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+
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