizzee Rascal Featuring Calvin Harris Featuring Chrome (2 weeks @ #1)
2 .... 2 .... Viva La Vida - Coldplay
3 .... 4 .... Disturbia - Rihanna
4 .... 5 .... All I Ever Wanted - Basshunter
5 .... 8 .... Closer - Ne-Yo
6 .... 3 .... I Kissed A Girl - Katy Perry (2 wks @ #1)
7 .... 9 .... No Air - Jordin Sparks Featuring Chris Brown
8 .... 6 .... Give It 2 Me - Madonna
9 .... 7 .... A Milli - Lil' Wayne
10 .. 16 .. All Summer Long - Kid Rock

Dizzee Rascal manages another week at #1 easily fending off Coldplay who also remain in the same position. Kid Rock scores his first top 10 single on my chart, prior to this his highest charting single was "American Bad Ass," which peaked at #28, released back in 2000.

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Leona Lewis "Better In Time"

British sensation Leona Lewis released her second US single, "Better In Time" to U.S. radio last month, after a debut #62 earlier this year, the song has re-entered the Hot 100 and currently rising at a steady pace--I do question if the song will be as big of a smash as the previous single ("Bleeding Love") which made Lewis the first Britsh female to top the chart with her debut effort.

Saturday, August 02, 2008

August releases

Aside from a few key releases from the likes of newcomer Lady GaGa, rapper Ice Cube and the three pieced boy band Jonas Brothers, August is surprisingly a dull month for album releases in the contemporary genre.

August 5

Lloyd - Lessons In Love. Admittedly I didn't enjoy the last release from R&B singer Lloyd Street Love there was the 2 great singles ("You") with Lil' Wayne and the mid-paced groove ("Get It Shawty"), additionally there were some good album cuts to but the album as a whole was a tad disappointing. The lead single from Lloyds third album "How We Do It" is a pretty nice summery vibed song, but doesn't set my expectations for the album any higher.

August 12

Jonas Brothers - A Little Bit Longer. I only just became a fan of Jonas Brothers recently, curious about all the hype surrounding this upcoming album, I decided to check out their previous stuff and I fell in love. Their last last album, which was their self titled sophomore was a great teen-pop album ("When You Look Me In The Eyes") was a brilliant ballad. I'm sure A Little Bit Longer, will follow up very well.

Young Berg - Look What You Made Me. Just in case you don't know, Young Berg was featured on Ray Js "Sexy Can I". I don't tend to buy rap albums unless the rapper's are really popular, but the lead single from Look What You Made Me "The Business" is very very luring.

August 19

Cheetah Girls - One World: Soundtrack. The Cheetah Girls are more of a guilty pleasure, with Raven Symone kicked out the group, their upcoming movie, Cheetah Girls One World, takes the girls on an adventure to India, sounds interesting. Their soundtracks are always brilliant urban-pop, the first had the click and catchy ("Cinderella") and the second had the electronic guitar based ("Strut"). The lead single from One World is the title track, from what I can tell from the 30 sec preview on iTunes, the verses are pretty dull but the chorus has an amazing melody.

Lady GaGa - The Fame. I love like Lady GaGa's debut single, "Just Dance" it's fun upbeat-pop. I'm looking forward to hearing more from her.

Ice Cube - Raw Footage. It's a shame after rapper Ice Cube scored his first mainstream hit with the re-release of ("You Can Do It") back in 2004, hitting #35 on the Hot 100 and an amazing #2 in the UK, his follow up singles have been rather missable and so have his albums. Hopefully Raw Footage will be a great re-introduction to the rap scene.