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-
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