December 29, 2008

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Freemasons featuring Hazel Fernandes - If

This is the latest single from the UK duo. This is their second single to be inspired by the legendary Jackie Moore. 2005's single "Love On My Mind" was based on Jackie's "This Time Baby" as well as Tina Turner's "When The Heartache Is Over" (just the first verses from both). Amanda Wilson performed the vocals on that one. This time, Jackie's "If" from her 1973 album Sweet Charlie Babe has been covered. This originally appeared on their Unmixed album released some time back. Since it is being released now, a new version has been made. The 'Re Rub' is a bit more energetic and emphasizes the vocals. The production is faithful to Jackie's original and singer Hazel Fernandes performs a killer vocal.

Watch the Re-Rub video here (YouTube)

Grade: A
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Ricky Luchini featuring Moony - Little Bird

There have been a handful of covers of Annie Lennox songs released over the years. This is the latest. Annie's original version came out in 1992. It had remixes by Todd Terry, Utah Saints and N-Joi.

Singer Moony puts her own spin on this underrated gem. Appropriately, this is a full vocal cover. Her vocal performance is decent, but given that Annie Lennox is the original artist, it is very difficult to come close to that level of perfection. The piano-driven production on the Disko Kriminals mix is lovely. This is perfect for the dancefloors.

Listen to the Disko Kriminals Klub Mix here (YouTube)

Listen to the Alex Gaudino & Jason Rooney Mix here (YouTube)

Grade: B+

December 24, 2008

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Happy Holidays!

Wishing all the readers of the blog a very Happy Holidays!
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The Lonely Island - Jizz In My Pants

This is the next 'novelty' song that will dominate radio airwaves and download charts for some of the coming year. Originally featured on NBC's long-running Saturday Night Live, the video for this became an instant internet sensation. The Lonely Island is made up of Akiva Schaffer, Jorma Taccone and Andy Samberg. A full length album is planned for a release next year.

The bold title succinctly summarizes what this song is about. But it doesn't get much more explicit than that. It's no more explicit than most Rap/Hip Hop songs. An edited version with a mysterious sound replacing the profanity also exists.

Overall, this is a little funny as one of those funny random videos that is shown on SNL, however as a single being released to radio, not so much. Especially with the edited one.

This was made available for purchase at all the digital stores yesterday.

Watch the video. (YouTube)

Grade: C+

December 16, 2008

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Offer Nissim - Remixed

This is the first of two Offer Nissim releases that are being reviewed this week.

This collection is the latest release from the Israel-based DJ/remixer/producer.

Disc 1 contains remixes of some of Offer Nissim and Maya Simantov's earlier singles by other remixers. None of these mixes have been released previously on singles or other compilations. Some have been availabe at the digital retailers. Overall, a number of the mixes are Electro/House in style. Some of the highlights include Peter Rauhofer's mostly instrumental take on "Happy People", Ana Paula's reworking of "Love Me" with those lush strings and the Zoltan Kontes remix of "Only You."

Disc 2 contains the original versions of the last six Maya songs, including "For Your Love", "Wish You Were Here", "I'm In Love", "Happy People", "Why" and "Love Me", plus the new Epiphony track, "Out Of My Skin", the Symphony Extreme track "Remember My Name", which is based on the classic "Fame", Offer's new instrumental entitled "Bimbo" and Offer's revisit to Dana International's "Petra." Noticeably missing are the new tracks with Maya including "Hook Up" and "You'll Never Know How" and the two new covers of "I Close My Eyes And Count To Ten" and "Believe" with vocals by Hila Davidson (Symphony Extreme) and Meital De Razon (Epiphony), respectively. The new Epiphony track "Out Of My Skin" is one of his stronger works to date without Maya on vocals. Meital's vocal performance is quite good. The Symphony Extreme track "Remember My Name" is mostly instrumental, however the few vocals by Hila are decent. This one may have worked better with more vocals. The other instrumental, "Bimbo" is pretty good too. Really energetic. Some of the instrumental elements call to mind Offer's mix of "Ze She'Shomer Alay" from last year. The updated mix of Dana International's "Petra" is really good. Only some of the vocals from the original are used. The production fits extremely well.

All tracks on both CDs are full length, and totally unmixed. Physical editions of the collection are available at the Star 69 website. Digital downloads of the discs individually are available there too.

This collection is a must-have.

Grade: A

December 13, 2008

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Nouveau Riche - Stay

Although this single was released back in 2007 in Sweden, this is just getting released in the U.S. via ISV Entertainment. "Stay" is a cover of the Mynt & Kim Sozzi song from 2005. The Dance/Pop duo's take on this is very true to the original. In addition to the SoundFactory mix from the original release, the U.S. release includes mixes by Julian Marsh, Klubjumpers and Dirty-Z. Julian's mix is a nice blend of uplifting Trance with some hints of Circuit. Klubjumpers provide an in-between Electro/Dance mix. Dirty-Z's is a hard, aggressive Trance mix a la Friday Night Posse or Alex K. SoundFactory's is included as well. His mix is lighter than his usual and is almost like the original Mynt version. A special CD maxi was made available for purchase this week through Perfect Beat that includes all the mentioned mixes plus one mix of each of Nouveau Riche's earlier singles and a megamix. It's a great deal. Overall, the song and its accompanying package is very good.

Grade: A

December 12, 2008

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Danny - Radio

This is the latest single from Swedish artist Danny Saucedo. It is the first single off of his second album Set Your Body Free which will be released on December 24 in Sweden. It's a Dance/Rock/Electro/Pop track. Compared to some of his earlier material, this one is a bit stronger. While the lyrics are not exactly ground-breaking, the vocals are pretty good. This one is really catchy.

Watch the video here (YouTube)

Grade: B+

December 4, 2008

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Beyonce - Halo

This is the 'second' single off of the Beyonce side of her I Am...Sasha Fierce album (fourth overall). As can be expected, this is a ballad. Co-written by Ryan Tedder and Evan Bogart, this one is a perfect fit for Beyonce. Vocally, this is one of her best performances to date. She shows some restraint and it really pays off. This could prove to be one of the biggest hits of her career.

Grade: A+
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Natasha Bedingfield - Soulmate

This is the fourth U.S. single off of Pocketful Of Sunshine. After the lukewarm reception to "Angel" on radio, "Soulmate" has been chosen. In this one, Natasha ponders whether there is actually that one 'special someone' out there for everyone. This is a nice, simple midtempo. Natasha's vocals are absolutely gorgeous. For those finding the album version to be on the slow side, there is a Dance remix by Bimbo Jones that still has the same overall effect, but at a higher tempo. Both are highly recommended.

Listen to the original version here (YouTube)

Listen to the Bimbo Jones mix here (YouTube)

Grade: A

November 26, 2008

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Happy Thanksgiving!

Wishing all the readers of this blog a very Happy Thanksgiving!

Review postings will resume on Monday, December 1.

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Britney Spears - Circus

This is the second single and title track from her upcoming sixth album. "Circus" is a followup to the hit "Womanizer." This one bears a slight resemblance to last year's "Gimme More", however, this one has better lyrics and production. This one is a lot catchier. Overall, Britney's vocals sound a lot better on this one. They don't sound as overproduced and manipulated as they did on some of the other Blackout songs. This is a nice marriage of the 'classic' Britney and the 'new' Britney.

The album Circus will be released on December 2.

Listen to the song here (YouTube)

Grade: A-
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Leona Lewis - I Will Be

This is the third single from the songstress' debut album. Just as the previous two singles were, "I Will Be" is a ballad too. This one is piano-based just as "Better In Time" was. However, this one is a bit more Rock-oriented than the earlier two singles were. On this one, her vocals are a lot more emotive and show additional depth. This one is sure to be a multiformat smash. This goes for adds on Pop radio on January 6, 2009 according to the FMQB website.

Listen to the song here (YouTube)

Grade: A-

November 24, 2008

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Deep Step - Promise You

Deep Step is a Brazil-based studio project created by producers Fabianno Almeida and Ian Duarte (of Kasino fame). This is the followup to “Just A Little Love."

This vocal track has remixes by Ricky Verona, Twisted Dee and Manny Lehman. Ricky's mix continues in the same direction as the original making it a little Dancier for the clubs. Twisted Dee's is a bit more big room-ish and harder. Manny Lehman's is in a similar vein. It must be noted that it has an uplifting feel.

Overall, it's a great track with a great remix package.

Listen to the Radio Edit here (YouTube)
Listen to the Extended Mix here (YouTube)

The Twisted Dee and Manny Lehman remixes are available for purchase at Masterbeat and Beatport.

Grade: A

NOTE: This entry has been modified and updated to reflect new and current information.

November 22, 2008

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Kristine W. - Never

Hot on the heels of her cover of the Diana Ross Disco classic "The Boss", she is back with a new song. This is not a cover. Announced a few weeks back, this one calls to mind some of the work she did during the 90's. It does not sound dated though. It just feels like a 'classic' already. Kristine's vocals are stunning as usual. Remixes by 7th Heaven, Love To Infinity, Ruff & Torte, DJ Escape & Johnny Vicious, Peter Canellis/Kamil, Nick Harvey, Brothers Behind The Light/M2 and The Perry Twins will be on the CD maxi single, which is to be released on November 24. The single can be ordered from her website. A digital release will happen in the next few weeks.

Grade: A

November 14, 2008

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The Tamperer feat. Maya - Feel It 2008

It's back again! Originally released in 1998, this song took the a significant amount of vocals from Urban Discharge's underground hit "Drop A House" and some instrumental bits of The Jacksons' "Can You Feel It." The result was an attitude-laden House track. It went on to be pretty successful in various parts of the world. After a number of bootlegs and even some new versions by the original vocalist herself, Heather Leigh West, a new set of mixes of The Tamperer's version has been completed. The Mac Project's mixes stay true to the original main mix with the Jacksons sample and the vocals. It's a nice revisit to the classic. The Get Far & Farolfi mixes are a bit more dubbish but contain the same elements. There are less vocals though. The Pop Trumpet mix is a bit more twisted. Overall, this is a great update to the classic, however, nothing will top the original set.

Grade: A-

November 10, 2008

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Judy Torres - Hell No

This is the latest from the Freestyle legend. There have only been a handful of artists from that era who managed to maintain a successful career in Dance music, and Ms. Torres is one of them. After the lukewarm reception to her Danielle Peck cover of "I Don't" last year, she is back with something that has already begun to generate a lot of buzz. Tackling the subject of domestic violence in a relationship, "Hell No" is not just another 'public service announcement' type of record. The vocals are top notch as are the lyrics. The real gem is the Tony Moran & Warren Rigg mix. It's a hard, driving mix that lends itself to the vocals. This is a must-buy. Masterbeat has this as an exclusive right now.

Grade: A

November 6, 2008

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BoA - Eat You Up

This is the lead English-language single from the Korean Pop singer BoA's upcoming U.S. album. Having previously recorded in the Korean and Japanese languages, she's ready to try English. Produced by Bloodshy & Avant, this song combines elements of her earlier sounds with B&A's. The result is a R&B/Dance/Pop clubbanger. BoA's vocals are pretty good on the track.

This song has been remixed for the clubs as well. DJ Escape with Johnny Vicious and King Britt have completed mixes so far. Escape & Vicious provide a nice, melodic tribal mix while King Britt provides a tribal, synthladen mix. Both are great overall.

Listen to the original version and DJ Escape & Johnny Vicious mix here (MySpace)

Grade: A-

October 31, 2008

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Darude featuring Blake Lewis - I Ran (So Far Away)

Yes. This is a cover of the A Flock Of Seagulls classic from the 80's. Finnish producer/remixer Darude known for the hits "Sandstorm" and "Feel The Beat" has teamed up with American Idol runner-up Blake Lewis on this cover. Blake Lewis was recently dropped by his label after his album Audio Day Dream failed to connect with the public. Singles "Break Anotha" and "How Many Words" didn't do that well either. It was pretty obvious that Blake would find greater success doing Dance/Electronic music. This is his second such song with Darude. They did this year's Dance4Life song as well. Overall, this cover is fairly well-done. There have been a few remakes over the years, however, none have really measured up to the original. The main single version doesn't pack the punch that the original does, but perhaps some of the upcoming remixes will make up for that. The digital single will be released on November 4.

Grade: B+

October 29, 2008

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The Abbey Compilation Volume One

The Abbey Food And Bar has been a fixture in West Hollywood of L.A. for many years now. And they have just released their first CD compilation featuring some songs that capture the essence of what The Abbey is all about and the feeling it gives people when they are there.

This is the tracklisting:

01. Enrique Iglesias - Somebody's Me (Jody Den Broeder Mix)
02. Debby Holiday - One World (Manny Lehman & Peter Barona Anthem Mix)
03. One Republic - Apologize (Richard Vission Mix)
04. Erin Hamilton - Control Yourself (Manny Lehman Big Room Vocal Mix)
05. Guy B. - Within M (Manny Lehman Tribal Mix)
06. Paris Hilton - Turn It Up (Manny Lehman Re-Turned Mix)
07. Oceana - Just The Way You Like It (Steven Nikolas & Brendon Sibley Mix)
08. Bryan Hawn - More Than Enough (Manny Lehman Spiritual Mix)
09. Shwayze - Buzzin' (Manny Lehman & Peter Barona Progressive Tribal Vocal Mix)
10. Twisted Dee - Drop That Beat (Twisted Dee Mix)
11. Flava - Hands Up To The Sky (Manny Lehman Mix)
12. The Pussycat Dolls - Don't Cha (Ralphi Rosario Mix)

In association with Suretone and Interscope, this CD is continuously mixed by New York circuit DJ/remixer Manny Lehman. The majority of the songs and remixes are new and many are previously unreleased. Some are a couple of years old, particularly Paris Hilton's "Turn It Up" and The Pussycat Dolls breakthrough hit "Don't Cha", however, the former is featured here with a new remix. The latter may have been included as it was a club classic. The new Debby Holiday, Shwayze and Bryan Hawn tracks are just some of the highlights.

Overall, this compilation is well-mixed and the energy doesn't let up for even a second throughout the 77 minute mix.

This is available for purchase as a CD from Suretone and Perfect Beat. It is also available for digital download through iTunes.

Grade: A
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Donna Summer - Fame (The Game)

This is third single off of Crayons which was released earlier this year. "I'm A Fire" and "Stamp Your Feet" were the two earlier singles. It's an uptempo Dance/Rock track. It is an interesting commentary about fame and almost all of the things associated with it. Some of the parts are sung and some parts are sort of rapped/spoken, particularly the verses.

This song really lends itself well to being remixed. Remixes by Dave Aude and Ralphi Rosario are coming soon.

Listen to the song here (YouTube)

Grade: A-
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Pink - Sober

This is the second single off of her fifth album Funhouse which was released yesterday. While "So What" is still hot on radio and digital downloads, this one is about to hit radio stations too. Co-produced by Danja, Tony Kanal (of No Doubt) and Jimmy Harry, this song is a Rock/Pop track. This one isn't as edgy as earlier single "So What", but it is just as catchy. The lyrics are really great, as is the production.

Remixes by Junior Vasquez have already been completed and are slated for a release in the next few weeks. He will be premiering his mix at the Salem event by Saint At Large at Roseland in New York this weekend.

Listen to the song here (YouTube)

Grade: A

October 22, 2008

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Jimmy D. Robinson - A Tiny Shoe

A poet, Jimmy D. Robinson's poem "A Tiny Shoe" form his latest collection Timewarp has been turned into a song. This is not the first poem of his that has been transformed in this fashion. Recordings of the spoken words were given to various remixers and they created productions to match. The first set of mixes by Tracy Young, Josh Harris, and Bruno Linares has already been released. A second set of mixes by DJ Paulo & Todd Dutkevitch, Twisted Dee, and Rafael M will be released soon.

Overall, Tracy's mix works the best from package 1. The hard, but melodic production is perfect. The spoken words just float over the production in an unusual but effective way.

While this may not be for everyone, this is definitely something different. It's really worth checking out.

Grade: A-

October 12, 2008

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Rihanna - Rehab

This is the 8th single off of Rihanna's 2007 album Good Girl Gone Bad. After having chosen two new singles which made up part of the re-release, a song from the original release has been chosen. Written by Justin Timberlake and Timbaland, this song is about wanting to check into a rehab after a relationship ended as the singer feels that she was addicted to her ex. This has been a fan favorite since the album came out and this has become a single, however, some feel that this should have been a singler sooner. Better late than never. Rihanna's vocal performance on this one is rather good. Although her vocals have been pretty good during the GGGB era, they are especially noteworthy on this one.

Listen to the song here (YouTube). A proper video is reportedly in the works so the visual isn't meant to match the audio.

Grade: A

October 11, 2008

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Pitbull featuring Lil' Jon - Krazy

This is the lead single from the Cuban-American rapper's forthcoming fifth album. This is the latest single of his to contain a sample that is featured almost throughout the track. This time, he samples from "Cream" by Federico Franchi. It's an unusual choice for a sample, but it just works. The lyrics are standard Pitbull and Lil' Jon fare, however, with the sample and everything, this makes for a hot club track.

Watch the video here (YouTube)

Grade: B
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Margaret Cho - I Cho Am A Woman

Korean comedienne Margaret Cho has been entertaining for a number of years, and it's surprising that this is the first song she has released, even if it's for comedic purposes. Produced by Desmond Child, this is supposed to be the lead single off of a possible artist album of hers that is in the works. The lyrics are pretty funny as can be expected. And her vocals are actually pretty good. She doesn't speak the lyrics or talk-sing. She actually sings. There are plenty of spoken parts too. If this is an indicator of future material, a singing career for Ms. Cho looks quite promising.

Listen to the song here (YouTube)

Grade: A-
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Kylie and Dannii Minogue - The Winner Takes It All

For years, fans of the Minogues have been hoping for a proper duet to be released. It is finally happening. They are covering ABBA's "The Winner Takes It All." This is for the soundtrack of the British television program Beautiful People. Although the song was originally a ballad, the Minogues have maintained a similar vibe while turning it into an uptempo. The overall emotion is still there though. Kylie and Dannii's vocals are quite good on this one. While nothing will compare to the original, they have done a fairly good job. Over the years, there have been dozens of covers of this song, however, this one is quite memorable. The soundtrack will be released in the UK on October 20.

Listen to the original ABBA song here (YouTube)

Listen to Kylie & Dannii's version here (YouTube)

Grade: B+

October 10, 2008

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Robbie Williams with Pet Shop Boys - We're The Pet Shop Boys

This tribute to the UK Electronic duo Pet Shop Boys was originally recorded by My Robot Friend back in 2002. The Pet Shop Boys recorded this themselves the following year. The song appeared as a B-side on one of their singles. And then in 2006, former member of Take That, Robbie Williams recorded this with the Pet Shop Boys for his Rudebox album. While this was not a single for the UK release, this one is being released to the clubs in the U.S. So far, "She's Madonna" and "Lovelight" have been released in the same fashion. Ralphi Rosario provides the remixes for this one. Ralphi has remixed two Pet Shop Boys singles in the past. The results are rather good. The production is hard-hitting, but accessible. The vocals float over the production. The sounds and style of the mix do call to mind what Ralphi did on PSB's "Minimal" last year. This one should be a success as well.

Grade: A

October 9, 2008

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Francesca Kimberley - Chasing Cars

Hailing from Scotland, she is just 18 years old. She does have proper classical music training and that is reflected in her vocal performance. Her latest single is a cover of Snow Patrol's "Chasing Cars." A few Dance-oriented remixes did surface of the Snow Patrol version. This cover version has mixes by Koishii & Hush and SoulSeekerz. Ms. Kimberley's vocal performance is rather good on this cover. She really makes this song her own. Koishii & Hush give this mix a nice big room, light Trance treatment, with a hint of Electro. The SoulSeekerz mixes are in a similar vein, but milder. Both sets of mixes are very tastefully done.

Here's a video clip of some of the Koishii & Hush mix being played at a club (YouTube)

Clips of both mixes can be heard on her MySpace.

Grade: A-

October 8, 2008

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Beyonce - If I Were A Boy

This is one of two new songs from Beyoncé's highly anticipated third album. In this Pop/Rock track, she sings about what it would be like to be a boy for a day in order to understand his ways of thinking. It's not as brazen or provocative as the title indicates. This song really shows Beyoncé's versatility as a singer. She has not really done a song like this before. This really showcases her vocals. Sometimes her vocals can be a bit too powerful. Just the right amount of control. This one is perfect for Pop and AC formats.

Grade: A-
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Beyonce - Single Ladies

This is one of two new songs from Beyoncé's highly anticipated third album. This one immediately calls to mind the Andrews Sisters standard "Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy", which was most recently an inspiration for Christina Aguilera's "Candyman." This one is really simple and fun. However, given the fact that many didn't really take to "Candyman" because of how different it was, it is possible that this song may face the same challenge. But given that this is a new kind of song for Beyoncé, this may do fine. This one really needs an Urban-oriented mix to take some of the edge off.

Grade: B+
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Win Marcinak featuring Gioia Bruno - Kiss And Tell

This is a cover of the Bryan Ferry song. Win Marcinak (going by just Win right now) is a San Francisco-based artist. He has teamed up with Gioia Bruno, who was formerly a member of the Freestyle trio Exposé. She embarked on a successful solo career some years ago. Win and Gioia turn it into a Dance/Pop track that is accessible enough for radio and the clubs, all with the same version, however, many remixes are planned for the club release. The lineup of remixers who worked on this project is really impressive: Warren Rigg, The Perry Twins, Josh Harris, Dena Cucci, Jake Benson, and Mark Picchiotti. One really cute addition to this is the interpolation of The Adventures Of Stevie V's "Dirty Cash (Money Talks)", resung by Gioia. While only a small part of "Money Talks" is heard, it fits very well. Overall, this is a really great cover.

Listen to the original version of "Kiss & Tell" here (YouTube)

Grade: A
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Britney Spears - Womanizer

After a lukewarm return to the music scene after a series of difficult times in her life, Britney Spears is trying to show that she is back and is staying. "Womanizer" is in a similar vein as some of the songs on the last album, which was Blackout. It has a fairly repetitive chorus and immediately calls to mind her song "Ooh Ooh Baby" which borrows liberally from The Turtles classic "Happy Together." The vocals are a bit more over-processed than usual, but that might have been intended for this particular song. A video was recently shot and is supposed to premiere in the next few days. The digital release of the single happened yesterday and this is already number one on iTunes! While this may not be amazing, it does have a little something that could re-invigorate interest and generate some buzz. An extensive remix package for the club release is planned so that may make the song better.

Listen to the song (YouTube)

Grade: C

October 7, 2008

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Haji And Emanuel - The Pressure

This is a remake of the early 90's track originally recorded by Sounds Of Blackness. It had a number of remixes by Frankie Knuckles, CJ Mackintosh, Terry Lewis & Jimmy Jam, Booker T, and Junior Vasqfuez with Razor N' Guido. Seamus Haji and Paul Emanuel have teamed up with singers Beverley Knight and Bryan Chambers to take on this classic. Covering this classic is no easy task as the legendary Ann Nesby provided the lead vocals on the original. Unfortunately, Beverley and Bryan are unable to deliver the power and emotion felt in the original. Their vocals are not bad at all, but they are just not at all on par with the original. Haji and Emanuel's production is pretty good though.

Listen to the original Sounds Of Blackness song.

Listen to the Haju & Emanuel update.

Grade: C+

October 1, 2008

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Sybil - Shining Star

Predominantly active in the 80's and 90's, the Dance/Pop singer has released a few singles here and there during the last few years. She is known mainly for the singles "My Love is Guaranteed", "Walk On By", "The Love I Lost", and "When I’m Good And Ready." Now signed to Ultra Naté's new label Deep Sugar, this is her latest release. It is produced by Thomas Roberts. Him and The Mac Project provide the remixes. Sybil's vocals are just as rich and emotive as they were back in the day. This is one of the stronger Dance-oriented releases of the year. The mixes are available at most digital music stores.

Watch Sybil perform this here.

Grade: A+
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Robyn - Cobrastyle

This is her latest single in the U.S. It is actually a cover of a song originally released by Teddybears back in 2006. It is an electro/pop/reggae track. The lyrics are rather repetitive, but they're fun. This song is being promoted to the clubs with remixes by Adam K & Soha, Mason, Bloody Beetroots and The Touch. It recently charted. While the song may not be overly special, it has a killer bassline and the unusual lyrics are strangely catchy.

Watch her performing it here.

Grade: B+

September 30, 2008

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Sylvia Tosun - Underlying Feeling

This is the followup to this year's club hit "Head Over Heels." While her earlier releases have been a bit more hard-hitting, this one shows a softer side, but still packs the same punch. "Underlying Feeling" could be best described as an uplifting Trance song at a lower BPM with a milder beat, but has the same euphoric feel. Sylvia's vocals are a bit more ethereal than usual. The main version is very simple. The Adam K & Soha mixes are the real gem. Sylvia's vocals float over the layered production. Very hypnotic. Soulshaker's mixes are elegant, deep house.

Watch the original video
Watch the Adam K & Soha video
Watch the Soulshaker video

Overall, this is a great release.

Grade: A

September 29, 2008

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Hilary Duff - Reach Out

This song had been discussed as being a potential single from a re-release of Dignity (her last album). But the re-release never materialized. Then it was rumored that this was from a new album. Recently, it was announced that Hilary and her record label were parting ways and a greatest hits collection will be released (this November). The "Personal Jesus" sampling track will be the promotional vehicle for this collection. This is one of her strongest songs to date in terms of vocals, lyrical content and production. This one is sure to be a floorfiller with its numerous club mixes by Joe Bermudez with Chico, DJ Escape with Dom Capello and Richard Vission.

Listen to a clip of the Joe Bermudez with Chico mix. This one contains samples of Soft Cell's "Tainted Love."

Grade: A-
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Darren Hayes - Dress You Up

Having been considered a gay icon for some time now, Darren takes on one of the most visible icons, the Material Girl herself, Madonna. A couple weeks back, he posted a little "gift" to fans in the form of a cover of "Dress You Up" from her Like A Virgin album. Madonna was going to do that song during her 2004 ReInvention Tour, but the song was replaced with the steamy "Burning Up." A demo of the version she was going to perform on tour leaked and it is the inspiration behind the production on Darren's cover. Darren's vocals really shine. He hits every note ever so effortlessly. It's a must-listen for any fan of Darren and Madonna.

Grade: A

September 24, 2008

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Saint Etienne - Burnt Out Car 2008

The UK act's latest single isn't entirely new. "Burnt Out Car" was originally recorded in the mid 90s. The song has been made over by Xenomania in their indelible style. This is one of two singles that will be promoted to support their greatest hits collection entitled London Conversations: The Best Of Saint Etienne. This will be available in the UK on September 29.

While the new version has all the hallmarks of the Xenomania Euro Hi NRG sound they have been known for, it is not cheesy. The production is lush and very fluid. Sarah Cracknell's vocals float over the track and are almost hypnotic in some places. This mix sounds like it could have been done in the 90's, but it doesn't sound dated. This is a great update.

Grade: A

September 16, 2008

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Christina Aguilera - Keeps Gettin' Better

This is a new song from her upcoming greatest hits collection of the same name. The collection will be a Target store exclusive. Including most of her hits plus two re-recorded ones ("Genie In A Bottle" and "Beautiful"), this is the only new song. Produced by Linda Perry, this song was performed at the MTV Video Music Awards earlier this month. She made it a medley with the new version of "Genie In A Bottle." Christina's last album Back To Basics showcased a more old school sound. This new song goes in the opposite direction. It's one of the most modern, futuristic songs she has released to date. It immediately calls to mind some of Giorgio Moroder and Goldfrapp's work. Vocally, she really holds back and doesn't overdo it. We already know she can sing quite well so she doesn't have to re-emphasize that with each and every song. This is a very fun and simple uptempo. In other articles, it has been mentioned that Christina is planning to record an entire album with a futuristic, modern theme. No further info on when the next proper album will be released, but it could be as soon as next year.

Grade: A-

September 9, 2008

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Brian Anthony - Worked Up!

After the somewhat success of "WhatsitgonnaB? (I'm So Ready)" in the earlier part of this year, Brian is back with a new single called "Worked Up!" This is in a similar vein as his previous singles, but this one goes a bit above and beyond. The main version has that post-boyband era sound. He does actually sing a bit more on this one too. The song works a lot better remixed. Mark Picchiotti, Love To Infinity, Raul Rincon and Chris Noxx provide the remixes. Picchiotti's mix is a simple House mix. The 'classic' sound of the production fits the vocals very well and takes the track from so-so to amazing. Love To Infinity and Raul Rincon's are in a similar vein. The Noxx mixes are R&B/Hip Hop-oriented. Decent remix package overall.

Grade: B+

September 2, 2008

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Deborah Cox - Did You Ever Love Me

After releasing an album of Dinah Washington songs last year, she is back with a new single. This is the first single off of her upcoming R&B album, The Promise, her first since her departure from Arista/J Records. The album is set to be released in November.

"Did You Ever Love Me" is a simple, downtempo song in which Deborah is asking her man if he had actually ever loved her. She builds and builds in each verse up to the bridge where she really lets loose.

While the vocals are on point, as is the production, the song does not feel like a lead single. It could work better as a second or third single. Only promoted to Urban Adult Contemporary stations, it is possible that an uptempo remix might be promoted to other formats, or there might be a different single.

While not as strong as expected, it is still quite good.

Grade: B+
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Ciara featuring T-Pain - Go Girl

This is the first, proper single off of her upcoming third album entitled Fantasy Ride. Immediately calling to mind "Kiss Kiss" by Chris Brown with its synths, this song manages to stand on its own. Ciara's vocals are heavily vocoded, however she sounds decent. A little better than usual. T-Pain's rap portion is long enough. It could be easily edited for even more streamlined play. The lyrics are a little racy, but nothing we haven't heard before. Unfortunately, this song doesn't have a "hook" the way some of her past singles did. With the right alternate remix, possibly with another artist guest starring, this one may be able to generate a lasting impression.

Grade: C+

August 31, 2008

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Cazwell - I Seen Beyonce

One of the other openly gay, White, male rappers on the scene, Cazwell has made a name for himself with his humorous, irreverent brand of songs. "I Seen Beyonce" follows in that same fashion. Over an Electro/Pop beat, he raps about seeing R&B bombshell Beyonce at Burger King, of all places. What ensues is a series of hilarious misadventures between the rapper and the singer. Newcomer Jonny Makeup "sings" the simple, six word hook. What really brings the song to life is the video. It has already made the rounds on the internet as a "viral video."

While this song may not cause the music-buying public to stop and think, or teach them something new, this will generate a few chuckles. It's a good pick-me-up.

Grade: B+
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Ricki-Lee - Wiggle It

This is not just a remake of the 90's club hit by 2 In A Room. She does re-sing the chorus in the song. This is her latest single. It's a sexy, midtempo number that takes Ricki-Lee to the clubs. The vocal are on-point and are sexy without sounding nasty or vulgar.

The music video was filmed in a nightclub with actual clubbers. Clad in a little black dress, Ricki-Lee cruises the club watching the various people dancing around her. There are some humorous moments throughout the video. Overall, the video concept fits well with the song.

Grade: A-

August 25, 2008

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Katy Perry - Hot N' Cold

Having become a household name after the runaway success of "I Kissed A Girl", Katy is following up the smash with "Hot N' Cold." This one has the attitude of her first single "Ur So Gay" and the Dance/Rock sound of "I Kissed A Girl." She basically sings about general opposites that people in a relationship have to deal with. Compared to her previous offerings, this one isn't as strong, however, this may work better remixed for the clubs. This one feels slightly generic, but this one does have a chance to do fairly well. Listen to it here.

Grade: B

August 17, 2008

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Christian George - Strangers

Christian George has been on the scene for some time now as a model, dancer, stylist, occasional actor and now singer. His first single is the sexy "Strangers." He sings about staying anonymous when meeting a potential lover for the night. The lyrics flow rather well. Despite the mature subject matter, the lyrics are not vulgar. The main version is Electro-Dance/Pop. Although Christian may not have the strongest vocals, he manages fairly well. Over time, he could grow further and then be lumped into the same category as other R&B/Dance/Pop singers Craig David, Ne-Yo, Justin Timberlake and Darren Hayes.

This one is currently being promoted to the Dance clubs with a plethora of remixes. Jack Rokka, Thomas Gold, Speakerbox, The Wideboys, Funk Generation, and Rod Carillo provide the mixes. All the mixes are House-oriented. The Wideboys and Thomas Gold ones are a bit more Electro than the others. All the mixes have a "classic" feel to them, with the exception of the Rod Carillo one. His is a bit more modern. Slightly tribal.

Twisted Dee and Alyson Calagna have also done mixes which were not a part of the first set. These ones are a bit more hard-hitting and are Circuit-oriented. These would make a great addition to the already strong package.

There is a music video for this song. It's pretty racy. NSFW.

Listen to full previews of the original and some of the remixes on his official website.

Purchase the mixes here.

Grade: B+

Grade: A-
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Boys Town Gang - Can't Take My Eyes Off You

Originally written by Bob Crewe and Bob Gaudio, this song has been covered numerous times. In 1967, Frankie Valli was one of the first artists to record and release this. Since then, Diana Ross, Shirley Bassey, Barry Manilow and Lauryn Hill have just been a few of the other artists to cover this song.

In the early '80s, a Disco/Hi NRG group out of San Francisco called Boys Town Gang was formed by Bill Motley. The first single they released was a medley of Ashford & Simpson's "Remember Me" and "Ain't No Mountain High Enough." The latter was a hit for Diana Ross as well. Nearly a year later, they covered "Can't Take My Eyes Off You." While this recording of it was not a mainstream hit, it did get played in the clubs.

Listen and watch the original version here.

In late May of this year, some newer mixes were released on a special CD single in Japan.

01. Stonebridge Remix (6:42)
02. Stonebridge Dub (6:26)
03. Rasmus Faber Remix (7:27)
04. Groove That Soul Remix (6:32)
05. Soul Source Production Remix (6:09)
06. Stonebridge Radio Edit (3:52)
07. Original Version (9:33)

Stonebridge's mixes stay true to the original, but they also bring it into the new millennium. His mixes are the best of the bunch. Listen to the Stonebridge mix here.

Grade: A

August 12, 2008

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Amber & Zelma Davis - No More Tears (Enough Is Enough)

The highly anticipated release of clubland legends Amber and Zelma Davis' cover of "No More Tears (Enough Is Enough)" happens today!

As promised last month when the collaboration was first announced, here is a review.

The vocals by Amber and Zelma Davis are absolutely fantastic! Both of their voices complement each other very well. They do justice to the Barbra/Donna original.

The mixes are by Pathos V2 and Solar City. Pathos V2 did two main mixes. The Classic version bears a slight resemblance to the original one in terms of production elements. But overall, this one is a nice marriage of the classic and the modern. The Kickout mix is a bit more Circuit/Pop-ish. This too has some splashes of the original. Solar City's mixes are a bit more Circuit-oriented. Excellent synth work and semi-hard beats are the highlights. The full club mix is nearly eleven minutes long! The buildup and breakdowns are truly remarkable. One of the best mixes Solar City has done this year. All versions are well-done though.

In addition to the digital release, a CD single has been released. Perfect Beat has some copies left for sale.

Grade: A

August 11, 2008

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Cascada - Faded

This is the second U.S. single off of Perfect Day. After the moderate mainstream success of "What Hurts The Most", "Faded" is also a cover. This is a cover of song by Australian singer Kate DeAraugo. While the Kate version was an uptempo, this one is really uptempo. It's done in standard Cascada fashion, however, for this particular song, that style lends itself quite well. Natalie Horler's vocals are really great and do tremendous justice to the original.

In addition to the original, there are plenty of remixes. Dave Ramone, The Wideboys, Lior Magal and Giuseppe D do the mixes this time. The first three mixers provide Housey mixes that give the song a more Dance/Pop feel. Those are a bit Electro/House-ish as well. Giuseppe D's is a bit more Electro/Eurodance. A pretty good package overall.

The digital single was released last week. A CD maxi will be released on August 26.

Grade: A-

August 6, 2008

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Jipsta - Middle Of The Dancefloor

There have been only a few openly gay rappers that have made a lasting impression. Having been recording for just a little while, Jipsta is finally getting the attention he deserves. His current single "Middle Of The Dancefloor" could very well be the song that gets him properly introduced to the world. The lyrics talk about enjoying a night of clubbing and all that goes with that. Although the concept may be simple, the lyrics are really intelligent and witty. Compared to most rap songs out now, the lyrics actually make sense. No weird gibberish or strange words that require a dictionary to decipher.

This one is ready for the nightclubs with nearly half a dozen remixes. This song translates very well into club mixes. Edson Pride's mix is a hard, tribal stomper. Diva Nation's mix is Euro Hi NRG/Circuit bliss. The synths are spectacular. Mike Cruz and Micky Friedman's dub does not use all of the vocals, however, it has just enough vocals.. Oscar Velazquez's is a bit more minimal. Ranny's mix is very drummy and driving. Dena Cucci's mix has all these ups and downs in it that make it feel like a rollercoaster. It has a classic circuit feel with the beats and the riff that appears throughout.

Overall, the remix package is very solid. A CD single with the mixes can be purchased here.

There is also a special mashup version of this on Jipsta's MySpace that uses the infamous "Calabria" instrumental. It works quite well.

Grade: A
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Pink - So What

This is her much-awaited lead single from her upcoming fifth studio album. Her previous effort I'm Not Dead had a rough start but had an amazing finish. "So What" is an attitude-filled Rock/Pop track. She does sing about her recent breakup with husband Carey Hart. It makes for an angst-filled song that does call to mind Alanis Morissette's first U.S. album Jagged Little Pill, however, the similarity ends there. Pink's song is able to hold its own. It also calls to mind her smash hit "U & Ur Hand." For a lead single, this is a great start to this era.

Grade: A-

August 5, 2008

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M.I.A. - Paper Planes

Although this was a single a few months back, this one has just begun to catch on after it was included in the television spots for the movie Pineapple Express. It has begun to garner a considerable amount of radio airplay and digital sales. It entered the top ten of the iTunes chart a couple days ago. In “Paper Planes”, she sings about her own troubles with obtaining a visa. With its The Clash sample and gun shot sounds, this one is very memorable. Some radio stations and video channels have opted to play a version that replaces the gun shots with other sounds. In recent months, M.I.A. had been rather vocal about the fact that this song and video had been censored, taking away from her artistic vision. The sounds were completely eliminated during an appearance on the David Letterman show. M.I.A. was noticeably shocked and bewildered when these quiet popping sounds came in where her gun shots used to be. However, she continued her performance.

This song is finally getting the attention it deserves. Watch and listen to the song here.

Grade: A+
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Madonna - Miles Away

Even though second single “Give It 2 Me” is still struggling to gain radio airplay in the U.S., the third single has been announced. The guitar-driven “Miles Away” has been chosen. This song was featured in the Japanese primetime drama Change. A number of people have felt that “Beat Goes On” may make for a better third single as it has already been getting airplay on some U.S. stations without any push from the label. She sings about the difficulties of having a long-distance relationship. It is safe to conclude that she is singing about this from her own experience. This song could be considered one of the ballads of the album given the theme, however, this is far from being a ballad as it is quite beat-driven. Vocally, this is one of the few cuts that has a really artistic feel. Videos for this and the still unannounced fourth single are to be shot in the next few days, prior to the start of the Sticky & Sweet tour. There is already a backdrop video for "Miles Away" that consists of airport and airplane-related images and visuals. It's quite possible that some of the footage from that may be incorporated into the new music video.

Grade: A
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Sash! feat. Stunt - Raindrops (Encore Une Fois)

Stunt's "Raindrops" was a Dance radio hit in the U.S. in the early part of 2006. The song sampled some instrumental elements from Sash!'s international smash "Encore Une Fois" from 1996. A new version has been created that makes the Sash! elements, including the vocals more prominent. The Stunt vocals are there as well to make a mega-medley of sorts. Listen to an alternate of the new mix here. The idea behind this new mix is relatively simple and should have been done with the original release. The extended mix of the Stunt song had instrumental sections, however, they were few. This works really well though.

Grade: A

August 1, 2008

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New Kids On The Block featuring Ne-Yo - Single

The 80's boyband is back with a followup to the minor hit "Summertime", which was one of their first singles in over a decade. Featuring R&B crooner Ne-Yo, this song has the makings of a pretty good-sized hit. It's a mid-tempo, but could easily be remixed into an uptempo. Another plus is that this samples the opening part of Cyndi Lauper's modern standard "Time After Time." NKOTB's vocals complement Ne-Yo's very well. Overall, this is one of the better new Pop/R&B songs out at the moment.

Listen to this one on their MySpace.
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David Archuleta - Crush

He had been a favorite ever since the last season of American Idol began and many were predicting that he would either win or come in second. He ended up doing the latter. His first proper single was premiered on New York mega-station Z100 earlier today.

This first single is a midtempo pop/rock, pseudo-ballad a la Jordin Sparks' first post Idol single "Tattoo." Some were concerned about David being marketed towards a younger audience given that he is quite young as well. That audience had been really supporting him week after week on Idol. However, this song has a little something for people of all ages. This one could prove to strike a chord with many different audiences. What remains to be seen if this sound is the one he is going to be continuing with.

Overall, he is beginning his music career on the right foot.

Listen to the song here.

Grade: A-

July 31, 2008

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Samantha Fox - Midnight Lover

She is best known for the 80's hits "Touch Me (I Want Your Body)" and "Naughty Girls Need Love Too." She has recorded a few songs here and there, including updates of her own classics. The latest single "Midnight Lover" is all new. Written by Kostas Efepoulos (Zante Dilemma), George Georgiou and Samantha herself, this song has a distinct ethnic flavor. It's a hard-hitting dance track. Sam's vocals are great. The lyrics aren't amazing, but they're good. This has been released in Europe so far. It is possible that this song could see success all over the world. Watch Samantha performing this song.

Grade: B+
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Keo Nozari - Rewind

This is his latest single. It is the followup to last year's "Question Of Monogamy". Both songs came from his 2005 Late Nite V.I.P. album. A digital EP with remixes was released a couple weeks ago. In its main version, it's a simple, Dance/Pop track. A little retro. This feels like something George Michael would have done in his prime, however, this is even better. Remixes by The Wideboys and Jody Den Broeder give the track more oomph. Both are Electro/Dance-oriented mixes. Especially Jody's. The main vibe and feel of the original is kept though. Overall, this one has the potential to be a major hit in and out of clubland.

Grade: A

July 29, 2008

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Studio 54 TV Series?

Showtime revels in 'Studio 54' series
Bryan Singer in talks to direct pilot

By Nellie Andreeva
July 28, 2008, 01:00 AM ET
Updated: July 28, 2008, 02:27 AM ET

Neil Meron (left) and Craig Zadan (Getty Images photo) The 1970s era of disco, drugs and excess is coming back with "Studio," a drama series project for Showtime centering on the iconic New York nightclub Studio 54.

The project, from writer Chad Hodge and "Hairspray" producers Craig Zadan and Neil Meron, is being produced by MRC.

Bryan Singer is in talks to direct the potential pilot if his schedule permits.

"Studio" centers on flamboyant co-founder Steve Rubell and starts off in the months leading to the club's April 1977 opening.

But "Studio," which is in development, will be a fictional series and not a biopic or docudrama. Rubell will be the only real person featured, with the rest of the characters fictional or composites.

"The show is less about the history of Studio 54 than it is about New York in the late '70s, what people were going through, the political and social issues," Hodge said. "Studio 54 is the backdrop for exploring that."

For Hodge, who was born the year the club opened, "Studio" has been a passion project: He's been fascinated with Studio 54 -- or Studio, as it was commonly known -- for a long time.

"When I was about 15, my uncle told me the story of the night he took my grandparents there, complete with all the unnecessary and inappropriate details," he said. "I was hooked (and never again could I look at my grandparents the same way)."

Hodge penned "Studio" on spec and took it to Zadan and Meron, who had given him his first writing job on their ABC series "Veritas."

Zadan and Meron, who had gone to Studio 54 with friend Liza Minnelli, loved the idea.

"It really was a time that has never been seen again," Zadan said. "Socially, politically, everything about it was unique."

Added Meron: "It was the last hurrah before the era of AIDS."

"Studio" also will tap Zadan and Meron's strong musical background. "Music is going to be a very big part of the show," Meron said.

Because of Studio 54's history of hedonism -- it was notorious for rampant sex and drug use -- Hodge, Zadan and Meron took the project to Showtime, where they felt they could best tell the gritty story.

The trio, which executive produces "Studio," said they've been encouraged by the wide acceptance and accolades for another dark period drama, AMC's "Mad Men."

Singer and his producing partner Alex Garcia would exec produce.

"Studio" was packaged by WMA. Meron and Zadan are repped by CAA and attorney Kevin Yorn. Hodge is repped by attorney Michael Fuller and Singer is repped by attorney Dave Feldman.

July 28, 2008

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Nadia Ali - Crash And Burn

Formerly the voice of Dance/Electronic duo iiO (with Markus Moser), Nadia has set out on a solo career. Having appeared on singles by Armin Van Buuren, Lance Jordan and John Creamer with Stephane K, this time, it's her first, proper solo single. "Crash And Burn" does call to mind some of her work with iiO as she was heavily involved in the writing and recording process. This track showcases her ethereal vocals superbly. The main mix is similar in style to the iiO album tracks. The various remixes range from Dance/Electro to epic big room Trance and even a downtempo, chillout mix.

In addition to this song, there's talk of a second iiO album being released towards the end of the Summer which may consist of recordings completed prior to Nadia and Markus' departure from iiO. It is tentatively titled Exit 110.

Overall, this is one of the best releases of the year. This one is sure to be a classic.

Grade: A+

July 22, 2008

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Natasha Bedingfield - Angel

This is the 3rd U.S. single off of Pocketful Of Sunshine. Produced by Rodney Jerkins, this midtempo R&B/Pop song has been a fan favorite since the album's release. This one does call to mind Mary J. Blige's "Be Without You" in some places, however, the songs are very different thematically and lyrically. This one really showcases Natasha's impressive vocals. This one hits radio on August 12.

Grade: A
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Amber & Zelma Davis - No More Tears (Enough Is Enough)

This is indeed a cover of the Barbra Streisand and Donna Summer song, with Clubland legends Amber and Zelma Davis delivering the vocals.

There have been a few covers of this song over the years that have attempted to recapture the magic of the original, but none have been able to do so until now. Kym Mazelle with Jocelyn Brown and k.d. lang with Andy Bell have done covers that were fairly decent.

Pathos V2 and Solar City provide the remixes this time around.

Watch Amber and Zelma talk about how they got together and the process of recording this song. There are also some clips of the song.

The digital release of the mixes will be happening on August 12, 2008. A special limited CD single is going to be made available, however, it is only available if pre-ordered by August 1, 2008 following the directions on this page in the first post by JMCA.

The tracklisting of the single:

01. Pathos V2 Classic Mix (5:12)
02. Pathos V2 Kick Out Radio Edit (3:48)
03. Pathos V2 Kick Out Video Edit (5:11)
04. Solar City Radio Edit (3:53)
05. Solar City Album Edit (5:12)
06. Solar City Epic Mixshow (6:38)
07. Solar City Epic Club Mix 10:49)

Based on the first previews of this song, it sounds quite promising and could prove to be quite successful.

A more thorough review will be posted here after the release happens.
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