Friday, April 29, 2011

Album Review: The Wombats - The Modern Glitch (4/5)

British rockers The Wombats finally release their follow-up to 2007's debut A Guide to Love, Loss & Desperation. I have never really familiarized myself with the band (I enjoyed the muffled melodic rock of their biggest hit so far "Moving to New York" but that's about it) but their sound is very much accessible dance-rock with fetching hooks, almost re-calling the similar joyous rock of Blur, nicely demonstrated on the instant opening track "Our Perfect Disease" which cooks up the perfect recipe for striking alternative rock/pop; laying down heavy drum rhythms, blustery electronic guitars and throbbing synths piercing through the undercurrents. The haunting keyboard solo is a nice touch too.

Aswell as Blur, they also remind me of fellow British indie rock band Bloc Party, particularly "Tokyo (Vampires & Wolves);" constraining guitar and synth melodies, prominent heavy drum backing, layered roaring vocal. A very balmy production with quite a sinister lyrical undertone ("back to that bar in Tokyo where the demons from my past leave me alone"). More restraint is "Jump Into the Fog" which has a nice range of towering sounds; angelic choir humming beneath callous drum beats and hand claps kept at bay by tuneful guitar chords.

Even more restraint is "Anti-D" a dramatic number, aptly spearheaded by heavy orchestratic violins, strings and mellowing guitas before the distorted, warbling, electronic synths kick in. Quickly picking up the tempo, "Last Night I Dreamt..." is drenched with nice guitar melodies, drum rhythms, and faint '80s inspired clobbering dance beats near the beginning--it's a fairly upbeat production however, again, has a dark lyrical undertone ("last night I dreamt I died alone").

Slightly edging away from the standard alternative rock production is the apty titled "Techno Fan" which dips its toes into electro-pop territories: synths, pulsing bass lines and atmospheric soundscapes, all great build up to its energetic, hard-hitting chorus where the overbearing (in a good way of course) electronic guitars and heavy drums come into play--it's a nice contrast.

"1996" is quite good too, although not as much as the others. Very beat heavy and atmoshperic and lyrically, as you would expect, very reminiscent ("we were cloning sheep in the 1990s, we were building telescopes"). The album begins to sag a little towards the end, "Walking Disasters" is good but too repetitive, particularly on the chorus and the production is a little underwhelming and unless I'm completely missing the point doesn't the lame lyrical direction of "Girls / Fast Cars" sound quite out of place here? I mean, who doesn't love girls and fast cars? But it seems like a lyrical misfire.

The album comes to a close with "Schumacher the Champange" which sounds like a nice melodic '90s throwback--heavy synthy-bass lines, tambourines, chugging guitar chords--furthering the aforementioned Blur comparisons. The reviews for The Modern Glitch hasn't been great, NME called the album "a triumph for mediocrity," however I really enjoyed it--I applaud its solidarity, consistency and being cohesive. It's an enjoyable dance-rock record.

Best: Our Perfect Disease, Tokyo (Vampires & Wolves), Last Night I Dreamt..., Techno Fan, Jump Into the Fog, Schumacher the Champange

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Billboard Hot 100, May 7, 2011

1. E.T. - Katy Perry feat. Kanye West

Katy Perry returns to #1 with "E.T." extending its reign at the top to 4 weeks, matching last single "Firework" 4 week run at the top. The single sold 344k this week, earning its highest one-week sum. Over on radio Perry breaks the record for the largest all-time Mediabase top 40 audience record, with impressions of over 95 million, besting previous record holder Alicia Keys's "Fallin" which clocked up an impressive 93 million in 2001.

2. Rolling in the Deep - Adele

This week's digital gainer Adele climbs 4 spots up to #2 with "Rolling in the Deep" selling 298k this week (with help from an American Idol contestant's rendition). This is an awesome achievement! I'm sure this can log in a week at #1 in the oncoming weeks--it's airply is growing up 18% to 62 million this week and still going strong on iTunes. Adele also returns to the top spot over on the Billboard 200 for a fifth week.

4. S&M - Rihanna (feat. Britney Spears)

Last week's #1 tumbles 3 notches down to #4. It's weird that Britney is still credited when the remix didn't outsell the original this week. Strange.

9. Blow - Ke$ha

Ke$ha's "Blow" returns to the top 10, climbing 3 spots up to #9. I believe the song was performed on the Nickelodeon show Victorious, in which she guest-starred.

11. Till the World Ends - Britney Spears
12. Judas - Lady Gaga

Both Britney and Lady Gaga fall out of the top 10 this week however both "Till the World Ends" and "Judas" are still bulleted due to their increase in sales and airplay. The parallels between the singles are interesting--both had a 3 day-first week release--"World" debuted at #20, while "Judas" debuted at #10. In their first full week of release both singles sold around 160k and now both singles are poised to return to the top 10 next week--"World" because of its new accompanying remix featuring Ke$ha and Nicki Minaj and "Judas" because of Gaga's performance of the song on Ellen.

33. Run the World (Girls) - Beyonce

It's disappointment for Beyonce as her new single "Run the World (Girls)" debuts at a poor #33--yes, it's her second highest debut, but this is also the first time Beyonce has a released a single to iTunes and radio simultaneously (similar to the lead singles from Britney and Gaga)--so in an ideal world, this should have debut much, much higher. The single sold 77k this week, some have been comparing it to the equally poor start of Christina Aguilera's "Not Myself Tonight" which debuted at #23 last year and sold the same amount in its opening week.

First Published Review

I should have posted this earlier, but my review for Adele's latest album 21 has been published on Trashed Magazine's website (an online platform for young creative people). It's the first time a review of mine has been published on another website... that's not spam. Check it out!

Personal Airplay, April 28, 2011

TW LW Title - Artist
1 (1) This is Why We Fight - The Decemberists (3 weeks @ #1)
2 (3) E.T. - Katy Perry
3 (5) L.I.F.E.G.O.E.S.O.N. - Noah & The Whale
4 (2) The Whilhelm Scream - James Blake (2 wks #1)
5(14) The Lazy Song - Bruno Mars
6 (6) Howlin' for You - The Black Keys
7 (4) Undercover of Darkness - The Strokes
8 (9) Young Blood - The Naked and Famous
9(10) Till the World Ends - Britney Spears
10(7) Neat Little Arrows - Elbow

Click below for full top 40

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Britney Remixes "Till the World Ends"

Hot on the heels of her recent remix on Rihanna's "S&M," Britney Spears teams up with hip-hop hottest female MC Nicki Minaj and Ke$ha to inject new life into "Till the World Ends" the second single from Spears' latest album Femme Fatale. What do you think? Unlike "S&M" the remix does quite different from the original--with new vocals as well as a dub-step drenched dance-break ala "Hold it Against Me," give it a listen below:

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Billboard Hot 100, April 30, 2011

1. S&M - Rihanna feat. Britney Spears

So after 13 weeks, Rihanna's "S&M" finally tops the Hot 100 earning the Barbadian singer her 10th #1. Selling nearly 300k this week, it's rise to the top is thanks to its accompanying remix featuring Britney Spears, released last week which accounted for nearly 70% of those sales. Rihanna is now tied with Janet Jackson and Stevie Wonder for 8th place for the artists with the most #1's on the Hot 100. This also makes Rihanna, at 23, the youngest artist to score 10 #1's, besting Mariah Carey who scored her 10th #1 when she was 25. Rihanna also bests Carey's 5 years and 4 months that took her to accumulate her first 10 #1's with a pretty impressive 4 years and 11 months.

This is the second time Rihanna has scored 3 #1's from one album--she launched "Umbrella," "Take a Bow" and "Disturbia" to the pinnacle from her third album Good Girl Gone Bad. Obviously Rihanna benefited a great deal from the Spears-assisted remix, however Britney gets a pretty good deal too--because she's credited she scores her 5th #1 this week too, the first time she's gotten multiple #1's in the same year, following "Hold it Against Me" earlier this year. Billboard do not mention this in their aritcle, but I do believe this is the first time a female duet has topped the Hot 100 since Monica and Brandy's "The Boy is Mine" in 1998.

4. Down on Me - Jeremih feat. 50 Cent

R&B singer Jeremih lands his 2nd top 5 with "Down on Me" featuring 50 Cent, which climbs 2 spots up to #4. His last top 5 "Birthday Sex" peaked in the same spot in 2009.

6. Rolling in the Deep - Adele

Adele climbs further into the top 10 with "Rolling in the Deep" rising 4 spots up to #6. It's currently #1 on iTunes, it should score her first top 3 (at least) next week.

10. Judas - Lady Gaga

After Rihanna and Britney, the week's second biggest news is the arrival of Lady Gaga's "Judas" which debuts at #10 this week following its three-day release on iTunes, although it arrives rather underwhelming following blazing reception of previous single "Born This Way" which debuted at #1 with 448k. "Judas" sold 162k this week, however next week it could be going head-to-head with Adele's "Rolling in the Deep," Katy Perry's "E.T." and Beyonce's new single "Girls (Who Run the World)" for #1--that's if "Girls" receives the same enthusiastic reception Britney and Lady Gaga's lead singles received.

Personal Airplay, April 21, 2011

TW LW Title - Artist
1 (1) This is Why We Fight - The Decemberists (2 weeks @ #1)
2 (2) The Whilhelm Scream - James Blake (2 wks @ #1)
3 (4) E.T. - Katy Perry
4 (3) Undercover of Darkness - The Strokes
5 (7) L.I.F.E.G.O.E.S.O.N. - Noah & The Whale
6 (8) Howlin' for You - The Black Keys
7 (6) Neat Little Arrows - Elbow
8 (5) Tighten Up - The Black Keys
9 (11)Young Blood - The Naked and Famous
10(12)Till the World Ends - Britney Spears

Click after the jump to view full top 40:

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

The Guardian: Why male X Factor winners are doomed

So Shayne Ward becomes the fourth male X Factor contestant to be dropped from Syco, Simon Cowell's record label. The Guardian have written an article asking: 'Why male X Factor winners are doomed.' The article highlights how male contestants "worry about their imagined credibility, whereas female winners are more ready for the red carpet" and also how successful male artists in today's music industry are making R&B influenced music--not generic acoustic pop/rock covers.

Album Reviews

Jamie Woon - Mirrorwriting (4/5). British singer Jamie Woon is the latest of the BBC Sounds of 2011 poll to release an album and save for Clare McGuire, who I haven't given a listen to yet (and I probably won't), Woon's Mirrorwriting is among the best from I've heard from the poll--on par with James Blake and better than Jessie J and The Vaccines. Woon has a cordial, soulful texture to his voice (a little like Craig David) that works nicely beneath his haunting downbeat urban-shadowed productions--nicely demonstrated on opening track "Night Air." The album gradually ventures into more spacey territories, "Street" lays down some deterred pulsing beats, synths and disquieting atmosphere. Current single "Lady Luck" is a little more upbeat; kinetic handclaps and beats backed with what now seems like an obligitory wall of soundscape. Critics compared this to fellow poll-graduate James Blake, while I do here I hear the similarities he also sounds a lot like American singer/song-writer Amos Lee too, particuarly on closing number "Waterfoot" a soulful, acoustic ballad. Best: Lady Luck, Night Air, Street, Waterfoot, Spiral, Echoes

Gorillaz - The Fall (3/5). Blur's Damon Albarn's animated alternative rock band Gorillaz release their fourth album, the majority of which produced on Apple's iPad, which would explain why the sound on here is, quite appropriately, more electronically charged than their previous work. Last year's rather bloated set Plastic Beach introduced listeners to the band's more experimental endeavors--and while this follow-up seems to want to push the boundaries a little further, I feel the sound isn't as thrilling as it could have been, although as you would arguably expect from the Gorillaz, they do deliver a handful of interesting moments, such as third track "Hillbilly Man," which begins as a somber, mellow arraignment of low-key acoustic guitars and restful vocals before breaking into a sputter of clumping synths and beefy electronic beats. The morphing soundscapes and engorging electronic undercurrents of "Detroit" is another winner, however my favorite on here is "Bobby in Phoenix" featuring American singer Bobby Womack, which does an awesome job of merging a pretty high-strung acoustic arrangement layered over electronic pulsing. At 15 tracks it is quite lengthy, with a lot of misfire, definitely their least consistent set thus far, but still somewhat enjoyable. Best: Bobby in Phoenix, Hillbilly Man, Detroit, The Joplin Spider

Monday, April 18, 2011

Album Review: Foo Fighters - Wasting Light (4.5/5)

Seven albums deep into their career, American rock band Foo Fighters remain at the pinnacle of fine rock music. On this thrilling set, their sound is as refined, consistent and anthemic as ever. Could this be their best album to date? Well, they haven't rocked out this hard since 2002's much-heralded fourth album One by One which delivered the electrifying, muffled guitar-chugging rock of "Low."

Produced by Bruce Vig, who spearheaded Nirvana's celebrated sophomore album Nevermind, the album highlights effectively the band's love for high-energy, rugged, strenuous rock--instantly demonstrated on opening number "Bridge Burning," insistent sharp, rampant guitar chords layered over accelerating rapid drum-fire with seeping melodic undertones; Dave Gohl's bold, slightly husky vocal relishing in the industrious rock-studded production. Lead single "Rope" follows its energetic suit--bursts of lively rigid electronic guitars with a rapid drum backing.

"Dear Rosemary" is a little tamer, but still packs a pretty spirited punch--ultimately, it's the calm before the harder, more aggressive rocky storm of "White Limo;" showcasing numbing vigorous electronic guitars buried beneath a wall of impulsive heavy-footed drumming and loud distorted screeching. A very invigorating track--venturing into darker rockier (slightly migraine-encouraging) territories. However, reining in the dogmatic guitars is "Arlandria" which illustrates a standard, but still galvanizing layering of guitar melodies and drums. The clamorous chanting before the chorus ("fame fame go away, come again some other day") does successfully discharge that anthemic aura.

"These Days" showcases a more complex range of guitars from, what I think are, electric twelve-string guitars to accompany the tamer verses to the standard blustery electronic guitars for the obligatory hard-hitting chorus, next up is "Back & Forth" which was an instant favorite--chugging guitar chords, that merge into a frenetic start-stop sound before the gusty chorus with a prominent high-energy drum backing where Gohl demands "now show a little backbone why don't you!" The more pop-tinged, compact guitar melodies of "A Matter of Time" is refreshing in the midst of the more cultivated rock, similarly "Miss the Misery" where the album gets its title from, packs a lot of melody, particularly in the chorus but doesn't lays off the overbearing guitaric layering that much.

Towards the end of the album, we arrive at the albums finest moment, the somber, stripped-down rock of "I Should Have Known," layers of hollowing distorted guitars marinating in its melancholic ambiance and the atmospheric backdrop. It features Krist Novoselic, Nirvana bassist. It's tender without venturing into soppy territories. It's a definite highlight. The uplifting progressive, charging rock of "Walk" closes the album on a solid note.

So could this be their best album to date? Wasting Light is way up there with the Foo Fighters past work. It can mingle with One by One just as well as it can rock out with The Colour and the Shape. Packed with hard-hitting, power-rock as well as nurturing some more dispiriting moments. It's an undeniable winner for the band. It's definitely the best rock album of the year so far.

Best: I Should Have Known, Back & Forth, Rope, Bridge Burning, Arlandria, White Limo, Dear Rosemary, These Days

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Singles Reviews

I haven't done this in awhile, so there's quite a few:

This is Why We Fight - The Decemberists (4.5/5)
Party Rock Anthem - LMFAO feat. Lauren Bennett & Goonrock (4/5)
Don't Sit Down Cause I've Moved Your Chair - Arctic Monkeys (4/5)
Young Blood - The Naked and Famous (4/5)
Happy Now - Take That (4/5)
Judas - Lady Gaga (3.5/5)
If You Wanna - The Vaccines (3.5/5)
Look at Me Now - Chris Brown feat. Busta Rhymes & Lil Wayne (3/5)
Sweat (Remix) - David Guetta feat. Snoop Dogg (1/5)

Click below to read the full reviews:

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Personal Airplay, April 14, 2011

TW LW Title - Artist
1.... (5).... This is Why We Fight - The Decemberists (1 week @ #1)
2.... (1).... The Whilhelm Screm - James Blake (2 wks @ #1)
3.... (2).... Undercover of Darkness - The Stokes
4.... (7).... E.T. - Katy Perry
5.... (3).... Tighten Up - The Black Keys
6.... (4).... Neat Little Rows - Elbow
7.... (9).... L.I.F.E.G.O.E.S.O.N. - Noah & The Whale
8... (13)... Howlin' For You - The Black Keys
9.... (8).... Rocketeer - Far East Movement
10.. (6).... Someone Like You - Adele (1 wk @ #1)

Click below to view the full top 40:

Billboard Hot 100, April 23, 2011

1. E.T. - Katy Perry feat. Kanye West
2. S&M - Rihanna

Katy Perry extends her reign at #1 to second week, also this weeks airplay gainer, holding off fellow pop scarlet Rihanna's "S&M" which ascends to #1 over on the pop songs tally this week--logging in her 8th chart-topper, pushing her past P!nk and Lady Gaga for the most #1's on that chart. It's "S&M" third week at #2, however this week could give Rihanna a pretty good chance to score the third straight #1 from Loud, thanks to the newly-released remix of the song featuring Britney Spears, which currently sits at #1 on iTunes. I'm sure the sales for both the normal and the remix will be combined, hopefully giving Rihanna a good shot at #1 next week.

8. Till the World Ends - Britney Spears

Speaking of Britney Spears, the singer returns to the top 10 following its 3 week absence, climbing 5 spots up to #8 scoring a new peak, thanks to its video release last week. It peaked at #9 6 weeks ago.

10. Rolling in the Deep - Adele

Adele stays bulleted at #10 this week and is beginning to rise on top 40 radio and hopefully could see a new peak next week. She also reclaims #1 on the Billboard 200 this week.

13. Honey Bee - Blake Shelton

American country singer Blake Shelton makes a rather impressive debut at #13 with his new single "Honey Bee." Impressive mostly because not only is it his highest single debut ever, but also his highest peaking. Shelton's last biggest hit on the Hot 100 was back in 2004 with "Some Beach" which peaked at #28.

17. Give Me Everything - Pitbull feat. Ne-Yo, AfroJack & Nayer

This weeks digital gainer is "Give Me Everything" by cuban rapper Pitbull, this single soars 43 spots up to #17 scoring the rapper's 4th top 20 single.

18. Firework - Katy Perry

Isn't it weird not seeing this in the top 10?

20. The Lazy Song - Bruno Mars

Bruno Mars' "The Lazy Song" rises 7 spots up to #20, scoring his third top 30 single.

40. Price Tag - Jessie J feat. B.o.B.

Following in Adele and Tinie Tempah's footsteps, British singer Jessie J climbs 9 spots up to #40 scoring her first ever US top 40 single. Congratulations!

Monday, April 11, 2011

Rihanna and Britney "S&M Rihmix"

Barbadian singer Rihanna teams up with fellow pop scarlet Britney Spears to revamp her recent hit "S&M," check it out the sexy collab below:

Album Review: Noah & The Whale - Last Night on Earth (4/5)

Last Night on Earth, the third album from British indie-folk band Noah and the Whale is my first exposure to the band, however I have heard of them before, primarily due to former-band member Laura Marling who released her much-acclaimed second album I Speak Because I Can last year. Their sound is predominantly sculpted with an expected rootsy, folksy bearing but there’s also something more interesting here beneath the heavy layer of folk-rock—such there heavy indulging in corpulent electronic flourishes—which surprisingly isn’t burdensome—but feels at home in a set like this.

Opening track “Life is Life” is great. ‘80s inspired electronic undertones pulse through the wall of rich synths and clobbering beats. I love the layered vocal on the chorus, it sounds a little anthemic too. Next up is “Tonight’s the Kind of Night” a return to the norm—prominent drum beats, with seeping piano chords—there’s also layers of permeating synths that saturate the backdrop, further indulging in that electronic edge. The sound on here reminds me a little of something I think The Killers would do if they went folk. Popular lead single “L.I.F.E.G.O.E.S.O.N.” has a if-The-Killers-went-folk vibe to it too--Discharging paltry melodies, arresting tuneful guitar chords and disquieting scattering drum lines.

“Wild Thing” is interesting—very downbeat, pondering with dejected drum beats and rough guitars beneath the progressive, dispirited layer spacey soundscapes and soft electronic pulsing. Charlie Fink’s off-beat vocal works the song well—implanting a sense of awkwardness that seems to fit the grim atmospherics of the song. More upbeat is “Give it All Back” which acquits an uplifting, almost ‘80s influenced theme, with its escalating melody.

“Just Before We Met” is another interesting number; prominent country-tinged violins, poignant piano chords, sharp guitar chords and an acuminous drum-backing. It’s the rootsiest they sound on here. Following is “Paradise Stars” an 89 second instrumental piece, highlighting a distinctive sense of subtlety in atmosphere, showcasing grand piano chords and strings—until the subtlety is washed away by the illusive drum-fair of “Waiting for My Change to Come,” another track that implements the violin, a nice touch I think, reining in that rootsy-feel again.

The album comes to a close with “The Line” a downbeat number, subtle synth-beats and warbling electronic pulsing and “Old Joy” an uplifting piano-ballad with heavy choir voices backing Fink boisterous vocal. Weirdly but expectedly there’s a random burst of electronic piercing, which I don’t think is needed on here.

Last Night on Earth expands nicely on the bands indie-rock sound, indulging in electronic, more pop-studded flourishes and while that could have sounded overbearing—it works really well, although I'm not in love it, it sounds a little depleted as whole, however even with that it’s still one of the best indie-rock albums I’ve heard this year, so far.

Best: Life is Life, L.I.F.E.G.O.E.S.O.N., Wild Thing, Just Before We Met, Give it All Back, Tonight is the Kind of Night

Thursday, April 07, 2011

Singles Reviews

Jar of Hearts - Christina Perri (4/5). American singer/songwriter Christina Perri has a raw, outré vocal style, like a restraint Alanis Morissette that works well on this fragile heartfelt piano and string, melody-strung ballad. It's been hovering around on the upper-reaches of the Hot 100 for awhile now.

Broken Record - Katy B (4/5). From the dark dubstep of "On a Mission" to the celebratory raggae of "Lights On" and now to the seeping trancy electronic undertones of "Broken Record" British singer Katy B has proven to be quite the diverse character. I'm looking forward to her debut album, On a Mission.

No Sleep - Whiz Khalifia (3.5/5).
Less standard hip-hop-sounding than "Black and Yellow" exuding more of an accessible, melodic egdge; synths and electronic undertones. Sounds like B.o.B. could have done this too.

Just Can't Get Enough - Black Eyed Peas(3/5). It's no secret that I didn't like the latest Black Eyed Peas album, The Beginning, at all. Even the singles weren't doing it for me, "The Time (The Dirty Bit)" just simmered beneath the line of awful, however "Just Can't Get Enough" the follow-up single is a little better; beginning with amiable piano chords before dissolving into a electronic wall of kinetic synth-beats.

Friday - Rebecca Black (5/5). Every decade or so, a force emerges that redefines pop music as we know it--The Beatles did in the '60s, Madonna and Michael did in the '80s, Britney Spears and Lady Gaga did it in the '00s and now we have... Rebecca Black, a 13 year old American who explores new depths pop music, challenging our mind-set and revealing a sense of lyrical exploration that has never indulged in before. Ever. It's definitely an uncharted territory--from the complex, boundary pushing poppy synths to the songs selling point: the mind-expanding, thought-provoking lyrics: "Yesterday was Thursday, Today was Friday," until the release of this song, I always thought Saturday came before Friday but last week the most insane, extraordinary, completely magical, unheard of thing happened... Thursday ACTUALLY came before Friday. Thank you Rebecca. I didn't know who I was until I heard this song. I barely knew my place in this world, in society--I even contemplated ending it all until I heard this song. This is definitely one for the books, I hope she expands her horizons even further and starts tackling the months of the year. (I'm kidding, awful song, 0.5/5)

Billboard Hot 100, April 16, 2011

1. E.T. - Katy Perry feat. Kanye West
2. S&M - Rihanna

Last week, Katy Perry's second album Teenage Dream landed its fourth #1 single with "E.T." featuring Kanye West, making Perry the first female artist to land four #1 singles from one album since Mariah Carey did the same 21 years ago with her self-titled debut album in 1990 and the first artist in general to do so since Usher's fourth album Confessions in 2004 (although as ww_adh notes, that is a little iffy as its fourth #1 "My Boo" with Alicia Keys wasn't included on the original version of the album). This week "E.T." spends its second week at #1 as this weeks digital gainer, selling 327k downloads this week.

Rihanna's "S&M" remains bulleted at #2 this week, I've lumped it with Perry because there's a great chance it could ascend to #1 next week or the week after, which would conveniently make Rihanna the first artist to land 3 #1's from one album since Perry's Teenage Dream sent its first 3 to #1 last year. It's currently #1 on top 40 airplay and top 5 on iTunes. I hope it happens, what a convenient feat that would be.

3. Just Can't Get Enough - Black Eyed Peas

The Black Eyed Peas' latest single "Just Can't Get Enough" climbs 2 spots up to #3, scoring the bands 6th top 3 single.

4. Fuck You (Forget You) - Cee Lo Green

Cee Lo Green "Fuck You/Forget You" drops 2 spots to #4, however remarkably this week finally climbs to #1 on the Pop Songs tally after a staggering 30 weeks, surpassing the 23 week climb to #1 of P!nk's "U+Ur Hand" in 2006. Unfortunately, I think it's too late for a #1 on here--but looking at the run its had, that doesn't seem like too much of a downer.

8. On the Floor - Jennifer Lopez feat. Pitbull

J.Lo rebounds 10 - 8 with "On the Floor" featuring Pitbull. It's definitely a digital-comeback from the singer, however pop radio seems to be a little skeptical, the single is currently stalling at #16 on top 40 airplay.

10. Rolling in the Deep - Adele
19. Written in the Stars - Tinie Tempah feat. Eric Turner

British singer Adele storms into the top 10, climbing 7 spots up to #10 with "Rolling in the Deep" scoring her first American top 10 single while, fellow musical British peer Tinie Tempah also climbs 7 spots, into the top 20 scoring his first American top 20 hit. A huge congratulations to both. Both songs are also climbing quite steadily on Mediabase.

13. Till the World Ends - Britney Spears

Britney Spears' "Till the World Ends" climbs 9 spots up to #13, re-entering the top 20 following its rather unusual drop 2 week ago. In other Britney news, the singer land her 6th #1 album with her 7th album Femme Fatale this week, although it did clock in the singer's lowest first-week sales since her debut album ...Baby One More Time, selling 276k--quite a drop from the 506k opening of her last album Circus.

22. John - Lil' Wayne feat. Rick Ross

Rapper Lil' Wayne's latest single "John" the second single from the forthcoming fourth installment in the rapper's Tha Carter series, surges 35 spots up to #22 scoring his 11th top 40 single.

27. The Lazy Song - Bruno Mars

It's too early to call, but could this be another chart-topper for R&B crooner Bruno Mars? His latest single "The Lazy Song" climbs 10 spots up to #27 this week.

39. Backseat - New Boyz featuring The Cataracs & Dev

Hip-hop duo New Boyz score their third top 40 single with "Backseat," following the god-awful "You're a Jerk" and the mildly better but still silly "Tie Me Down" featuring R&B singer Ray J. Is this even worth a listen?

Personal Airplay, April 7, 2011

TW LW Title - Artist
1.... (1).... The Whilhelm Screm - James Blake (2 week @ #1)
2.... (4).... Undercover of Darkness - The Strokes
3.... (6).... Tighten Up - Black Keys
4.... (2).... Neat Little Arrows - Elbow
5.... (9).... This is Why We Fight - The Decemberists
6.... (3).... Someone Like You - Adele
7... (12)... E.T. - Katy Perry
8.... (5).... Rocketeer - Far East Movement
9... (11)... L.I.F.E.G.O.E.S.O.N. - Noah and the Whale
10.. (15).. On the Floor - Jennifer Lopez feat. Pitbull

Monday, April 04, 2011

Mary J. Blige: My Life II, The Journey Continues

It's been 17 years following the release of American R&B singer Mary J. Blige's high-regarded sophomore album My Life--one of the best and most influences R&B albums of the last 20 years--and in September, Blige is planning to release its sequel My Life II: The Journey Continues. This is great news! I hope she can live up to the magnificence that was that album and if Lauryn hill isn't going to release a follow-up to her debut, at least we'll have this.

Released in 1994, My Life became one of Blige's biggest career landmarks, although it wasn't necessarily a critical-hit on it's initial release--it became recognized as her magnum opus over time. It landed her fourth and fifth top 40 hits with the emotional love-strung ballad "I'm Goin' Down" and the more laid-back groove of "Be Happy," and was nominated for Best R&B Album at the Grammys. It's like a Miseducation of Lauryn Hill before Lauryn Hill came a long and released it, Miseducation is really the only female hip-hop/R&B fusing album that I would put over this. Funnily enough, Hill also appears on the album, offering the opening and closing verse on the remix of "Be with You," Blige would return the favor offering a verse on "I Used to Love Him" from Miseducation.

I placed My Life at #32 on my countdown of the 100 best albums of the '90s, here's what I said: "Often regarded as one of the most influencial hip-hop/soul albums of the decade (although I've always thought Lauryn Hill's debut was better) this album showcased Blige at her '90s best; raw vocal stylings and lyrical affirmations over relentless hip-hop beats, sampling a long list of R&B legends including Curtis Mayfield, Roy Ayers, Al Green, Teddy Pendergrass, Marvin Gaye, Barry White and Rick James tied together with a lot of soul."

Saturday, April 02, 2011

Sucker Punch

A little off-topic, I know. I saw the film Sucker Punch today with a few friends--a film that takes every good thing about movies in general and mashes them together: being action-packed and hot girls with weapons. It's gotten a lot of negative reviews, some critics calling it "an unerotic unthrilling erotic thriller," well, it was definitely erotic and it was definitley thrilling--it was a little light on its plot but I did enjoy the cinematic gameplay-inspired sences verses the norm. Of course Avatar did it better, but I definitley enjoyed it. Too bad it didn't meet Box Office expecations. Oh well.

Friday, April 01, 2011

Album Review: Peter Bjorn & John - Gimme Some (4/5)

Swedish indie rock band Peter Bjorn and John emerged in 2002, often described as a trio of wimpy rockers, who could barely pick up a guitar let alone rock out. Their sixth album Gimme Some is my first real exposure to the band—although I have heard of their work before—they landed their first UK top twenty hit in 2006 with the fun, downbeat, tuneful whistling of “Young Folks” backed with prominent drum lines that they use in numerous different adverts now.

The sound on Gimme Some isn’t nearly as jaunty as “Folks,” opening number “Tomorrow Has to Wait” quickly establishes the band’s hollowing sound—layers of muffled electronic guitars sputter beneath the wall of cumbersome drums—re-calling a little Arcade Fire maybe? From here on, most of their sound is heavily guitar-based.

“Dig a Little Deeper” is a little lighter, exhausting tuneful guitar riffs, complimenting the dishevelled drums beats stapled in the backdrop. The guitars get a lot heavier on single “Second Chance,” infusing energetic bursts of layered electronic guitars, particularly on its chorus which swiftly merges into an acoustic guitar sequence for the verses—very aptly radio friendly—but even better is the rhythmic drum beats and the raucous kinetic handclaps of “Eyes,” lined with rippling guitar chords. It’s one of my favourites on here.

Apart from the Arcade Fire influences earlier, if there are any apparent influences on here, it’s probably The Strokes—the rapid drum fire of “Breaker Breaker” definitely has the American rock band in mind down to the similar sounding dampened guitars, ‘70s new wave throwback aura and stifling vocal. Similarly, “(Don’t Let Them) Cool Off” and “Lies” again, rapid drum fire and muffled guitar chords sounds a little Strokes like too. Obviously, originality wasn’t the focal point on here—but who cares—they’re great tracks.

“May Seem Macabre” strips down the overbearing layers of electronic guitars we’ve heard so far to a more restrict prominent drum line and light bursts of guitaric melodies. “Black Book” has a great guitar start-stop sound—although it’s not particularly interesting. “Down Like Me” illustrates self-inflicted depression (or something like that) driven by a plodding guitar and drum melody.

Gimme Some is decent rock record, with a handful of highlights, although a little samey at times. Personally, I would have liked to have heard a little more variation in sound but in all a good album.

Best: Eyes, Second Chance, Breaker Breaker, Tomorrow Has to Wait, May Seem Macabre