Friday, 30 July 2010

Welcome to the wonderful world of Medina

27 year old Danish singer Medina (real name Andrea Fuentealba Valbak) has emerged as the biggest star from her country since Alphabeat. In fact she's so successful in her homeland that the singer, that merges dance and R&B, has already featured on five #1 and two #2 singles there!!! Although You & I, the English translation to her mega hit Kun For Mig, stalled at #39 in the UK charts when given a release last year, it's gone on to become a top ten hit in Germany which has prompted the release of a full English language album, Welcome To Medina.

Rather than being a direct translation of her Danish LP it features English translations of the four singles; Kun For Mig (You & I), Ensom (Lonely), Vi To (The One) and Velkommen Til Medina (Welcome To Medina). All of these work really well and lay the foundations for a fantastic album, definitely my favourite right now and if you haven't yet heard it I fully recommend that you do. Addiction, 6AM, Execute Me and Selfish are other highlights with only a couple of filler tracks, and even those are better than most. I personally think that she should be given another chance in the UK - the fact that You & I went top 40 at all actually surprised me and there's clearly some interest in her here.

Sunday, 25 July 2010

Roll Deep: Bringing grime to the masses?

Ever since they broke out into the mainstream in 2005 with the brilliant The Avenue, I've been a major fan of Roll Deep. The 'crew', that has featured a number of rappers over the years, most notably Wiley, who has also had solo hits with Wearing My Rolex, Never Be Your Woman, Take That and Cash In My Pocket, have been together since 2002. The Avenue, which sampled, Heartache Avenue by The Maisonettes, was their first chart hit, sadly just missing out on the top ten back in summer 2005, debuting and peaking at #11. It was the first mainly rap song that I probably ever loved, I was never much a fan of the genre before it. I thought that the sample was genius and the verses were perfect. Had it been released in 2010 for the first time it would have been an easy #1 single, but the genre hadn't quite reached the masses by this point.

Other acts bubbling underground in the mid-noughties before really breaking out in the last couple of years have included N-Dubz, Tinie Tempah, Tinchy Stryder, Skepta, Devlin and many others. The sound is very much the 'in thing' and Roll Deep are partly to thank for this, as of course, is Dizzee Rascal who was a member of the collective before they hit the mainstream. The first British grime rapper to really break into the charts, Dizzee sold consistently and had memorable top 20 hits with the likes of Fix Up Look Sharp, Dream and Stand Up Tall, all well ahead of their time and incredibly influential songs. His breakthrough from star to superstar came with the 2008 #1 collaboration with Calvin Harris, Dance Wiv Me. Since then he's hit the UK #1 spot with Bonkers, Holiday, Dirtee Disco and Shout and also smashed with Dirtee Cash and You Got The Dirtee Love with Florence + The Machine. In fact with 5 #1's in less than two years, and almost everything he releases being assured of a place at the top of the charts, you wonder if he's the new Westlife?

Roll Deep scored their first UK #1 single a few months ago with the anthemic Good Times, an uplifting dance/rap hybrid that featured a pulsating trance backing not dissimilar to DJ Sammy's cover of Heaven and a brilliant chorus from emerging talent Jodie Connor. It spent three weeks at #1, the joint longest spell in the past 18 months. New single Green Light will hopefully repeat that feat as if it's at all possible, I love it even more than its predecessor!!! A fantastic bassline hook paves the way for more Wiley led rapping and another excellent female sung chrous, this time from Tania Foster, responsible for the great pop song Supawoman. Hopefully a summer anthem for them, the last thing that this great inspirational group need is to be a one hit wonder. Thank you Roll Deep, even if you didn't open up the eyes of the masses to British rap and grime, you've certainly opened me up to it.

New Music; Katy's dream comes true - Ace of Base are back!!!

Katy Perry - Teenage Dream

Following the enormous worldwide success of California Gurls, pop superstar Katy Perry's latest offering is the slightly slower tempo Teenage Dream. Not too dissimilar melody wise to its predecessor, it's another surefire hit with an instantly memorable chorus, plenty of attitude and oomph and far better than what the pretenders trying to steal her crown are coming out with. For somebody once tipped to be a one hit wonder after I Kissed A Girl, she's made that tricky transition to bona-fide megastar and should have a very long career ahead of her. Her debut album, One Of The Boys, was easily one of my favourite albums of 2008, the singles as well as Self Inflicted in particular, so I can't wait to see how the album of the same name shapes up when it's released at the end of August. The early signs are very promising indeed!

Ace Of Base - All For You

Out are Jenny and Linn, and in are Clara and Julia with a change of (noticeably younger) vocalists from the Swedish pop band. Ulf and Jonas remain behind the scenes, therefore the actual music and production doesn't stray too far away from what you'd expect. It sounds modern and contemporary yet delightfully 90's influenced at the same time. Melodically I'm reminded of Cutting Crew's (I Just) Died In Your Arms funnily enough but there is more than enough here to convince you that this is the same band that released such classics as The Sign, All That She Wants, Life Is A Flower and Don't Turn Around. Instantly catchy, typically Swedish, I was quite worried about the new line-up seeing as I loved Jenny and less so Linn, but luckily we have the former's solo career to look forward to as well (which was kick started with the excellent Here I Am), so two Ace of Base-related albums coming very soon, I can't wait!!!

Lena Meyer-Landrut - Touch A New Day

Following the monster European smash, and of course Eurovision Song Contest winner, Satellite, was never going to be easy for German teenager Lena. She opened her chart career there with three simultaneous top five hits of course, Satellite, Bee and Love Me. With the arguable highlights of the album already out, yet only one of these a 'traditional' single, a new single was needed and the pleasant and breezy, but clearly album filler fodder, Touch A New Day was chosen. It's leagues behind Satellite in terms of quality, but is clearly aiming for a different audience, which should help shift more copies of the album if nothing else. At the time of writing it's fallen from #28 to #38 in the space of a few days on Germany's iTunes which probably suggests that they are suffering from 'Lena fatigue' or maybe that a better single should have been picked, Not Following or her gorgeous cover of Jason Mraz's Mr Curiosity for example. The last thing Germany will want is for their new superstar and national treasure Lena to become a one hit wonder (well three I guess, how confusing!). But she's been confirmed to represent her country again next year to attempt to 'defend' her title, so she should have another #1 single on the way next March. The chances of having another Eurovision winner on her hands are probably slim to none.

Friday, 16 July 2010

He's an Eric Saade hypekiller

Swedish superstar Darin is back with another gem! Clearly fed up with his #1 male artist in Sweden status being lost first to Måns Zelmerlöw and then Eric Saade, he's here to take his crown back hoping for his 4th #1 single there. The moody pace in the verses and sweeping dramatic strings in the intro almost make it sound like a Scandi-pop take on a Bond theme. It's pretty fantastic anyway and surely the best thing he's done in years, at least since Breathing Your Love. It does bizarrely remind me of Cyndi Lauper's True Colors in parts of the melody though!

Friday, 9 July 2010

Streamlining the blog...

From now on, I will no longer post my weekly top songs and albums list, I think I cover my favourite new songs/artists well enough in the other posts. I will of course put up my highlights of the year at the end of December, just in case you missed out on anything during the course of the year.

Friday, 2 July 2010

Top Songs/Albums; WB 5/7/10


1. Kylie Minogue - All The Lovers (2)
2. Shakira feat Freshlyground - Waka Waka (This Time for Africa) (1)
3. Kylie Minogue - Get Outta My Way (NEW)
4. Lena Meyer-Landrut - Satellite (3)
5. Leddra Chapman - Summer Song (8)
6. Voe - Don’t Talk To Me (NEW)
7. The Naked & Famous - Young Blood (NEW)
8. Katy Perry feat Snoop Dogg - California Gurls (4)
9. Agnes & Björn - When You Tell The World You’re Mine (6)
10. Roll Deep - Green Light (18)
11. Lady GaGa - Alejandro (7)
12. K’Naan - Wavin’ Flag (5)
13. Rasmus Seebach - Natteravn (21)
14. Yolanda Be Cool & D Cup - We No Speak Americano (9)
15. Kylie Minogue - Aphrodite (NEW)
16. Maria Haukaas Storeng - Extra Mile (20)
17. Vengaboys - Rocket To Uranus (30)
18. Eliza Doolittle - Pack Up (14)
19. Kylie Minogue - Better Than Today (NEW)
20. B.o.B feat Hayley Williams - Airplanes (25)
21. Example - Last Ones Standing (23)
22. Mark Ronson and The Business Intl - Bang Bang Bang (17)
23. Stromae - Alors On Danse (12)
24. Lena Meyer-Landrut & Ellie Goulding - Not Following (11)
25. Robyn - Dancing On My Own (13)
26. Fallulah - Bridges (10)
27. Kylie Minogue - Too Much (NEW)
28. Sarah McLachlan - Loving You Is Easy (19)
29. I Blame Coco - Self Machine (16)
30. The Wanted - All Time Low (32)
31. Sarah McLachlan - Forgiveness (NEW)
32. The Saturdays - Missing You (NEW)
33. Jessy Matador - Allez! Ola! Olé! (15)
34. Jason DeRülo - What If (42)
35. Kylie Minogue - Put Your Hands Up (If You Feel Love) (NEW)
36. The Pipettes - Call Me (43)
37. Marina & The Diamonds - Oh No! (38)
38. Daruso - Since You Been Gone (NEW)
39. Diana Vickers - The Boy Who Murdered Love (26)
40. Tinchy Stryder - In My System (39)
41. Kylie Minogue - Can’t Beat The Feeling (NEW)
42. Alexander Rybak - First Kiss (NEW)
43. Locnville - Sun In My Pocket (49)
44. Kelly Rowland - Commander (Re-entry)
45. Eminem feat Rihanna - Love The Way You Lie (37)
46. Flo Rida - Club Can’t Handle Me (33)
47. Miley Cyrus - Two More Lonely People (NEW)
48. Kylie Minogue - Closer (NEW)
49. Kylie Minogue - Illusion (NEW)
50. Swedish House Mafia feat Pharrell - One (Your Name) (44)


1. Kylie Minogue - Aphrodite (NEW)
2. Sarah McLachlan - Laws Of Illusion (1)
3. Alexander Rybak - No Boundaries (2)
4. Clubland 17 (NEW)
5. Example - Won’t Go Quietly (3)
6. Maria Haukaas Storeng - Make My Day (4)
7. Absolute Summer Hits 2010 (5)
8. Lena Meyer-Landrut - My Cassette Player (6)
9. Miley Cyrus - Can’t Be Tamed (NEW)
10. The Pipettes - Earth vs. The Pipettes (7)
11. Christina Aguilera - Bionic (8)
12. Leddra Chapman - Telling Tales (11)
13. Elin Lanto - Love Made Me Do It (12)
14. Diana Vickers - Songs From The Tainted Cherry Tree (13)
15. Robyn - Body Talk Part 1 (9)
16. Safura - It’s My War (10)
17. Lady GaGa - The Fame/The Fame Monster (19)
18. Anna Bergendahl - Yours Sincerely (16)
19. Tom Dice - Teardrops (14)
20. Alicia Keys - The Element Of Freedom (20)