Jan 15-22 release reviews:
A Bad Dream - Keane (5/5). iTunes says I've heard this almost 40 times now, and I still love it. Hands down the most beautiful song Keane has recorded. It still gives me chills. It starts with a ghostly, mechanical sound, like that of an approaching airplane--fitting, given the song is about a disillusioned, lonely fighter pilot. Tom's vocal, the piano, the bass synthesizers blend together effortlessly here. I can't say enough about how much I love this song.
"Too Little, Too Late" - Jojo (4.5/5). Ah, Jojo. This was a huge hit in the U.S. a few months ago, and it looks like it's going to do well in the U.K. too. This is one of those pop songs that manages to hit all the right notes: A catchy, on-key vocal, a lush guitar/strings instrumentation, and a knockout chorus. Jojo, who recently turned 16, deserves credit for taking the high road and turning out a mature pop album for her second disc. From interviews I've heard, she sounds pretty serious too, which is a nice change.
"Perfect (Exceeder)" - Masons vs. Princess Superstar (4.5/5). I don't know why, but I adore this. It's a total rip of the production of Bodyrox, but I like it so much better than that song. I like the '80s swagger meets sharp '90s house sound with '00s production sheen. Great club track and fun vocal too. I guess this is a mash-up of Princess Superstar's "Perfect" and Masons' "Exceeder," neither of which I've heard on their own, so to me at least, this sounds totally natural.
"Starz in Their Eyes" - Just Jack (4.5/5). This is a fun song. Reminds me of of "Starry Eyed Surprise," since the titles sound similar, but his voice sort of does too. It's sort of Lily Allen-ish with a dose of club production. Hard to categorize, but definitely interesting. BBC named Just Jack in their Sound of 2007 poll--a list of 10 up-and-coming musical acts they think will be big this year.
"I Luv U" - Ordinary Boys (4/5). This is just a nice, simple rock ballad. My favorite from them so far. Whistles, acoustic guitars, strings, and the like.
"Famous Last Words" - My Chemical Romance (4/5). Another great single from My Chemical Romance. Not as over the top as Welcome to the Black Parade, but a solid power rock song. The strong chorus, albeit somewhat short, is what makes it really work.
"Golden Skans" - Klaxons (4/5). These guys also made the Sounds of 2007 list. Check out the weird video. This is a pretty good song, with a good, standard rock arrangement of electric guitar, piano, drums, bass, and vocal. Kind of reminds me of the Editors, but not as proficient. A good breakout single
"Annie, Let's Not Wait" - Guillemots (4/5). More electronic than you'd expect, this is probably their best single yet. Pretty upbeat and the lead singer's got a good voice. Strange percussion, but it fits.
"Thinking of You" - Norah Jones (3.5/5). Norah Jones is really more of an albums than a singles artist. So while I'm excited about a new album from her, the single is pretty good but not amazing. This is the kind of soulful, mellow pop we've come to expect from her that's certainly moved more than a few albums.
"Calm Down Dearest" - Jamie T (3.5/5). Sounds like a sloppy version of the Streets. It's got a good beat, but the singer isn't that likeable. The chorus rescues it though, it's pretty good.