Sunday, June 27, 2010

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Album Review: Kylie Minogue - Aphrodite (4/5)

Capitalizing on a music career spanning over 20 years, Australian singer Kylie Minogue releases her eleventh album, Aphrodite. Like the electro-pop of lead single "All the Lovers" suggests, Aphrodite is crammed with synths, upbeat fun electronic soundscapes and instrumentation's all eluding a sence of celebration and why not? When you've made it 22 years in the industry and you're still a respected pop artist, I would think you'd have more than enough reason to celebrate.

Following "All the Lovers," "Get Outta My Way" cranks up the tempo, pushing a rich frothy electronic disco-studded dance-pop production with some cool melodies recalling the same dance-pop as Madonna's "Jump." It's definately one of the best tracks on here--"Put Your Hands Up (If You Feel Love)" follows up on that frothy dance-pop production and melodies nicely. It's sounds good but it's not that different apart from the cool piano and synth section. "Closer" slows things down a bit, eluding some progressive 80s-influenced penerating synths and bass. A classy mid-tempo but still as inviggorating as the first three tracks.

"Everything is Beautiful" has a nice laid-back feel good vibe, not as electronic-studded but very bass-heavy, so is the title track "Aphrodite" only evoking a little more attitude ("I got soul, you check in my heart, in my head"). The bass in "Illusion" is pretty strong too matching it with strong synth lines and a glossy dance-pop production.

"Better than Today" is another feel-good track. It has a nice throwback vibe to it and some cool lyrics ("what's the point in living if you don't take a chance/what's the point in living if you don't wanna dance"). Aptly titled "Too Much" offers some bulky electro-pop drenched in loud synths, probably complementing the title very well. The songs towards the end of the album aren't as effective nor as interesting as the ones prior. Following the same "electro-pop drenched in loud synths" route is "Cupid Boy" only not as good. "Looking for an Angel" has a sleek mid-tempo production but lacks the stomper of a chorus to make it a winner like "Closer" has. "Can't Beat the Feeling" isn't bad, it sounds good but also sounds like it's recycled from the same formula that made the first half of the album work so well. "Mighty Rivers" closes the album well, showcasing some warbling soundscapes and subtle electronic synth lines.

Aphrodite is a solid album, definately a winner for Minogue and noticeably better than 2007's X. However my only gripe is the lack of distinction and variation between some of the tracks, some moments do seem a bit pick a sound that works and re-hash it over and over again. I hope it's a success for Mingoue only because both 11th album releases from Madonna and Mariah Carey weren't the big commercial success' they were penned to be.

Best: All the Lovers, Get Outta My Way, Closer, Everything is Beautiful, Illusion, Aphrodite

Billboard Hot 100, July 3, 2010

1. California Gurls - Katy Perry feat. Snoop Dogg

Last week Katy Perry scored her second chart topper following 2008's summer smash "I Kissed a Girl" and this week Perry extends her reign to 2 weeks, only "California Gurls" seems to be a much bigger bigger hit than "Kissed" was--making an even bigger impact on top 40 radio. Over here in the UK the single is set to score the singer her second #1 also.

4. Billionaire - Travie McCoy feat. Bruno Mars

Are Bruno Mars features a certified way to score a hit these days? or are the songs he's on just that damn good? Either way Travie McCoy's "Billionaire" featuring Mars stays bulleted at #4 this week.

5. Find Your Love - Drake

As well as having this weeks #1 album with a 447k haul, Drake's "Find Your Love" also moved up 5 spots, scoring the rappers second top 5.

8. Cooler Than Me - Mike Foster

Mike Foster scores his first top 10 with "Cooler Than Me" which also this weeks digital gainer.

17. Impossible - Shontelle

Bardian singer Shontelle scores her first top 20 in the US rising to #17 with "Impossible", outpeaking the #36 her debut single "T-Shirt" peaked at.

31. Dynamite - Taio Cruz

Following the success of "Break Your Heart," Taio Cruz returns with "Dynamite" which seems to be already be hotting up the chart rising up 14 spots up to #31 scoring his second top 40.

Personal Airplay, June 24, 2010

TW LW Title - Artist
1 .... 1 ... California Gurls - Katy Perry (5 weeks @ #1)
2 ... 4 ... Not Afraid - Eminem
3 ... 2 ... Alejandro - Lady Gaga
4 ... 5 ... Airplanes - B.o.B. feat. Hayley Williams
5 ... 8 ... Te Amo - Rihanna
6 ... 3 ... Dirtee Disco - Dizzee Rascal
7 .. 10 .. Frisky - Tinie Tempah feat. Labrinth
8 .. 13 .. Just Be Good to Green - Professor Green feat. Lily Allen
9 .. 14 .. She's Always a Woman - Fyfe Dangerfield
10 .. 6 .. Guns and Horses - Ellie Goulding

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Eminem discography

Eminem releases his seventh album, Recovery this week. Here's a look back at the previous five (excluding his first udnerground release):

The Slim Shady LP (1999). Eminem's first major label debut launched one of the most successful hip-hop careers of all time and of course among the most controversial. The fun, misery and genius of Eminem's debut lies solely in its explicit and cut-throat lyrics, switching from the quirky introductory narration of "My Name Is," to the rather disturbing and brutal depicting of murder in "97 Bonnie & Clyde," to lyrical honesty "Cum on Everybody." Best: My Name Is, Guilty Conscience, 97 Bonnie & Clyde, Rock Bottom, Cum on Everybody. (4.5/5)

The Marshall Mathers LP (2000). There's way more to Eminem's third album than crossover pop hit "The Real Slim Shady." Unlike his debut, Eminem's follow up dropped the quirk and took on the more serious--showcasing more solitary ways of story-telling in rap such as in the cult classic "Stan" featuring vocals from British pop singer Dido. What doesn't seem to change is the off-beat and grotesque lyrics such as the ones in "Kill You" or "Drug Ballad," genius or just messed up? Your call but this indeed shows the rapper at his most innovative. Best: Stan, The Real Slim Shady, The Way I Am, Kill You, Drug Ballad. (5/5)

The Eminem Show (2002). Critics and fans alike loved Eminem's fourth album, but I've never been that into it, whilst, of course there are a handful of good songs on here ("Without Me," "Clealin' Out My Closet," and "Hailey's Song") as an album it's dark-topic heavy feel kinda dampens the whole appeal that made his first two albums both winners for me--he talks about his troubled childhood, destructive relationships, homophobia, American government and hatred for his parents and Mariah Carey--a good insight into the life of Eminem for the hardcore fan but overwhelming for the casual listener. However as far as the sound go, the beats sound more well-crafted and complex in comparison to the previous two. Best: Without Me, Cleanin' Out My Closet, When the Music Stops, Hailey's Song, White America. (4/5)

Encore (2004). Eminem's fifth album offered an alternative outlook on familiar subjects he'd talked about on the previous album only more effective and less unnecessary shock value, similarly to The Eminem Show they're moments that work, such as "Like Toy Soldiers" which speaks on calming the violence within the rap community and the politically charged "Mosh." and other that don't, which seem to be the more radio-friendly pop influenced numbers that unsuccessfully contrast the more topical elements of the album such as "Ass Like That," however stretching over 20 tracks it doesn't seem to damaging to have a little filler. Best: Like Toy Soldiers, Mosh, Just Lose It, Mockingbird, Rain Man, Spend Some Time. (4.5/5)

Relapse (2009). You can't help but be a little disappointed at Eminem's comeback album, it definitely wasn't the high standard of lyrical masterclass we're use to--the topical humor just wasn't that effective on here, the odd depiction of child molestation in "Insane" falls flat, so does the story of his mentally abusive mother on "My Mom." A lot on here doesn't work, it's gore without the creative input to back it up but there's a handful that does such as the touching ballad "Beautiful," probably his best since "Lose Yourself" from the 8 Mile Soundtrack. Best: Beautiful, We Made You, 3am, Crack a Bottle. (2.5/5)

Alexandra Burke "Start Without You"

X-Factor winner Alexandra Burke returns with "Start Without You," the lead single from the forthcoming re-release of her debut Overcome album. It's her third single to feature a rapper, this time it's unknown Atlanta-based rapper Laza Morgan. I didn't like this upon first first listens but it's not bad, I like the faux Caribbean flavor in the chorus.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Toy Story 3

Move over children, I've been waiting 11 years to see the follow-up to Toy Story 2. I'm not sure what that says about my character but I'm pretty excited to see the new Toy Story movie, it's been such a long time, I'd forgotten all about the franchise that today I watched both parts 1 and 2 with some friends. What cool 16 year olds are we? The trailer looks pretty promising, I like how they fill in the gap between 1999 and now. Check it out below:

Monday, June 21, 2010

Album Review: Robyn - Body Talk, Pt. 1 (4/5)

Swedish pop singer Robyn returns with the first of her three-part follow up to 2005's Robyn, an album which re-ignited her career and landed the singer's first chart topper with "With Every Heartbeat." The first part in the Body Talk series only consists of 8 tracks including the penetrating synth drenched lead single "Dancing On My Own."

The albums opens with "Don't Fucking Tell Me What to Do" a simple composition of synth, bass and simple lyrics along the lines of ("My mangers killing me, my mother killing me...") the simplicity soon doctors into the more charged electronic and bass heavy "Fembot," which includes the clever lyrical spin-off of the saying "When you go black you never go back," she raps, "When you go attack you ain't never going back," and fitting electronic grunts and vocals in the background.

"Cry When You Get Older" uploads some piercing '80s inspired synths and beats, but more tamer than anything so far. Unsurprisingly "Dancehall Queen" has some electronic eccentric Jamaican influences. Bass heavy "None of Dem" follows nicely before piano-laden ballad "Hang with Me," slows things down. Closing the first part of the album is delicate and vulnrable "Jag Vet en Delig Rosa" which in English means "I Know of Lovely Rose." Body Talk, Pt. 1 is solid offering on Robyn's part--nothing extrodinary but nothing underwhelming. I'm looking forward to parts 2 and 3.

Best: Dancing On My Own, Fembot, Hang with Me, Cry When You Get Older

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Album Review: Drake - Thank Me Later (3.5/5)

Canadian rapper Drake follows an extensive line of past hype-driven rap acts to make it big (Nelly, Ja Rule, 50 Cent ect.)--acts who weren't necessarily awesome rappers but had enough buzz and beats to generate enough interest to win over a solid fanbase but that interest inevitably fizzled out and Drake fits that bill perfectly. His debut album Thank Me Later doesn't necessarily present him to be a great rapper nor lyricist however appeal lies in his commanding of the beats he flows over and the solidarity of the tracks.

The album gets off to a slow start; the first couple tracks are slow mid tempos. Opening is the seductive Islandic drum driven "Fireworks," featuring Alicia Keys. Lyrics are nothing spectacular, more of a thank you to boss Lil Wayne ("Wayne put me right here, that's who I get the paper with") following is the similarly seductive drum driven "Karaoke," aligned with some soft violin sounds in the background and "The Resistance," which sounds more eerie than seductive. The album hots up with lead single "Over," possibly amongst the best emotional performances on here. Fueld by marching band simulating drums and awesome orchestration. Definately one of the best tracks on here. The piano-heavy R&B sounding "Show Me a Good Time," follows nicely.

The albums mid-section covers a host of different collaborations. Some of them work and some don't. The ones that do offer some of the albums best highlights, such as the almost Kanye West esque old school sounding "Fancy" featuring T.I. and Swizz Beatz, the seductive bedroom slow jam "Shut it Down," featuring The Dream, drum heavy mid tempo "Unforgettable" featuring Young Jeezy and eery drum-driven "Light Up" featuring Jay-Z.

Of course there are those that don't quite hit the mark such as "Up All Night" featuring Nicki Minaj which seems to recycle the same drum beats and eerie soundscapes that's already been played out through the album. "Miss Me" featuring Lil Wayne goes for that big hip-hop production incorporating 808 drums, heavy beats and other noise but it's pretty unimpressive but both Drake and Lil Wayne do put in pretty good verses though.

Towards the end of the album we find another seductive slow jam, "Cece Interlude," the laidback "Find Your Love," the beat heavy "Thank Me Now," and "Best I Ever Had" which I didn't like before but I've grown pretty fond of it now. Thank Me Later is a solid debut, I don't hear the groundbreaking sound it was set up to be but in all a solid debut.

You have your genuine rappers, MC's and lyricists (Jay-Z, Nas and Eminem) and you can have your hype-driven talent, flavor of the moment acts, which isn't necessarily a bad thing just until that flavor turns sour then ultimately irrelevant. Time will tell weather Drake can successfully distinguish his sound to fit him in the first group.

Best: Find Your Love, Fireworks, Best I Ever Had, Fancy, Shut it Down

Personal Airplay, June 17, 2010

TW LW Title - Artist
1 ... 1 .... California Gurls - Katy Perry feat. Snoop Dogg (4 weeks @ #1)
2 ... 2 ... Alejandro - Lady Gaga
3 ... 4 ... Dirtee Disco - Dizzee Rascal
4 ... 9 ... Not Afraid - Eminem
5 ... 8 ... Airplanes - B.o.B. feat. Hatley Williams
6 ... 6 ... Guns and Horses - Ellie Goulding
7 .. 10 .. I Am Not a Robot - Marina and the Diamonds
8 .. 13 .. Te Amo - Rihanna
9 ... 5 ... All Night Long - Alexandra Burke
10 .. 19 .. Frisky - Tinie Tempah

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

What I'm Listening to...

I've been taking my GSCE exams all this week and last hence why there haven't been a lot of posts lately, but I've only got 2 more exams left then I'm a free teen (well until September). Here's what I've been listening to:

Dynamite - Taio Cruz. What Taio Cruz lacks in personality he makes up for with his slick electro-pumped pop numbers and his new single "Dynamite" is no exception, a feel-good electro-studded dancefloor filler. Much more appealing than "Dirty Picture," with whats-her-face.

California Gurls - Katy Perry feat. Snoop Dogg. Similarities to "TiK ToK" aside, Katy Perry's new single is just an awesome slice of current pop, not taking itself too seriously and just being carefree. I like this a lot. It scored Perry's 2nd chart topper last week.

Wavin' Flag - K'naan. It's nice to see Somalian MC K'Naan finally being recognized, even if it just because of the World Cup and this awesome football-sprited song. It looking good to score the MC's top 5 in the UK this Sunday. The last time he appeared on the UK charts was with a callabo with alternative rock band Keane's "Night Train," which peaked at #40. Yikes.

Whataya Want from Me - Adam Lambert. American Idol runner up Adam Lambert's next UK single is pretty good, nice pop/rock with a belter of a chorus. I'm not really a fan of Lambert--I don't get any of this glam-rock stuff but I'm willing to give his album For You Entertainment a listen.

Commander - Kelly Rowland. Awesome David Guetta produced European-styled club banger.

Kickstart - Example.
British rapper Example keeps churning out quality singles (both "Watch the Sun Come Up" and "Won't Go Quietly" were fantastic) and "Kickstart" is another winner. I'm looking forward to his forthcoming second album Won't Go Quietly out this Sunday supposedly.

Frisky - Tinie Tempah feat. Labrinth. He may have missed out on his second UK chart topper but British rapper Tinie Tempah's "Frisky" is still an immence piece of faux electro-pop/rap. I'm also looking forward to his upcoming debut album too.

All the Lovers - Kylie Minogue. Pop's sweetheart Kylie returns with this pondering synth soaked subtle midtempo that is "All the Lovers."

Your Love - Nicki Minaj. Raps new Lil' Kim hadn't yet put a decent solo song until now--"Massive Attack" was awful, however the bassline and autotune heavy "Your Love" is much better.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

NUMB - Diana Vickers (Cover)

"NUMB" is a standout from X Factor finalist Diana Vickers' debut album, Songs from the Tainted Cherry Tree, a melodic acoustic guitar fronted ballad. I love it... only problem Vickers vocals doesn't gel with me on the song (or on any songs on the album for that matter) at all so here's a cover I found on YouTube that I've been listening to instead.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Preview Drake's Thank Me Later

There's been a lot of anticipation behind Canadian rapper Drake's debut album Thank Me Later. I've listened to a few tracks this morning and I'm pretty impressed, it's the first hip-hop album I've really been interested in since Jay-Z's The Blueprint 3. "Fireworks" featuring Alicia Keys is an instant standout, an eclectic mix of piano and islandic beats and drurms. The dark heavily drum-based "Light Up" featuring Jay-Z is pretty good too. I've yet to closely listen to some of the lyrics, review will be up soon.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Personal Airplay, June 10, 2010

TW LW Title - Artist
1 ... 1 .... California Gurls - Katy Perry feat. Snoop Dogg (3 weeks @ #1)
2 ... 3 ... Alejandro - Lady Gaga
3 ... 4 ... Good Times - Roll Deep
4 .. 10 .. Dirtee Disco - Dizzee Rascal
5 ... 2 ... All Night Long - Alexandra Burke
6 ... 7 ... Guns and Horses - Ellie Goulding
7 ... 5 ... Ridin Solo - Jason DeRulo
8 ... 9 ... Airplanes - B.o.B. feat. Hayley Williams
9 .. 11 .. Not Afraid - Eminem
10 .. 13 .. I Am Not a Robot - Marina and the Diamonds

Thursday, June 03, 2010

Personal Airplay, June 3, 2010

TW LW Title - Artist
1 ... 1 ....
California Gurls - Katy Perry (2 weeks @ #1)
2 ... 2 ... All Night Long - Alexandra Burke (1 wk @ #1)
3 ... 5 ... Alejandro - Lady Gaga
4 ... 7 ... Good Times - Roll Deep
5 ... 3 ... Ridin Solo - Jason DeRulo
6 ... 6 ... Memories - David Guetta feat. Kid Cudi
7 ... 8 ... Guns and Horses - Ellie Goulding
8 ... 4 ... Nothin' On You - B.o.B. feat. Bruno Mars (2 wks @ #1)
9 .. 10 .. Airplanes - B.o.B. feat. Hayley Williams
10 .. 11 .. Dirtee Disco - Dizzee Rascal