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Friday, October 29, 2010

Anything Can Happen On Halloween

Since this will be my last post until Halloween, I'm going to carry on an old Alienhits tradition by posting Tim Curry's immortal performance of Anything Can Happen On Halloween (from the equally ridiculous 80's version of The Worst Witch). There's no way you can watch this without laughing your ass off at the sheer campiness. Here it is, presented in video and audio formats for your viewing/listening pleasure. Happy Halloween!!

Tim Curry - Anything Can Happen On Halloween by alienhits

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Thursday, October 28, 2010

Cheryl Cole - Waiting

"In another time, you'll still be mine"

Whether she's judging on X-Factor or releasing her own music, Cheryl Cole seems to inspire a lot of passion. I'm surprised how "love-or-hate" she is with people, especially since the majority of her music is pretty darn bland -- eliciting glazed over eyes more than fiery emotion. Her second album is mostly the same as the first, though there are a few more standouts in my opinion. Cole's voice (solo, at least) definitely has its limitations and she does best with heavily produced uptempo numbers that hide that. Waiting, the last track on the new album, is one of my favorites. It's an uncharacteristically energetic dance song with what sounds like a Vanessa Carlton piano sample (can anybody confirm this?) running throughout. That it comes at the end of an album largely devoted to tired produced midtempos is kind of surprising. It's more Girls Aloud-style than most of her solo work. That's probably why I like it so much.

Cheryl Cole - Waiting by alienhits

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


Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Mcfly & Taio Cruz - Shine A Light

"She left me with a broken heart"

I have been obsessed with this track for weeks now. There have been a few UK pop groups this past decade that could've been terrible but ended up defining the era. I've always considered Mcfly to be the male example of this (Girls Aloud being the female). It's amazing that they're still producing singles of this quality so far into their career. Mcfly tracks have a history of debuting high on the charts and plummeting a week later, which hints at the limitations of their loyal fanbase. This song, a duet with the ever-reliable Taio Cruz, has the potential to cross over if given the chance. It's easily their best single in years and a real standout of the 2010 pop sound. The Taio/Mcfly partnership was not what anyone would have expected, and could have been horrible, but it works wonders. There's just enough of each artist's sound smashed into this song to create an insanely catchy, anthemic pop/rock hybrid. I'm officially excited for the album now.

Mcfly & Taio Cruz - Shine A Light by alienhits

(Music posted for evaluation purposes only. If you like what you hear, support the artists. Preorder the album here. Follow me on twitter and facebook.

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Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Track-by-Track: Joe McElderry - Wide Awake

As much as I LOVE X-Factor, the inevitable albums from contestants are more often than not pretty disappointing. I wasn't much of a fan of Joe McElderry on the show (he was so boring), but he's managed to produce one of the more interesting winner's albums. Other than a couple of tracks that go down the easy, predictable route, he's developed a surprisingly uptempo sound.

1. Ambitions - The original was one of the best singles of 2009 and, luckily, Joe doesn't mess it up. It's more uptempo and layered than Donkeyboy's version, which gives it a completely different feel. A good choice for opening single. 9/10

2. Someone Wake Me Up - Coming right off the last track, the sound and structure here is very similar. Putting that aside, it's an example of the uptempo, melodic pop that Joe does best. An obvious choice for the next single (though if the public didn't bite with Ambitions, this is really just more of the same). 9/10

3. Superman - I really disliked this song when it was a hit a few years ago. Schmaltzy, whiny... way overplayed. Amazingly, Joe's improved it and I don't hate this. The production's great and his vocals add some much needed drama to the mix. 7/10

4. Real Late Starter - Another cover, but this one really works. Joe goes all Scissor Sisters here, pumping up the glam strut and using his falsetto to full effect on the chorus. Not sure if he totally sells the lyrics, but it doesn't matter because this is a jolt of pure energy. 10/10

5. Until The Stars Run Out - I wrote about this yesterday. It's not a track that stood out on first listen, but it's the one I go back to most often. The sampling of George Michael's Faith is ingenious, and the soaring melody is dance-pop heaven. 10/10

6. Feel The Fire - It might as well be a rewrite of Alphabeat's Fascination because the sound is so similar. Joe just about gets away with it. It's a pleasant uptempo, but suffers a bit coming after the last two tracks. It's clear he was going with a trend here. Too bad the trend's two years old. 8/10

7. Fahrenheit - This is total over-the-top, Eurovision style pop music. I'm actually shocked that his managers let him record something so campy. It's not a complaint on my end, as I think this is the type of music he's best off doing. From the processed drums to the layered chorus, it's a lot of fun. Some people will hate this! 9/10

8. Wide Awake - The obligatory ballad. It's not a cover, which is promising, but it's not very memorable either. Bombastic production's grafted onto a melody that doesn't quite deserve it. I can't imagine that this is the best ballad that he recorded in preparation for the album, but who knows... 7/10

9. Smile - One of the worst singles in recent memory, and Joe only makes it worse with bland production and vocals. I hate to drag the entire album's grade down with one track, but I literally can't even get through this. Everything I hoped his album would not be. 2/10

10. Love Is War - Whew! Back to some quality. This is a strange uptempo that feels short and unfinished. What's there is quite good, though. The warped hook is one of the most mature and interesting on the album and shows some potential for future recordings. 8/10

11. The Climb - Bonus track, so I won't review. To put it shortly, it's totally unnecessary.

Album Grade: 7.9/10

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Monday, October 25, 2010

Joe McElderry - Until The Stars Run Out

"I am good at falling in love, not so good at falling out"

Poor Joe McElderry. I could be wrong, but I'm not seeing great things for him in the coming weeks as his album is released. The single, despite being one of the best debuts by an X-Factor winner thanks to Norwegian band Donkeyboy, has been less than successful and the amount of buzz over the album isn't nearly as high as it should be. It's a shame because, other than a few tracks (the godawful Uncle Kracker cover, for one) it's a nice piece of highly processed, melodic pop. And there are a few absolute gems. Until The Stars Run Out is one of the most interesting dance tracks he's recorded. It samples George Michael's Faith in a very creative way. It's strung throughout the song in small pieces--unrecognizable to a point where you might not notice it if you didn't know it was there. To be honest, the melody didn't hit me on the first listen, but I've grown to love this song (and a couple of others on the album). He's really got a great voice for this kind of stuff. Nothing's as good as the b-side that I posted last week, though. Album review to come!

Joe McElderry - Until The Stars Run Out by alienhits

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