Tuesday, August 28, 2007

The Latest in Singles

Nicole Scherzinger feat. T.I. - Whatever U Like

Does anyone even know any of the names of the other Pussycat Dolls? I mean seriously. This is probably the first of many times that you'll be hearing this slightly average club banger. Scherzinger has a good enough voice, but as in the case of another Polow Da Don production, "London Bridge", I feel that the beat is too much for the vocalist and Nicole is lacking the star power and charisma to do anything unique with it. This is practially the same song as "Blindfold Me", but listen carefully to Kelis for an example on how to attack a Polow beat. Rating: 6

Girls Aloud - Sexy! No No No...

Girls Aloud have made very few missteps in their short career. It's more complicated than just being consistent and churning out good music. They've been taking stylistic risks with their music from the beginning, fooling around with everything from surf rock to skiffle. Now comes their first major image overhaul to go along with their aggressive new song. It's awesome as expected and the new look and sound feel like a natural evolution. Dammit Spice Girls. This could have been you. Rating: 8

Common feat. Lily Allen - Drivin' Me Wild

The first verse is corny as hell (I wince everytime I hear those OK Go and "astronaut lady" references), but there's little else to fear afterwards. It's safe to say that this is probably the most pop thing that Common has ever done, but that's not a knock on the song, which thanks to Lily Allen, has a refreshing mixture of streetwise grit and sunshine. Here's hoping that Lily sells a few more units thanks to the video (if the video weren't so literal, the image of her in an astronaut suit could have been classic). Also, Jeremy Piven shows up just to look at the camera and not do much else, but hey, he's from Chicago too, so it's cool. Rating: 7

Art Brut - Direct Hit

This is the first video of theirs I've seen, and dammit, even those are hilarious too. No one just seems to find the time for humor in period pieces any more. Rating: 9

Vanessa Carlton - Nolita Fairytale

It's Murdaaaaa! Well, not quite. Yes, she's been signed to Irv Gotti's Tha Inc, but her sound is still the same. When you hear the funky drum break in the beginning, you immediately think that Carlton is gonna get crunk, but if you were hoping for Ja-Rule and Carlton to harmonize on the chorus, you'll have to wait for another song. As for the song itself, it doesn't do any disservice to her fans, but it's nothing special. Although, the first 30 seconds of the video contain a witty reference to the clip for her first and most successful single, "A Thousand Miles". Rating: 5

Lil Mo feat. Jim Jones - Sumtimes I

Um, yeah. She's not looking so lil' any more. Aside from the newfound confidence in showing off her cleavage, there won't be anything else memorable about the song. What's noticeable is that she has shown us a new side of her vocal range instead of the barely legal squeak that everyone has been accusomted to. Lil' Mo wants us to know that she has matured, but she's forgotten how to craft a good hook in the process. Rating :5

Swizz Beatz - Money In The Bank

I'm kinda confused. The video would have you believe that the song is intended to be funny, but upon listening, no such humor is to be found. Nobody's expecting a rapper of Swizz's caliber to add to the canon of classic fairer sex hip hop putdowns like Sporty Thievz' "No Pigeons" or Project Pat's "Chickenhead", but at least those songs delivered in both the song and the video. But hey, even though Swizz isn't the greatest comedian in the world, the song still bangs and is saved by the hook. Rating: 7

Eve feat. Sean Paul - Give It To You

Released a little too late in the summer, but here's hoping that this will still find an audience. The commercial success of the female MC has been on the decline for a few years now and it would be so envigorating for someone like Eve to have another big hit. Just listen to that sweet acoustc guitar and dancehall riddim together and tell me that this song doesn't deserve to be a hit? Rating: 8

Animal Collective - Peacebone

Call me weird, but I'm actually finding Animal Collective more and more accesible with each album. I went from not being able to get through Sung Tongs to loving Feels, to anxiously waiting for Strawberry Jam. Both the song and the video are pretty nightmarish. Enjoy! Rating: 8

M.I.A. - Jimmy

One of the early contenders for video of the year. Actually, while I'm at it, let me list the rest of the contenders before I forget: Like A Boy, D.A.N.C.E., Umbrella, What's A Girl To Do, Zach G version of Can't Tell Me Nothing. Alright, now that I've got that out of my system, the song itself is like Bollywood on mushrooms in the 23rd century. The video could be described as that as well. It's probably one seizure well worth having. Rating: 9

When I first saw the video, I couldn't help but think of the clip for Amii Stewart's "Knock On Wood". You'll see where I'm going with this. Oh God, do I love this. Just bananas.

Amerie - Gotta Work

Okay, this single has been out in the UK for over a month and it hasn't even seen release here in the States yet, but this fantastic song cannot go unnoticed. Yes, it's basically "1 Thing Pt. 2", but why act as if anything was wrong with that song to begin with? Rating: 9

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Lollapalooza 2007 Rundown

Hey everyone. I know it's been a long time since I've posted, but what would this blog be like without month-long absences? I don't think I'm even going to promise to try and keep current this time. I've failed miserably everytime I try. But if there is anything that can get me to crawl out of my cybercave and post a new entry, it's Lollapalooza.

I went last year and tried to do a rundown then, but I waited too long and by the time I actually sat down and attempted to type it, I nearly forgot about everything I had seen. It was going to be a short and abbreviated recap, much like this one, but it had all escaped my mind. With it being Monday morning and Lollapalooza still fresh in my mind, things should go a lot better than last year.

As always, there were a bunch of bands that I wanted to see, so I tried to cover as much ground as possible. It's a little like being a kid locked inside a toy store overnight. You know you only have a limited amount of time before the store opens up and you're busted, so you want to play with as much stuff as possible

Day 1

The Fratellis

Got my Lollapalooza off to a disappointing start. It didn't help that the gates didn't open until around 11:30, so it didn't leave me with any time to catch Switches, but that didn't matter since I was looking forward to The Fratellis. Costello Music is one of my favorite albums of the year and I was expecting a raucous and lively set. Maybe these guys are such hard rockers that they're not used to playing so early in the day, but their set was ridiculously lazy and sloppy. "We usually wake up before the end," said lead singer Jon Fratelli. I couldn't bother to stick around and find out.