Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Single Reviews

Leona Lewis / Avicii - Collide (4.5/5) I can't quite remember the last time I played the same song so many times in a row on my iPod. Leona Lewis' new single "Collide" is brilliant, I guess what I love most about it is its backing track, to which the credit goes to Swedish DJ Avicii, who now is officially credited on the track. The poignant piano keys that back the pounding bass lines, accelerating synths and of course Lewis' blustery vocal--it's fantastic.

Young the Giant - Cough Syrup (4.5/5). American rock band Young the Giant have a great sound. Moody with a rough rock-glazed edge, kind of like the Editors or a more inaccessible Killers. "Cough Syrup" is just one of the many highlights from the bands self-titled debut released last year. Thanks to Loy for turning my attention to them.

Calvin Harris - Feel So Close (4/5). I didn't like Scottish singer Calvin Harris' last single "Bounce" as much as I probably should have, however luckily his latest is miles better. Very intense, with insistent, harrowing synth chords, heavy bass lines and a great addition of piano keys during the verses that work very well.

Ed Sheeran - You Need Me, I Don't Need You (4/5). New British talent Ed Sheeran's second single showcases a different side to budding singer/songwriter in comparison to "The A Team" a gentle acoustic ballad--with quite a depressing message about a hooker--while this thrives with a beefy rhythmic production and confident lyrics about wanting to "be a product of (his) genre."

Bruno Mars - Marry You (3.5/5). The fourth single from Bruno Mars' Doo-Wops & Hooligans isn't my favorite from the set, but it's a nice catchy retro ditty which will probably become another #1 for him. It's already in the top 10 in the UK.

Nicki Minaj Featuring Rihanna - Fly (3.5/5). I must have reviewed this at leat 5 times, but it's now finally a single--its accompanying video premiered during Sunday's MTV Video Music Awards--I loved it when I first heard it, but now I've grown tired of it.

Beyonce - Love On Top (3.5/5). Apparently, this is the third single being released from Beyonce's latest album 4, following her performance at the VMA's. I'm not that keen on it, although I do like the '70s soul vibe and th never-ending key changes towards the end.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Personal Airplay, August 25, 2011

Billlboard Hot 100, September 23, 2011

1. Last Friday Night (T.G.I.F.) - Katy Perry

Last week Katy Perry tied Michael Jackson's record for the most #1's spawned by one album, when "Last Friday Night (T.G.I.F.)" rose a notch to the top spot, displacing LMFAO's "Party Rock Anthem." Now arises the argument of which streak of #1's is a more impressive feat: Some may argue that Jackson's Bad's #1's was a more impressive achievement as they reached the pinnacle between 1987 - 1988, a time where the chart was compiled with only airplay and single sales, without the aid of digital sales. And some may argue that Teenage Dream's #1's holds the torch as they span across 18 weeks, compared to Bad's 7.

In anycase--it's a wonder how it took 24 years for this record to be tied. A lot of artist (notably mostly female) came close, peaking at a streak 4 #1's. Whitney Houston's Whitney in 1987 ("I Wanna Dance With Somebody," "Didn't We Almost Have It All," "So Emotional" and "Where Do Broken Hearts Go") It's #1 streak was ended when fifth single "Love Will Save the Day" only managed to scrape the top 10 peaking at #9. George Michael's Faith also in 1987 ("Faith," "Father Figure," "One More Try" and "Monkey") It's lead single peaked at #2, while fifth single "Kissing a Fool," peaked at #5.

Paula Abdul's Forever Your Girl in 1988 ("Straight Up," "Forever Your Girl," "Cold Hearted," "Opposites Attract"). Lead single "Knocked Out" stalled at #41, while follow-up single "(It's Just) The Way You Love Me" peaked at #3. Janet Jackson's Rhythm Nation 1814 in 1989 ("Miss You Much," "Escapade," "Black Cat" and "Love Will Never Do Without You"). Jackson's was less of a streak--singles released in between those #1's--"Rhythm Nation," "Alright," "Come Back to Me" and "State of the World," which was only a radio-only single for the US, all peaked inside the top 5. And lastly, Mariah Carey's self-titled debut in 1990 ("Vision of Love," "Love Takes Time," "Someday" and "I Don't Wanna Cry") fifth single "There's Got to Be a Way" wasn't released in the States, possibly to preserve her streak of #1's, which was eventually broken by "Can't Let Go," the second single from Carey's second album Emotions in 1991, which stalled at #2.

"Last Friday Night (T.G.I.F.)" spends a second week at the top, although it's lost its bullet this week, due to decreasing airplay and digital sales. I wonder if Perry has a sixth single planned? or if she's going straight for the re-release. If the lead single from the allege re-release of Teenage Dream also becomes a #1 single, it will be in the same predicament as Usher's Confessions which also spawned 4 #1's in 2004 ("Yeah!," "Burn," "Confessions II") however it's last #1 "My Boo," duet with Alicia Keys, was released as the lead single from the re-packaging of Confessions which poses the question does it really count? Since it wasn't on the original album. I say Perry opts for the sixth single. Check out ww_adh's evaluation of the eight albums that have scored at least 4 #1's of one album.

3. She Will - Lil Wayne feat. Drake

Hot on the heels of the release of Tha Carter IV next week, the fourth single from the album "She Will" released to iTunes last week, debuts at #3 scoring Lil Wayne his third top 5 single, out peaking the #5 peak of "How to Love," however I still think that may still become the biggest hit of this album.

4. Moves Like Jagger - Maroon 5 feat. Christina Aguilera

Maroon 5's "Moves Like Jagger" dips a notch to #4, however it's still bulleted and this weeks airplay gainer.

17. Cheers (Drink to That) - Rihanna

The latest single from Rihanna "Cheers (Drink to That)" seems to be more than making up for the chart failures of the previous 2 singles ("California King Bed" and "Man Down"). It climbs 8 spots up to #17 scoring the Barbadian singer her 17th top 20.

34. Someone Like You - Adele
35. You & I - Lady Gaga

This years 2 biggest female singles, Adele and Lady Gaga successively chart this week both rising quite a considerable bit this week. Adele's "Someone Like You," which I guess has been chosen as the 2nd US single from 21 climbs 17 spots up to #34 scoring her third top 40 single. Lady Gaga's "You & I" is this week's digital gainer, climbing a staggering 61 spots up to #35 scoring her 11th top 40 single.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Fall New Album Releases - September

August isn't over yet, but I'm already looking ahead to what the fall has in store for album releases. This month has been pretty darn boring, save for a few highlights--Jay-Z & Kanye West's Watch the Throne and Lil' Wayne's Tha Carter IV which hasn't even been released yet, that's how depressing this month has been. But the remaining months of the year is seemingly looking better, here's how it's shaping up:

September also looks like it's going to be quite another dull month:


Wilco - The Whole Love (27/9). American alternative rock band Wilco, prep their ninth album The Whole Love. It follows 2009's self-titled release (the one with the nonchalant camel on the cover in the party hat) which was quite the critical hit, with critics praising the album for both experimenting and sticking to what makes their music "catchy and compelling." It spawned 2 singles, one ("You Never Know") becoming the band's first US Rock #1. Lead single "I Might" is out now. This will be the first time I've paid attention to the band since 2007's critically acclaimed Sky Blue Sky.

Lady Antebellum - Own the Night (13/9). American country trio Lady Antebellum follow-up their successful sophomore last year Need You Now. The forthcoming third album has already landed the band a second top 10 hit with its lead single "Just a Kiss," which peaked at #7 in the US earlier this year. Of course nowhere near matching the massive crossover success of "Need You Now" the lead single from the last album that peaked at #2. I still listen to Need You Now quite a bit--"Our Kind of Love" and "Hello World" mostly, I just found out that was a released a fourth single, they sure kept that quiet.

Demi Lovato - Unbroken (20/9). Lead single "Skyscraper" from American pop singer Demi Lovato's third album was released to mixed reviews, but landed her first solo top 10. I've never been fussed about Lovato personally, but out of the barrage of pop Disney scarlets out now--I do think she expresses the most vocal talent out of both Miley Cyrus and Seleena Gomez--that unfortunately won't make me want to buy her album though.

Other releases:

Junk of the Heart - The Kooks (12/9). British indie rock band release their long-awaited third album Junk of the Heart , the follow-up to 2008's Konk, which landed the band the biggest hit of their careers, "Always Where I Need to Be" which peaked at #3 in the UK. Hearts has already spawned 2 singles ("Junk of the Heart (Happy)" and "Is It Me?") none have yet to chart though.

Biophilia - Björk (26/9). Icelandic singer Björk preps her seventh full-length album. Follow up to 2007's Volta, which was one of the best reviewed albums of '07. I just don't understand the appeal.

Neighborhoods - Blink-182 (27/9). American rock band Bline-182 release their sixth album. The band's first 2003. It's been awhile huh?

Frankmusik - Do It In The AM (27/9). British electro-pop musician Frankmusik releases the follow-up to 2009's pretty successful debut Complete Me. Title track and lead single "Do It In the AM" featuring Far East Movement was released in May.

Leanne Rimes - Ladies & Gentlemen (27/9). Bless her for keep going at it. Well if after all these years you're still interested, American country/pop singer LeAnne Rimes' thirteenth album is out nextt month.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Personal Airplay, August 18, 2011

Sinles Reviews

You & I - Lady Gaga (4.5/5). Great new single from Gaga--her first non-tempo in her extensive batch of catchy uptempo pop. Dramatic, straddling electronic guitars, drums cultivating that classic '70s soulful rock sound. Of course, it's accompanying video is just as spectacular. Definitely one of the best off Born This Way.

All Fired Up - The Saturdays
(4/5). Currently one of three British girl groups making any music, The Saturdays return with "All Fired Up" following the rather soft reception of last single "Notorious." I wasn't particularly fussed with it, although I thought the whole Notorious image was quite trite and disjointed--The Saturdays do not look like the kind of girls to actually be "gangster(s) on the dancefloor" more like petty thieves doing the 2-step in the far back corner of a club. Anyway, this new single is better. Not particularly breaking any ground--your typical euro-trance dancefloor filler, repetitive lyrics, gushing synths etc.

Lucky Day - Nicola Roberts (4/5). Unfortunately "Beat of My Drum" didn't catch on as well as Roberts maybe had hoped. I'm not convinced this new follow up "Lucky Day" will do any better, but it's pretty good. She has a quirky essence about her that I find enduring.

Dappy (From N-Dubz) - No Regrets (3.5/5). It's not a Robbie Williams cover unfortunately. It looks like N-Dubz is slowly drifting apart, as Tulisa debuts her role as X Factor Judge tommorow and now Dappy becomes a solo artist... not quite sure what the last member is doing. This isn't what I expected as a solo effort--taking the more inspirational, gospel-tinged route, than the harsh British grime-tipped route I expected. It's okay, I guess.

Otis - Jay-Z & Kanye West feat. Otis Redding (3/5). Super hip-hop duo Kanye & Jay-Z's lead single "Otis" from their new collaboriative album Watch the Throne, is a pretty standard hip-hop affair, boasting lyrics and what-not. I'm a little tired of what seems like the same beats, same "look at my life" lyrics... I'm just... bored? Aren't you? Well Watch the Throne is currently #1 on the Billboard 200 with 426k sold, so I guess I'm alone.

It Girl - Jason DeRulo (3/5). Run-of-the-mill Jason DeRulo single. It's catchy.

Lick Ya Down - Cover Drive (1/5). Really?

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Blog Update

I apologize for the lack of activity on here lately. The Billboard Hot 100 update and my personal chart is hardly fulfilling, I know. I've had a quite a week--the last few very busy days of my 6 week internship and of course, the London Riots that reached its peak and erupted on Monday night. But by next Wednesday hopefully I'll be back to the usual batch of single review, album reviews etc.

Lately, I haven't really been listening to any new albums. Mainly because there haven't been any new releases that have interested me. I've mainly been listening to albums from earlier this year (Foo Fighters, Gaga and Adele mostly) and '90s classic oldies (Radiohead, Mariah, U2 and Nirvana).

However, I have purchased the new Jay-Z and Kanye West collaborative album, Watch the Throne, which I plan to make to listen to sometime next week and hopefully follow it up with a review. It's sad I'm not feeling any excitement for any forthcoming albums this month, it's rather bleak. The fourth installment in Lil Wayne's The Carter series is the biggest highlight I feel.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Personal Airplay, August 11, 2011

Billboard Hot 100, August 20, 2011

Quite a dull chart this week...

1. Party Rock Anthem - LMFAO Featuring Lauren Bennett & GoonRock
2. Last Friday Night (T.G.I.F.) - Katy Perry

It's a sixth week at #1 for LMFAO's "Party Rock Anthem" keeping Katy Perry's "Last Friday Night (T.G.I.F.)" at bay once again, keeping her from her--what was once thought to be an inevitable record-tying #1.

5. Lighters - Bad Meets Evil Featuring Bruno Mars

This week's airplay gainer is Bad Meets Evil (Eminem and Royce da 5'9") "Lighters" featuring Bruno Mars, which climbs 2 spots up to #5 scoring the duo's first top 5 single and Bruno Mars' 7th.

7. I Wanna Go - Britney Spears

Britney climbs further into the top 10, rising 2 spots up to #7 with latest single "I Wanna Go."

8. Moves Like Jagger - Maroon 5 Featuring Christina Aguilera

Returning to the top 10 with quite a force is Maroon 5's "Moves Like Jagger" which climbs 17 spots up to #8 and is this weeks digital gainer.

13. Pumped Up Kicks - Foster the People

Top 10 next week?

Thursday, August 04, 2011

New Alexandra Burke Single in August

I know it's way to early to be excited about anything, but according to reports (particularly this one) British singer Alexandra Burke's new single is set to debut in a couple of weeks, preceding the release of her forthcoming second album later this year. I cannot wait!

Billboard Hot 100, August 13, 2011

1. Party Rock Anthem - LMFAO Featuring Lauren Bennett & GoonRock

It's a fifth week at the top for electro-hop duo LMFAO's "Party Rock Anthem," besting their consecutive 4 week stay at the top in the UK. "Anthem" also rises a notch to #1 over on the Radio Songs tally with an audience impression of 146 million, now the song dominates the Hot 100, Digital and Radio Songs charts.

2. Last Friday Night (T.G.I.F.) - Katy Perry

Katy Perry's "Last Friday Night (T.G.I.F.)" remains bulleted at #2 again this week, it's also this week's airplay gainer. It seems determined to tie Michael Jackson's record, I hope it can do it. If it took 22 years for someone to come close to breaking it, who knows when the next time will be? Go Katy! There are rumors circulating about an upcoming remix featuring Perry's on alter ego Kathy Beth Terry and Queen of Pop Rebbecca Black who has recently hit a slump, since her latest masterpiece "My Moment" failed to change the face of pop, ala "Friday."

3. Super Bass - Nicki Minaj

Nicki Minaj rises a notch to #3, scoring the rapper her first solo top 3 single and also scoring her a new peak.

9. I Wanna Go - Britney Spears

Britney Spears' "I Wanna Go" climbs up #2 spots up to #9, scoring her 12th top 10 hit and is also the first time the pop singer has scored 3 top 10 hits off the back of 1 album. Previously Spears has only managed to nab 2 top 10 hits, which stem way back to 1999's debut ...Baby One More Time which spawned its chart-topping title track and "(You Drive Me) Crazy" which peaked at #10 and 2008's Circus which landed 2nd chart-topper "Womanizer" and "Circus" which peaked at #3. It's also her fifth consecutive top 10, following "3," "Hold It Against Me," "Till the World Ends" and her chart-topping guest-appearance on Rihanna's "S&M" Remix.

12. Otis - Jay-Z & Kanye West Featuring Otis Redding

This week's digital gainer goes to Jay-Z and Kanye West's "Otis" their ode to American soul singer Otis Redding, who's vocals also feature on the track and the second single from their forthcoming collaborative album Watch the Throne. "Otis" climbs 35 spots up to #12 scoring Jay-Z his 14th top 20 and Kanye his 12th.

18. Pumped Up Kicks - Foster the People

American indie/pop band climb 11 spots up to #18 scoring their first top 20 single. It has quite a good chance of going top 10 next week as it's currently #4 on iTunes.

21. Marvin's Room - Drake

Rapper Drake's "Marvin's Room" soars 47 spots up to #21 following its release to iTunes last week. (Check out pop singer JoJo's take on this song--it's great).

Foster the People "Pumped Up Kicks"

It looks like American indie/pop band Foster the People might have a potential top 10 hit on their hands. Their single "Pumped Up Kicks," the lead single from their debut album Torches, has actually been floating around since late last year, and I got quite into it earlier this year. It's currently #4 on iTunes. It's always great when an unsuspecting indie act breaks into mainstream success.