Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Robyn--Body Talk Album Review

3 times the charm for Robyn who released 3 records this year. Part 1 & 2 of this EP trilogy only wet our appetites for more. The Final Body Talk compilation has produced one of the finest albums of the year. From the Grammy nominated dance anthem “Dancing On My Own”, to the other singles “Hang With Me” and the beautiful orchestrated “Indestructible” make this Swedish Pop star Queen of da beats. Robyn can take the best of the old school groove and mix it with a new twist; she has a style all her own and doesn’t mince her words like most throw away modern pop stars. Songs like "In Your Eyes" has multiple layers of rhythms and grooves that give it a full large band quality to it. She can go all out pop for “Time Machine”, dip into reggae with the delightful "Dancehall Queen", or dish it out with Snoop Dogg on "U Should Know Better" (“then to F*ck with me”). “None Of Dem” and “We Dance To The Beat” strips her sound down to the essential primitive beats, a beat all her own but enticing enough to make you just want to jump in and dance.The only song missing to make the perfect record would have been the track “Cry When You Get Older” from Body Talk Part 1.


Robyn is touring Canada and the USA again starting at the end of January. Her energetic shows is a must see.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Hurts--"Happiness" Album Review


Hailed as the new Pet Shop Boys, UK duo Hurts debut “Happiness” is not a stomping dance music album but a sophisticated electronica soundtrack, think Depeche Mode which they channel on the single “Better Than Love”. From the opener “Silver Lining” to the beautiful orchestrated ending track “Water” they deliver a delightful atmospheric sound with emotional lyrics and pretty melodies reminiscent of the 80's new wave movement. The dark but hopeful “Wonderful Life” reminiscent of the Jimmy Stuart X-Mas film has a character contemplating suicide; the track is without a doubt one of the best singles of the year. "Blood Tears & Gold" channels a bit of Erasure, while the track "Sunday" leans on U2. The album never gets boring with the gospel tinged choired “Stay” and "Devotion" which features pop princess Kylie Minogue. Lead singer Theo Hutchcraft’s vocals are glorious and soar on tracks like "Evelyn" and "Water". Their music isn't as sweet, dance-able or happy as the likes of
Ke$ha, Katy Perry or Lady GaGa but it's well crafted and sophisticated which will unfortunately will keep them off the radio in North America.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

"Michael" Jackson He Is Forever


I thought I would like a song or two but I’m blown away at how a set of unreleased demos can rival most modern releases. The album doesn't really have a theme or concept but these ten tracks are superbly produced and carefully made to sound like a Michael Jackson record. Producers Teddy Riley, "Tricky" Stewart, Akon and others did a superb job piecing together the tracks to create a finished product.

The album opens up with Hold My Hand a duet with Akon, the only song not penned by Michael was recorded in 2007 and just completed; this beautiful song proves that Michael can have had a modern hit. Hollywood Tonight is very reminiscent of the Dangerous era and has all the Jackson signature vocal beat boxing groove, the ending with the whistling of the melody is divine. Keep Your Head Up High is a lush gorgeous inspirational ballad that could easily be his new Man In The Mirror, hearing his “Woh” screams in the background with the choir is hair raising. On (I Like) The Way You Love we hear a bit of his genius, a rare recording of Michael explaining how he wants the song to sound imitating the drum beats and instrumentation with only his vocals. It goes right into the full lush production making this beautiful Motown style groove sound magical. Monster is another song about the pitfalls of Hollywood, some of the background vocal by Michael was song through a PVC tube, not the best track on the album but it still gets you grooving. I could have done without the 50 Cents rap cameo but apparently Michael had wanted to work with him on his new record. Best Of Joy sound eerily familiar like a long lost 80’s R &B ballad that could easily be part of his Greatest Hits. “Everybody wants a part of Michael Jackson” he sings on Breaking News, making fun of how media would tear him apart, but the urgency of the beats suggest he was more then just laughing. I Can’t Make It Another Day teams up Michael with Lenny Kravitz to produce a heavy rock “Dirty Diana” groove. The last 2 track were taken from around the time of “Thriller”. Behind The Mask is a haunting robotic dance groove that sample’s Japanese Electropop pioneers Yellow Light Orchestra’s song of the same name, “Who Do You Love?...Where is your soul, where did it go?” Michael screams with his signature Hee-Hee’s. The closing track Much Too Soon is a beautiful country style ballad reminiscent of Gone Too Soon, I don't understand why it was never used, it could have been a huge hit.

This should have been the album he released in 2001 instead of “Unbreakable”. We'll never know how these songs would have sounded had Michael finished them, but I do not believe that his vocals are fake. To fit his vocals with the final musical production the producers admitted that they had to slightly modulate Michael's voice. If they are fakes than Sony Music produced one the best albums of the year and the imitator should be given a record contract. To the reviewers who slammed the album saying it's just slim pickings from someone who was a perfectionist, and Michael would have never released these songs… well Michael's slim pickings is miles beyond the drivel that gets released as a record these days.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Don’t bore us get to the chorus: Katy Perry Teenage Dream Review

“Don’t bore us get to the chorus” is the mantra of Perry’s album producers Dr. Luke (Lukasz Gottwald) and Max Martin. Luke is the new superstar songwriter who has produced mega hits for the likes of Kelly Clarkson (Since You’ve Been Gone) and Pink. Martin reigned supreme in the late 90’s and produced the magic behind The Backstreet Boys and Britney Spears. You would think that somebody like Perry would be right down my ally but my problem with Perry is that she doesn't come off as genuine; it feels like she is going through the motions, doing what will make her popular.

The songs stick in your brain like a bad toothache with hits like “Teenage Dream”, “Last Friday Night” and the summer anthem “California Gurls”. The best track is the faux rock Heart sounding song “Circle The Drain” it’s one of the few track that seems genuine, the lyrics actually sound like Perry wrote them from personal experience of a lover who falls victim to drug abuse. "Fireworks" is a cute dancefloor tune, while “Peacock” with its cleverly hidden subject matter has one of he most annoying choruses in over a decade. “The One That Got Away” is the last good song on the album. The rest is kind of weird “E.T” sounds like Russian faux lesbians T.A.T.U., her pronunciation of the title makes her sound drunk. She tries to be arty with “Pearl” but it doesn’t quite work. “Who Am I Living For?” seems like filler and "Hummingbird Heartbeat" sound like “Teenage Dream” part two, or is it the other way around? Why must producers always program a boring ballad at the end of an album like “Not Like In The Movies? Snooze…

Interestingly Luke said that the # 1’s “Teenage Dream” and “California Gurls” where last minute additions to the album and he had to convince the label to halt the release till those 2 songs were completed. I wonder how big the album would have been without them.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Robyn, Kelis, Dan Black, and the Far East Movement at the Trocadero

The show comprised of 4 acts. The openers, The Far East Movement and Dan Black were not my cup of tea but they didn’t play long, the problem is that it took forever to set up between each act and Robyn didn't come on till 10:45. I saw her 2 years ago at the TLA and her show ended at that same time.

I have to admit I was never a fan of Kelis or her mega selling song "Milkshake", but I love the dance music direction she is now taking. She looked fabulous in a skin tight silver shimmer dress and a matching wig that looked like it was borrowed from Cher. Her set was mostly centered around her entire new album “Flesh Tone”, fans of her earlier R & B hits were probably disappointed as she did bits and pieces of her old hits mashed-up as if to say that was yesterday. I didn’t care since I love the new album. Her mash-up of Madonna’s Holiday and Milkshake was fabulous and made the song bearable. She belted out mash-ups of covers including Eurythmics “Sweet Dreams” and Terence Trent D’Arby’s “Sign Your Name” which I think she should record. Highlights were the fab "4th Of July (Fireworks)" and “Acapella”. She played for an hour and after her set I was drenched and needed a shower.




You could tell Robyn was headlining by the time she hit the stage, but like her new EP “Body Talk Part 1” her set felt like only part of a show. I guess for $20 I can’t complain. She was a ball of lightning dancing all around and enjoying the energy from the crowd. I found the sound too bass-y but that could be because I was right up at the stage facing the speakers on the side. The set list at 11 songs was a bit short. I’m not surprised she didn’t do her 90’s teen material but she left off recent key songs like “Handle Me” and her brand new video and single “Hang With Me”. Instead she did “Dream On” from her self titled opus, and the track "Don't F*cking Tell Me What To Do" which I really don’t like and a new song from her forthcoming EP. I know artists like to change things up a bit, but I didn't like this version of "Who's That Girl" and in my opinion she destroyed one of my favorite tracks "Be Mine". Highlights were "Cry When You Get Older" the fab “Dancing On My Own” and the reggae tinged “Dancehall Queen". The show ended at 11:45.

Before the show started for 10$ you could buy a CD from one of the artists (I bought The Kelis one since I already had Robyn's) with that you got a CD from Cherrytree Music including a 47 min megamix with songs from Kelis, Robyn, Agnes, La Roux , Ellie Goulding, etc and a wrist band that enabled you to stay after the show, meet and greet all the artists and get a poster signed. I thought it was a great deal so I bought it, but it ended so late. I waited in a super crazy line up line and by 12:15 neither Kelis nor Robyn came out, I needed to catch my last subway home so I left and didn't get to meet them.

I much preferred her concert from 2 years ago which seemed longer and she did some acoustic tracks which showcased her vocals. Like I said I guess for $20 I can't complain.

Robyn’s Setlist

1. Fembot
2. Cry When You Get Older
3. Cobrastyle
4. Dancing On My Own
5. Who's That Girl?
6. Dancehall Queen
7. The Girl & the Robot
8. Don't Fucking Tell Me What to Do
9. Be Mine

Encore:
10. Dream On
11. With Every Heartbeat

Monday, July 12, 2010

Can’t Beat The Feeling: The Aphrodite Album Review

Her last album “X” was criticized for not being very cohesive, (I loved it and don’t get all the fuss) so for her 11th studio production “Aphrodite” Kylie enlists the help of dance music wizard Stuart Price (Madonna, The Killers, Scissor Sisters) to produce a tightly woven piece of dance floor heaven. The album opens up with one of Kylie’s most hypnotic songs “All The Lovers” and like the video it places her at the top of her game, like the Goddess of music amongst her adoring fans.

From there on the disc doesn’t stop from the soon to be smashes “Get Out Of My Way” and “Put Your Hands Up”. Jake Shears of Scissor Sisters fame offer the frisky “Too Much” and Stuart does a great job on the heavenly “Looking For An Angel” and “Better Than Today” which got previewed on her North American tour. The less successful tracks are the slower “Everything Is Beautiful” and “Illusion” which I would have replaced with the Xenomania produced songs “Mighty Rivers” and “Heartstrings” which ended up as bonus songs on Itunes and the latter on the Japan version of the album. Best tracks are the title song with it’s African flavoured drum beats, and anthem “I’m fierce and I’m feeling mighty, I’m a golden girl, I’m an Aphrodite Alright.. alright!”, and the last song tucked away at the end “Can’t Beat This Feeling” which sums up the album.

Aphrodite” is up there with her best albums “Light Years”, and “Rhythm Of Love” and dare I say better then “Fever”.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Night Work: Scissor Sisters Album Review

After a bit of disappointing sophomore album Scissor Sisters get back to basic as their 3rd album “Night Work” takes its influence from Giorgio Moroder and the late 70’s early 80’s dance grooves. From the Robert Mapplethorpe cover butt shot to the bright magenta colours this disc is unmistakably gay. Produced by dance wizard Stuart Price (Madonna, The Killers, Kylie Minogue), is a tight album with only the lead single “Fire With Fire” feeling out of place. Not sure why it was chosen, but it does have an Elton John quality to it, not unlike their previous mega hit, “I Don’t Feel Like Dancing”. Best track is “Invisible Light” the Pet Shop Boys-esque fabulous six minutes of disco trance heaven with special guest Ian McKellen, (think of Vincent Price’s part in Thriller) the song was chosen as a buzz song before album came out, a real mistake not to release it as an official single.


Other fun grooves are “Any Which Way” a 70's flavored R & B Jam, the title track which sound like a cross between the Cars and Flashdance's "Manic", “Something Like This”, and “Running Out” which sounds eerily familiar to The Cure. Ana Matronic’s sultry vocals take the lead on the electronic 80’s sounding “Skin This Cat”. There’s no doubt the disc with songs like “Skin Tight” which segues right into “Sex And Violence” were influence by lead singer Jake Shears trip to Berlin Germany, where he “cut loose” after suffering from burn out.

The only thing missing from this set is a real killer commercial single, but then the Sisters have never been main stream, and remain a cult favorite in North America.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Robotic Dance: Body Talk Part 1 album review

I'm aware that Robyn is releasing 2 more EP albums this year but after waiting as long as 5 years for some fans this disc of only 8 tracks is a bit disappointing and leaves you wanting more. I don't like songs that do more talking then singing, the first track “Don’t F*cking Tell Me What To Do” is just too repetitive, and the swearing doesn't help. The next 7 tracks are unmistakably Robyn, from the attitude to the phrasing to the electro beats. Lead single “Dancing On My Own” picks up from where her 2007 hit “With Every Heartbeat” left off. Best tracks are “Crying On My Own”, and the reggae flavored “Dancehall Queen” (one of two songs not self penned). “Hang With Me” is a nice break and a beautiful acoustic ballad with a sweet melody. The last song “Jag vet en dejlig " (I know a lovely rose) is a lovely cover of a traditional folk song from Sweden.

The songs on the album don't quite hook you in like her last self tilted opus but it's a far cry from the teen singer who sang “Show Me Love” and was the precursor to Britney Spears.







Tuesday, June 1, 2010

White Elephants and Lemonade: Kylie's All The Lovers

Marshmallows, a white elephant and an orgy on Grand Boulevard can only mean one thing Kylie's new video is here, and it smoking hot. Muchmusic.com have the online exclusive for Canada and then the Canadian TV broadcast premieres on Thursday. It will premiere in the USA on Wednesday on Yahoo.com. If you are lucky you might find it unofficially on Youtube before EMI takes it down. It will be up on Youtube officially before the end of the week.



The video features the Goddess Kylie never looking better on a pyramid/Mount Olympus of “lovers” making out with her at the top as she sings “All The Lovers, that came before they don't compare to you”. It has lots of guy/girl, girl/girl and guy/guy action, it's all pretty tame just kissing and touching with over a hundredth of white underwear clad people, but I can't help but wonder if the USA will censor or choose not to play it. The giant balloon elephant and her playfulness with her “lovers” point to not taking the video all too seriously. Fun, fabulous, and gorgeous all you can expect from a Kylie video.

You can vote for the song on http://www.chumfm.com.com for the next 2 days, on the right side of the page when you scroll down you'll see the new Kylie track ALL THE LOVERS. You need to listen to the song IN FULL and then vote.

Other places to vote
Montreal Virgin Radio: http://montreal.virginradio.ca/music
Calgary http://www.vibe985.com/shows/requests
Edmonton http://www.thebounce.ca/requests.asp

All The Lovers is released on the 13th June on Digital Download, and the 28th June on 2xCD and 7" Picture Disc Vinyl! Taken from the fantastic forthcoming album Aphrodite, CD released July 5th in the UK and July 6th in Canada and the USA, Digital Download, CD+DVD+Online Experience Edition and 12" Vinyl.


For all the latest Kylie news www.kyliecanada.com 



Thursday, May 6, 2010

3 Diva’s To Compare

Philadelphia ended it’s week long LGBT Equality Forum in style with the Sunday Out at the Piazza at Northern Liberties. Closing the show was 3 new dance music pop divas.

First on stage was Samantha Marq, I love her song “Supergirl” (you can download it for free from her website www.samanthamarq.com  I ended up paying for it on Itunes, but I thought it was worth it.) Samantha was the one out of the 3 that impressed me the most, she's got a great voice. Like the others she just had a backing track for the music, but I could actually hear her sing, and the music and background vocals didn’t drown her out. She sang 2 other songs, one was a new one that didn’t really stand out but on the 3rd one she called people to come up on stage and dance with her and her rapper.


 You would think some artists might be afraid to do that but not Samantha. I find it funny that at this type of event everybody was so into showing off that they danced without interfering with her singing or performing. Speaking of namesakes she has a kind of Samantha Fox vibe in looks and music and she comes across as very friendly and sincere.

 Next up was  Kristine Elezaj, sorry to say she impressed me the least. Yes she is super hot especially in the skin tight glitter outfit and the DJ presenter kept remarking on it ad nauseam, but she reminded me too much of Britney Spears and even had the mic head set. Her dancers were fun but I’m not sure how much live singing she did and the backing track completely drowned her out. Her songs were OK but nothing blew me away.


The evening ended with the much anticipated Agnes Carlsson. In her home country of Sweden she won their version of American Idol in 2005 and has 3 albums and many top ten hits to her name. I liked her material the best. She sang “Love, Love, Love”, then her 2 dance stompers, “On and On”, and the #1 Billboard club hit “Release Me”. Her dancers were hot but again the backing track kind of drowned out her vocals, she has a great voice it was just hard to hear.

I loved that both Samantha and Kristine stayed around after their performances to talk to people and take pics, which I didn’t do because I waited for Agnes to come on hoping she would do the same, however after her performance she was hurriedly whisked away. There was only about a dozen people following after her down the street to take pics, not sure why she felt the need to leave so quickly, it’s wasn’t like a crowd of hundredths waiting around. I did follow the crowd, and was lucky enough to get a picture with her just before she motioned that she needed to go inside to fix her make-up, she said she would come back, but I wasn’t so sure, although her limousine seemed to be waiting outside. I managed to ask her when her album would be coming out in the USA, she had a hard time understanding me but finally responded “after the summer”. For now you can buy her single “Release Me” in various mixes on Itunes or Amazon. Outside of the album mix, I recommend the Jason Nevins Remix.


I hope the Equality Forum bring us more musical guests next year.

Friday, January 8, 2010

2009 the year in music review

2009 the year in music review

2009 was an exciting year for music with acts like Lady Gaga busting on to the scene and bringing the dance/electronic sound so popular in Europe to the shores of the USA. Acts like Taylor Swift and The Black Eyed Peas dominated the Billboard charts breaking all kinds of records, and the reality shows like American Idol seemed to be revived with the likes of Adam Lambert.

Despite all the excitement I felt that the “album” suffered. Aside from my top 3 albums the rest of my top ten just kind of blends together and was kind of hard to place in order. I always feared that the digital age would make the “concept album” obsolete I hope that doesn't happen.

Lady GaGa continues to blow me away from her debut “The Fame” to her EP “The Fame Monster”. She has musical talent, style and can actually sing live. Mika has the talent but seem to be unable to break into the charts. Some efforts by established artists like Robbie Williams and Bananarama left me a bit disappointed, while The Pet Shop Boys and Whitney Houston delivered the goods. Reality stars Blake Lewis and Adam Lambert surprised me with their albums. Too bad Blake's sophomore album has got no support and barely sold.


Note qualifications: Lady GaGa The Fame was released in late 2008 but only gained recognition in the USA in 2009. Since she decided to release her 8 new tracks as a separate EP called The Fame Monster it qualifies as well and charted separately on the Billboard charts.


Top Albums of 2009



01 The Fame--Lady GaGa

A heaven of dance and electronic GaGa knows how to write a pop song with hooks and melodies that drag you right in. I have to admit I was first put off by "Just Dance" and "Poker Face" but the album is quite solid. My favourite tracks are the slower jams "Eh Eh (Nothing Else I Can Say)" , "Paparazzi", Summerboy and "Boys, Boys, Boys" her ode to Mötley Crüe's hit "Girls, Girls, Girls. Her version could well become a gay anthem. "Paper Gangsta" has a great melody and a driving keyboard line throughout the song that is just delicious, the lyrics “Sometimes I felt so Def in the Jam”, “don't want no paper gangsta won't sign no monkey papers I don't do funny business not interested in fakers” could the song be about her record deal with Def Jam that fell apart? The only odd song is the ballad "Brown Eyes" which seems lost on the record. 9/10


02 The Boy Who Knew Too Much--Mika

Mika knows how to write a catchy tune and his sophomore album delivers the good. Mika borrows the best from pop music, although sometime you have to wonder if he doesn't take too much, the opening track and first single “We Are Golden” sounds a lot like Belinda Carlisle's “Heaven Is A Place On Earth”. The album just gets better with the tongue and cheek cabaret style of “Blame It On The Girls” and the wonderful falsetto gem and possibly the best track “Rain ”. Mika's lyrics are not empty and have a kind of whimsical and satirical style on songs like “DR. John”, “ One Foot Boy” and the circus themed “Boy Toy”, but when you peal away the happy melodies you're left pondering what is he really talking about? “I See You” slows the album down along with the reggae style "Blue Eyes". “Good Girl Gone” sounds like he sampled the magic of Brian Wilson and the Beach Boys. Mika's music is probably too gay and sugar pop to be played on American radio stations but his albums are never boring, his music leaves you singing and dancing and wanting more. 9/10

03 Heatbreak On Vinyl--Blake Lewis

I never took him seriously but Mr. Lewis sophomore effort is a delicious slice of dance/electronica. The album is a throwback to the 80's without sounding dated. The music is catchy and has melodies to match the beats. Best track are the title track, a wink to those who remember the record store, “Binary Love”, “Sad Songs” and “Freak“."left My Baby For You” showcases Blake's hidden falsetto and sounds like it was plucked out of the early 80's techno era. “Rebel Without A Cause” sounds like a mix of Sting and reggae. The album is superbly produced, cohesive, and not in the way where all the tracks blend as one. Each has its own style. A shame the album sold so poorly and got no publicity. 8.5/10

04 I Look To You--Whitney Houston

Million Dollar Bill” penned by Alicia Keys opens the album, a homage to the R & B groove of 70's and from there the album doesn't disappoint. Favourite track is Leon Russell's “A Song For You” which start off slow and builds to a dance floor anthem. There was a bit of confusion as to which song would be the first single, “I Didn't Know My Own Strength” penned by Diane Warren was a contender and then dropped in favour of “I Look To You”. I usually like Warren's song, the lyrics are very meaningful to Whitney but there is something off with the vocal arrangement, it's like the lyrics don't fit the music. When reviewing an artist with a voice like Whitney I usually concentrate on the songs because she's not a songwriter and is usually at the whim of her songwriters, but it's no secret that Whitney has abused her vocal chords probably from smoking drugs through the years. Her voice is not what it used to be, you expect her to soar or crescendo on some of the songs but it never seems to happen, whether it was written that way or not it leaves you wondering. On the positive side her voice has a new raspy edge to it which gives it character and life. Lyrics like “I've acted out my love in stages with ten thousand people watching” come across as autobiographical, you get the feeling that all the songs were written for her. You can't help but see the similarities to her life from the track “Nothing but Love” to the closing number “Salute” her swan song to Bobby Brown. “I Look To You” is great collection of songs and one of her most cohesive albums. 8/10

05 Yes--Pet Shop Boys

20 years later the boys are still putting out excellent pop music and remain masters at dance and electronica. This time around they hire Brian Higgins and his power machine Xenomania (Sugababes, Girls Aloud) to help co-write and produce some of the tracks. The team up produces a very cohesive, although sometimes homogenized modern pop album. Best tracks are “Did You See Me Coming?” with its beautiful guitar backing, “Beautiful People” and “Pandemonium” which sounds like classic Pet Shop Boys (think “Can You Forgive Her’). The album gets beautifully haunting with “All Over The World” a track that borrows from Tchaikovsky Nutcracker and the poetic war song “Building A Wall” where Neil sings "There's no where to defect to any more, I'm building a wall A fine wall Not so much to keep you out More to keep me in". Many have said this is their best since their 1993 album "Very" 8/10

06 The Fame Monster (EP)--Lady GaGa

GaGa was only suppose to write a few extra tracks as bonus songs for her debut album's re-release but after writing a few more she decided to release an EP of 8 tracks. From the explosive catchy “Bad Romance” the album is just as good as any full track CD. “Alejandro” has shades of ABBA, Speechless is an epic ballad and a huge hit in the waiting. The dancefloor burns up with the Depeche Mode flavoured “Dance In The Dark” and the Beyonce duet Telephone. GaGa has a way of mixing the best bits of pop music to create a unique vision and sound. 8/10


07 For Your Entertainment--Adam Lambert

Adam's debut album produces a mix of sound and vision, but lacks a bit of direction. “Music Again”, “Sure Fire Winner" and the Teddy Riley penned “Aftermath” follow the rock path and direction you would expect from him. “Sure Fire Winner” reminds me of the 80's stadium songs and “Pick You Up” throws a dash of Broadway into the mix. All songs would make great singles but instead his record label released the Britney-esque dance track “For Your Entertainment”, and the Pink penned track “Whataya Want from Me” which I think are horrible choices. My favourite song is the operatic ballad “Soaked”, Adam's vocals soar to epic proportions, the song is beautifully produced but probably not radio friendly. Linda Perry's pretty ballad “A Loaded Smile” slows the pace down. The album goes back into dance territory with “If I Had You" and the Lady GaGa catchy contribution “Fever”. The album closes with the opus 2012 film track ”Time For Miracles”. You can tell a lot of time and production went into this album and produced a pretty good effort from a karaoke contest winner. 7/10

08 Reality Killed The Video Star--Robbie Williams

I was looking forward to this album but I find it a bit underwhelming. Robbie says he's back to big ballads a la ”Angels” but the album is missing his signature spark, the kick he usually has. I love the opening track “Morning Sun” which he wrote last minute after Michael Jackson's death, and “Blasphemy” which he co-wrote with long time collaborator Guy Chambers, the song was actually a leftover from his Escapology album from 2003. I wish he would have gotten back with Chambers and written more songs. The rest of the album blurs together all very nice, but nice is the last thing you want on a Robbie Williams album. 6.5/10


09 Complete Me-Frankmuzik

Frankmusik remind me of Howard Jones, and the electronic artists of the 80's. His single “Confusion Girl” is an absolute delight and so much fun in an era of homogenised music. His songs are quirky and catchy like “Better Of As 2” and “3 Little Words”. “When Your Around”, which contains an interpolation of The Stranglers "Golden Brown" has a Depeche Mode quality to it. The album slows down with the tracks “Complete Me” and the more successful “Vacant Heart”. “Time Will Tell” mixes synths with borrowed loops from “Put The Needle On The Record”. He has a nice voice and his falsetto can be pretty but sometimes it can become grating. Unfortunately some of the music can come off sounding repetitive and annoying like the opening track “In Step”, “Gotta Boyfriend?” And “Done Done” where the synthesizers over power his voice too much, but how can I not like an artist who wrote a song called “Wonder Woman”. 6.5/10

10 Viva Bananarama

After 25 years I still love Bananarama, they don't take themselves too seriously and still produce fun pop music like their 2006 album “Drama”. Their follow up was supposed to be an album of cover tracks but they started writing so many new songs and changed their mind. Their new single “Loves Comes” produced by Ian Masterson delivers all the goods and was hopeful to a great album. “Love Don't Live Here” could make an OK single and “Dum Dum Boy” is fun but the rest of the album becomes a bit too homogenised and uses too much auto-tuning, I'd rather hear the girls voices and less manipulation, the song “Twisting” is just grating. I love some of the digital bonus tracks like the cover versions of “Voyage Voyage”, and “The Sound Of Silence”. 6/10


Singles of the year

01 Heartbreak On Vinyl----Blake Lewis
02 How Do You Sleep?----Jesse McCartney
03 We Are Golden----Mika
04 Confusion Girl----Frankmuzik
05 Bad Romance----Lady GaGa
06 Blame It On The Girls----Mika
07 Sad Song----Blake Lewis
08 Celebration----Madonna
09 Million Dollar Bill----Whitney Houston
10 Love Comes----Bananarama
11 Just Dance----Lady Gaga
12 Time For Miracles----Adam Lambert
13 About A Girl Sugababes
14 Evacuate The Dancefloor----Cascada
15 Did You See Me Coming----Pet Shop Boys