Friday, July 31, 2009

Eminem hits back

Eminem finally responds to Mariah Carey's latest single "Obsessed" which was supposedly an attack at the rapper. Check out the track here. I won't say much, but the fact that he's so pissed at a song that doesn't even mention his name ("no one here even mentions your name") kinda proves Carey's point about the obession; MC (1) E (0).

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Billboard Hot 100, 1/7/2009

1. I Gotta Feeling - Black Eyed Peas

Black Eyed Peas nab a fourth week at #1 with "I Gotta Feeling" it's also this weeks airplay gainer, so a couple more weeks atop is very likely.

3. Knock You Down - Keri Hilson

After many weeks holding down the #4 position, Keri Hilson's "Knock You Down" rises a notch back up #3. Will this ever reach #1? out of all Hilson's singles so far, "Knock" has the most poteintial to earn the singer her first chart topper.

4. You Belong With Me - Taylor Swift

After earning her highest charting single last week, Taylor Swift's "You Belong With Me" takes a dip to #4 but still remians bulleted.

5. Use Somebody - Kings of Leon

Answering my question from last week ("will this ever be a top 10 hit?") Kings of Leon's "Use Somebody" scores the group their first top 10 hit, rising 11-5, after 25 weeks on the chart. Next stop: #1.

9. Waking Up in Vegas - Katy Perry

Katy Perry beats out her peak with "Waking Up in Vegas" which rises up a notch tp #9 this week. I thought this was going to be the first Perry single to miss out the top 5 a couple months ago, but a top 5 is looking more likely now.

10. Battlefield - Jordin Sparks

Possibly the biggest surprise in the top 10 this week. Jordin Sparks scores her third top 10 with "Battlefield" (following "Tattoo" and "No Air") which rises 25-10. That's good news on the Hot 100, but over on the album chart--it's not so good.

"Battlefield"s huge leap is primarily due to the release of Sparks' second album, Battlefield, which debuts at #7 with weak sales of 48,000. (Losing out to Demi Lovato who debuts at #1 with Here We Go Again). Maybe, Battlefield, will have longevity, but as of now I expect both Battlefield's to experience a huge drop next week.

17. Obsessed - Mariah Carey

Haven't people learned you shouldn't underestimate the relevancy of Mariah Carey. The Emancipation of Mimi, should have been that lesson. Carey's "Obsessed" dropped 11-20 last week, but this week the single rises up 3 notches up to #17--with airplay on its side and soon-to-be rising digital sales, "Obsessed" could indeed be a hit.

40. Ego - Beyonce

Beyonce earns her 19th top 40 with "Ego."

Michael Jackson "Man In the Mirror"

After earning the award for highest charting recurrent on my personal chart, Michael Jackson's "Man In the Mirror" earns another personal accolade. The song is now the most played in my iTunes library as of yesterday--dethroning Eminem's "Stan." Here's how my top 10 fares:

1. "Man In the Mirror" Michael Jackson
2. "Stan" Eminem
3. "Supermassive Black Hole" Muse
4. "Poker Face" Lady GaGa
5. "Use Somebody" Kings of Leon
6. "Viva La Vida" Coldplay
7. "Knock You Down" Keri Hilson
8. "Sex On Fire" Kings of Leon
9. "I Will Always Love You" Whitney Houston
10. "Because You Loved Me" Celine Dion

Album review: Ashley Tisdale - Guilty Pleasure (3.5 / 5)

The battle of the sophomore's: I needed to purchase a new release to day and it was between the new Jordin Sparks, Demi Lovato or Ashley Tisdale album--"Battlefield" was a decent single, but reviews for Jordin Spark's, Battlefield, haven't been that convincing (except for a pretty exceptional review I read on Nikki's blog), I've never been than much of a fan of Demi Lovato so Ashley Tisdale the winner. I liked her first album, Headstrong, a lot--it was pretty solid for a debut effort. "He Said She Said" and "Over It" were fantastic cuts.

Tisdale's second album, Guilty Pleasure, is overall a very good album, but it's not that great. There's nothing abhorrent but only a couple tracks out of the 14 tracks really appeal to me. Opening the album is "Acting Out" a typical drum and electronic guitar, but decent pop/rock number. It's pretty neat but not a standout. The next two tracks are probably my favorites on here. First up is the single "It's Alright, It's OK" which is essentially a retread of P!nk's "So What," however, it's still a fine song. Just like "So What" it has a killer chorus. "Masquerade" acquires a great sense of darkening pop/rock that would be welcomed on a Kelly Clarkson album.

Other standouts include the gritty party number "Crank It Up" which sounds like it should have a faster composition, but features pacing layers of synth and rhythmic kinetic handclaps. It also sounds like it would fit in perfectly on the last album. I also really like the nice baroscopic string tinged and piano backed ballad "Me Without You" in which Tisdale gives a nice vocal performance. The breezy, radio friendly "Erase and Rewind" is in the same vein of Katy Perry's "Hot N Cold," soaked up with masses of attitude--I think it would make a good second single. "Tell Me Lies" isn't as rock styled as most of the stuff on here, apart from the electronic guitar in the chorus, it's definitely more pop, it also very melody stricken.

The album is surprisingly very ballad heavy (Headstrong, only had 2). "How Do You Love Someone" is a darkening number, well it truly shows off its dark theme when on the chorus. I'm not really a fan of it though. "What If" is more for a personal favorite--it's nothing outstanding, I've really taken to it. It's a general string, piano and drum ballad that really soars in the chorus as a result of its tender verses.

Possible taking inspiration from Kelly Clarkson's 2007 single "Never Again" is the revengeful "Delete You" which is actually a cliche moment of being pissed after a breakup, but it is a side of Tisdale we haven't seen before--a very fascinating side at that. It seems like a part 2 to "Over It" from Headstrong--the song was more 'ignore the situation' as "Delete You" uses lyrics like: ("ripping up all your sweaters, slashing up all your tyres, slashing up all your flowers, grabbing back all my power"). It doesn't take a genius to figure out that this takes up a pretty dark (but slightly jaunty) composition, it's currently my favorite track on the album.

The rest of the tracks (along with "How Do You Love Someone"), while not terrible, aren't as appealing as the ones above. They seem more generic within their assigned genre. "Overrated" has a pretty cool chorus, but it overall it sounds like it's been done a hundered times--as in--it could've been sung by anyone. "Hot Mess" is actually a misleading title, it's far from a mess--but it's nothing I'm interested in, maybe it could be a grower, but as for now it's nothing special. The tambourine struck "Hair" is a very jaunty number, but I don't really care for it, same goes for the closing track "Switch."

Allmusic comment on Tisdale heavy usage of her pop aspirations on this album in their review; everything from the Britney Spears' Blackout styled cover to the incorporation of elements of Katy Perry, Kelly Clarkson, Ashley Simpson, Christina Aguilera and funnily enough Linsday Lohan. Out of the bunch I would say the album mainly uses inspirations from Perry and Clarkson the most. The forgot P!nk. Guilty Pleasure, is a good pop album but could've been better, maybe a little more originality could've drove the project that extra... yard or so.

Best: Delete You, It's Alright, It's OK, Masquerade, Crank It Up, Me Without You, Ease and Rewind, Tell Me Lies, What If

Personal airplay, 30/7/09

TW LW Title - Artist
1 .... 4 .... Paparazzi - Lady GaGa (1 week @ #1)
2 .... 3 .... Bulletproof - La Roux
3 .... 5 .... Obsessed - Mariah Carey
4 .... 1 .... Untouched - The Veronicas (1 wk @ #1)
5 .... 2 .... New In Town - Little Boots
6 .... 9 .... Radar - Britney Spears
7 .... 8 .... I Gotta Feeling - Black Eyed Peas
8 ... 10 ... Don't Trust Me - 30H!3
9 .... 6 .... Knock You Down - Keri Hilson Featuring Ne-Yo & Kanye Wesy (1 wk @ #1)
10 .. 17 .. Sweet Dreams - Beyonce

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

New August Releases

We're over halfway through 2009 and there has only been a couple outstanding releases--notably from India.Arie, Dave Matthews Band and Little Boots. We've seen great releases from Green Day, Lily Allen and Kelly Clarkson too. This year has also been my most experimental; I've enjoyed releases from alternative rock band, 311 and electronica newcomer, Owl City. Here's what August has to offer:

August 3/4

Enochian Theory - Evolution: Creatio Ex Nihilio. Progressive rock band, Enochian Theory, releases their first full length album which has already been getting positive reviews from assigned rock critics. It follows their their first 2 EPs, which I suppose gained the band a solid fan base.

Bap Kennedy - Hold On. Country singler, Bap Kennedy returns with his fourth solo album. The album album featurs a remake of The Leaves 1960 classic "Hey Joe."

Wizards of Waverly Place (soundtrack) - Various Artists. I'll be the first to admit I do love music from Disney. The Wizards of Waverly Place is a fantastic show, therefore the soundtrack should be too--I'm expecting a lot of sugary pop. It features the rock styled "Magic" performed by Seleena Gomez.

Phineas & Ferb (soundtrack) - Various Artists. More from Disney, Phineas & Ferb has to be the best cartoon I've watched in a long time (this excludes, South Park, Family Guy and Simpsons) more of a kiddish genre. Almost every episode includes a catchy pop song, hopefully the soundtrack features the fan favorite "Gitchi Ghitci Goo (Means that I Love You)."

August 17/18

Calvin Harris - Ready for the Weekend. A release I'm really excited for. Calvin Harris releases his second album. It has so far spawned the #1 hit "I'm Not Alone" and second single and title track "Read for the Weekend" is being poised for release. Harris' last album, I Created Disco, was a fantastic album spawning the hit single "Acceptable In the '80s." This should be good.

Sean Paul - Imperial Blaze. I wasn't too interested in Sean Paul's last album, The Trinity, although I did like the single "Temperature" which became a third US #1 for the rapper. It seems the new album will acquire the same Jamaican dance hall blueprint as most of Paul's stuff--the single "So Fine" is working its way to becoming a top 40 hit in the US.

Cascada - Evacuate the Dancefloor. The third album from German dance act, Cascada find their US release date. The UK #1 title track has yet to become a hit overseas.

August 25

LeToya Luckett - Lady Love. Former Destiny's Child memeber, LeToya Luckett preps her second solo album. Her first album became a US #1 and spawned the hit "Torn" but overall was a bit disappointing aside from a couple notable tracks. Hopefully the new album will be better.

Skillet - Awake. Christian rock band, Skillet prep their eighth album. Lead single "Hero" became a moderate active rock hit.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Beverley Knight "Beautiful Night"

I haven't heard from Beverley Knight in a very long while. She's back with her new single "Beautiful Night." It's not bad, definitely no "Keep This Fire Burning" or "Shoulda Woulda Coulda" but it's decent, check out the video below:

The new single is taken from her forthcoming sixth album titled, 100%. Knight's last album, Music City Soul, failed to spawn any hits, but was a very befitting offering. I prefer her earlier work (primarily, Who I Am and Affirmation).

Mariah Carey delayed

Billboard are reporting Mariah Carey (as well as other artists) has pushed back her forthcoming twelfth album, Memoirs of an Imperfect Angel. The album is now set for a September 15th release date, forcing Carey to acquire chart competition from Jay-Z, Whitney Houston and possibly Christina Aguilera. The new single "Obsessed" recently debuted at #11 on the US chart, far from the flop some have claimed the single to be.

If the song doesn't solidify as a commercial success, the albums push back could allow a second single to acquire that feat. A negative aspect about this is that Carey has now missed the dateline for the Grammys, Memoirs, is now ineligible to be nominated for any awards until 2011.

Music I'm listening to...

It's raining--just the next feature in the sh?ttiest holiday week ever. Here's what I've been listening to.

"Beat Again" JLS. I'll admit I wasn't a fan of the new JLS single before (please don't kill me!) and I'll also admit its 2 week run atop the UK singles chart has drawn some interest to the song for me. It's a pretty cool track, I guess--nothing I haven't heard before, but it's not nothing underwhelming either. I should be looking forward to their forthcoming debut album.

"Man In the Mirror" Michael Jackson. I already had this on heavy rotation on my iPod in the last couple weeks, but I've still got my heart in this classic.

"22" Lily Allen. Originally one of my favorite tracks from, It's Not Me, It's You, It's the third single from the album. The lyrics may hold a message to look into, but I like the song for it's jaunty composition, I think I like it better than "Not Fair."

"She Wolf" Shakira. So far this year, Shakira has provided the biggest "WTF?" moment for me. Her new single "She Wolf" is definitely a grower--a definate head scatching moment. But after a couple listens, I've come to quite like Shakira's strange venture into more downbeat club styled music, however I do this isn't all that's to her upcoming album.

Am I missing any new singles I should be listening to?

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Personal Airplay, YTD 1st Half 2009

Here are the biggest hits on my personal chart as of 2/7/09:

# PP Title - Artist
1 .... 1(7) ... Poker Face - Lady GaGa
2 .... 1(3) ... Just Dance - Lady GaGa
3 .... 1(2) ... Day 'n' Nite - Kid Cudi
4 .... 2 .... In for the Kill - La Roux
5 .... 1(2) ... Use Somebody - Kings of Leon
6 .... 1(2) ... The Fear - Lily Allen
7 .... 1(3) ... Boom Boom Pow - Black Eyed Peas
8 .... 2 .... Waking Up in Vegas - Katy Perry
9 .... 2 .... Mama Do (Uh Oh, Uh Oh) - Pixie Lott
10 .. 1(1) ... Release Me - Agnes

Friday, July 24, 2009

Billboard Hot 100, 1/7/2009

This hiatus thing is obviously not working. Here are some of the biggest highlights on this weeks Hot 100.

1. I Gotta Feeling - Black Eyed Peas

Black Eyed Peas
extend their three week reign with "I Gotta Feeling" to four. Boyz II Men and Mariah Carey have been only the artist to spend up to 16 weeks atop the chart, according to Billboard, as of last week BEP's reign has measured up to fifteen weeks (with 12 weeks from "Boom Boom Pow" and 3 for "Feeling"). Shouldn't that mean that this means is their sixteenth week atop the chart? frankly, I'm too tired to look into it.

3. You Belong With Me - Taylor Swift

Taylor Swift rises a solid 3 spots to #3 with her current single "You Belong With Me." Prior to this her highest charting single was "Love Story" which peaked at #4. I wonder if it can go all the way and dethrone BEP.

10. Waking Up in Vegas - Katy Perry

Returning to its peak position is Katy Perry's "Waking Up in Vegas" which rises back to the #10 spot, but can it go any higher, obviously "Vegas" is dying to be a hit, that's why it's been hovering around the top 15 spots for 13 weeks.

11. Use Somebody - Kings of Leon

Kings of Leon receive a hefty digital boost for "Use Somebody" which rises back into the top 20, reaching #11 this week. Will this ever be a top 10 hit for the group?

17. Please Don't Leave Me - P!nk

P!nk rises 3 spots up to #17 with "Please Don't Leave Me."

20. Obsessed - Mariah Carey

Falling down to #20 after its debut is Mariah Carey and her new single "Obsessed" which debut at #11 last week. It's fall I presume is due to its dramatic fall in digital sales--but it's airplay on Rhythmic and Urban radio is picking up greatly, so a rise in the next few weeks is possible but a 19th #1 for the singer is questionable.

34. She Wolf - Shakira

Shakira debuts #34 with her new single "She Wolf" I've been reading about the new song, but I haven't heard it. It's suppose to be really good, we'll see.

For what I think is the first time, you can now see beyond the top 50 enteries on the Hot 100, so check it out:

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Album review: Brooke White - High Hopes & Heartbreak (4 / 5)

Brooke White is a former contestant on the seventh season on the US talent show, American Idol. White came in fifth place, losing out to David Cook, who took home the crown. Now White releases her debut album, High Hopes & Heartbreak, which actually recorded before she appeared on the show. She's probably looking to follow in the footsteps of Clay Aiken, Jennifer Hudson and Chris Daughtry (of Daughtry) all former contestants who failed to win but still managed to pursue a steady music career and not so much Kelly Pickler, who recently put out her second album, which failed to amount to any success.

High Hopes & Heartbreak, can be seen as a pop album although it sounds more country and folksy with some pop presence here and there. It's a messy album, but it's a nice mess, deemed with various jumps in the genres it covers--making not as consistent and tight as it should be. Getting right into the bulk the albums best track is the acoustic styled remake of Kings of Leon's hit "Use Somebody" starting out a stripped down piano and string endeavour before the drums and the whole acoustic style composition kicks in the chorus.

The opening number "Radio Radio" is fun cruising song, with a breezy chorus backed with a nice melody and some "ooh's" thrown in to conjur up that lighthearted feel. "Hold Up My Heart" follows up well, it's the albums first ballad--sounds like it could be a really good single in the UK. Whilst you can still get that folksy atmosphere from it, it does for the most part take up a tranditional ballad configuration. Carbon copy "Out of the Ashes" follows up quite lackluster, White sounds really good on here, but it does sound like "Heart" with a key change in the composition.

The more heavy country contemporary sounding "Phoenix" is a nice number, possibly among the albums highlights. Backed with your archetypical acoustic designed drHums, twangy guitars and handclaps. The guitar ballad "When We Were One" is also very good.

The second half of the album is quite lackluster, with not that many tracks to give credit to. The piano ballad "Smile" is a good ballad, but nothing that different from "When We Were One" except it's backed by a piano instead of a guitar. "Little Bird" is probably my least favorite song on the album, sounds like it's there just to lengthen the album.

The albums picks itself up a bit on its title track "High Hopes & Heartbreak" a '70s disco influenced, but still country sounding offering. Very retro. "Sometimes Love" is among the albums best ballads, taking up a strict drum and piano composition accompanied by a wonderful vocal performance by White. I also like the fun guitar backed "California Song" there really isn't much to it.

The melodic and stripped down "Be Careful" is beautiful closing number, I really like songs like these--songs that only obtain vocals against a piano or a guitar--it's such a cool way to compose a heartfelt song. Kelly Clarkson's "Chivas" and P!nk's "Glitter in the Air" are great examples. High Hopes & Heartbreak, was a good intoduction to Brooke White, I heard she released an album before this; as I think this is a really good album, I question wether going back and listening to the previous is worthit.

Best: Use Somebody, Radio Radio, High Hopes & Heartbreak, Sometimes Love, Hold Up My Heart, When We Were One

Personal Airplay, 23/07/09

TW LW Title - Artist
1 .... 3 .... Untouched - The Veronicas (1 week @ #1)
2 .... 4 .... New In Town - Little Boots
3 .... 5 .... Bulletproof - La Roux
4 .... 6 .... Paparazzi - Lady GaGa
5 .... 7 .... Obsessed - Mariah Carey
6 .... 1 .... Knock You Down - Keri Hilson Featuring Ne-Yo & Kanye West (1 wk @ #1)
7 .... 2 .... When Love Takes Over - David Guett a & Kelly Rowland (2 wks @ #1)
8 .... 8 .... I Gotta Feeling - Black Eyed Peas
9 ... 16 ... Radar - Britney Spears
10 .. 13 .. Don't Trust Me - 3Oh!3

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

New Billboard site

And there I was thinking I was going to be Laptop-less this whole trip, I managed to get my hands on my Brother's. Check out the new Billboard site, It's very cool, you can now check out the full Hot 100 and sign up for free.

Album Review: Daughtry - Leave This Town (4.5 / 5)

I'll probably be on holiday when this is posted, but please do still leave comments. The US talent show, American Idol, has managed to be the driving force behind this decades most fulgent American pop artists, ever since the show debuted in 2001. Kelly Clarkson, the shows first winner has went on to sell an excess of 20 million albums worldwide. Carrie Underwood, the shows fourth winner has become the biggest thing to happen to Country music since LeAnne Rimes. Even contestants who didn't make it all the way have made quite a name for themselves; which is where our story begins: Chris Daughtry, reached the top 4--after his elimination, Chris formed a band under his last name, Daughtry, dropping their self titled album in 2006.

Daughtry, was a fantastic debut, whilst being an all round solid rock album, especially the first half which was immaculate--it was quite the commercial success for an American Idol, selling 4.5 million copies domestically and spawning two top 5 hits ("It's Not Over" and "Home") followed by two consecutive top 40 hits ("Feels Like Tonight" and "What About Now"). For their debut, the sound was more rock combined with light pop, with simple yet compelling melodies. With, Leave This Town, the sound is pretty much the same blueprint as before, but emphasizing more on rock, possibly even more aggressive.

Opening the album is the Linkin Park styled rock "You Don't Belong" strung with your typical drums and layers of electronic guitar, but still effective--Chris' bold vocals definitely give the song the antipathetic feel. It's definitely a more stronger opener than the acoustic guitar strung rock/pop opener on "It's Not Over" on the last album. It's pretty dark--the only sign of darkness on the last album was the collaboration with Slash, former lead guitarist from Guns 'N' Roses on "Crash."

Daughtry get more top 40 on the lead single "No Surprise," I still like this, although it sounds like a retread of Nickelback's "Gotta Be Somebody" who also went the same route, releasing the song as the lead single from their latest album, Dark Horse. Fronted by the bands bristle engery and a breezy, radio friendly sound, this is a nice song. Maybe a little too light for my liking when listening to this kind of music, but hey, I'm just splitting hairs now. Fact: Chris actually wrote the song with Chad Kroeger from Nickelback, now that would explain the similarities.

Next up is "Ever Time You Turn Around" which obtains a fantastic chorus, I really love this--the verses are very high energy and gritty, which makes the chorus' occurrence more pleasurable. Following is "Life After You" which also has pretty strong chorus, but probably leaning on the more simply melodic endeavor. It's probably one of the few tracks that channel the same type of sound on the last album.

"What I Meant to Say" is a real comeuppance, it's probably my favorite track on the album. After my first couple listens, I still get goosebumps as the chorus approaches and the fantastic melody accompanied by Chris' aggressive vocal kicks in. Backed by pacing drums, strings and acoustic and electronic guitars on the verses before kicking into a more hefty composition on the chorus, employing an immediate gorgeous key change. I think I like it almost as much as their instant classic "Home." This is really a fantastic song. Written with Songwriter, Brian Howes, the song tells a love story of a girl walking away when the going gets tough, the lyric goes ("It's so typical of you to walk away, when your perfect little world is burning down") and trying to hold on when the other's letting go ("I've been holding on, while you've been letting go"). It's a simple (and possible cliche) yet compelling storyline. Definitely among the heavy hitters of the album, or possibly the heaviest. This wouldn't make a bad video, hopefully it becomes a single.

"Open Up Your Eyes" is a tender ballad, styled like Kelly Clarkson's "Cry" from her latest album, All I Ever Wanted. It's a collaborative effort with Chris and Songwriter and former lead guitarist of Evanescence, Ben Moody. Backed with your archetypal string and pacing drums to form your everyday pop/rock ballad. Although I wouldn't say it's that genric, it's not anything unique either.

By this point of the album I do get a bit weary because as, Daughtry, was a great album, by the time it reached its halfway mark it did begin to wear itself down, although not so much that it suddenly turned into a terrible record. Leave This Town, doesn't have that problem... exactly. This time around it boils down to my taste in music. The most hyped about track before the album dropped was "September" which the title, Leave This Town, is taken from. The track is another ballad, mostly piano and string based, but not anything that notable. It's probably what I will be skipping in future listens to the album and most likely listening on its own when I just want to listen to a ballad. "Gost of Me" isn't bad, it's a pretty strong track, I like Chris' vocals in this--it attempts a Metallica-ish front in the chorus, which doesn't live up to its goals. "Learn My Lesson" is another ballad, I like this better than "September" although I feel it does weaken the album a tad (or am I just splitting hairs again?). It has a nice melody and a "What About Now" styled chorus.

The ending three tracks aren't bad, but aren't anything credible to the album. "Supernatural" thumps a pretty slick electronic guitar backed bassline, picking up on the chorus as something more lighthearted. "Tennessee Line" is a stripped down, string backed ballad--which has been hailed upon critics, I actually really like this and the closing track "Call Your Name" gives the album a subtle but weak ending, extending its ballad count to four, which is way too much soppyness for an album I expected to more aggressive. It's not a bad ballad though, it just joins in a string of too many. Leave This Town, is in fact a great follow up to, Daughtry, whilst it does have its moments of blah... It's a great album. It's not as solid as the first album, but it's still great nonetheless.

Best: What I Meant Say, No Surprise, Every Time You Turn Around, Life After You, Tennessee Line

Monday, July 20, 2009

Blog Hiatus

For the next 6-7 weeks there won't be any new updates as I'll be going on holiday to Eastborne, England. I've scheduled a personal chart to be posting consecutively on Thursday, I don't want a series of charts clogging up my blog so, (click here) to see, who's going to be #1 until early September. I've done a couple scheduled posts, here's what to expect:
  • I've done a review for the new Daughtry album, set for this Wednesday.
  • Former, American Idol contestant, Brooke White has a new album out, High Hops & Heartbreak. I've done a review for that also. It's actually quite good, her remake of Kings of Leon's "Use Somebody" is brilliant. The review is set for posting on Thursday
  • Please comment and check out my discography review for Madonna. It took me 4 hours to compile.
  • If you have any spare time at all, I recommend giving Owl City a listen. I'm so sure most people will love his work, check out my review of his debut album, Ocean Eyes. It's such a great summer album.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Mariah Carey "Obsessed" video

Check out the video to Mariah Carey's new single "Obsessed" from the forthcoming twelfth album, Memoirs of an Imperfect Angel. Funny stuff.

Billboard Hot 100, 25/07/09

1. I Gotta Feeling - Black Eyed Peas

The Black Eyed Peas hang on to a third week at #1 with "I Gotta Feeling" earning the airplay gainer award. In additional to their chart dominance, "Boom Boom Pow" still remains in the top 10 for a thirteenth week, this week it slips 2 - 3.

2. Best I Ever Had - Drake

R&B newcomer, Drake continues to rise with his debut single "Best I Ever Had" rising up to #2 this week, where it will most likely peak. "Feeling" doesn't seem to be going anywhere, anytime soon.

4. Knock You Down - Keri Hilson Featuring Ne-Yo & Kanye West

It's sad Keri Hilson's "Knock You Down" didn't make to #1, it would've been quite the feat for her. This week "Knock" remains at #4 for a fourth week, still bulleted.

5. Fire Burning - Sean Kingston

Sean Kingston earns his second top 5 single with "Fire Burning." A couple months ago I said this single wouldn't be as big of a hit as Kingston's first "Beautiful Girls" -- as it continues to rise, perhaps I was wrong.

10. He Could Be the One - Hannah Montana
11. Obsessed - Mariah Carey

The real action on the Hot 100 this week is near the bottom of the top 10. This week saw the digital releases of Hannah Montana's "He Could Be the One" taken from the new Hannah Montana TV soundtrack album and Mariah Carey's "Obsessed" from her forthcoming twelfth studio album. "He Could Be the One" scores Montana her first top 10, as for the song I couldn't care less for it. On a more lighter note, "Obsessed" scores a milestone for Carey, the single makes her the eighth woman in Hot 100 history to score 40 or more appearances on the chart. The single is also Carey's highest debut since "My All" debut at #2 in 1998.

12. Waking Up in Vegas - Katy Perry

After ten weeks on the chart and into its eleventh, Katy Perry's "Waking Up in Vegas" is proving a real trooper. This week is rises 1 notch back to #12, it's highest peak was at #10.

22. Love Drunk - Boys Like Girls

Rock band, Boys Like Girl score their highest charting single ever with "Love Drunk," which I'm currently really enjoying listening to. This week the single rises 46 -22, earning this week sales gainer award, due to its digital release last week. Prior to this they're highest charting single was "The Great Escape" which peaked at #23 in 2007.

Personal Airplay, 16/07/09

TW LW Title - Artist
1 .... 2 .... Knock You Down - Keri Hilson Featuring Ne-Yo & Kanye West (1 week @ #1)
2 .... 1 .... When Love Takes Over - David Guetta & Kelly Rowland (2 wks @ #1)
3 .... 3 .... Untouched - The Veronicas
4 .... 5 .... New In Town - Little Boots
5 .... 7 .... Bulletproof - La Roux
6 .... 8 .... Paparazzi - Lady GaGa
7 .... 9 .... Obsessed - Mariah Carey
8 ... 10 ... I Gotta Feeling - Black Eyed Peas
9 .... 4 .... Mama Do (Uh Oh, Uh Oh) - Pixie Lott
10 .. 6 .... Release Me - Agnes (1 wk @ #1)

Last week Michael Jackson's "Man In the Mirror" earned the title for highest charting recurrent on my chart. Since I didn't have a chart when the song was current; last week it debuted at #11. Prior to this, the highest charting recurrent was Mariah Carey's "All I Want for Christmas" which peaked at #15 last year. I count recurrents as songs that have been around for more than 2 years.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Album Review: Owl City - Ocean Eyes (4.5 / 5)

Owl City was formed in 2007. It's a one man Electronica band, featuring 23 year old, Adam Young. I don't know much about the history of Young, but I do know that his debut album, Ocean Eyes, is a fantastic mellow dance pop album. Chock full of mid-tempo, lighthearted, summery dance pop tunes. It's not Lady Gaga esque dance, but more traditional and not so top 40/contemporary. Fluctuating swiftly between its uptempos and its mids, It's what you would acquire whilst composing oneself on the beach this summer. Someone pointed out to me that they thought Young was America's answer to Calvin Harris, I've yet to contemplate on that thought.

Ocean Eyes, is a simple yet intriguing collection of songs, songs that don't necessarily attain an accustomed song structure. The album shows signs of pop presence, whilst for the most part it is a dance album, fusing tensions with Electronica, which is essentially the paramount base for Young's music. Moby also seems to serve up some inspiration for Young on here, of course Moby's music is generally more mellow and more cultured dance, pop and electronica, which has proved a winning formula for many of his albums and the more upbeat and direct venture in electronica seems to be the winning formula for Young on here. Kicking off the album is the subtle "Cave In," a cataleptic opener, pulsing with spectral synth chords, also backed with scattering clicks and claps and Young's sharp vocal over the attenuate beat. The synth indulged club track "Umbrella Beach," is great summery venture; just among the albums greatest club styled numbers.

One of my favorites is the slower and almost ballad like "Vanilla Twilight," a distinctively melodic fueled number. It's cutesy love mid-tempo, with sugary lyrics such as ("the spaces between my fingers are right where yours fit perfectly"). I love how the song can be considered a ballad, but still runs through with a blissful, breezy, atmospheric composition.

"The Bird and the Worm," is a playful, acoustic styled number, mostly made up of ("da da da da") in the chorus. Although I really like it, it is the victim of dampening down the albums steam so early on. "The Saltwater Room," is another acoustic styled song, It's more upbeat and assertive than "Worm," but still putting across an airy branded theme.

"Meteor Shower," is a fantastic song. It's a unique combination of traditional balladry, mainly using the piano and assertive drum, string and synth between verse, hook and chorus, It works really well. I've seen this done many times and this is definitely the best I've ever heard this type of composition sound, adding a rich sense of rock, murmuring behind the configuration.

The more mellower "On the Wig" I also like, maybe not as much as the others, it just seems like a bit of grower. It's a breezy mid-tempo about love, although making sure the lyrics don't come across too lovey dovey but still getting the point across. "Fireflies," starts out quite dark alternative sounding, before breaking into a more light dance pop sound. "The Tip of the Iceberg," is probably the only track I've yet to like. It has a nice whimsical beat, but that's where the credibility stops.

The bleepy "Hello Seattle," is one of the first pop flavored numbers to appear, It has a Robyn esque feel to it. Backed with consistent bleeps and rhythmic handclaps and apparent syth lines. While I'm more interested in how good this song sounds, Young does give some pretty interesting lyrics ("I'll disguise myself as a sleeping pill and descend inside of you"). "Dental Care," is a European-ish sounding number, pondering with tambourines, claps and an abundantly catchy hook. The 'dental care' topic, I thought would've been an innuendo for another matter, but to much surprise, Young is actually telling the story of his trip to the dentist, I don't see to many cases of eminently specific lyrics.

Closing the album is "Tidal Wave," which I get a Killer's sound from, especially in the verses. I like the blend of acoustic guitar and futuristic bleeps, It works really well. There's only one song that I'm yet to be a fan of, but apart from that, Ocean Eyes, is a great debut. I hope to see more of Adam Young in the future, maybe as a mainstream dance pop artist.

Best: Umbrella Beach, Vanilla Twilight, Meteor Shower, Cave In, Hello Seattle, Dental Care, Tidal Wave, Fireflies, The Saltwater Room

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Preview Daughtry's Leave this Town

Amazon have put up previews of the new Daughtry album, Leave this Town. After absolutely loving their self titled debut, released almost 4 years ago, I've been waiting ever so patiently for this. From what I can gather, it's just as good maybe better; there's still the rock/pop combination, maybe emphasizing more on the rock this time around.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Mary J. Blige "The One"

Just heard read about this on Billboard (check out the review). It seems no-ones listening Jay-Z's bid to kill auto-tune; Mary J. Blige's new single "The One" Featuring R&B man of the moment Drake, is definitely a heavy auto-tune fueled affair, backed with a series of handclaps, consistent kinetic beats and a recurring Eight-o-Eight machine. It acquires a nice melody after the midway point, but it definately isn't the best I've heard of Blige. I didn't even know she was putting out another album. Check out the song below.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Jack Johnson - Sleep through the Static (2008)

Last night I listened to Jack Johnson's fourth album Sleep through the Static, as recommend by the iTunes genius feature. Recently, I've gotten into similar-ish artists such as Nora Jones, Jason Mraz and Colbie Cailliat, who are all pretty big on incorporating acoustics into their music. What started off my love for acoustic styled music was John Mayer's third album Continuum, which was possibly the best album of 2006--winning two Grammy's for Best Pop Vocal Album and Best Male Pop Vocal Performance. I'd already heard about Sleep through the Static, before, It's actually quite a good album, conjuring up a slick and consistent set of mostly string, drum and the occasional piano set of compositions. I like the heavily drum backed "They Don't, They Don't," and the melodic "Monsoon." The slow but compelling opening track "All at Once," is also a favorite. Maybe It's not as good as Contiunuum, but it is in its own right. I'll be checking out his previous 3 albums Bushfire Fairytales, On and On and In Between Dreams, soon.

Friday, July 10, 2009

What I'm listening to...

Here some newly added songs to my iPod over the course of the week...
  • "Love Drunk" Boys Like Girls. I'm really loving this song. A friend sent it to me via MSN on Sunday night, recommending I give, Boys Like Girls a listen. With my recent exanpsion in my musical taste, I shouldn't really be surprised I love this breezy alternative rock piece so much. It's got a brilliant chorus and melody. "Love Drunk" is the first single released from the bands forthcoming sophomore album, Love Drunk.
  • "Don't Trust Me" 30H!3. This song has actually been around since July last year, as I discovered a couple weeks ago, but it's only started receiving airplay in the UK not too long ago. 30H!3 are a brilliant electronic-pop band and this is a fantastic song. I'm planning check out their album, Want, soon.
  • "Goodbye" Kristinia DeBarge. I've listened to this a lot. Newcomer, Kristinia DeBarge I've unfairly overlooked over the past couple weeks, her debut single "Goodbye" is infact a pretty good offering. Thumping a catchy bassline, measuring out kinetic handclaps and sythn. I also like the chant of ("na na na") just after the chorus.
  • "We Don't Care" Akon. I never wanted to be the type that only noticed a good song when it became a single. Akon's "We Don't Care" has been on my iPod for awhile now (since I bought his latest album, Freedom) I haven't really paid it much attention until I heard it on the radio. I really like it. Aside from it being a bit more uptempo, it's not that different from "Right Now" or "Beautiful."
  • "Never Say Never" The Fray. Foolishly, I don't talk about rock band, They Fray as much as I should, they're a fantastic band. I only own a couple of their songs. "Never Say Never" is a beautiful song. Starting out a classic piano and vocal venture, eventually progressing into a more alternative style sound.
  • "Evacuate the Dancefloor" Cascada. I haven't really liked anything Cascada have put out since their smash "Every Time We Touch" (I didn't think "What Hurt the Most" wasn't as epic as the mass made out). "Evacuate the Dancefloor" is their best offering since "Touch."
  • "Sweet Dreams" Beyonce. As with most of the stuff on Beyonce's latest album, I Am... Sasha Fierce, I didn't like this to begin with, but it grown on me tremdously (the crappy video had nothing to do with it). It's a great song, backed with a fantastic, funky bassline.
  • "Hush Hush (I Will Survive Mix)" Pussycat Dolls. This is a nice offering from the girls. There really isn't much to it, apart from the simple link between dark R&B and the sudden change into light '70s influenced disco, featuring an embedded cover of Gloria Gaynor's "I Will Survive," It's really quite compelling.
  • "Diamond Rings" Chipmunk Featuring Emile Sande. I really wanted to hate this song, I really did. I'm not a fan of Chipmunk and I hated "Chip-Diddy-Dip" with a passion, but his latest "Diamond Rings" is actually quite decent.
  • "Work" The Saturdays. This isn't bad. The Saturday's new single "Work" is a firey pop song, with a great chorus, why couldn't I get behind this before?
  • 21 Guns - Green Day. Green Day's new single "21 Guns" is a brilliant ballad, maybe not as compelling as "When September Ends" but it's almost as good. I love the chorus and melody it contains.

Album Review: Maxwell - BLACKsummers'night (4.5 / 5)

In almost every case, when an artist waits nearly a decade to release new material, following something really spectacular, the results are generally underwhelming. Thankfully, in Maxwell's case the eight years were well worth the wait. Whilst his last album, Now, was a facile but fresh compelling agglomeration of R&B and soul soaked songs, BLACKsummers'night ventures swiftly into '70s and '80s influenced funk, rounding off with the much needed urban edge. Whilst, Now, was indeed a great album, it did lack songs that stuck, Summers'night, doesn't have that problem.

Getting the album off to a sweltering start is "Bad Habits," a soothing mid-tempo, thumping a melodic rhythm, backed placidly by rhythmic handclaps, clicks and Maxwell's broiling vocal. Following swiftly and kicking up the tempo a notch is "Cold," a heavy trumpet backed number, pulling off a '70s jazzy vibe. It also features some pretty cool percussion and kinetic handclaps. I like the lyric ("how could you be so cold") it reminds me of the lyric in Kanye Wests' "Heartless," ("how could you be so heartless").

The lead single "Pretty Wings," admittedly I wasn't too pleased with when I first hear it. I thought it was cloying and repetitive. A daft take on the song, I know. How could I have missed its radiant melody, wallowing smoothly against Maxwell's high-pitched and sultry vocal. Backed with light strings, harps and claps. The folksy "Help Someday," is a somewhat left field occurrence; it's Nora Jones style folksy, but with the clanging acoustic styled drums and running electronic guitar, it does acquire a country-esque vibe. Definitely something new for Maxwell -- but R&B or soul artist using an electronic guitar for a more folksy or rock sound isn't new. Along with Maxwell, the only other artist I know of to do this successfully is, Brian McKnight's "Superhero," from his album of the same name.

"Stop the World," digs itself into a sultry groove, brewing the perfect recipe for the perfect '70s motown reminiscent. Using the same blueprint is "Love You," which actually has one of the albums best choruses. "Fistful of Tears," also has a distinctive '70s feel, but has a stronger melody than the other 2.

I've never been a sucker of acoustic guitar only ballads, but lately I've been gravitating to any song that acquires that composition. I loved Kelly Clarkson's "Chivas" from her, My December album. Although "Playing Possum" isn't quite the same, it is only string backed and it is my unlikely favorite from the album.

The album is limited to a hard 9 tracks, which leaves no room for filler, which is what I like about it most. Closing the album is the spacey but still urban contemporary, "Phoenix Rise" which starts off as an instrumental. BLACKsummers'night, is indeed a great follow up to, Now, providing a solid 9 tracks. Maybe next time we won't have to wait for song for a new album.

Best: Playing Possum, Pretty Wings, Bad Habits, Stop the World, Help Somebody, Cold

Billboard on Erykah Badu

Billboard report that soul singer, Erykah Badu is currently recording her upcoming fifth album, tentatively titled, New Amerykah, Pt. 2: Return Of The Ankh, It's the second installment in the, New Amerykah, series, follow up to last years' New Amerykah, Pt. 1: 4th World War.

Thursday, July 09, 2009

Flo Rida "Jump"

Flo Rida's "Jump" is the third single released from his latest album, R.O.O.T.S. Featuring Nelly Furtado, it is my favorite 'current' song of the moment (dismissing P!nk's "Funhouse"). It's got a great chorus, sung nasally by Furtado; it's a great party song and as the summer holiday's approaches it matches my mood perfectly. I actually prefer this to "Right Round."

Billboard Hot 100, 18/09/09

1. I Gotta Feeling - Black Eyed Peas
2. Boom Boom Pow - Black Eyed Peas

The Black Eyed Peas continue their reign at #1 with "I Gotta Feeling," which remains at #1 for a second week and is also this weeks airplay gainer. Despite Michael Jackson's sudden sales increases, "Feeling" remarkably maintained steady download sales as it remains atop the Hot Digital songs tally; fending out competition from Jackson's biggest seller "Man In the Mirror." After finishing its 12 week run at #1 last week, "Boom Boom Pow" remains bulleted at #2.

4. Knock You Down - Keri Hison Featuring Ne-Yo & Kanye West
5. LoveGame - Lady GaGa

Both Lady GaGa's "LoveGame" and Keri Hilson's "Knock You Down" remain in the same position, still bulleted. This week Ms. GaGa's "LoveGame" claims the top spot on top 40 radio, so I'm guessing should finally see a position somwhere in the top 4.

6. Fire Burning - Sean Kingston
7. Birthday Sex - Jeremih

I still haven't really gotten into Sean Kingston's new single "Fire Burning," maybe I'll just let this one pass and wait until the next release. This week the song rises a notch upwards, landing at #6. With the release of his self-titled debut album this week, Jeremih's "Birthday Sex" also rises up a notch. I am kinda surprised the song didn't claim the top spot, or enter the top 3.

9. You Belong With Me - Taylor Swift

Taylor Swift's new single "You Belong With Me" has really been on fire this week; the songs been around for ages now, but a lot of people have only started giving the song credit now. The songs scored Swift her second top 10, following "Love Story," which peaked at #4, but can "You Belong With Me," go any higher?

10. New Divide - Linkin Park

Not much news here, but I love this song so I thought I'd say something about it. Linkin Park's new single "New Divide" dips a notch to #10, but still stays bulleted.

12. Falling for You - Colbie Caillat

Colbie Caillat makes a strong debut at #12 with her new single, "Falling for You" which gives Caillat her highest debut on the chart ever, scoring up to 118,000 copies in digital sales.

37. 21 Guns - Green Day

Green Day score their 20th top 40 with their latest single "21 Guns."

Bubbling Under:

1. Obessed - Mariah Carey

Mariah Carey's new single "Obsessed" rises 12 spots to the #1 position on the Bubbling Under Hot 100, which measures the top 25 songs beneath the 100 spot on the Hot 100 (technically it's 101th on the Hot 100). It's in a good position to make a pretty strong debut on the Hot 100 -- I wanted to say "a debut at #1" and although she's accomplished this many times before, it's almost impossible to acquire this feat these days. "Obessed" is currently gaining airplay points, but where it's really excelling is with its digital sales -- which is most likely going to be the songs biggest pusher.

Personal Airplay, 09/07/09

TW LW Title - Artist
1 .... 1 .... When Love Takes Over - David Guetta & Kelly Rowland (2 weeks @ #1)
2 .... 2 .... Knock You Down - Keri Hilson Featuring Ne-Yo & Kanye West
3 .... 6 .... Untouched - The Veronicas
4 .... 3 .... Mama Do (Uh Oh, Uh Oh) - Pixie Lott
5 .... 7 .... New In Town - Little Boots
6 .... 4 .... Release Me - Agnes (1 wk @ #1)
7 ... 19 ... Bulletproof - La Roux
8 ... 13 ... Paparazzi - Lady GaGa
9 NEW> Obsessed - Mariah Carey
10 .. 15 .. I Gotta Feeling - Black Eyed Peas

Wednesday, July 08, 2009

Preview Maxwell's BLACKsummers'night

R&B singer, Maxwell finally has a new album out after nearly 8 years after his fantastic third album, Now. The new offering, BLACKsummers'night, for the most part--ventures into a more '70s influenced funk and light R&B territory.

Monday, July 06, 2009

Whitney Houston's albums

With Whitney Houston's forthcoming comeback album just over 2 months and a bit away, I thought it would be nice to look through her past albums. I've left out all her soundtracks released through the '90s (The Bodyguard, Waiting to Exhale and The Preacher's Wife), focusing completely on her studio albums.

Whitney Houston (1985) (4.5/5). Houston's eponymous debut album was a simple but great blend of slick urban contemporary and fantastic '08s upbeat adult pop songs fueled by Houston's magnificent vocal; making for an incredibly strong debut. It's limited set displayed a solid ratio between its ballads and uptempos -- making almost every moment a notable occurrence. Producing a string of #1s (which included the bluesy ballad "Save All My Love for You" and the thundering '80s pop soaked "How Will I Know") the album verges on '80s urban pop perfection. Essential: Saving All My Love for You, Nobody Loves Me Like You Do, How Will I Know, Greatest Love of All, You Give Good Love

Whitney (1987) (4/5). I didn't like Whitney's second album as much as her first. Spawning 4 #1s, Houston's second album pretty much acquired the same formula as the first, maybe capitalizing more the fun '80s uptempos and smooth midtempos rather than the ballads (I've always preferred the ballads on the last album) but "Didn't We Almost Have It All" and "Where Do Broken Hearts Go" are great. The real gem of the album is the classic "I Wanna Dance With Somebody" which pretty much sums up upbeat '80s pop. Essential: I Wanna Dance With Somebody, Where Do Broken Hearts Go, Didn't We Almost Have It All, So Emotional, Just the Lonely Talking Again

I'm Your Baby Tonight (1990) (3.5/5). Houston's third album is very scatty for the most part; only really working well upon a few moments such as the albums best moment, the funky, synth soaked "My Name Is Not Susan" and "All the Man That I Need" which is a pretty nice dramatic ballad. The title track is quite decent too. Essential: My Name Is Not Susan, All the Man That I Need, I'm Your Babe Tonight

My Love Is Your Love (1998) (4.5/5). Houston's fourth album was her first in almost 8 years, she'd released the biggest selling soundtrack of all time, followed by 2 other relatively successful soundtracks and featured in 3 box office smashes. With the help of the likes of Rodney Jerkins, Babyface and Missy Elliot, My Love Is Your Love updated Houston's image--arriving at a slick urban contemporary sound. The album really hits the mark when it approaches the more R&B fueled moments, such as the acoustic styled "Heartbreak Hotel," "It's Not Right But It's Okay" and "In My Buisness." The album also measures up well with its balladry, the eerie duet with Mariah Carey on "When You Believe" is just stunning. I also love the incredibly dramatic "I Learned from the Best" and the broadway styled "Until You Come Back." Essneital: When You Believe, It's Not Right But It's Okay, Heartbreak Hotel, Until You Come Back, I Learned from the Best, In My Buisenss, You'll Never Stand Alone, My Love Is Your Love

Just Whitney (2002) (3/5). While Houston's fifth album received heaps of backlash, I didn't think it was largely disappointing -- there maybe a great number of tracks on here that fall into the generic R&B field, but there a couple that really work. The lead single "Watchulookinat" is probably the albums greatest moment. "Tell Me No" and duet with Ex husband, Bobby Brown "My Love" are actually quite good too. Essential: Watchulookinat, My Love, Tell Me No, Dear John Letter, On My Own

Whitney Houston update

Here are some short tidbits on Whitney Houston:

  • Houston's forthcoming comeback album is to be titled, I Look to You. I think this comeback should be just as dazzling as Mariah Carey's comeback in 2005. After her last album, 2002s Just Whitney, Houston's forthcoming album should be mindblowing--both in commerical and quality terms.
  • The supposed lead single "I Didn't Know My Own Strength" surfaced a couple days ago (check out the song here) I haven't been hearing that much positive news about the song -- some say ("it's not a strong lead single") ("it's sounds dated") ("it's too bland"), whatever, I think it's a good song with a relative message -- ballads aren't as popular as they were in '90s, so admittedly this probably won't do that good on the Hot 100, but I'm sure it shoot up the adult contemporary charts.
  • More on the single, I think the title should be shortened to "Know My Own Strength" or "My Own Strength" the full thing is a bit of a mouthful.
  • Producers/Artists thought to be working on the album are the Black Eyed Peas' Will.I.Am, John Legend, Ne-Yo, Swizz Beatz, Sean Garrett, Stargate, Alicia Keys, Akon and R. Kelly (shouldn't he be working on his own album?) with all this talent, this album should be a masterpiece, (of course there've been many cases of too much = lackluster).
  • I Look to You, is due in stores September 1st. Here is the supposed blueprint for the title track sung by R. Kelly (check out here).
  • Lastly I'll be doing a full discography review on all Whitney Houston's albums.

Colbie Caillat "Fallin' for You"

Ken's Beat Review reported this last month. Colbie Caillat's new single "Fallin' for You" is a fantastic song; carrying on her acoustic styled, folksy sound she so wonderfully portrayed on her debut album, Coco, which was a brilliant piece of work. Check out the song below:

Earth Times
report her second album, Breakthrough, is currently in the works -- set for the tentative release date of August 25 (same as Mariah Carey's, Memoirs of an Imperfect Angel). Whether it does well on the charts or not, I still can't wait to check it out. Maybe I'll do a review of Coco soon.

Saturday, July 04, 2009

Album Review: Dave Matthews Band - Stand Up (2005, 4.5/5)

After being completely enticed by Dave Matthews Band's seventh album, Big Whiskey and the GrooGrux King, I decided to check out some of their previous releases. Their sixth album, Stand Up, was a commercial success for the band, but it wasn't that well received. DMB teamed up with Mark Batson, who had produced hits for the likes of Beyonce, Joe and India.Arie -- and with DMB's alternative edge; it seemed that many fans and critics thought it was softened on this album. Big Whiskey, is indeed the Superior effort, but, Stand Up was a crossroads of their archetypal heavy alternative rock and more softer rock.

The acoustic styled opener "Dreamgirl" backed itself nicely with strings, drum and piano, it's a really pleasing opener. "Old Dirt Hill (Bring the Beat Back" follows up well as a nostalgic reminiscent about first love, the lyric ("the first time I kissed you, I lost my legs") is really cute. The album picks up a more funky endeavor on the title track "Stand Up (For It)" incorporating some brassy horns and a more funked up styled guitar. Very 70's throwback now that I think about it.

The album takes a Coldplay-ish venture on "American Baby (Intro)" before emerging into the main course "American Baby" this was the only hit spawned from the album, peaking at #16 on the US chart; and the band's first top 20. The more grand piano based "Smooth Rider" is the albums first (non-traditional) ballad, brimming with lushes of funk -- it does carry some swagger -- I guess you could tell from the title. The breezy "Everybody Wake Up (Our Finest Hour Arrives)" is a fantastic track, it reminds me of the stuff on the Kings of Leon, Only By the Night album, of course this was done prior. Backing nicely with a distorted guitar just carelessly running through the song, also joining are some country-ish, twangy strings.

The heavily piano based "Out of My Hands" is another favorite -- I love the progression in the song, the drums start out vaguely faint before showing itself to the ears more reaching into the grittier parts of the song. Taking some influences from Rascal Flatts, "Hello Again" probably shows the most country presence on the album -- it's also probably one of few tracks that have yet to win me over. The lighthearted "Louisana Bayou" finds a faint showing of their rap-singing venture, I'm not too fond of this one either.

"Stolen Away On 55th and 3rd" probably carries the best melody on the album -- it's definitely the best acoustic styled, backed sweetly by Dave Matthew's frail but compelling vocal. The percussion soaked "You Might Die Trying" kinda seems like a lazy attempt to lengthen the album or to fake essenticity, but I do love it anyway.

"Steady as We Go" is the albums only traditional ballad, it's not bad. Closing the album is upbeat "Hunger for the Great Light" which is another personal favorite.

I still have a couple more of their albums to check out, there's at least 4 or 5 I've got my eyes set on. Dave Matthews Band are officially my alternative favorite band, bumping Kings of Leon, Buckcherry, Coldplay, The Killers and Snow Patrol down a notch. Although it's not perfect like, Big Whiskey, it's still a good album--when the more lackluster tracks are put aside, and there aren't that many.

Best: Everybody Wake Up (Our Finest Hour Arrives), Old Dirt Hill, Dreamgirl, American Baby, Stolen AwayOn 55th and 3rd, Out of My Hands, Smooth Rider

Michael Jackson on my iPod

Since Michael Jackson's passing last week Thursday, I've been playing his music non-stop, it was also a good chance to re-discover some music (mostly stuff from the, Off the Wall, and Bad, albums) I hadn't really paid attention to in the past. Here are how my listenings have fared between 25/06/09 - 03/07/09 (singles and album cuts are separated).


1. "Remember the Time" (29)
2. "Man In the Mirror" (24)
3. "Thriller" (15)
4. "Scream" w/ Janet Jackson (13)
5. "Billie Jean" (13)
6. "Rock With You" (9)
7. "Wanna Be Startin' Somethin" (8)
8. "The Way You Make Me Feel" (8)
9. "Bad" (7)
10. "You Rock My World" (7)

Album cuts:

1. "Childhood" (22)
2. "Why You Wanna Trip On Me" (19)
3. "Unbreakable" (15)
4. "The Lady In My Life" (14)
5. "Butterflies" (14)
6. "Baby Be Mine" (11)
7. "2000 Watts" (11)
8. "Tabloid Junkie" (11)
9. "She Drives Me Wild" (8)
10. "Keep the Faith" (6)

Friday, July 03, 2009

New music I'm listening to...

Funhouse - P!nk. Australia and New Zealand get"Bad Influence" but the rest of the world gets "Funhouse" the title track from P!nk's most recent album, Funhouse. I loved it when I first heard it on the album and after a couple months of not that many listens, I love it even more now. After the great but depressing "Sober" this is a nice uptempo number. A song that could've have also been considered for release is "It's All Your Fault" which I've mentioned many times; I still think it's a brilliant song.

Bulletproof - La Roux. After the fantastic "In for the Kill" British electropop duo follow up nicely with "Bulletproof" which tops the singles chart this week. Carrying a brilliant 80's pop influence, pounding with synth; I should be checking out their debut album very soon.

Hearbreak (Make Me a Dancer) - Freemasons & Sophie Ellis Baxtor. It's very nice to see Sophie Ellis Baxtor back onto the music scene again. Her 2007 attempt at a comeback wasn't quite the comeback I'd hoped for. Loving her ealier singles ("Take Me Home," "Get Over You" and "Murder on the Dancefloor") the new "Heartbreak (Make Me a Dancer)" is just perfect; great, upbeat electropop. Freemasons' always make the best dancepop songs and remixes, they worked their magic on Kelly Rowland's "Work" and Beyonce's "Green Light" and "Beautiful Lair" with Shakira.

Raindrops - Basement Jaxx. I've never really been a fan of Basement Jaxx, the only songs I've really got into by the duo are ("Where's Your Head At," "Oh My Gosh" and "Hush Boy") "Raindrops" is a fantastic dancepop song. It's the first time in 3 years I've payed attention to any of their singles.

Beautiful - Eminem. I recently discovered Eminem's "Beautiful" was going to become a single soon and I couldn't be happier, taken from his somewhat lackluster comeback album, Relapse, this is indeed the albums best track, probably his best song in years (although "We Made You" wasn't bad). Whilst "Beautiful" is indeed a brilliant song, it's still no "Stan" or "Cleaning Out My Closet" I hope Eminem can pull another one of them out of the bag in the future.

Best I Ever Had - Drake. My friend has been pestering me to check out this song for some time now. The reason I did eventually give this a chance is because it's doing so well in the US right now. A smooth R&B-Hip-Hop number, nothing I haven't heard before really, but I'm liking it anyway. The desperately X-rated music video is also a plus.

Ego - Beyonce. Beyonce's new single "Ego" is definitely a gem. A nice piano, bass and click backed number, sounding only a tad gospel. I also love the trumpets embedded in the song. Well that's everything that's needed to be said about the song -- the only thing is the questionable chorus ("It's too big, it's to wide, it's to strong, it won't fit, it's much, it's tough") I'll be damned if I'll be tricked into believing she's talking about an "ego" and not something much more controversial.

Obsessed - Mariah Carey. Still loving the latest from Mariah, "Obsessed;" pounding over a light Tricky & The Dream produced track, is still captivating my attention. I still give credit for the hilarious lyrics. I can't wait for the video, I hear Mariah is going to be quite the masculine.

I Gotta Feeling - Black Eyed Peas. The new Black Eyed Peas song, "I Gotta Feeling" has only started reveing airplay in the UK -- I wonder if it can acheive the same duplicate success as "Boom Boom Pow" did in the US and the UK. I've listening to his for awhile now and I'm still loving it.

LoveGame - Lady GaGa. I'm more likely to be hearing this on my iPod rather than on the radio, as "LoveGame" has been chosen as an outside Europe only single (supposedly due to the popular "controversial" lyric: "lets have some fun this beat is sicks, I wanna take a ride on your disco stick) while I've given endless praise to "Paparazzi" I kinda prefer "LoveGame" I've always been known to want what I can't have.

New Divide - Linkin' Park. I'm seeing the new Transformer's movie this week end and this had completely got me hyped up for it. Linkin' Park's "New Divide" rages with a heavy rock base, definately more angrier than most of the more light stuff on their 2007 album, Minutes to Midnight.

Radar - Britney Spears. I just saw the new Britney video to "Radar" and for the most part I think it sucks, however I still love the song after almost 3 years I still think it's a fantastic song. I hope it performs better than "If U Seek Amy" did.

D.O.A. (Death of Autotune) - Jay Z. As predicted Jay-Z churns out another stellar track, can this man do no wrong? "D.O.A." takes a shot at artist overusing the autotune effect on their work. With lyrics like ("I know we're in a recession, but all the music your making will make it a depression") proving, essntially he is among the few rappers left with something paramount to say. I'm patenitally awaiting his forthcoming album, The Blueprint 3.

No Surprise - Daughtry. Another album I'm patentally waiting are rock band, Daughtry's sophomore album, Leave this Town (which finds its release July 14.) The current single "No Surprise" makes the forthcoming effort sound very promising.

Work - Ciara Featuring Missy Elliot. I didn't like this song upon initial listens to Ciara's third album, Fantasy Ride -- but ever since the video come out, the single "Work" has grown on me a lot. A great party starter, Missy Elliot also puts in come good, catchy lyrics too.

So Fine - Sean Paul. Jamiacan rapper, Sean Paul has made some great raggae and hip-hop inspired numbers in the past ("Get Busy" and "Gimme the Light") his latest "So Fine" falls a tad short, but I like the raggae and snyth combo. It's surprisingly doing well on top 40 radio too.

Thursday, July 02, 2009

Billboard Hot 100, 4/07/09

Michael Jackson's sudden death last week meant an astonishing rise in album sales and airplay for the late singer. This week, Jackson has 9 albums entering the Top Pop Catalog albums chart, according to Billboard; a new record. Leading the pack is his, Number Ones compilation which tops the chart with sales of 108,000. Following in the 2 and 3 slots are, The Essential Michael Jackson compilation and, Thriller, both with sales around 100,000. With combined sales of 422,000, other Jackson albums to re-enter the chart are Off the Wall (#4) Bad (#6) Dangerous (#7) HIStory Greatest Hits, Vol. 1 (#9). Also on the chart is the Jackson 5 compilation, The Ultimate Collection.

On the singles side of things; Billboard's rule about the charts staying current means that Jackson's singles haven't charted on the Hot 100, but on the Hot Digital Songs chart and the Recurrent Airplay instead, the top tens as follows:

Recurrent Airplay:

1. "Rock With You"
3. "Man In the Mirror"
7. "The Way You Make Me Feel"

Hot Digital Songs:

2. "Thriller"
3. "Man In the Mirror"
4. "Billie Jean"
6. "The Way Your Make Me Feel"
9. "Don't Stop 'Til You Get Enough"

Over on the Bilboard Hot 100...

1. I Got a Feeling - Black Eyed Peas
2. Boom Boom Pow - Black Eyed Peas

The Black Eyed Peas replace themselves this week with "I Got a Feeling" which despite the MJ buying frenzy, still managed receive an increase in digital sales. It ends their 12th week run with "Boom Boom Pow." The last artist to replace themselves on the Hot 100 was T.I. with "Live Your Life" featuring Rihanna and "Whatever You Like" last year.

5. LoveGame - Lady GaGa

Lady GaGa begins to rise again after staying bulleted at #6 last week with "LoveGame" this will surely be a hit in the forthcoming weeks.

9. New Divide - Linkin' Park
10. Waking Up In Vegas - Katy Perry

I finalle checked out this song on MTV last week and I love it! This week Likin' Park's "New Divide" makes a massive 21 spot jump back into the top 10 -- after it's debut inside the top 10 5 weeks ago. I can't wait to watch the new Transformers movie this weekend. Another song making its re-entery into the top 10 is Katy Perry's "Waking Up In Vegas."

11. You Belong With Me - Taylor Swift

Taylor Swift's "You Belong With Me" continues to make big leaps up the chart, I think this could land in the top 10 next week. It's already surpassed its peak position, #12 which was set over 9 weeks ago.

24. D.O.A. (Death to Autotune) - Jay-Z

Jay-Z returns to the charts once again with his latest single "D.O.A. (Death to Autotunne)" a bid to bring back "real" music. I can't wait to get this on my iPod, I checked out this week and it's a fantastic song, I need to have his album like now. "D.O.A." debuts at #24; this weeks top debut. It's Jay-Z's 13th top 40. He's never been one to score highly on the charts (he normally performs well on the album side of things) his highest charting single is the brilliant "03 Bonnie & Clyde" with wifey Beyonce, which peaked at #4.

Personal Airplay, 02/07/09

TW LW Title - Artist
1 .... 2 .... When Love Takes Over - David Guetta & Kelly Rowland (1 week @ #1)
2 .... 4 .... Knock You Down - Keri Hilson Featuring Ne-Yo & Kanye West
3 .... 3 .... Mama Do (Uh Oh, Uh Oh) - Pixie Lott
4 .... 1 .... Release Me - Agnes (1 wk @ #1)
5 ... 12 ... Sugar - Flo Rida Featuring Wynter
6 .... 8 .... Untouched - The Veronicas
7 .... 9 .... New In Town - Little Boots
8 .... 6 .... Waking Up In Vegas - Katy Perry
9 .... 5 .... Boom Boom Pow - Black Eyed Peas (3 wks @ #1)
10 .. 10 .. Red - Daniel Merriweather

Wednesday, July 01, 2009

Happy Birthday, Blog!

Exactly a year ago from today, I began writing The Billboard Files (after a couple of false starts). It's weird to think that a whole year has already gone by. Starting out almost illiterate (all my earlier posts have been re-written to hide the shame) I am pretty pleased with my improvement and the fact that I've kept this blog for a year now; it does make this among the most successful things I've ever done. Thank you for all your comments and here's to many more years.