At the age of only 26, Charlotte Church has lived a life many would die for; she possesses an enviable discography of successful albums, has performed in front of hundreds of thousands, and owns a powerful voice that has yet to let her down. On the downside, her life over the years has been ripped apart and even hacked into, evidenced by her part in the Leveson inquiry this year. Her growth from ‘voice of an angel’, to ‘crazy chick’ was documented and covered on a scale perhaps only equal to Britney Spears own tabloid troubles. After joining the pop scene in 2005 with ‘Tissues and Issues’, she was a fully fledged adult. Her next album wouldn’t be until 2010, instead she focused on a successful channel 4 talk show, and raising her children. At the same time, I craved a chance to experience her voice live. I got my chance last month in Leeds.
At the Brudenell Social Club, Church showcased a collection of entirely new material, and absolutely no past singles, instead focusing on her new direction; (I resisted the urge to request Brave New World or Unfaithful, instead focusing my energy into buying every item of merchandise – twice). The intimate setting allowed her voice and personality to shine, the star reaching notes I couldn’t believe with ease and confidence. Sometimes I hear a studio voice so much I open myself to disappointment when I hear it live. Charlotte somehow manages to beat her studio recordings.
This was my first experience of a gig where I wouldn’t be familiar with any of the material, and I was blown away. The new EP, titled One, is available for pre-order on iTunes, with a release date of September 3rd. The tracks are current single How Not To Be Surprised When You’re A Ghost, Say It’s True, The Rise and Beautiful Wreck. All were performed at the gig, with The Rise being a standout.
Forget what you think you know about her, and give the songs a chance. You won’t regret it.
After promoting her debut album to double-Platinum status, the last couple of years have been quiet for former X-Factor winner Alexandra Burke. Stories of record label conflicts have swamped the press, and many were left wondering if a second album would happen at all. Then she released ‘Elephant‘ in March, a song that pleased fans and critics alike, and coasted into the top five. The album it’s pulled from, Heartbreak On Hold, is released on Monday, and is already garnering heaps of praise.
The album as a whole is influenced by 90’s dance music, samples of which seem to be cropping up in a substantial amount of songs this year. Current single ‘Let It Go’ deserves to be performing much better than it currently is, as it features one of her best vocal performances yet, as well as an addictive beat. The poor radio airplay of the two singles is suspicious to say the least. Opening track ‘Heartbreak On Hold’ is the standout choice for single number three, club-ready and current, with a fantastic vocal throughout. ‘Oh La La‘ is another banger, a track that samples a well known dance track, yet manages to carve its own identity. A couple of duff tracks is forgivable on a 16 track record.
The album is out on Monday.
After recently announcing a return to music, Charlotte Church stopped by BBC Radio Wales last week to premiere three new tracks she has recorded, possibly for inclusion on an EP in late 2012. Her last release, 2010’s Back To Scratch, was a departure from both her classical and pop releases, instead leaning towards easy listening, and from the sound of these new tracks, it seems she is continuing along that path. Check out the tracks below:
Her official site is offering a free download of ‘The Rise’, as well as revealing a list of tour dates
Cody Draiken is rapidly making waves in the music world. After listening to the tracks he’s released so far, it’s certainly not hard to see why. Catchy production, cocky lyrics and a sexy voice, what’s not to like? Displaying enough swagger to charge Cher Lloyd for a year, he’s making a name for himself as the one to watch. Draiken has released his latest track today, already receiving heaps of praise, much of it commenting on his break-out potential. Titled Vacuum, it’s been a long-awaited treat for fans, after a couple of snippets were posted online. It’s also, a certified choon, with one of the craziest, catchiest and hard breakdows of recent memory.
I’ve previously written about his existing singles ‘Killer Bod’ and ‘Dirty Talker’, which remain flawlessly executed pop cuts that manage to integrate into 2012, as well as sounding fresh and post-modern. The dubstep breakdown in Killer Bod for example? Came yonks before it started being the norm.
To introduce him to a lot of people, as well as provide something to his existing fans, I thought I’d speak to the man himself, find out what makes him tick, as well as his plans for the rest of 2012!
Since fourth album On Your Radar has become their lowest selling yet, someone clearly thought the bands savior would be a re-release. Whilst the albums three singles all went to twenty and sold well, the album scraped in at number 23, before disappearing from trace. When you consider the fact that the other three albums went top ten, you can’t help but think that maybe they just didn’t connect with the public this time; leaving a re-release slightly pointless.
Nevertheless, 30 Days has been released as the first single from the forthcoming repackaged album, and is currently sitting at number one on the iTunes album chart, due to the inclusion of two B-Sides and two remixes. The song individually is sitting outside the top ten, at eleven. The song itself is fine, being finely produced and well sung (by their standards that is). The frustrating thing is, there are many better songs on the album, three of which leave this particular song in the dust. And although it’s sitting proudly at the top of iTunes, it’s in no doubt due to pre-orders from the fan-base, meaning it’ll likely slide down during the week. B-Side Turn Myself In has been highly anticipated by fans since it was performed on their last tour, leaving its placement on the EP a likely strategy to ensure a decent chart placing. It’s barely worth the one listen to be brutally honest.
Much better is The Way You Watch Me. An On Your Radar album track featuring Travie McCoy, the version here is a Saturday’s only one, with a previously unheard second verse and a much more pleasant listening experience. Also included is a karaoke version, as well as two average remixes. I can’t help but think the problem the band has it lack of identity, as opposed to unappealing music. Crap tunes never stopped Girls Aloud sustaining continued success; why do The Saturday’s never seem to gain any ground?
Seven years after their last studio album, Garbage return this month with Not Your Kind Of People, a record that has been funded and distributed by the band themselves, an example of how the lack of a label isn’t always the end.
A confident record, it wisely avoids trying to do anything new, instead focusing on what the band do well, and dialing it up a notch. Stand out tracks include the current singles, ‘Blood For Poppies’ and ‘Battle In Me’, as well as the stunning title track, and ‘Sugar’, a contender for third single.
Check out the Poppies video below:
Despite placing high on the 2012 list of richest musicians, Charlotte Church‘ musical output is limited to a small collection of classical recordings, and two pop albums, released in 2005 and 2010. Tissues And Issues (2005) was one of the strongest pop records of recent times, my thoughts of which you can read here. Her follow-up, Back To Scratch, was a stunning album that leaned towards alt-pop and was ignored by the masses. Church has just announced on Twitter she is to release new music shortly. No further details are available, such as the genre it will belong to, or whether it will feature on a full album. Here’s hoping it’s not too far away!
Eleven years after their last album release, No Doubt have officially announced the release of their new untitled record for the 25th September. Track-list, cover and single details are still under wraps, but it wouldn’t be a stretch to imagine a single finding it’s way online in the very near future. Stay tuned!
Incase you’ve been living on Pluto for the last decade, Britney Spears is the biggest selling female of the last decade, with over 150 million record sales, countless sold out concerts, as well as tabloid coverage second to none. With a judging chair on The X-Factor USA almost certain to happen, it’s incredible how polarized people’s opinions are. Whilst some agree she is the perfect choice for the role, others believe it’s a mistake. I for one believe it is a grave error, and have gathered five reasons why!
1: She’s Britney Spears.
She doesn’t require a career lift like Jennifer Lopez and Christina Aguilera did when they went down the talent show route. Her latest album, last year’s Femme Fatale, was her lowest selling yet, but it still went Platinum. Hardly cause for panic.
2: She’s under a conservator-ship.
Brit’s fiance was recently given the task of taking responsibility of her finances and business decisions. According to the courts and her family, she’s incapable of making her own choices and thinking for herself, despite spending the majority of last year undertaking a grueling touring schedule. Is a place on a high-profile show a good idea?
3: She barely speaks.
Brit’s recent interviews and appearances have inspired some to label her ‘Cue-card-ney’, due to her apparent inability to say anything that isn’t scripted. What’s unclear is whether or not this is her own decision, or one on behalf of her team. There is an immense pressure on talent show judges to gain attention with their comments. I can see it now;
Simon: ”That was just awful. The vocals were poor, that was definitely the wrong song choice.. Britney, what did you think?’
Britney: ”Um, it was cool. Um, like it. Yeah.
No thank you.
4: She lip-syncs.
As much as I love Britney, and have been impressed on numerous occasions with her voice, she hasn’t sung live enough times to warrant criticizing other people’s voices. Whilst she has come a long way in the last ten years, out-distancing her peers, she simply has no right to judge voices. This is coming from someone who loves her; can you imagine the reaction from a regular viewer? I’m aware Cheryl Cole, a woman who sings like she’s trying to swallow gravel, escaped such comments, but she was the UK’s darling at the time, Britney’s profile here is almost non-existent.
5: I couldn’t really think of a fifth, so here’s a nice live video of miss Spears:
Future star Cody Draiken has finally given a taster of forthcoming single ‘Vacuum’, releasing a short clip of the track on Soundcloud. As well as a genuine progression, it’s also catchy as fuck. The full track will be released sometime in May. Check it out below: