"Born to Die" - Lana Del Rey (4.5/5). Fantastic new single from American singer Lana Del Rey. Tranquil in its subtlety--soft pondering beats, lovelorn atmospheric strings stapled to the backdrop. I'm heavily anticipating her debut album.
"Domino" - Jessie J (4/5). She may have delivered the subconsciously familiar pop of "Price Tag," but until this glitzy, feel-good Katy Perry inspired pop, Jessie J had yet to tread the shallow depths mainstream waters. From "Do It a Like a Dude" through to "Who You Are" there had been something vaguely ungeneric about her sound. But still, who can argue with a slice of mindless feel-good pop. It's shaping up to be a big hit on both sides of the Atlantic.
"Mama Do the Hump" - Rizzle Kicks (4/5). This is a shameless piece of fun hip-hop. Of course the old-school bluesy faux-sample is the tracks main attraction. It's not as good as "Down with the Trumpets" but I still like it a lot.
"Hot Right Now" - DJ Fresh (featuring Rita Ora). (4/5). DJ Fresh took over the summer when he landed his first #1 with the summery dub-step infuenced "Louder" and now he's back with this follow-up, which isn't as good but still cuts greatly from that summer-doped feel good vibe.
"Bright Lights" - Tinchy Stryder (featuring Pixie Lott). (4/5). Boastful hip-hop/pop undercut with scattering beats, piano chords and orchestration. It's quite nice.
"Kiss the Stars" - Pixie Lott (3.5/5). Following the flop of British singer Pixie Lott's sophomore effort Young Foolish Happy and its second single "What Do You Take Me For?," her whole project needed a saving grace and apparently this is it--the ditsy, harmless pop of "Kiss the Stars" almost identical to her last #1 "All About Tonight." It's already shaping up to be a big hit, already in the top 50 on iTunes before its release and video premier.
"Want U Back" - Cher Lloyd (3.5/5). A decent but not great Cher Lloyd single. Her attempt at quirky is a little cringe-worthy but the song itself isn't bad. The single version features American X Factor contestant Astro.
"T.H.E. (The Hardest Ever)" - will.i.am (featuring Jennifer Lopez and Mick Jagger). (2.5/5). This sounds like the course of "progression" that the Black Eyed Peas would have taken if they had followed up 2010's The Beginning, as it's just as underwhelming as everything on that album--including the terrible lyrics ("I'mma go hard like a motherfucking boner"). This isn't a 2 cause I rather enjoy the song's frenetic second half, with the accelerating beats, underpinning electronic guitars and synths. The addition of Mick Jagger is a little strange though.
"Troublemaker" - Taio Cruz (2.5/5). Ever since British pop singer Taio Cruz landed the worldwide smash "Break Your Heart," he found a sound--that distinctive synth-drenched dancefloor filler--and stuck with it annoyingly closely, therefore it's not surprise that "Troublemaker" lacks any differentiation from his last few singles, particularly "Higher" and "Dirty Picture." How many times can you make the same song again?