Monday, August 31, 2009

September new releases

Fall is here! And as usual, September is a fairly busy month for new albums, following the usually slow summer (although, I was pretty pleased with La Roux, Little Boots and Moby in particular).


Madonna - Celebration (Sept. 28)
Fulfilling her commitment to Warner Bros. records, Madonna puts out her last release on the label--a career-spanning, two-disc greatest hits collection. A DVD of the videos will be released as well. While there's been much speculation about the track list (including my own posting of one that turned out to be a red herring), it still hasn't been confirmed, although we do know it will include favorites like "Vogue," "Express Yourself," and the recent hit "4 Minutes." Two new tracks are included as well, with "Celebration" already available for sale in the US.

Muse - The Resistance (Sept. 14)
Muse's Black Holes and Revelations was one of my favorite albums of 2006, and its solid reception helped solidify the band's reputation for weird, anthemic, gothic, melodic rock. First single "Uprising" is about as "pop" as this band has ever been while retaining their usual sinister flair. Love the colorful cover.

Mariah Carey - Memoirs of an Imperfect Angel (Sept. 29) Continuing in the same vein as her super-successful The Emancipation of Mimi and fairly sucessful E=MC2, Mariah Carey's 11th album promises to be another collection of pop and R&B numbers ranging from hip-hopish upbeat numbers to torchy ballads. Previously collaborators Bryan Michael-Cox, Jermaine Dupri, The Dream and Christopher "Tricky" Stewart are in the mix, along with Timbaland. Stewart and The Dream-helmed first single "Obsessed" just debuted at #11 on the Billboard Hot 100 and is climbing radio charts. While it's no "We Belong Together" or "Touch My Body," it's a decent enough entree, although it could use a really massive follow-up to really make this album big. Twice already this has been pushed back from late August, to mid September, and now late September.

Dizzee Rascal - Tongue "N" Cheek (Sept. 21). The British rapper, who's enjoyed great chart success of late, having teamed up with big-name dance producers to churn out last summers "Dance Wiv Me," the spring's "Bonkers" and new single "Holiday," puts out his fourth album. It promises to be hip-hop for people who love dance music, which sounds like a lot of fun.

Other Releases

Jay-Z - The Blueprint 3 (Sept. 11). Jay-Z releases his 11th studio album, third in the Blueprint series following the 2001 and 2002 releases that gave us the hits "Izzo (H.O.V.A.)" and "'03 Bonnie and Clyde" respectively.

Pixie Lott - Turn It Up (Sept. 14). Pixie Lott, who recently topped the UK singles chart with her debut "Mama Do (Uh Oh, Uh Oh)," releases her first album. Contains the new single "Boys and Girls"

David Gray - Draw the Line (Sept. 14). The English singer releases yet another album.

Kid Cudi - Man on the Moon: The End of Day (Sept. 15). Another Kanye West protege releases his debut album, including hit single "Day N Nite." This got moved back from August.

Nelly Furtado - Mi Plan (Sept. 15). Canadian pop singer Nelly Furtado, who charmed the world in 2006 with her Timbaland/Danja-produced hits "Promiscuous" and "Maneaeter," returns with her first Spanish-language album.

Pearl Jam - Backspacer (Sept. 20). The revered '90s grunge band releases their ninth studio album, supposedly influenced by pop and new wave.

Mika - The Boy Who Knew Too Much (Sept. 21). Mika scored a major hit in 2007 with "Grace Kelly." Now the pop artist returns with his sophomore set. Early release "Blue Eyes" signaled something much more dubdued, but new single "We Are Golden" finds him just as peppy as ever.

Newton Faulkner - Rebuilt by Humans (Sept. 21). Newton Faulkner releases his second album, titled to be a sequel to his debut, Hand Built by Robots.

50 Cent - Before I Self Destruct (Sept. 28). The release date has been pushed back for this so many times that the title has become literal. Perhaps it will finally see the light of day (update: after I wrote this, it got pushed back Oct. 10).

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Best of 2000s: Arctic Monkeys - Whatever People Say I Am, That's What I'm Not (4/5)

After Coldplay, The Strokes, Franz Ferdinand, and The Killers, Arctic Monkeys was the last major new "find" of this decade's rock scene. Each of these bands, for a time, held a very special almost untouchable place in the spotlight, loved by critics and fans with buzz every other band would kill for. As such, it's still too early to tell what they're fate will be, but signs are pointing to continued success. Frontman Alex Turner has already gone off and formed a side band--The Last Shadow Puppets--a la Jack White. And their second album, Favourite Worst Nightmare, was just as beloved as this 2006 debut (some like me, actually liked it even better). At first, I wasn't sold on them, but over time I've actually grown fond of their rough-around-the-edges rock. Their short over-before-you-know-it songs alternate between being about social issues and just partying, typical guy stuff. Musically, it's quite tight, with rapid-fire guitars alternating between your ears on opening track "The View from the Afternoon" and good bass and guitar interplay on "I Bet that You Look Good on the Dancefloor," their first #1 hit. The energy pours forth from almost every song--"Riot Van," "Mardy Bum" and "A Certain Romance" are somewhat mellower moments, but even they have plenty of pep.

Best: When the Sun Goes Down, I Bet that You Look Good on the Dancefloor, The View from the Afternoon, Mardy Bum, Fake Tales of San Francisco, A Certain Romance

Friday, August 28, 2009

Personal Chart, 8/29/2009

TW LW Title - Artist
1 .... 1 .... I Gotta Feeling - Black Eyed Peas (4 weeks @ #1)
2 .... 2 .... You Belong with Me - Taylor Swift
3 .... 4 .... Remedy - Little Boots
4 .... 5 .... Knock You Down - Keri Hilson ft. Kanye West & Ne-Yo
5 .... 7 .... Use Somebody - Kings of Leon
6 .... 6 .... Good Girls Go Bad - Cobra Starship
7 .... 3 .... Beat Again - JLS
8 ... 10 ... Celebration - Madonna
9 ... 26 ... Holiday - Dizzee Rascal
10 .. 13 ... Ready for the Weekend - Calvin Harris

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Billboard Hot 100, September 5, 2009

Pretty static week. No new entries in the top 10, where 6 of the tracks hold the same position from last week.

1. I Gotta Feeling - Black Eyed Peas

It's 9 weeks at #1 for Black Eyed Peas, extending the act's consecutive weeks in the top spot to 21. Oh yeah, and it's STILL bulleted. This may spend longer at #1 than "Boom Boom Pow." Wouldn't that be something?

2. Party in the USA - Miley Cyrus

Holding her ground at #2 for a second week is Miley Cyrus. Surprising that this single didn't fall off, but she's still #1 at iTunes, and the single is top 20 at top 40 radio now.

3. Down - Jay Sean Featuring Lil Wayne

Jay Sean climbs four spots to #3 and is this week's airplay gainer. It emerges now as a challenger for #1, although I doubt it will be as soon as next week.

20. Big Green Tractor - Jason Aldeen

Even the top 20 is pretty static, with this country single--up one place--the only new entry in the top 20.

24. Whatcha Say - Jason DeRulo

Here's something new. Jason DeRule jumps 30 spots to #24, scoring his first top 40 hit. The track has been around at top 40 radio for quite awhile, but is finally gaining some major traction. The highly processed vocal reminds me of that Imogen Heap track that was popular recently.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Celebration Confirmed Tracklist

After months of speculation, the tracklist of Madonna's upcoming greatest hits collection, Celebration, has been officially confirmed. Here it is:

Disc 1
1. Hung Up
2. Music
3. Vogue
4. 4 Minutes
5. Holiday
6. Everybody
7. Like A Virgin
8. Into The Groove
9. Like A Prayer
10. Ray Of Light
11. Sorry
12. Express Yourself
13. Open Your Heart
14. Borderline
15. Secret
16. Erotica
17. Justify My Love
18. Revolver

Disc 2
1. Dress You Up
2. Material Girl
3. La Isla Bonita
4. Papa Don't Preach
5. Lucky Star
6. Burning Up
7. Crazy For You
8. Who's That Girl
9. Frozen
10. Miles Away
11. Take A Bow
12. Live To Tell
13. Beautiful Stranger
14. Hollywood
15. Die Another Day
16. Don’t Tell Me
17. Cherish
18. Celebration

Observations: We knew "Everbody" would appear, but interesting that "Burning Up" does too, with all 5 Madonna singles appearing. Two Immaculate Collection snubs appear--"Dress You Up" and "Who's That Girl"--while three others--"Angel," "True Blue," and "Causing a Commotion"--do not.

Quite a few '90s hits get the shaft: "This Used to Be My Playground," "Deeper and Deeper," "Rain," "I'll Remember," "You'll See," and "Don't Cry For Me Argentina" all miss out. "This Used to Be My Playground" is the only US #1 not to appear, while UK #1s that do not appear are "True Blue" and "American Pie."

Interesting that "Hollywood" appears but not "American Life," as well as "Miles Away" but not "Give It 2 Me."

Overall the collection focuses most on the '80s, which makes up 18 of the 36 tracks--fully half, while there are only 8 hits from the '90s, and 10 from this decade.

Grammy Eligibility Period to End Soon

Because the Grammy Awards are going to be in January this year instead of February, the nominations will be announced in November (instead of December). Consequently, this year's eligibility period has been shortened a month, from October 1, 2008 to August 31, 2009. I imagine this irks record companies who planned major releases for September and weren't able to move them up in time. Whitney Houston managed to do it though, since it just meant bumping it up 1 day.

While it is a wee bit early to start speculating about this year's nominees for album of the year, well, what better thing to think about on this hot late summer evening?

Unlike last year, there isn't a really obvious frontrunner at the moment, but there are some definite contenders:


Black Eyed Peas - The E.N.D. For it: It's landed the year's two biggest international pop hits. Against it: "Where Is The Love" aside, no one is taking them very seriously these days.

Beyonce - I Am...Sasha Fierce. For it: It's Beyonce's most consistent album yet, and its managed to deliver quite a few hits. Against it: She's never been nominated for AOTY, although perhaps it's time then.

Whitney Houston - I Look to You. For it: An old Grammy favorite stages a massive comeback--soemthing the Grammy Awards live for. And the early reviews have been quite positive. Against it: So far, it's yet to produce a single that really connects with the public, although it's got a couple months to pull that off.

Taylor Swift - Fearless. For it: Massive country as well as pop crossover hit, which Grammy has a history of rewarding, especially for women (Shania Twain, Dixie Chicks, Carrie Underwood). Against it: Is it too pop, and thus will it be passed over by country voters in favor of something they view as more "pure?"

Bob Dylan - Together Through Life. For it: Grammy has shown it loves Bob Dylan, who awarded him AOTY in 1997 and nominated him in 2001. Plus, it's not a very strong year for rock, so he might edge out some of the other perennial favorites. Against it: The Modern Life was snubbed in 2007, and that was a more popular work (although snubs can sometimes work in your favor).

Other contenders:

U2 - No Line on The Horizon. For it: U2 has been nominated for AOTY four times--more than any other artist in the last 25 years--and won twice. Grammy has lots of love for U2. Against it: Mixed reviews and a lack of major hits could hurt its chances, despite my personal opinion that it is quite good.

Green Day - 21st Century Breakdown. For it: Another magnum opus from the punk band who continues to prove its musical chops. Against it: It may be deemed to similar to its more popular predecessor American Idiot, whom Grammy was quite kind to in 2004 and 2005.

Kanye West - 808s and Heartbreak. For it: Kanye West's other three albums were all nominated. Against it: Unlike those three, this didn't get universal acclaim, and his decision to sing instead of rap caused quite a bit of division.

Bruce Springsteen - Working on a Dream. For it: Another Grammy favorite, and the album got generally good reviews. Against it: It wasn't as well received as Magic, which was 2007's most significant snub in AOTY.

The Dream - Love vs. Money. For it: In a weak year for hip-hop, this may be the R&B album that segment of voters finds most appealing. Against it: It wasn't a major mainstream hit, so it could have trouble finding broad support.

AC/DC - Black Ice. For it: Definitely has that veteran comeback factor that Grammy likes. Against it: The Eagles' veteran comeback album didn't get nominated last year. And something tells me Whitney Houston will be this year's Grammy comeback love story.

Long shots

Guns N Roses - Chinese Democracy. For it: Again, the veteran comeback thing, this time a long, long time in the making. Against it: The album, once it arrived, didn't make very many waves (and generated no major hits).

Pink - Funhouse. For it: Pink has proven herself to be a consistent pop hitmaker over the last 10 years, and this is as good as any of her other albums. Against it: It's not significantly better than her other albums, and thus doesn't stand out as being a nomination-worthy. Like Madonna, she may have to wait for something truly huge to push her into the field.

Diana Krall - Quiet Nights. For it: Diana Krall, a 1999 nominee, makes another lovely jazz album. Against it: She's been making lovely jazz albums for years, and this one, while great, doesn't stand out from the others.

Eminem - Relapse. For it: Again, it's a weak rap year, and Eminem used to be a Grammy favorite, snagging AOTY nominations in 2000 and 2002. Against it: His cache has worn off, and this album received mixed reviews (and I didn't like it at all).

Slumdog Millionaire Soundtrack. For it: A popular and critically acclaimed movie delivered an interesting soundtrack with "Jai Ho" and other A.R. Rahman and M.I.A. tracks. Against it: Soundtracks haven't shown up in AOTY nearly as often this decade as they did in the '90s.


Lady GaGa - The Fame. There seems to be some debate as to whether this counts as a September or October release, but most sources say it was released in September, which makes it ineligible.

Kings of Leon - Only By the Night. This was definitely released in September, however I expect "Use Somebody" to be a strong Record of the Year contender.

Preview Whitney Houston's I Look to You

Whitney Houston's official Web site has the entire album up for streaming. Unfortunately, I don't have time to listen to it for the next few days, as I'll be vacationing at the beach (actually, I guess that isn't unfortunate).

I did, however, buy "Million Dollar Bill" this morning, and I'm loving it. Much much better choice for a single than the other two tracks we've already heard.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Whitney Houston discography

In just a week Whitney Houston will finally release a new album. Seven years us Whitney fans have been waiting for this! The event is the perfect occasion to look back on her impressive catalogue:

Whitney Houston (1985). From the opening notes of “You Give Good Love,” it was clear that young Whitney—just 21 at the time—possessed a powerful and expressive voice, and critically, the talent to control it. While so many of today’s young singers “oversing” their work, particularly their ballads, Whitney could keep her melisma in check, deploying it effectively for the big chorus but showing tender restraint at other times. Take “Saving All My Love for You,” in which Houston assumes the role of a married man’s mistress. During the verses, Houston quietly conveys without judgment such a woman's feelings, but lets the passion loose for the chorus (“tonight is the night for feeling alright” she intones with purpose to the would-be adulterer). While Whitey is known for her ballads, she’s pretty good at upbeat material too, as proven by sunny spirit-lifting “How Will I Know,” my favorite song here, as well as keyboard-heavy “Thinking About You” and “Someone for Me.” Other ballads such as megahit “The Greatest Love of All” ad “All at Once” seem less interesting now, if only because such stylings have become so ubiquitous by Houston and her contemporaries. While all the album is good, its duets are the weakest link, particularly the two with Jermaine Jackson. Best: How Will I Know, Saving All My Love for You, You Give Good Love, All at Once, Thinking About You, The Greatest Love of All (5/5).

Whitney (1987). Similar to her debut, and similarly good, Whitney continued to showcase the singer’s strengths as a pop artist, both with slow love songs and upbeat dance pop tunes, the latter of which were even stronger on this second album. “I Wanna Dance With Somebody (Who Loves Me)” in particular is probably my favorite Whitey Houston song. I love everything about this sassy, vibrant and very late-‘80s tune. Darker-toned “So Emotional,” with its slight rock leanings, is another clear highlight. Power ballads “Didn’t We Almost Have It All” and “Where Do Broken Hearts Go” are effective, although predictable. Yet they, as well as the other two songs I’ve mentioned so far, were all number one hits. “For the Love of You” provides a nice contrast as an understated love ballad. This was my first Whitney Houston album, so while I recognize it's probably not as strong as her debut, nostalgia forces me to love it no less. Best: I Wanna Dance With Somebody, So Emotional, Didn’t We Almost Have It All, Love Is a Contact Sport, Just the Lonely Talking Again, Where Do Broken Hearts Go (5/5).

I’m Your Baby Tonight (1990). The sound of pop music changed during the late '80s/early '90s, with the heavy synthesizers and drum machines of the ‘80s being replaced more frequently with acoustic instruments (or least synthesizers and drum machines that sounded more authentic) I’m Your Baby Tonight sat at the crossroads of this change, and while it does give Whitney a new sound with a few songs, it does so tentatively as if to suggest uncertainty over whether doing so was really a good idea. Pushing forward are charging upbeat songs like #1 hit "I'm Your Baby Tonight" and "My Name Is Not Susan," while backward-looking "Lover for Life" and "I Belong to You" sound like Whitney leftovers. As if that wasn't enough confusion, "Anymore" sounds suspiciously like Karyn White's "Secret Rendezvous," which is a shame, since back them Karyn White should have been chasing Whitney Houston and not vice-versa. Despite these odd moves, the album's two hit ballads, "All the Man that I Need" and "Miracle," are timeless, tasteful Whitney at her best. Best: I'm Your Baby Tonight, All the Man That I Need, My Name Is Not Susan, Miracle (3.5/5).

The Bodyguard Soundtrack (1992). Enter the soundtrack years, a period of time during which Whitney Houston released no studio albums, yet had some of her career's biggest hits. The Bodyguard was the centerpiece of this time, a soundtrack collection half made up of songs by Houston, who also starred in the film. While the movie fared poorly with critics, it was a commercial hit, but the soundtrack was absolutely massive, becoming one of the five best-selling albums of the '90s and the best-selling soundtrack of all time. At its core is "I Will Always Love You," a pitch-perfect remake of Dolly Darton's classic love song that is Whitney's most famous single. Beyond that, ballad "I Have Nothing" and dancy remake of Chaka Khan's "I'm Every Woman" were also major hits, both representing then-current production standards for adult pop ballads and dance pop, the two genres the singer was already well known for. The non-Houston stuff isn't really that interesting, save for Lisa Stansfield's "Someday (I'm Coming Back)," but nobody bought this album for anything other than the Whitney Houston tracks. Best: I Will Always Love You, I'm Every Woman, I Have Nothing, Queen of the Night, Run to You (4.5/5).

Waiting to Exhale Soundtrack (1995). Whitney Houston contributed only three tracks to this, and as such, I think it deserves a mention, but not a full assessment. "Exhale" was another major #1 hit for the singer, and "Count on Me," her duet with CeCe Winans, hit the top 10. I used to own this album, but unfortunately no longer have it. Incredibly for a soundtrack, it was nominated for the Album of the Year Grammy--the fourth time for a Whitney Houston project. Best: Exhale (Shoop Shoop) (not rated).

The Preacher's Wife Soundtrack (1996). Does this count as a Whitney Houston album? Well if The Bodyguard does, then it certainly should given that while on that 1992 soundtrack the singer contributed half the songs, but here she sings on almost all of them. The album is a mix of pop and gospel, reflecting the theme of the film while also serving to give the singer a couple of hits. While not notable, "I Believe in You and Me" and Annie Lennox-penned "Step by Step" are decent songs. Best: Step by Step, I Believe in You and Me (not rated).

My Love Is Your Love (1998). While the 1990 attempt to "update" Whitney Houston didn't quite work, the 1998 effort worked like a charm, redefining the singer as not only a torchy balladeer but also a fierce interpreter of modern R&B-flavored pop. Working with Rodney Jerkens, then known for his massive Brandy and Monica hit "The Boy Is Mine," Houston turned out the cool opener "It's Not Right, But It's Okay" about a woman who realizes her man is cheating on her but refuses to be ruined by it. Other Jerkens-produced tracks, "If I Told You That" and "Get It Back" are almost as good. Love spurned is a recurring theme, such as on the album's biggest hit, "Heartbreak Hotel," or the album's best ballad "I Learned from the Best." Other big-name collaborators show up with positive effect--Wyclef Jean on "My Love Is Your Love" and Missy Elliott on "In My Business." The album's weakest moments are its traditional Whitney ballads, which just aren't as interesting as the upbeat R&B. While I liked the album's lead single, the Mariah Carey duet "When You Believe," it proved a lesson in the limits of calculation--that a Babyface-produced ballad between the industry's two hottest properties tied into a major animated film isn't a guaranteed hit. Best: It's Not Right, But It's Okay, Heartbreak Hotel, If I Told You That, In My Business, I Learned from the Best, When You Believe, My Love Is Your Love (4.5/5).

Just Whitney (2002). I don't own this album, although I've listened to it online quite a few times. It is by far the weakest of Whitney Houston's albums, coming at a very difficult time for the singer. There are a couple of good songs--"Try It on My Own" is rather lovely--but mostly there's little here that's memorable. And at its worst--the paranoia-fuled "Whatchulookinat"--the results are disappointing. Best: Try It on My Own (2/5).

Monday, August 24, 2009

UK Singles Chart, 8/29/2009

1. Sexy Bitch - David Guetta Featuring Akon

French DJ David Guetta scores his second #1 hit this year, becoming the fourth act to have landed two singles atop the UK chart in 2009. In fact, the last three #1 hits were all second #1s--the other two being Black Eyed Peas' "I Gotta Feeling" and Tinchy Stryder's "Never Leave You." Like his last chart-topper, this also features an American R&B singer, this time Akon, who, like "When Love Takes Over's" featured singer Kelly Rowland, is no stranger to the British charts. Akon topped the chart in 2005 with "Lonely" and again in 2006 with "Smack That" featuring Eminem. When you consider that this summer's chart toppers have included Cascada's "Evacuate the Dancefloor," La Roux's "Bulletproof," and Dizzee Rascal's "Bonkers"--in addition to the aforementioned Stryder and Guetta tracks--it's been a rather dance pop summer in Britain.

6. Remedy - Little Boots

Little Boots jumps four spots to #6 on the back of "Remedy's" physical release. Not the top 5 single it looked like it could be from the midweek reports, but so very very close. I'm rather glad this did well. I haven't heard what her next single will be yet, but I'm really hoping its time to give a proper release to "Stuck on Repeat."

7. Outta Here - Esmee Denters

Dutch singer Esmee Denters debuts at #7 with her first UK single. Not bad for first time out. While I'm still not won over by this song, it's not bad (see my post from earlier in the week).

11. The Day I Died - Just Jack

Just Jack just misses the top 10 with "The Day I Died," a much better single in my opinion than "Embers." The album, All Night Cinema, is out next week.

22. Jump - Flo Rida Featuring Nelly Furtado

"Jump" jumps up another couple places to #22. It's out in stores today--will it make a big leap next weekend? In the US, this song has already faded after peaking at #54 and has quickly been replaced by "Be on You" featuring Ne-Yo.

23. 22 - Lily Allen

Lily Allen climbs 14 notches to #23 with "22." It's out today; will it be her sixth top 10 hit this weekend?

33. Lovegame - Lady GaGa

Lady GaGa scores her fouth top 40 hit this week with "Lovegame." Selected as the third single in North America instead of "Paparazzi," "Lovegame" has already been a top 5 hit in the U.S.

37. Number 1 - Tinchy Stryder Feat. N-Dubz
38. Poker Face - Lady GaGa
39. Bonkers - Dizzee Rascal & Armand Van Helden
40. I'm Not Alone - Calvin Harris

Wow, look at all those former #1 hits bunched up together at the bottom of the top 40.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Albums Reviews

I have these two albums to review, both of which I've thought are okay, but not wonderful. So I haven't felt like writing a full blown review of either, and so rather than delay them further, I decided to write shorter reviews of both.

Florence and the Machine - Lungs (3/5)
Florence Welch, better known under her stagename Florence and the Machine is another one of the hotly tipped "new" acts of 2009. Lungs even scored the tremendous honor of a Mercury Prize nomination. Her sound is a blend of contrasts--the sweet melodies of acoustic strings (harps, violins, guitars, etc.) contrasting with loud bursts of percussion and amplified instruments. Even her vocals follow suit, shifting from warbly musings during the verses to full tilt howls during the choruses. It's the kind of music you expect will be scoring indie film trailers for the next few years. And while I like quite a few of the songs, overall, it's not really doing it for me. My biggest gripe is that after awhile, I feel like it's the same trick again and again. So I generally like the first few songs on the album, and by the time I've reached the end I'm really ready for something else. Preferably something other than Bat for Lashes or Feist, who makes music in a similar vein. Best: Rabbit Heart (Raise It Up), Dog Days Are Over, Kiss with a Fist, Hurricane Drunk, Blindness.

The Dead Weather - Horehound (3/5)
As if The White Stripes and The Raconteurs are not enough (as well as production duties for others), Jack White has gone and formed himself yet another band. And you guessed it, they make Southern-style indie-blues-rock. Only this time the results are moodier and darker. At its best, there are some rocking moments like "Hang You from the Heavens," "I Cut Like a Buffalo" and the middle section of "Treat Me Like Your Mother." "Rocking Horse" is pleasantly bass-heavy. The album's interesting, but not as much fun as listening to the White Stripes. Best: Hang You from the Heavens, I Cut Like a Buffalo, Treat Me Like Your Mother.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Best of 2000s: Other albums 2003-2005

Because I couldn't narrow it down to just 10, here are 12 other notable albums from 2003 through 2005:

Evanescence - Fallen
With its dark, but accessible tones, the gothic yet top 40 friendly Evanescence struck a chord in 2003 with its hit single "Bring Me to Life." Better yet was their gorgeous third single "My Immortal." I remember particularly enjoying this album walking around the city on cold but sunny winter days that year. Essential: My Immortal

Innocent Eyes - Delta Goodrem
Australian Delta Goodrem's debut showcased the pop singer as a classy act, as adept in front of the piano as she was in front of the microphone. Sadly, her tabloid romance with former Westlifer Brian McKnight seems to have completely eclipsed her musical career, but back in 2003, she looked on course to become the next Celine Dion. Essential: Lost Without You

Dido - Life for Rent
Dido's second album was almost as good as her first, continuing in the electronic adult pop vein with songs like "White Flag" and "Don't Leave Home"--the latter of which was about drug abuse but mistakenly assumed to be a love song and played at weddings (according to Dido, who told this story during her 2004 concert tour). Essential: White Flag

Sugababes - Three
Three was the Sugababes last great album. Although it lacked singles as good as its predecessor, the other tracks were more consistently good, such as the slamming "Whatever Makes You Happy" and cool "Conversations Over." It was with this album that the group tried but failed to break into the US market. Essential: Hole in the Head

Alicia Keys - The Diary of Alicia Keys
Alicia Keys' albums haven't quite lived up to their hype, but this, her second, was the best of the trio. I love its old school flair, and there are a lot of great moments here (like the spoken word confession of the diner waitress on "You Don't Know My Name"). Essential: If I Ain't Got You

Avril Lavigne - Under My Skin
Avril Lavigne's second album largely avoided the punky/pop sound she cultivated on debut Let Go. Pity it didn't work out for her, for I actually think this is by far her best album, with darker more mature themes. Essential: Together

Rilo Kiley - More Adventurous
As a stepping stone between their indie roots and their recent, more mainstream Under the Blacklight (which I'll be featuring later), More Adventurous effectively shows off both sides of the band. Essential: I Never

Gwen Stefani - Love.Angel.Music.Baby
Breaking from No Doubt in the mid 2000s, Gwen Stefani released two stylized dance pop albums. This, the first and better received of the two, showcased the singer's taste for fashion, dance, hip-hop and '80s synths. Essential: Cool

Mariah Carey - The Emancipation of Mimi
After seeing the quality of her albums decline from Daydream through Rainbow (and hitting rock bottom with Glitter and Charmbracelet), Mariah Carey reinvented herself with The Emancipation of Mimi, a winning set of modern R&B with a retro sensibility. Essential: We Belong Together

Gorillaz - Demon Days
With Demon Days, Gorillaz, the cartoon band side-project from Blur's Damon Albarn stepped off the page to become a legitimate musical act ("Feel Good Inc." was a much bigger hit than anything Blur's released in years). Essential: Feel Good Inc.

Kaiser Chiefs - Employment
The playful debut from the Kaiser Chiefs was upbeat and fun, with nods to punk and '80s new wave similar to that of the Killers (who broke out at about the same time). Essential: I Predict a Riot

James Blunt - Back to Bedlam
Earnest, acoustic male pop singers proliferated this decade (see John Mayer, Jason Mraz, Daniel Powter, etc.). While I'm generally not into this kind of thing, I rather liked James Blunt's 2005 debut. Essential: You're Beautiful

Friday, August 21, 2009

Personal Chart, 8/22/2009

TW LW Title - Artist
1 .... 1 .... I Gotta Feeling - Black Eyed Peas (3 weeks @ #1)
2 .... 3 .... You Belong with Me - Taylor Swift
3 .... 2 .... Beat Again - JLS
4 .... 6 .... Remedy - Little Boots
5 .... 4 .... Knock You Down - Keri Hilson Featuring Kanye West & Ne-Yo
6 .... 9 .... Good Girls Go Bad - Cobra Startship
7 ... 10 ... Use Somebody - Kings of Leon
8 .... 5 .... Waking Up in Vegas - Katy Perry
9 ... 13 .... 22 - Lily Allen
10 .. 17 ... Celebration - Madonna

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Billboard Hot 100, August 22, 2009

1. I Gotta Feeling - Black Eyed Peas

Bravo! Black Eyed Peas break the record for most consecutive weeks at #1 for an artist. "I Gotta Feeling" spends its 8th week at #1. With the 12 weeks "Boom Boom Pow" spent as the immediate previous chart-topper, the group has now spent 20 weeks at the top, breaking the previous 19-week record set by Usher in 2004.

2. Party in the U.S.A. - Miley Cyrus
3. Run This Town - Jay-Z Featuring Rihanna & Kanye West

The Peas' achievement is all the more remarkable when you consider that there was pretty stiff competition for #1 this week. Two major singles were released last week, and they led the sales list by a wide margin. In the end, "I Gotta Feeling's" massive airplay was surely what saved it. Both of these new singles set new high-water marks for their artists. Cyrus lands her fourth and so far biggest top 10 hit, topping the #4 peak of her last top 10 hit, "The Climb."

"Run This Town," at #3, is the highest Jay-Z has ever charted where he is the principal artist, beating the #4 peak of "'03 Bonnie and Clyde." When appearing on others' tracks, Jay-Z has been to #1 on Mariah Carey's "Heartbreaker," Beyonce's "Crazy in Love," and Rihanna's "Umbrella." Rihanna, in her first chart appearance since her news-making fight, scores her 11th top 10 hit while Kanye West earns his 11th as well.

7. Down - Jay Sean
9. Good Girls Go Bad - Cobra Starship
10. Hotel Room Service - Pitbull

With two new singles jumping into the top 10 ten, three other tracks fall despite keeping their bullets. "Down" is the airplay gainer again this week.

29. I'm Yours - Jason Mraz

Breaking another big record this week is Jason Mraz, whose "I'm Yours" has now spent 70 weeks on the Hot 100--longer than any other single in history. He edges out Leann Rimes' "How Do I Live" and looks good for a few more weeks, possibly extending the record quite a bit.

40. Wanted - Jessie James

I thought this single was over and done and then it goes and jumps 32 spots to #40 and earns this week's digital gainer.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Esmee Denters "Outta Here"

So here's Esmee Denters, a Dutch singer whose first UK release looks set to land in the top 10 next weekend. What do you think? Frankly, I'm not impressed. This sounds like Miley Rihanna Clarkson to me. Not very original or interesting.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

UK Singles Chart, August 22, 2009

1. I Gotta Feeling - Black Eyed Peas

Black Eyed Peas knock Tinchy Stryder & Amelle Berrabah from their #1 perch, reclaiming the top spot. It's the second time this year a former #1 hit has returned to #1--the other time being the same act's last single "Boom Boom Pow," which was knocked from #1 by Dizzee Rascal's "Bonkers," only to reclaim the #1 spot 2 weeks later.

3. Ready for the Weekend - Calvin Harris

Calvin Harris follows up his #1 hit "I'm Not Alone" with his fifth top 10 hit, "Ready for the Weekend."

4. Behind Closed Doors - Peter Andre

The enduring popularity of Peter Andre is a mystery to me. The single, who had a string of top 10 hits in the mid-t0-late '90s (including two #1 hits), resurged in 2004 on the back of a re-release of his "Mysterious Girl," which became his third #1 hit. Now 5 years later he's back again with another top 5 single "Behind Closed Doors."

10. Remedy - Little Boots

Little Boots's "Remedy" climbs four spots to #10, becoming her first top 10 hit. Yay! I'm very pleased to see her here, as it offers proof that she may have staying power despite the underwhelming chart performance of her last single. "Remedy" gets its physical release tomorrow, so perhaps next weekend we'll see her climb even higher.

15. One More Chance - Bloc Party

Bloc Party scores their 13th top 40 hit with "One More Chance," a one-off single that has been described as a leftover from the recording of their last album, Intimacy. Despite such status, it actually manages to chart higher than either of that album's releases.

17. Birthday Sex - Jeremih

Jeremih's "Birthday Sex," which was a top 10 hit in the US earlier this year, now becomes a top 20 hit in the UK. I still don't care for it.

21. Sexy Bitch - David Guetta Featuring Akon

David Guetta follow his recent #1 hit "When Love Takes Over" with Kelly Rowland by teaming up with another American R&B singer, this time Akon, who is no stranger to the UK singles chart, having scored two #1 hits plus a load of other top 40 ones. There's no official physical release for "Sexy Bitch" at this time, so while it may seem like it comes out of the blue, I imagine it will stick around and climb for awhile.

37. 22 - Lily Allen

Lily Allen scores her 8th top 40 hit with "22," out physically next week.

40. Man in the Mirror - Michael Jackson

Finally, we close the book on the chart resurgence of Michael Jackson following the icon's death about 2 months ago. "Man in the Mirror" benefited the most from fans' snapping up Jackson's biggest hits, sending the single to #2, despite it previously having hit only #21 in the UK.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Best of the 2000s: Madonna - Confessions on a Dance Floor (4.5/5)

Following the rather unpopular American Life, Madonna bounced back in true form with 2005's Confessions on a Dance Floor, a modern all-dance workout of a record showcasing Madonna in top form doing the kind of music she does best. In retrospect, it was a curious move, considering that her last dance concept album--the brilliant and underrated Erotica (1992)--had been her least successful work to date. Nonetheless, Confessions was a success, giving Madonna another U.S. top 10 hit with "Hung Up,"--a feat American Life failed to deliver. In the UK, it was her first album since True Blue to deliver multiple #1 hits--the aforementioned stomper, as well as darker clubby track "Sorry." While nods to '70s disco show up with the Abba sample in "Hung Up" and Donna Summer in "Future Lovers," there's little that's retro about this thoroughly modern album, thanks to production work mostly by Stuart Price, with a couple tracks from Bloodshy & Avant. If there's one gripe, and it's a small one, the continous mix, while a fun party, creates a bit too much sameness between the songs. Still, there's a lot of great songs here, from the bracing "Get Together" to the upbeat "Jump." Definitely a keeper.

Best: Get Together, Hung Up, Jump, Forbidden Love, Sorry, Future Lovers, How High

Friday, August 14, 2009

Personal Chart, August 15, 2009

TW LW Title - Artist
1 .... 1 .... I Gotta Feeling - Black Eyed Peas (2 weeks @ #1)
2 .... 4 .... Beat Again - JLS
3 .... 3 .... You Belong with Me - Taylor Swift
4 .... 6 .... Knock You Down - Keri Hilson Featuring Kanye West & Ne-Yo
5 .... 2 .... Waking Up in Vegas - Katy Perry
6 .... 8 .... Remedy - Little Boots
7 .... 5 .... Lovegame - Lady GaGa (2 wks @ #1)
8 .... 7 .... Bulletproof - La Roux (2 wks @ #1)
9 ... 11 .... Good Girls Go Bad - Cobra Starship
10 .. 16 ... Use Somebody - Kings of Leon

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Billboard Hot 100, 8/22/2009

Exciting week on the Hot 100 this week, as two records get teed up to possibly be broken next week, plus an usual amount of interesting activity outside the top 40.

1. I Gotta Feeling - Black Eyed Peas

It's a 7th week at #1 for Black Eyed Peas. When combined with the 12 weeks at #1 for "Boom Boom Pow," the act has now been #1 on the Hot 100 for 19 consecutive weeks--tying the record set in 2004 by Usher, coincidentally also with two songs split at #1 with 12 and 7 weeks ("Yeah!" and "Burn" respectively). If they can make it an 8th week, they'll break the record, but in order to do so face tough competition from two major sales-driven singles released this week: Miley Cyrus's "Party in the USA" and Jay-Z, Rihanna, and Kanye West's "Run This Town." Next week will definitely be a week to watch.

2. You Belong with Me - Taylor Swift
4. Knock You Down - Keri Hilson Featuring Kanye West & Ne-Yo

Taylor Swift finally breaks away from her little dance with Keri Hilson to climb a notch to #2, a new peak for "You Belong with Me," which had twice reached #3. Hilson has also twice reached #3 with "Knock You Down," but appears to be losing steam, as the single is not bulleted this week.

6. Down - Jay Sean Feat. Lil Wayne

Jay Sean holds steady at #6 this week, but remains bulleted and earns the airplay gainer this week. "Down" is the rare single by a popular British artist to become a hit in the US without first doing so at home. Most of the decade's biggest British singles that achieved popularity in the US already were at a hit in the UK (or achieved fame simultaneously)--Coldplay, Dido, James Blunt, Amy Winehouse, Leona Lewis, Estelle, etc. The only other one I can think of is Natasha Bedingfield's "Pocketful of Sunshine," which was a huge hit early in 2008--probably her second biggest after "Unwritten," but was never released as a single in her homeland.

9. Hotel Room Service - Pitbull

The only entry in the top 10 this week is Pitbull's "Hotel Room Service," rising 6 spots to #9. It follows his recent #2 hit "I Know You Want Me (Calle Ocho)."

13. She Wolf - Shakira

Shakira continues her ascent, up 8 spots to #13 this week to become her 5th top 20 hit.

20. Break Up - Mario Feat. Gucci Mane & Sean Garrett

After a 4-year absence, Mario returns to the top 10 with "Break Up," the first single from his upcoming album. Mario is best-known for his #1 hit "Let Me Love You," but his last album failed to generate any major hits.

23. I'm Yours - Jason Mraz

Jason Mraz's "I'm Yours" manages the rather amazing feat this week of now having been on the Hot 100 for 69 weeks, tying the record set by Leann Rimes' "How Do I Live." One more week and he'll hold the record, and it looks like a done deal, as the single as actually bulleted this week (a bullet at 69 weeks!), up 12 spots to #23.

71. Celebration - Madonna
74. I Look to You - Whitney Houston

Nice to see some of my favorite veteran artists on the Hot 100. Madonna lands her 55th Hot 100 hit with "Celebration," the new single from her upcoming greatest hits album of the same name. Perhaps more momentous is the first appearance on the Hot 100 in 6 years for Whitney Houston. Last time out in 2003 she hit #84 with "Try It on My Own," the third single from an album that failed to generate any top 40 hits. "I Look to You" is the first single from the album of the same name--her first in 7 years--and is Houston's 37th appearance on the Hot 100.

81. Uprising - Muse

Here's a nice surprise. Muse scores their first Hot 100 hit ever with "Uprising," the first single from the band's upcoming album, The Resistance.

89. Already Gone - Kelly Clarkson

Kelly Clarkson's "Already Gone" returns to the Hot 100. The Ryan Tedder-penned track spent one week in the Hot 100 the week the album was released.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

MTV to Close Times Square Studio

It was announced this week's by MTV's Times Square studio's landlord that Viacom would not be renewing the lease on the space, effectively ending the former music network's 12-year presence in New York's most famous block (I say "former" because it has little if anything to do with music now).

While financial issues are surely the cause, the move is really symbolic of the cultural decline of MTV. During the '80s and '90s, MTV was a defining force in American popular music, arguably contributing to the household name status of everyone from Michael Jackson to Nirvana to Britney Spears. Dial MTV and later TRL gave viewer-listeners a voice to request the videos they liked best. Niche shows like Yo! MTV Raps, Headbanger's Ball, and Club MTV were showcases for subsets of popular music that helped pushed rap, heavy metal, and dance music (respectively) into the mainstream.

Nowadays, MTV's influence in popular culture is limited to contributing reality TV smut. It certainly is no longer the musical authority it once was. Such a shame.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Billboard Hot 100 and UK Singles Charts, 8/15/2009

I'm back from my trip. I grilled dinner every night, walked on the beach, read Curtis Sittinfeld's American Wife (fantastic book), and listened to Whitney Houston, Mariah Carey, and '80s albums. It was a grand time. Here's what happened in the charts:

Billboard Hot 100

1. I Gotta Feeling - Black Eyed Peas

It's 6 weeks at #1 for Black Eyed Peas' "I Gotta Feeling." It ties Flo Rida's "Right Round" for second-longest stay at #1 this year (behind, of course, the 12 weeks BEP had with "Boom Boom Pow").

3. You Belong with Me - Taylor Swift
4. Knock You Down - Keri Hilson Featuring Kanye West & Ne-Yo

For the second week in a row, Swift and Hilson & Co. trade places. Swift earns the Airplay Gainer this week.

6. Down - Jay Sean Featuring Lil Wayne

British R&B singer Jay Sean scores his first major US hit with a bang, rising 26 notches to #6 and earning the Digital Gainer award. The artist has had a handfull of hits in the UK, including two top 10 hits in 2004. "Down," which is his first single after signing to an American label, has not yet been released in the UK.

10. Good Girls Go Bad - Cobra Starship

Cobra Starship earns their first top 10 hit at "Good Girls Go Bad" climbs 2 spots this week.

21. She Wolf - Shakira

"She Wolf" rockets back into the top 40 this week, up 20 spots to #21.

29. Remember Me - T.I. Featuring Mary J. Blige

T.I. scores his 22nd top 40 hit, a collaboration with "Mary J. Blige" that was to be the feature single from a re-release of last year's Paper Trail, although I hear the re-release isn't happening now. This is Blige's 21st top 40 hit.

UK Singles Chart

1. Never Leave You - Tinchy Stryder Featuring Amelle Berrabah

Tinchy Stryder scores his second #1 hit and third straight top 5 single this year. Like his last single, "Number 1," he debuts at #1. He's the third artist to score a second #1 hit this year after Lady GaGa and Black Eyed Peas. Amelle Berrabah is the third current or former member of the Sugababes to score a solo hit. First Siobhan Donaghy, who left the group early and has pursued a mildly successful solo career, hit #19 in 2003 with "Overrated." Then Mutya Buena, who left the band in 2006, had a #15 hit with George Michael ("This Is Not Real Love") and then two top 10 hits of her own--"Real Girl" (#2) and "Song 4 Mutya (Out of Control)" (#8).

5. Sweet Dreams - Beyonce

Beyonce climbs another notch to #5 with "Sweet Dreams," becoming her 9th top 5 hit. It hit stores today, so we'll have to watch if it climbs higher.

10. Get Shaky - Ian Carey Project

American DJ Ian Carey scores his first UK hit with "Get Shaky," which has already been a top 10 in Australia and New Zealand. He's a local boy from Maryland, although I'm not sure where (his bio says he's from a small town about 2 hours from DC, which could be pretty much anywhere in the state).

14. Remedy - Little Boots

"Remedy" is looking like it's going to be a hit, which is good news after "New in Town" peaked at only #13. "Remedy" climbs 19 spots to #14 this week, and still a week away from its physical release. I think top 10 is definite--can it reach the top 5?

29. Funhouse - Pink

The law of diminishing returns punishes Pink's fourth Funhouse single, as the title track limps into the top 40 at #29. Pink's last fourth single, "Nobody Knows," fared similarly, peaking at #27.

Saturday, August 08, 2009

Best of 2000s: Rachel Stevens - Come and Get It (4.5/5)

Come and Get It is a tragically underrated and underappreciated album. Released in 2005, ahead of the current craze for '80s-styled electro pop, Come and Get It was a true gem of a pop album. Coming from a former member of S Club 7, I wasn't expecting much, but didn't that just contribute to how blown away we are were by this? It's a shame Rachel Stevens hasn't made another album since. Sadly, the singles were not big hits, but they were great songs. Charging "So Good," funky "I Said Never Again," and groovy "Negotiate with Love" all should have been top 5 hits. There are plenty of great album tracks too, like the very '80s-styled "Secret Garden" (I'd forgotten how much I liked that song when I listened to this again for this write-up, it's quite cool), disco-stomping "Funny How" and the almost-single "Nothing Good About This Goodbye" (I'm fairly certain I saw this on an upcoming releases list, but then it got yanked). Even the mellower "I Will Be There" works great.

Best: Secret Garden, Nothing Good About This Goodbye, So Good, Some Girls, Negotiate with Love, I Said Never Again (But Here We Are), Funny How, I Will Be There

Friday, August 07, 2009

Personal Chart, 8/8/2009

TW LW Title Artist
1 .... 3 .... I Gotta Feeling - Black Eyed Peas (1 week @ #1)
2 .... 2 .... Waking Up in Vegas - Katy Perry
3 .... 4 .... You Belong with Me - Taylor Swift
4 .... 5 .... Beat Again - JLS
5 .... 1 .... Lovegame - Lady GaGa (2 wks @ #1)
6 .... 7 .... Knock You Down - Keri Hilson Featuring Kanye West & Ne-Yo
7 .... 6 .... Bulletproof - La Roux (2 wks @ #1)
8 ... 10 ... Remedy - Little Boots
9 .... 8 .... Paparazzi - Lady GaGa
10 .. 11 .. Battlefield - Jordin Sparks

Monday, August 03, 2009

UK Singles Chart, August 8, 2009

1. I Gotta Feeling - Black Eyed Peas

Black Eyed Peas climb 2 spots, claiming their third #1 hit. The band spent 2 weeks at #1 a few months ago with their last single, "Boom Boom Pow," and, in 2003, 6 weeks at #1 with "Where Is the Love," still the group's biggest UK hit. "I Gotta Feeling" is currently #1 in the United States and is the sixth single this year to top the charts in both countries, along with Lady Gaga's "Just Dance" and "Poker Face," Kelly Clarkson's "My Life Would Suck without You," Flo Rida's "Right Round," and the 'Peas "Boom Boom Pow."

4. I Know You Want Me (Calle Ocho) - Pitbull

In its 5th week on the chart, Pitbull climbs 3 spots to #4, where it is likely to peak, given that the physical release was last week. In the U.S., this single peaked at #2 in June.

6. Sweet Dreams - Beyonce

Beyonce looks to have another major hit on her hands, as "Sweet Dreams" climbs 3 more spots to #6. The single's CD release is still a week away and already it's eclipsed the #7 peak of recent single "Single Ladies." Her other recent singles--"If I Were a Boy" and "Halo"--peaked at #1 and #4 respectively.

10. Poppiholla - Chicane

The physical release of this single did nothing to improve its chart position, as "Poppiholla" holds at #10 this week. It debuted at #7 two weeks ago.

14. I Made It Through the Rain - John Barrowman

John Barrowman has been around for awhile, but this week finally scores his first top 40 hit with his remake of "I Made It Through the Rain." I rather liked his last single, "What About Us," which failed to chart. To what do we owe this apparent surge in popularity? Wikipedia credits Radio 1 DJ Chris Moyles, who has apparently been championing it.

16. Rabbit Heart (Raise It Up) - Florence + The Machine

Florence is showing remarkable longevity with "Rabbit Heart," which peaked no higher than #12 six weeks ago, yet has remained within the top 20 ever since. The album continues to do well too, having planted itself firmly at #2 for the last 4 weeks behind Michael Jackson's "The Essential Michael Jackson." It also snagged a Mercury Prize nomination, which I'm sure has helped the popularity of both the album and this single.

20. Never Forget You - Noisettes

Another single showing surprising longevity. "Never Forget You" climbs 1 notch to #20, becoming Noisettes' second top 20 hit. Despite still being a considerably smaller hit than their last release, #2 single "Don't Upset the Rhythm," "Never Forget You" is actually charting higher than its predecessor did in its 8th week (the single had fallen to #23 by that time).

29. Fire Burning - Sean Kingston
30. Fire - Kasabian

It's feeling rather hot at this point in the chart.

33. Remedy - Little Boots

Little boots scores her second top 40 hit, debuting at #33 with "Remedy." I was disappointed with the #13 peak of her last single, "New in Town," and I'm really hoping "Remedy" can go top 10. The single is out August 17.

40. Jump - Flo Rida Featuring Nelly Furtado

Finally, Flo Rida enters the top 40 at #40 with "Jump," his 6th top hit. This single did not fare very well in the U.S., despite featuring Canadian singer Nelly Furtado, who here scores her 13th UK top 40 hit. She hit #2 earlier this year with James Morrison on "Broken Wings."

Sunday, August 02, 2009

Madonna Celebration Update has a new promotional video for Celebration, proclaiming that the set includes 34 hits plus 2 new songs. That means the tracklist I posted (and many other people too) is wrong, since it included 35 songs. I'll be on the lookout for an updated, more official track list.

(Note: I am on vacation, but today I have Internet access. As of Monday I will not, so I promise you won't hear from me).

Saturday, August 01, 2009

Best of 2000s: Goldfrapp - Supernature (4.5/5)

With their third album, Supernature, Goldfrapp broke through to mainstream success, having incorporated more pop and dance elements into their moody electronic mix. It's not a drastic departure from Black Cherry, which remains their best album, but just enough to make them more accessible. The move allowed the duo to score their first UK top 10 hits--with blasting dance number "Ooh La La" and then with mellower '80s-tinged "Number one." Despite all the upbeat moves, "Time Out from the World" finds them at their dreamy downbeat best, while "Satin Chic" shows how nicely their usual quirks can blend with a great hook.

Best: Satic Chic, Ooh La La, Time Out from the World, Ride a White Horse, You Never Know