Friday, 26 April 2013

NMEeeeeeh.

Annie - Tube Stops and Lonely Hearts
Released 1st May

Good news for fans of pop music that will only be heard by a handful of blog-reading gay men- Annie is back with a brand new single. I'm quite a big fan of Annie, her song I Know Ur Girlfriend Hates Me helped me through a particular difficult breakup when I was 17 and the guy I was going out with DECIDED HE WAS GOING TO START GOING OUT WITH GIRLS INSTEAD, meanwhile she also has a song called Anthonio which is about a man knocking her up on her holiday which I can slightly relate to because we all have mishaps on holiday- I once, on holiday for the first time without my parents in Gran Canaria, decided to use a cotton bud to clean my ears with (something my mother always forbade me from doing) only to push it in too far and deafen myself. Sun, Sex and Suspicious Parents would have had a field day.

Anyway, this new Annie song is very good but it's not very...surprising. Do you know what I mean? It sounds exactly like what you'd expect an Annie song in 2013 sound like. There is a bit of a post-chorus bit where she goes "ooh ma ma ma, ooh ma ma ma" but actually maybe it is "ooh la la la" but I think "ma ma ma" sounds funnier, so I'm just going to pretend.

I also have an issue with the song because clearly she came up with the title "Tube Stops and Lonely Hearts" before anything else, thinking it sounded clever, which I suppose is quite a cynical way of looking at it but really I'd rather a song happen a bit more organically than that (saying that, I also love Little Mix's new song How You Doin' which has not one, not two, but eight co-writers so maybe that's a slightly hypocritical criticism from me there).

Whatever, it's a nice song. Listen to it here:



In honour of Annie's Swedish heritage-- let's be culturally insensitive and see how many Swedish Chefs out of five I'm going to give it?


Moving on.

Avril Lavigne - 17 (Live)
Release TBA


Avril Lavigne has unveiled another of the songs from her upcoming fifth album, the follow up to Goodbye Lullaby which arguably is one of the most embarrassing album titles ever. It's like Avril Lavigne had one hat, into which she put the words "dark", "goodbye", "midnight", "black" and "broken", then into the other hat she put the words "princess", "starlight", "innocence" and "lullaby" and drew out two Tumblr-tastic words to name her album. Her upcoming release is still unnamed but if you ask me "Dark Innocence", "Broken Starlight" and "Midnight Princess" are all possibilities.

So this new track was debuted in a live performance, where she explained the song was called 17 and it's about "...duh...being 17". Like I know I'm a Madonna fan so I shouldn't tell people to be acting their ages, but even Taylor Swift is now releasing songs about 22, and you've got a good five years on Taylor Swift, Avril.

Thankfully, the lyrics are about looking back at being 17, in particular a romance she had with a boy who works in a record shop, or a gas station or whoever it is that angsty American Canadian girls fall in love with when they're teenagers. I dread to think what my loser American boyfriend was chasing around when he was 17, although as previously discussed when I was 17 I was CHASING AROUND LADS WHO WOULD GO ON TO LEAVE ME FOR GIRLS. Not that I'm bitter or anything. Nope. Hardly ever think about it. Never.

Avril Lavigne in her later years has started singing the choruses of her songs in this really high shrill voice which I could imagine gets on some people's nerves, but personally I get a kick out of it, and this song has a really great sound to it even if the lyrics are incredibly cliché and generally "lame". It's also hard to take the lyrics seriously as when Avril Lavigne was actually 17 she was releasing songs like this:


17 is a nice song, and she looks like she's having fun performing it in the video, which you can see here:


It's OK, isn't it? But just how OK..?



And finally for today...

Sia - Kill and Run
Released 13th May


Jesus this Great Gatsby soundtrack is pretty fucking star-studded, isn't it? Florence, Beyoncé, Lana-- and no Emeli Sandé?? What the eff??

The latest song to be revealed from the soundtrack comes, this time, from Sia (of Diamonds and shouty-and-nonsensical-Christina-Aguilera-ballad fame). It's a far cry from the David Guetta and Flo-Rida collaborations that have made Sia a household name over the past 18 months, and in fact it's yet another vocals-and-piano number, but thankfully it sounds more in line with Lana Del Rey's effort than Florence's. In fact the lyrics sound very Del Rey-esque as well "kill and run...a bullet through your heart" she purrs in the chorus.

I'll be honest: this is a nice song, the words are nice, it's not unpleasant to listen to like that howling mess Florence put her name to (which I reviewed yesterday) but you'll have a hard time humming this back to yourself once it's over. Perhaps that's a shallow way of looking at music, but she's competing with some big names to make herself heard on this film soundtrack, and unfortunately I don't think this song is exceptional enough to be remembered next to some of the heavyweights on there.

Give it a listen yourself, and let me know if you think that's too harsh a criticism or you think I'm just being a bitch for no reason:


As the Swedish Chef himself would say, "herguee berguee lermee schermee":


Well I only had to make one graphic today, so I'm a happy man.
Laters!

Thursday, 25 April 2013

NMEeeeeeh.

New music anyone? Eeeeeeh!

Diana Vickers - Cinderella
Released 21st July (aka not for fucking ages yet, unfortunately)

After what seems like a million years since her last release, Diana Vickers has finally set the wheels in motion for her new album release with the unveiling of her newest single Cinderella. Her debut album Songs From The Tainted Cherry Tree (the worst album name ever which, incidentally, doesn't feature anywhere on the album cover, a smart move by the art department if you ask me) managed to walk the tight-rope very well between bubblegum pop princess and cool, electro goddess (the album contains co-writes with Nerina Pallot, Ellie Goulding and a Björk cover). However the first single to come afterwards (My Wicked Heart, which will probably be most remembered for this YouTube video) seemed to be a big step backwards with its cooing, "woops-a-daisy" lyrics and a chorus nicked from the Red Hot Chilli Peppers.

Therefore, when it was revealed that Diana had signed to an indie label, I assumed her new material would be leaning much more towards the "cooler" stuff from her debut and she'd emerge as a Nicola Roberts character making sophisticated pop music that NME (with one "e") could probably still rave about.

For that reason, her new single Cinderella has come as a bit of a shock to me as it's so unashamedly pop that I could really imagine someone like Selena Gomez or even Cher Lloyd singing it, were it not for the vocals which are unmistakably Diana's. The song uses all of the fairytale imagery you'd expect from a song called Cinderella, my particular favourite line is in the chorus where she sings "for you I would lose both, both of my shoes" which I just think is fabulous. 

The song is really lovely. It's twinkly, it's sweet and it has a lovely message. It will put a big smile on your face I think. Unless, obviously, you don't have a face, in which case forgive my insensitive comment there. How embarrassing. Listen to it yourself here:


Diana's old X Factor compadres JLS have announced this week they are to split. This is a big shame, because when I was living in France I had the JLS calendar and this means never again will those fabulous fitties pose together for a calendar. Shall we remind ourselves just how fit JLS are..?


So. Fucking. Fit.

Anyway, out of respect for their split, today's rating scale will be based on one of JLS's greatest successes- their line of condoms. So, how many colourful condoms out of five does the new Diana Vickers get?


Gross. Moving on.

Florence + the Machine - Over The Love
Released 13th May

The thing here is, the last two singles we've heard from Florence (with or without her machine) have featured Calvin Harris. So we're used to associating that big voice with the dance floor, hands in the air, accidentally spilling your drink on the girl next to you's hair extensions and blaming it on someone else. With those connotations in mind, it's easy to forget that Florence is just as capable as taking you to the height of euphoria with that big old wailing voice of hers, like she does on Spectrum and You've Got The Love and lesser hits like Drumming Song, as she is making an absolute howling racket.

Unfortunately that's exactly what she does on her latest offering, taken from the soundtrack to the upcoming film The Great Gatsby which is clearly going to be making mega dollars when it eventually comes out. Unlike Lana Del Rey's contribution, which is undeniably one of her finest songs to date, this Florence song is just not that good.

Speaking of Lana Del Rey, it starts off with just a quiet piano and her voice which makes it seem as if she's trying for some kind of Video Games vibe, but she quite simply hasn't got the range in her voice to pull it off. Florence is really at her best when she's shouting and bawling and hollering and yelling, which sometimes gives you chills, but in this case it just sounds like she needs to be put out of her misery.

The song's saving grace is the last 20 seconds where there's a very Florence-esque bit of CHANTING where she goes "I can see the green light, I can see it in your eyes" over and over again with lots of cool harmonies, and realistically who doesn't love a bit of chanting?

Listen to Over The Love here:


I do love Florence I think she's very cool and I like that she's British and a woman and all that, her albums are very good and mine and my boyfriend's "song" is even a Florence song (I don't mind telling you it's this one, provided you never mention it to me or use it against me or think ill of us for being a couple with "a song"), but this is just not pleasant listening, to be honest. And that's that.

Speaking of unpleasant, how many condoms does it get?


AND FINALLY

Jessie Ware - Love Thy Will Be Done

I'm not entirely sure why Jessie Ware has recorded this song, which is a cover of a 1991 hit for Martika (good old Martika...the greatest singer ever...Martika...). At first I thought it must have been for the repackaged American version of her album, but apparently that's already out. Maybe it's going to be a B-side or something. 

Or maybe she's just recorded it because she had a spare afternoon, which I'd like to think is the case because music isn't something to be packaged and sold like tins of fruits or a Bounty bar-- it's there to be listened to and experienced and enjoyed. It's not about the money, money, money. Jessie Ware just wants to make the world dance. FORGET ABOUT THE PRICE TAG.

So anyway, I love Jessie Ware. She makes lovely quiet music. If my incessant capital letters haven't given me away already, I'm quite a loud person, but when I have my moments of decompression I like to put some Jessie Ware on and do some deep breathing. I'm a fan.

This new song is good, but it's surprisingly not quiet by Jessie Ware's standards. It opens with a lot of banging, as a matter of fact. Her vocals, of course, are quite hushed in her typical standard, but they sound lovely against all the drums and the synth and everything.

Whatever she chooses to do with this song, release it as an impromptu single or whack it on the end of an album re-release or put it out as a charity download, it's a great song and people should hear it. If she chose to put it out as a single, I think this could be to her what You've Got The Love was for Florence before she started making songs for The Great Gatsby soundtrack and deafening me with her shouting.

Listen to Love Thy Will Be Done here:



Absolutely stunning. But how many condoms is it worthy of..?


Before we wrap this blog up, I'm curious- what is your favourite Martika song? Is it Martika's Kitchen where she tells you her "oven's hot" and assures you that if you're good "I'll even let you break the dishes"? Or perhaps it's her poorly timed cover of Carole King's "I Feel The Earth Move" which was removed from radio following the 1989 San Francisco earthquake. OUCH. That is some bad timing right there. Whatever, your favourite Martika song, you can no doubt listen to it on her 1997 greatest hits album The Best Of Martika: More Than You Know.

Martika, we salute you. Never change.

MARTIKA
May 18th 1969 - present

And on that note, I'm done.
Laters!

Monday, 22 April 2013

NMEeeeeeh.

After not one but two heterosexual men claimed to enjoy the last blog that I wrote a couple of days ago, I decided that maybe I should do my best to get on the blogging horse. And so here we are again, for another edition of NMEeeeeeh where we discuss three new releases and whether they are "much cop".

Union J - Carry You
Released 2nd June

I'll be honest, I didn't watch very much of the most recent series of X Factor, and from what I did see I can tell you now that I was not a fan of Union J. Maybe with bands like One Direction and The Wanted already having hit after hit I just don't see the need for another boyband, and these lot just seem like a less fun version of One Direction. Maybe it's just that I don't fancy any of them, a rarity when it comes to boybands, that I couldn't get interested in them. Or maybe, just maybe, I am simply too old to "get" groups like Union J.

However, Union J have one thing that One Direction do not and that is an openly gay member, so I decided to give them the benefit of the doubt and have an open mind when it came to listening to their debut single Carry You.

In fact, I was pleasantly surprised- Carry You is really catchy and not nearly as cheesy as the shite that One Direction churn out most of the time, and the chorus goes "I'll carry yo-o-o-OOOOOU" which sounds great. Moreover, the lyrics seem to be about going out with a total mentalist- "the demons are screaming so loud in your head, you're tired you're broken, you're bruised", they sing in the middle 8. Hopefully the video will feature Amanda Bynes wandering round the streets of Los Angeles in a hoodie, and Union J rushing to her aid. IMAGINE.

"I don't mind walking in your shoes", says one of them at one point. Probably the gay one. Any excuse to get some high heels on, eh? LOLZZZZ.

Don't just take my word for it though, have a listen to Carry You yourself:



What about Reese Witherspoon getting arrested, eh?? In honour of that totally unexpected turn of events, how many Reese mugshots out of five does Carry You get?


Lana Del Rey - Young and Beautiful
Released 6th May


Poor old Lana Del Rey's contribution to the soundtrack to The Great Gatsby was slightly overshadowed when it was announced that Beyoncé would be (for some reason) covering Amy Winehouse's "Back To Black" for the film.

This is a song asking a man OR A WOMAN IF SHE IS SECRETLY A LESBIAN whether he will still be around when she is elderly. "Will you still love me when I'm no longer young and beautiful?" she asks. The answer is yes, because let's not forget that she might not be young or beautiful, but she will probably still be rich and that's all that matters at the end of the day.

All jokes aside, this is quite possibly one of the finest songs Lana Del Rey has ever made, it sounds beautiful her voice is amazing and her delivery is, as ever, perfect. It's not even as depressing as most of her songs either, which is definitely in its favour.

Listen to Young and Beautiful yourself below:



Speaking of "young and beautiful", let's see how many Reese Witherspoons out of 5 the new Lana Del Rey song gets..?



Reese-tastic.

CSS - Hangover
Release TBA


CSS, or Cansei de ser Sexy to give them their full Portugese title, are one of my favourite bands ever ever ever. Their last album was not up to much, in my humble opinion, but the singles Hits Me Like A Rock and City Grrrrrl were fabulous, so all is not lost.

Their new single is the first song to be taken from their upcoming album Planta, and it is called Hangover. There is a lot going on, there's a lot of sound effects and a lot of buzzing and hissing and a lot of stuff that doesn't really sound like it belongs together. However, if you persevere it does eventually start to make sense. 

The song works on two levels, cleverly, it's not really singing about a hangover it's about having your heart broken. "Never had a hangover till you, never had my heart broken till you", sings the chorus, followed by a very sweet line "I'd walk through the gates of hell as long as I'm with you".

This song is admittedly not to everyone's tastes, honestly it's a bit of a racket. It's not amazing, and it's not among CSS's best work by any stretch of the imagination, which is a shame cos if this is a taste of what to expect from the album then it should probably come with ear plugs, but it's nice enough.

Listen to Hangover here:


Yeah, that's not for everyone.

How many disorderly Reese heads does it get, out of 5..?


Aaaaaaaand that's it.
Laters!

Friday, 19 April 2013

NMEeeeeeh.

It's beginning to dawn on me that my most recent Twitter followers probably don't even realise that I have/had a blog, and just think I'm an entitled dickhead with too many opinions. BUT NO. I ACTUALLY USED TO WRITE A BLOG, PEOPLE. TENS OF TWENTIES OF PEOPLE READ IT. In honour of this terrifying realisation, and as a means of avoiding doing my uni work which is due in in three weeks, let's have a look at three new releases from the last couple of days and decide whether or not it is a heap of old shite in my favourite recurring feature NMEeeeeeh.

Ke$ha - Crazy Kids, feat. will.i.am
Released TBA

Right. This isn't going to be pretty everyone, so I'm going to begin this review by reminding you that I love Ke$ha, I've paid good money for all three of her studio albums, her concert in Manchester was one of the best gigs I've ever been to, and I have always maintained that she is a gifted songwriter, unique performer and one of the best popstars in modern history.

Having said that, this song is just not all that. Her most recent album Warrior was, frankly, not worth the wait and only a handful of tracks stand out for me. Only Wanna Dance With You, for example, is probably my favourite Ke$ha song of her whole career while songs like Warrior and Out Alive still have that Ke$ha message of partying till dawn, but they show an evolution of sound that her first two singles Die Young and C'Mon just didn't.

For her third single, Ke$ha did something a little unprecedented and opted for Crazy Kids as the third single. Crazy Kids is basically everything we've come to expect from Ke$ha- there's lyrics about "not giving two fucks", "dancing on the dance floor and drinking by the bar" and "shining like stars". 

The song's not totally generic, it opens with the best pop-song-whistle since Britney's I Wanna Go while the opening line "hello...wherever you are" before going on to confirm that "we are the crazy kids" shows Ke$ha wanting her misfit fans to know that they're on the same page and they have nothing to worry about. A bit of a heavy-handed message, admittedly, but still a nice one.

That said, for the single release Ke$ha has decided, seeing as her last couple of singles sold about a hundred copies between the, to recruit will.i.am to do a verse (which more or less means we'll see Ke$ha performing this one on The Voice in a few weeks)(and when I say "we" I mean "not me" because I don't watch shit like The Voice).

Now, will.i.am isn't to everyone's tastes, that's a given. Personally, I think he's got some good songs. Check It Out. 3 Words. Even T.H.E. has lyrics so terrible that you can't help but love them ("this beat is the shit, feces" being my personal favourite).

This song, on the other hand, is an abortion. It's a fucking mess. It's awful. I just despair. Right in the middle of Ke$ha's song about being yourself even if you don't fit in, and going for it with all you've got, will.i.am says "she put boobies in my face and now I'm really seeing double".

Boobies. In my face. And now I'm really seeing double.

I'd love to say that's the worst part of the song, but he follows that with "kissing while we talking so I'm speaking with a mumble" and as if that wasn't bad enough HE THEN STARTS MUMBLING TO ROUND OFF HIS FEATURE SPOT and goes  "rumbum-umm-errmu-mme-rrmbumm-ummermumer-UMBLE". Fucking awful!

The final nail in the coffin is that, well, we all know I love a good swear. Swearing isn't big, it isn't clever, but I love it. This song has a lot of swearing in it, which means that for the radio edit Ke$ha has to say things like "we don't give a whut", which just makes me want to hurt people.

If you'd like to hear what can only be described as the musical equivalent of a botched enema, then give it a listen yourself.


I can't believe I'm saying this about an artist I really like, especially given how poorly the Warrior campaign is going, but I hope to God this song isn't a hit.

In honour of Ke$ha, how many Silly Old Jack Daniel's (DO YOU GET IT? BECAUSE I AM SILLY OLD DANIEL? HILARIOUS!) bottles out of 5 does Crazy Kids get?


NOT MANY IS THE ANSWER. Moving on.

Olly Murs - Dear Darlin'
Available now as part of Right Place, Right Time

If you have Olly Murs's most recent album Right Place, Right Time then you'll be familiar with Dear Darlin', which he announced as the third single to be taken from the album on his Twitter feed yesterday. Then again, how many people would actually go out of their way to listen to an entire album of Olly Murs?

Before we've even listened to the song, the title Dear Darlin' is already problematic. A song called Dear Darling would be bad enough, but that added apostrophe is pretty heinous. Having said that, we should give the song a chance because at the end of the day, Olly Murs is really fit and when it comes down to it that's all that matters, n'est-ce pas?

The song takes the form of a love letter sung aloud which opens with the lyrics "Dear Darlin', please excuse my writin', I can't stop my hands from shakin'". At first I thought this meant the song would be about coming down from heroin withdrawal, but I do not think this is the point of this particular song. 

It starts with just him and a piano, which I'm not crazy about, ballads are never going to be Olly's strong-point, but by the second verse there's all kinds of shite going on with drums and strings. The song it puts me in mind of is the version of You Got The Love that plays over the closing credits of the final episode of Sex And The City which, frankly, if you don't get emotional at then you have no place in my life.

This song is very sad, everyone. It sounds like poor old Olly has had his heart broken. Poor lamb.

If you want you can listen to it below, or you can wait for every radio station and music channel to cram it down your throat. Up to you.


How does it fair on the Silly Old Jack Daniels scale, though..?



Daft Punk - Get Lucky, feat. Pharrell Williams
Available now


Thanks to acts like Calvin Harris and Swedish House Mafia electronic music is fucking everywhere at the minute. All Daft Punk had to do was phone in another Harder Better Faster Stronger and they'd be more or less guaranteed a hit single. Therefore it's pretty noteworthy that what they've instead chosen to do is go in the complete opposite direction, roping in Pharrell Williams for their new single Get Lucky.

However, unlike Ke$ha, Daft Punk got a rapper on their new single and managed not to make a giant steaming turd of a song.

The single itself sounds like the 70s. It's got a bit of disco, a bit of 70s R&B, even a bit of funk, while still sounding relevant in 2013, which is a good thing. It's very catchy, very danceable, very cool-sounding. I don't know how else to describe it, to be honest. This is a song that is probably going to be very big.

Let's have a listen to it...


Jack Daniels, anyone?


Well done Daft Punk. Ke$ha, must try harder.

That's it.
Laters!