Monthly Archives: November 2011

No Doubt – Underneath It All

Remember my post about certain songs being perfect for certain moods? Well, after a particularly mind blowing makeout session to this song, it now has an even more special place in my heart……

”You see the colours in me like no-one else…”

Barbarellas – Night Mode (Out Now)

  Remember B*Witched? Anyone? Late nineties pop group, of ‘Cest La Vie‘, ‘Blame It On The Weatherman‘ fame? Just me then. Well after scoring four number one singles in a row, as well as a double platinum album, the success waned. The sophomore album and it’s singles all under-performed, and the group were unceremoniously dropped, such was the nature of the late nineties Britpop boom.

Edele and Keavy

 

 Anyway, talented twin sisters Edele and Keavy Lynch, who shared the spotlight with two, frankly useless girls in the band, have returned as a duo, titled ‘Barbarella’s’. Always the voices in the band, the other women, Lindsey and Sinead, were pretty much backing dancers; bad ones. Barbarella’s actually launched much earlier in the year, with their debut album ‘Night Mode’. As the album has slipped under the radar, I thought id attempt and give it a tiny bit of exposure.

  Rest assured; gone are the dodgy denim outfits, cheesy lyrics, and piss-poor dance routines, replaced instead with trendy production, dark, witty, biting lyrics, and assured vocals. Tracks such as ‘Night Mode’, previewed in demo form a few years ago as ‘Diet Coke’ wouldn’t be out-of-place on an early Sugababes record, and yes, that’s a compliment. ‘Big’ is the album highlight, seductive lines to a lover over a dark, slightly haunting instrumental. ‘Play Dirty’ is another highlight, with lyrics that reference the shady nature of the music business.

  The thing that is most enjoyable about this record, is that we are given a chance to hear just how impressive the girls vocals are. Bands such as B*Witched are never going to be about the voices, meaning it is easy for talent to remain hidden and undiscovered. The album is one of the surprises of 2011, and it would be a shame if it remained relatively unknown.

YouTube video of ‘Big’ below:

 

Album out now on iTunes:

http://itunes.apple.com/gb/album/night-mode/id429235289

 

Evanescence – My Heart Is Broken (Radio Edit)

I’ve said before what an amazing piece of music this song is, and now that the band have begun the video shoot, it’s the perfect time to introduce yourself to My Heart Is Broken, the second single from their blockbuster, self titled third album. The radio edit is quite a departure from the album version, starting off with a piano solo and gradually elevating into a full-blown rock masterpiece.

 

http://www.mediafire.com/?wq240j7wbccu8wb

My Heart Is Broken will be released in December

Jessie J – Who You Are (Platinum Edition)

Another month, another re-released album. This time it’s Jessie J’s turn, who, after respectable sales for her debut record, seems to think its necessary to add-on three below average tracks in time for the Christmas shopping season. I was not shocked when the re-release was announced, primarily because the original record was extremely poor. I assumed the only way for her was up, and was quietly enthusiastic at the prospect of new tracks.

 

Japanese cover

Lead single ‘Do It Like A Dude‘ is as fantastic as it was a year ago. Fierce, attention grabbing, and perfect pop, it was the best possible lead single for her. Rather frustratingly, she has yet to release anything that comes even close to it. Follow up single ‘Price Tag‘ is a generic mid-tempo radio smasher, a complete let down after the epic ‘Dude’. The fact that it outperformed it by a huge margin is shocking to say the least. Third single ‘Nobody’s Perfect‘ is a lovely song, let down substantially by Jessie’s over-singing, which is quite painful to listen to in parts. Fourth single ‘Who’s Laughing Now?‘ is a massive improvement, featuring flashes of the fierce attitude she displayed so well on her debut. Current single ‘Who You Are‘ is just as bad as ‘Perfect in the vocal acrobatics department. Whilst she has an undoubtedly good voice, someone needs to tell her that screaming through every note is not going to sell her album.  As for the rest of the tracks on the standard version, only ‘Rainbow‘ and ‘I Need This‘ stand out, the rest being the very definition of filler.

The album features three new tracks; ‘Domino’, ‘My Shadow’, and ‘Laserlight (Feat. David Guetta). Laserlight is one of two collaborations she recorded with Guetta, the other, ‘Repeat’, appeared on his own album, and was a fantastic song. This one…not so much. Outdated production, over-singing, and juvenile lyrics. Domino is similar to Price Tag, expensive production, radio grabbing, and very ordinary. With this kind of material, longevity is going to elude this pop star. Finally, My Shadow is a standard r&b track, describing a lover as being like her shadow.

Re-releases are not always a bad thing. They do however become frustrating when the extra songs are even poorer than the ones originally on there. Jessie J’s diminishing chart positions since peaking early with Price Tag are perhaps evidence that a lot of people think the same way. For album two, it would be nice if she delivered on the promises she made with Do It Like A Dude.

 

Who You Are (Platinum Edition) is out now

Chery Cole – 3 Words (Epic. Live. Fail)

Now im not a fan of Cheryl Cole. I believe she has obviously sold her soul to the Devil in exchange for a record contract and seemingly endless sales. Whilst there are many other pop stars out there who are similarly untalented, it seems to be Cheryl alone who is relatively critic-proof. Well, Cheryl lovers, take a look at this video, and try defending it…

No Doubt – The 2012 return

 

Back in 2012

After hearing that No Doubt will be back next year for a new album, their first in eleven years, and a tour, it inspired me to check out their considerable back catalogue for the first time in ages. After forming in the early eighties, and gathering a devoted following across Anaheim, California, the band didn’t break through into the mainstream until 1996, with ‘Don’t Speak’, the monster success that helped them shift almost twenty million copies of their third album ‘Tragic Kingdom’. Yielding hits such as ‘Spiderwebs’, ‘Sunday Morning’ and ‘Just A Girl’, the band were one of the biggest new bands in the world. After spending the next three years endlessly touring and promoting, the band returned in 2000, with ‘Return Of Saturn’, an album that, despite healthy sales, failed to spawn any hits, despite the considerable gap between records. Initial reaction was negative, although general critical opinion years after release indicate that the lukewarm reception was down to the impossibly high standards set by its predecessor. Many fans even count this record as the best. Although the band toured in support of the album, promotion wrapped quickly, and the band regrouped and spent the next few months recording their follow-up ‘Rock Steady’.

  The album, released in December 2001, was both a critical and commercial comeback for the band, featuring four hit singles, and a huge selling worldwide tour. This would have been a great time to milk their popularity, with another album. Oddly, the band took a year out and released their Greatest Hits in 2003, which featured one new single. Along with this release was a compilation of B-Sides, Rarities and Remixes. The band then decided to go on hiatus, which would see each member taking on individual projects. Between 2004 and 2006, Gwen Stefani released two solo albums, and was perhaps well on her way to becoming one of the worlds biggest stars. Hit song after hit song, she appeared to be enjoying the solo success. In 2008 however, the band announced that they would embark on a small tour, before hitting the studio and beginning work on a new album. Released with concert tickets was a cover version of the Adam And The Ant’s track ‘Stand and Deliver’, which could have appeared on any of the bands records and not sound out-of-place.  Which begs the question; where is the album?

  After being bumped from several different release dates, it’s easy to wonder just why the album does not seem to be progressing. Are they struggling to find a sound that is both authentic to the band as well as appealing to the music industry in 2011?

Rock Steady, 2001

From the bits and pieces posted on the band’s Twitter account, they give the impression that they are recording for fun, which is fine, but since it’s been eleven years since their last full album, you would think they’d get a move on. Especially since they will undoubtedly face an uphill battle in regaining a place in the charts. For example, at the minute, the band that is perhaps closest to them in terms of influence and longevity, would be the Black Eyed Peas, and even they have struggled in the last couple of years.

  Even so; should all go as planned, we will eventually hear new material next year, and we will know for sure if the eleven year wait was worth it. Either way, it will be nice to have them back.

 

Below is the video to their 2003 single ‘It’s My Life’, also known as the best thing they have ever recorded!


 

Song of the day: Cher Lloyd – With Ur Love

After an amazing night last night, I travelled home this morning with this song stuck in my head…
It doesn’t matter what you think of Cher Lloyd, sometimes we all wanna sing about someone special

Song of the day: Sabi – Wild Heart

After her guest spot on Britney Spears’ Femme Fatale this year, Sabi looks set to become one of the hottest new stars of 2012. Debut single ‘Wild Heart’ is everything a debut should be; instant, fresh, and extremely radio friendly. Although not available on UK iTunes yet, I’m assured it will be before January. Enjoy

 

The Saturdays – On Your Radar (Update)

On Your Radar, the fourth album release from The Saturday’s has a midweek position of number sixteen, a far cry from the previous releases by the group, and on par with Pixie Lott’s disaster last week. Even worse for them is the fact the album was launched on the back of two top ten singles, as well as a name that really should be established by now. Adding further distress is the fact that pre-orders are usually added to the first day totals, meaning the fans that bought multiple copies, as well as the deluxe versions, will see their purchases reflected straight away, meaning the album will probably drop even further down the chart before Sunday’s final position.

But is it really that big of a disaster? The Saturday’s last two albums peaked inside the top ten but didn’t shift huge numbers, whilst

Mollie

there debut record has the distinction of being their only Platinum certified record. Their singles on the other hand, sell consistently well, and it’s not a stretch to imagine the label making a substantial sum from other avenues relating to the Saturday’s name. Given this chart position, it is unlikely to imagine the group passing 20,000 copies this week, and their single opportunities are limited, given that there is really only three contenders left on the album, and the label probably won’t fund all three.

Even so, records can always be saved. Back in 2003, Girls Aloud’s Chemistry peaked at number eleven, their only album not to peak in the top ten, and that ended up Platinum, through continued sales and support from the singles. Though it’s impossible for The Saturdays to reach those heights with this record, it’s interesting to note how much Girls Aloud’s popularity exploded after the release of their Greatest Hits. They suddenly went from Platinum territory to Double and Triple. This particular group will never have success like that, but it’s not a stretch to imagine them remaining a permanent fixture for a few more records. The Saturday’s are soon to kick off a tour, meaning they will do what they do admirably after every disappointment; carry on regardless.

 

Pixie Lott – Turn It Down!

What goes up must come down, and Pixie Lott knows more than most about ‘Gravity’. After selling hundreds of thousands of copies of her debut album on the back of a couple of decent singles and a shed-load of filler, as well as a re-release with even more filler, after hearing the actual album, it’s a stretch to imagine anyone eagerly awaiting a new album. After scoring a third number one in september, it appeared that Pixie was due even more undeserved success. Apparently not. The album, Young, Foolish, Happy debuted at number eighteen this week, even lower than the album she released when she wasn’t an established act. Whilst this is an embarrassing position for any well-known pop artist, it begs the question; how did this happen? Despite the first single going to number one in the charts, were people put off by the quality of the previous album? Or is she the type of artist that requires multiple hits to effectively sell an album.

Either way, all eyes will be on The Saturday’s this week to see if they can do a better job with their record On Your Radar, which they will be hoping achieves a top ten placement like their previous three releases.