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Thursday, November 12, 2009

Pop Blitz

Pink - Funhouse
I've gotta say I'm happy that she finally released another uptempo single, but this is not one of her strongest. Her vocals don't mesh with such a poppy/funk track, and the lyrics in the chorus are pretty stupid. C

Snow Patrol - Just Say Yes
This has a gorgeous synth intro, but quickly becomes yet another Snow Patrol song. The difference here is the electronic atmosphere and the presence of something resembling tempo. The music is a hell of a lot better than the actually melody, though. B-

Iyaz - Replay
This sounds just like Sean Kingston. It's utterly forgettable and likely to be a one-hit wonder, but it's pleasant enough. The chorus is certainly catchy. The major problem is that it sounds like everything else. C

JLS - Everybody In Love
This could have come out in the 90's, released by Boyz II Men. If that's what these guys are going for (and judging by their X-factor performances, it is), then it's a huge success. If ever there was a template for "big boy band ballad," this would be it. Whether that's a good or bad thing, I'm not sure. B

Leona Lewis - Happy
Here's an idea: why don't we write the sonic equivalent of Bleeding Love, only not as good, and pretend it's a new song? This isn't horrible (though it's a bit plodding), but it's so lazy. C+

Amanda Jenssen - Happyland
This is an interesting hybrid, and more exciting than I expected from Amanda. Few songs are very adept at melding the past with the present, but this does a pretty good job. She sounds great and the background vocals are a nice touch. A-

Jason Derulo - Whatcha Say
This has been floating around on U.S. radio waves for awhile now, and it's allowed me to warm to it a bit. The best parts by far are the female backing vocals. The chorus is pretty good, too, but Derulo's voice is utterly uninteresting. B

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

"Highway to the stars tonight"

I'm a sucker for aliens, especially songs about aliens. And after the semi-recent tabloid stories about Robbie Williams going on an "aliens are out there" rant, the subject matter of his latest bonus track, Arizona, is especially clever. Not only that, but the song itself has a moody electronic feel that hearkens back to his Rudebox days while at the same time expanding the aural palette. It's an epic little tune, especially for a b-side. Very cinematic. I wanted to write about this today not only because I love it, but because I wanted to repeat how much I'm loving the album as a whole. It's a very strong comeback, and the public should treat it as such.

(Music posted for evaluation purposes only. If you like what you hear, support the artists. Buy the album here. Follow me on twitter at nickajames)

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

"We can't ever be alone"

Penguin Prison is an NYC Dj known for his remixing, but now he's releasing his own material. Maybe someone can tell me the significance of the band name (if there is any) because I honestly don't know. Doesn't matter much, though, because the music's what counts and the music leads me to believe that we've got an interesting new talent here. His accessible electropop has just enough of an indie edge to it to make it cool without being boring and pretentious. This is definitely party music with an edge. A Funny Thing has a downright brilliant, disco-fied chorus and I'm very impressed with the range and character of his vocals. It reminds me a lot of Tommy Sparks, an artist I loved earlier this year. Hopefully this guy can find even greater success.

(Music posted for evaluation purposes only. If you like what you hear, support the artists. Listen to more here. Follow me on twitter at nickajames)

Monday, November 09, 2009

"Never give up, it's such a wonderful life"

I was devastated when Daggers broke up. They had my favorite song of last year and released an album's worth of demos on myspace that kept getting better and better. Now the band have fractured into a group called Hurts, and I'm happy to report that there seems to a lot more industry interest in them than there ever was for Daggers. Signed to Sony, they were apparently the object of an "intense bidding war" and will be releasing material officially next year. I wish them all the success in the world, though I hope they don't totally strip the bombastic pop sound that made Daggers one of the best new bands of the decade. So far their image seems moodier, and their songs more atmospheric. Wonderful Life is certainly a positive teaser, but I'd love to see some big dance songs as well.

(Music posted for evaluation purposes only. If you like what you hear, support the artists. Follow me on twitter at nickajames)