Wednesday, June 18, 2008

No Angels - When The Angels Sing

I've never really taken notice of No Angels, even though I do have five of their albums(yes, five.) so I decided to give some of their songs a listen. The first song I heard was not so hot but then I came across this one.

My first impression of it is that they sound kinda out of tune. You know when the song doesn't fit your voice and you try to sing it no matter what? Yeah. Kind of like Katelyn Tarver and 'Wonderful Crazy but whatever, it's not entirely their fault, the song doesn't match their individual voices but together, it's great. So then I listened to it a little more and I just adore the melody, plus the video's like a farewell song or whatever, genius.

And then I discovered that it was a single for them, which is great but it only reached number five on the German charts, which seems OK. Back to the song. The first verse is OK but the start of second verse sounds a bit off(again with the song not matching the voice thing..). All in all, the melody is amazing but the vocals I feel need more work. Check the video out!

Rating? 3.9, the vocals are not enough to pull the rating up to a 4..

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Girl Thing - Last One Standing

Sorry for not posting for the longest time and we start random week of the month with Girl Groups!

There was a time when the Spice Girls ruled the charts but in 2000 after three albums and a members' departure, they called it a day. Naturally, a band is to last for a maximum of five years and then self- destruct to make way for a new one, in the Spice Girls' case, a band called Girl Thing was being moulded by none other than Simon Cowell to take their place.

Their debut single 'Last One Standing' was a top 5 hit, not bad but not number one. If they had gone to number one, their following single, 'Girls On Top' which only peaked within the top 25 would be forgiven but alas, it didn't and so Girl Thing were dropped from their record company but their album was released in Australia as far as I know.

This song is very Spice Girls-y down to the lyrics and I understand why it went in at number five. The public like this, but I don't think they wanted another Spice Girls. Plus, they were gearing up for Girls Aloud, who sounded more, 2000-ish and 1990's -ish. Even though, the song actually grows on me. The chorus is extremely catchy, read: EXTREMELY CATCHY. It was later covered by an American girl group, Triple Image but I still think this version is better.

The video is kinda strange but it reminds me of the video of 'Wannabe' by the Spice Girls(duh..) but there are no embed links so just look for the video on YouTube. Here's a live performance of the song:

Rating? 4.2/5

Saturday, June 7, 2008

Blue - Curtain Falls

I've listened to countless farewell songs from bands and solo artists but this one stands out. Of course, 'Say Goodbye' from S Club and 'Someone Like Me' from Atomic Kitten were great, but out of all the ones I've heard countless times, this is the song that stands out.

At one point, Blue and Westlife were neck and neck for the title of 'Top UK Boyband', Westlife with double figure number ones and Blue with maybe one or two number ones and the rest in the top 5 or 10. Even if Blue didn't perform on the charts as well as Westlife are still doing, they were more popular than your run of the mill new boyband who only has a one year life span, even though there were a few who deserved the chart success that Blue had and Westlife have.

That aside, Blue was once a top boyband, they were popular in the UK and Asia but not in the US, and they collaborated with the likes Steve Wonder and Angie Stone during their height. All of that came crashing down after their third album, they split up, released a greatest hits album and pursued solo careers(each have had solo albums but Simon Webbe was the only one to release a second) and just like that, one of the biggest boybands in the UK was no more.

This song is certainly very Blue, the sound is R&B with a pop twist and the fact that they can all sing makes the song even better. For me the second part of the verses are the best, the run-up to the chorus but it's really great, and Lee's voice matches the melody, which is killer. Here's the video, which is kinda cool but not quite.

My rating? 4.5

S Club 8 - Turn the Lights On

S Club 8, the band formerly known as S Club Juniors. When S Club spilt up, they took up the name and released an album and starred in a TV show before following suit. They existed during the time when UK Pop was at it's best, early 2000's but like most other pop bands of their time, split up within 3 or 4 years.

I seriously think that they're one of the best pop/dance groups ever, even if some people think otherwise. Their songs are catchy, cool and most of all, pop-y. There's no denying that they could've made more albums after 'Sundown'. S Club(7) were great, but their time had passed, their music was somewhat too 90's for the UK public, so they created a spin-off group, and they did them justice.

Their first album was great, but I think the single choices were too cheesy, like 'Automatic High' and 'One Step Closer', I would've liked 'Feel The Beat' and 'Wherever You Are' better. 'New Direction' though, was a great choice and it made way for their sophomore album, which I think to this day, is still a pop band masterpiece. 'Sundown' was disco-y but not over, 'Fool No More' was just great and 'Don't Tell Me You're Sorry' was my favorite from the three singles.

Although I think the singles were great, my favorite track from 'Sundown' though has got to be 'Turn the Lights On'. It's got all the elements of a perfect pop/dance song, the mid-tempo verses, a bridge with a 'minimal' instrumental and a chorus that just sounds perfect, plus the melody is just great, seriously. The only downside to this song is the start of the second verse, it's a little awkward, I would've liked it if all the girls had solos and the boys just sang during the chorus, that would be a nice balance.

Although it wasn't a single, they still performed it around TV shows(like 'Big Fun' which is also a great song) so here's a performance from 2003.

My Rating? 4.7

Friday, June 6, 2008

Keri Hilson - Energy

I'm not usually a big fan of very, very popular songs, mainly because they get annoying when I hear them everywhere but for the sake of this great song, I'll make an exception.

Keri Hilson has been collaborating with the hottest stars for quite a while now, she sang with Timbaland for 'The Way I Are' which was a huge hit and again with Timbaland and Nicole Scherzinger for another smash and I both hated them. So when I heard that she recorded a new single, I wasn't that excited but for curiosity's sake, I decided to listen to it and it was no where near what I had expected.

I expected this song with no structure, that started off with an extremely long intro, then a short verse and a chorus that didn't require that much singing, and maybe even a rap verse. I was totally wrong. I got a well-sung track with a killer melody and NO rap! I'm not a very big fan of rap(except for the Craig David track 'This Is The Girl', that is amazing..) so plus points to this song for not putting any in!

Keri Hilson is one brave singer, but for me, it paid off. She didn't go the standard R&B artist way with debuting as the main singer with a super upbeat, on the verge of rap song that everyone would surely adore. Everyone but me. She made an amazing song and although the compression could be minimized a bit more, at least she made an effort. Bravo! No official video yet so for now, listen to it..

My Rating? 4.8, the compression has to stop but other than that, it's great!

Girls Aloud - Call the Shots

I've stated my love for Girls Aloud, and the fact that it takes some time for me to get used to their songs, this is the perfect example. When it was first released as a single, I wasn't too excited. At the time it was an OK song, nice melody, cool arrangement and standard GA vocals, so it just stayed in my iTunes library unlistened to for the next few months.

For some strange reason, during the last few weeks of summer, I was listening to all the stuff I used to listen to late last year like Samantha Mumba, Craig David, Leona and Girls Aloud and I stumbled upon this song again. It was nice to hear it when they stopped promoting it around all the TV shows, so it doesn't get annoying and I can listen to it when I want to, in my own time.

Naturally, I adored it when I first listened to it again, and I still do. It's different from what they had previously released but you know it's Girls Aloud. That's what I adore with these girls, their singles are different in some way but you just know it's them and I thank them and Xenomania for that.

It sounds like something from a particular era but I can't seem to pinpoint it yet, any ideas? Anyway, enjoy the video and if you like the song as much as I do, BUY the single! My rating? 4.5

Emma Bunton - Tomorrow

I've always adored 60's music, mainly because I used to hear it a lot growing up so it's no surprise that I adore this album. I've never really liked the Spice Girls though, except for one or two songs from 'Forever' and 'Stop' but that was it. I remember seeing the video to 'Maybe' a long time ago on TV but I wasn't aware that it was Emma Bunton so I never saw it again. Recently though, I was YouTube hopping and I found the video to it again, and I adored it, which caused me to get my hands on a copy of this album. Sure enough, I adore everything about it.

This is one of the lounge-y type songs, not 90's or 2000's pop, 60's pop. The kind of song you would hear in a fancy metropolis club back then with socialites crawling the place. Got it? Got it. Even if I do think that it's very 60's, I can hear bits and pieces of now in it, and I think that's why I adore this song so much.

Another factor is the melody. If you've read my past reviews, you'll find that for me, melody is 90% of why I like a certain song and the arrangement and lyrics only second to the melody. This song is one of those songs I absolutely adore because of the melody. Simply put, it's amazing and it fits the arrangement effortlessly.

Out of all the Spice Girls' solo albums, I've got to say, I adore Emma and Victoria's the most, but I do love Emma's a bit more. I mean, R&B is nice, but sometimes I need a break from all the R&B and I got that with Emma's album, it's a must-listen. Here's the lead single of the album just so you can get a feel of the whole thing.

My rating? A big, fat, 5/5 for being fresh and a bit different!

Samantha Mumba - Gotta Tell You

In an era when countless pop princesses like Britney, Christina, Jessica and Mandy ruled, one girl cashed in on it. Negative much? Not. Samantha Mumba had a great head start in the music biz, being managed by none other than Louis Walsh, the mastermind behind Westlife, Boyzone and other successful artists.

When this song was released, she became one of the few UK acts to have a successful single in the US when it peaked at number four on the Billboard charts. The song immediately became a worldwide hit, and she was catapulted to stardom. Countless TV performances followed, and the moderately successful UK singles came again, although she failed to chart again in the US, apart from 'Baby Come On Over' and 'I'm Right Here', which peaked at 49 and 80 respectively.

The song itself is truly a pop masterpiece, danceable and catchy. It put her right beside Britney and Christina, even for just one single. To tell you the truth, I do like her better than Britney, but Christina's vocals are still the best out of the three. The only downside to this though is that the more I listen to it, the more I start getting sick of it. Still, I love it, and the dance routine is typical pop, I can't really explain it, just watch this:

Six more singles were released after the smash hit, and her planned sophomore album never materialized, although tracks(which are amazing) leaked. She was a contestant on Dancing on Ice but was eliminated during the third week and she was in a reality show where Harvey Goldsmith attempted to revive her career. I seriously can't wait to get more stuff from her!

My rating? 4.3

Human Nature - When We Were Young

As I was going through my usual route of music blogs, I stopped by one of my favorites, Can't Stop The Pop and I came across these guys. Being the boyband fan that I am, the minute I saw the word Blue in the post, I jumped at it and I was not disappointed.

What happened to these guys reminds me of what might happen to Westlife if they keep on doing cover albums. Human Nature started out as a typical boyband, very much like Nysnc, BSB and everyone else. Like Westlife, they're still around, but they're not making money by recording original songs, for the past few years they've been releasing motown cover albums. As of this year, they've had three of those cover albums and a compilation of those three.

Onto the actual song and the actual period that it was released. This was back in 2001, when boybands were still sprouting out from nowhere and almost everyone looked and/or sounded the same. What makes this any different? Well, it's not. OK, maybe it's different in a very obscure way but moving on, it's a good pop song, done deal. It's catchy, it's got a hint of innocence in it and it's the standard verse-chorus-verse-chorus-bridge-chorus to fade formula.

So why not post any another song by them? What really made me take notice was the video. For some strange and still unknown reason, it reminds me of Westlife's video for 'If I Let You Go'. The walking on the beach, the clothes, the fact that the song isn't a ballad, it's all too familiar. OK, maybe the clip where they were in a car and a few others weren't, but it still reminds me of it. My rating? 4/5, for being the standard boyband song.


I'm really, really sorry for not posting for the longest time, my summer was coming to an end and I had a lot of things to do to prepare for school. Anyway, I'll be changing my format, so my next post will be completely different, apart from the review. Why? Well because I'm not really sold on this format so I'll be using a new one. Haha.. Anyway, watch out for more reviews, alright?