Tuesday, 23 February 2010

Single review: Knockout by Lil Wayne

I have to say I came to this song without any great hope that I would like it. Although rap has become a vibrant and wildly popular musical form, rap songs rarely make good pop music. This is a fantastic exception and I hope it delivers Lil Wayne's second US no 1 (after Lollipop) for his own account after collaborating so successfully with the likes of Eminem and Jay Sean.

This is actually more of a rock song with a lot of guitar (including a great intro) and Wayne's raucous, heavily auto-tune distorted vocal is the sort of thing you hear on Scuzz.

This song also has someone else involved - it features "Bedrock" rapper Nicki Minaj, who adds a sweet and melodious hook and a glorious expletive filled outburst in the middle.

My favorite part is the end where Wayne delivers the sort of finish that fills rock stadiums. I actually hated Lollipop so this cracking song was a welcome surprise.


Tuesday, 16 February 2010

5 songs that sound like Abba (but aren't)

I wouldn't say I'm the world's biggest Abba fan but like most people I recognise there is something special about those 70s and 80s classics. I came across a song by Music Go Music called "Light of Love" on the excellent This Must be Pop blog and saw it compared to Abba. I agreed and went on a mission to find the top 5 most Abbatastic songs not by Abba. Here they are, in no particular order:

"Light of Love" by Music Go Music

"Fantasy Island" by Tight Fit

"Angelo" by Brotherhood of Man

"One for Sorrow" by Steps

"Thankyou" by Alcazar

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Wednesday, 3 February 2010

5 beautiful new songs that will never hit the charts

As regular readers will know my music tastes veer towards commercial pop and my weekly selection as Song of the Week is normally something fun and upbeat that is great to sing along to. This week's selection "Hey Soul Sister" by Train is such a choice but I also like to listen to lots of new indie, experimental and frankly obscure songs that are highly unlikely ever to hit the charts. It is very rewarding to find a beautiful sound that isn't repeated endlessly on the radio and deviates from the normal commercial strictures. Here are a few of the best I have heard recently:

Efterklang "Modern Drift" Brilliant, relaxing, chillout from the Danish band who have a new album out in February. Some of these selections might take a couple of listens to appreciate but not this one - it hooks you and transports you from the sweet piano intro. MP3 download here:


Tinashe "MayDay" Haunting is an overused adjective by music reviewers but this guy's voice is definitely that and also very soulful as befits a young Zimbabwean-born singer on Island Records. I like this remix on YouTube:


Active Child "I'm In Your Church Tonight" My favourite out of this selection. Title is apt as the sound puts you in mind of religious monks chanting in cloisters. Don't let that put you off as it is a superb song; one to listen to and unwind and destress.


BT - "Suddenly" The most pop and upbeat of these 5 songs. A real blast of electro-synth dance music but with a captivating vocal. From the latest album of Brian Transeau, a highly successful producer of hits for others and movie soundtracks.


Laura Veirs - "July Flame" There is real poetry in this low key ode to Summer and thwarted romance but also more: a great chorus and the kind of guitar that you would want to hear sitting on the porch on a hot lazy afternoon.


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