February 27, 2012

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Madonna - Girl Gone Wild

After the quick rise and fall of "Give Me All Your Luvin'" comes the second single. Produced by Benny Benassi, the song in many ways feels like the next logical progression for the new record. Starting with a spoken introduction that almost recalls her "Act Of Contrition" from Like A Prayer, the electro-pop production that calls to mind Dr. Luke's handiwork comes in. Vocally, Madonna sounds really distant and detached from the song. The lyrics are filled with cliches and lack much substance. Despite those major shortcomings, the chorus and bridge manage to be the best parts of the song. In addition to the original, there are remixes by Justin Cognito that basically soup up the original. The remix is actually better than the album version. Overall, this is much better than the mediocre "Give Me All Your Luvin'."

-Listen to the original version without the intro here (YouTube)
-Listen to the Justin Cognito remix here (YouTube)
-Purchase the original version with intro here (iTunes)

Grade: B+

February 25, 2012

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Jascha -The Future

San Francisco-based Indie Pop artist Jascha's second album The Future Limited is set for a March release.  Comparing him to other artists is a bit challenging as he approaches his music in a highly unusual, offbeat way. The album is a mixture of acoustic Pop, Easy Listening, Synthpop, and even a little Rock.

"The Future" is a folk-pop, downtempo affair with Jascha's vocals having a wistful, haunting tone to them. The lyrics are profound, having an almost storylike feel.

The music video premieres on his YouTube channel on February 28. Based on the previews, the video is an expert modern retelling of the myth of Orpheus and Eurydice. The video is directed by Naftali Beane Rutter.

Listen to the song here:

For more info about the artist, check out his website here.

Grade: A-

February 20, 2012

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Sam Sparro - Happiness

This is the latest single from his forthcoming abum tentatively titled Return To Paradise. The singer-songwriter has mentioned that this album will draw heavily from the club sounds of the 70s, 80s, and 90s. "Happiness" is a mixture of 70s classic Disco, 80s Funk, and 90s Handbag House. The hooky song is a pleasure to listen to. Sam's vocals are fabulous, only slightly over the top.

Listen to the song here

Grade: A
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David Morales feat Róisín Murphy - Golden Era

The legendary House producer/remixer/DJ teams up with the former lead singer of Moloko for this future Ibiza House track. It is supposed to be featured on David's upcoming new album.

Production-wise, it is a throwback to the glory days of 90s House music and even 70s Disco, yet it does not sound dated. Róisín's bluesy vocals are phenomenal as can be expected. They just blend seamlessly with the production. The lyrics are really great. Expect this one to do big things later in the year.

Listen to the song here (YouTube)

Grade: A

February 17, 2012

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Wayne G feat Melissa Totten - Frozen

This is the second Madonna cover release that Wayne G and Melissa Totten worked on. The original ambient/electronic ballad was the lead single from her critically acclaimed Ray Of Light album in 1998. It had some exquisite remixes by Victor Calderone, Stereo MCs, and William Orbit. Melissa Totten's vocals are decent on this one, however, they are rather lackluster in comparison to the original. There are remixes for this one by Wayne G & Andy Allder, Tony Moran & Warren Rigg, Paul Goodyear, Jamie J. Sanchez, and JRMX. All of the remixers did a superb job on their respective mixes. It must be noted that the Wayne & Andy and Paul Goodyear mixes make use of a recreation of the orchestral bits from the original song. Overall, the Wayne G & Andy Allder and JRMX remixes are the standouts.

Listen to clips and purchase here:

Grade: B+

February 16, 2012

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Usher - Climax

This is the lead single from his new album. Produced by Diplo, the song is a mixture of the R&B Usher is known for with a little bit of the Electro/Pop. In many ways, it is a return to form. Thankfully, it isn't overly Electronic as some of his recent releases from the last album. The production is really slick. Fans of his earlier work may like this more as Usher reminds us of his great voice. He displays his amazing falsetto rather frequently. This is a great single.

Listen to the song here:
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France Joli - Hallelujah

The Canadian singer best known for the late Disco era classic "Come To Me" in 1979 is back with a new single after a significant amount of time away from recording. Since her breakout smash in 1979, she released several albums that generated a few hits on the club charts. She has also continues to perform regularly.

Her current single is a remake of Leonard Cohen's "Hallelujah". Although it has been covered many times, Jeff Buckley and k.d. lang's renditions have been very famous. Teaming up with veteran producer Giuseppe D, France reinterprets the ballad as a Eurodance song. The song works surprisingly well with the uplifting,  production and France's beautiful vocals. An extended version of this would be perfect for the club.

Purchase the song here (iTunes)

Grade: A

February 14, 2012

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Nicki Minaj - Starships

This is the latest single off of her upcoming Roman Reloaded album (due in April). The Electro/Dance/Pop track is much catchier than earlier offerings "Roman In Moscow" and "Stupid Hoe". Nicki sings rather nicely and raps on the hooky song. The production and vocal delivery call to mind Britney Spears' "Till The World Ends". The backing harmonies during the chorus especially bring forth that vibe. The song could be thought of as the 'little sister' of her current smash "Turn Me On" with David Guetta.

Grade: A-

February 11, 2012

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RIP Whitney Houston

Singer, actress Whitney Houston has died at the age of 48 as confirmed by her publicist earlier today. There is no word on the cause of death at this time. A full investigation is currently being conducted.

Whitney was scheduled to make an appearance at Clive Davis' annual pre-Grammy party this evening.

The daughter of singer Cissy Houston and cousin of Dionne Warwick, two musical powerhouses in their own right, Whitney began singing in the church before she caught the attention of Clive Davis. Known for her distinct soaring, powerful voice, she had many, many hits including "Saving All My Love For You", "Greatest Love Of All", "I Wanna Dance With Somebody", "So Emotional", "I Will Always Love You", and "It's Not Right But It's Okay." Her signature song is "I Will Always Love You" from the movie The Bodyguard, in which she also acted with co-star Kevin Costner. Despite her nearly quarter of a century career, she released only 6 proper studio albums (7 if her Holiday album One Wish were to be included).

In addition to The Bodyguard, she acted in Waiting To Exhale, The Preacher's Wife, and the forthcoming Sparkle due this Summer. Filming for the movie was completed late last year. Whitney also made contributions to the soundtracks for the first three. She was also heading into the studio to record some new music for the movie or for a new album in recent weeks.

In recent years, Whitney's personal life became tabloid fodder as she was involved in a tumultuous relationship with singer Bobby Brown and had a very public drug addiction. She eventually sought treatment and had appeared to overcome her addiction.

She made a brief musical comeback in 2009 with the release of her I Look To You album and accompanying concert tour. However, reviews were mixed as many noticed Whitney's voice had changed dramatically, most likely a result of years of substance abuse.

Whitney leaves behind a daughter, Bobbi Kristina, 19.

February 9, 2012

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Example - Changed The Way You Kiss Me

The British rapper-singer is all set to make his U.S. debut with "Changed The Way You Kiss Me". The single was rather successful when it was released overseas in 2011. The Electro-House song would fit in perfectly on radio as his style evokes current sensations LMFAO, Pitbull, and Ke$ha. And the song would work extremely well on the dancefloor in its original version. There are a number of remixes, but the original works the best.

Watch the music video here (YouTube)

Grade: A-

February 8, 2012

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Graph Gonzales - Eyes In The Dark (Remixes)

This is the latest single from the Toronto native. The 80s synthpop throwback "Eyes In The Dark" is a joy to listen to from the hypnotic production that calls to mind classics by E.G. Daily, Laura Branigan, and France Joli to the stellar vocals. The unforgettable chorus will be in your head after just a single listen.

There are remixes by Chew Fu, Jochen Simms, Automatic Panic, and Ian Nieman. The first three go in an Electro-House direction while Ian Nieman maintains the slightly dark vibe of the original, modernizing it just a bit. Aside from the excellent original, Ian Nieman's is the mix of choice. This is an excellent 80s inspired track.
  • Listen to clips and buy the mixes here (Amazon)
  • Watch the music video here (YouTube)
Grade: A

February 5, 2012

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Madonna - Give Me All Your Luvin' (LMFAO Remix)

Hot on the heels of her much hyped Superbowl performance comes the LMFAO remix of the new song that she performed during her set. Sandwiched between "Vogue", "Music", and "Like A Prayer", the LMFAO guys joined her on stage briefly during the performance.

This remix significantly improves upon the original updating the production and increasing the volume on the vocals. LMFAO add a small bit of rap swapping out M.I.A.'s bit of theirs, plus a little towards the end. Nicki's section is still there. This version does lose most of the vocals from the original, however, it just seems to work better this way. This version may have a greater chance of getting radio airplay in the U.S. Additional remixes for the club release are forthcoming.

-Listen to the remix here (YouTube)
-View Madonna's entire Superbowl performance in HD here (YouTube)

Grade: B+

February 3, 2012

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Madonna - Give Me All Your Luvin' (feat. M.I.A. & Nicki Minaj)

This is the lead single off of the Queen of Pop's upcoming 12th studio album MDNA. Produced by Martin Solveig, the song is a return to the Dance/Pop Madonna is usually known for. The song has a distinct retro feel, especially with the "Mickey"-esque chants. Rappers M.I.A. and Nicki Minaj join in on the fun with their respective portions. The song immediately recalls Avril Lavigne's "Girlfriend" from a few years ago that had a remix featuring Lil Mama. This song almost feels like the kid sister of that one. The 'dubstep' break in the middle with the bridge is probably the highlight.

For a lead single, this feels rather anticlimactic. Hopefully this is not a preview of things to come with the new album.

Purchase the song here (iTunes)
Watch the music video here (YouTube)

Grade: B
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