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
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