Friday, 28 September 2007

Good Girls by Wale

Joe writes: It seems I'm about eight months late on this but I've just discovered it as I was checking out Cousin Cole remixes after someone recommended him. I love it. I think I marginally prefer the remix to the original but both versions are great. "Good girls never give it up on the first night" is such a great hook.

(updated April 14th 2015)

Bed by J Holiday

This is no. 5 and climbing on the Hot 100 in the US and I'm sure it will be a huge hit in the UK too. It's good enough to be an R Kelly single! I've stolen the link from the excellent Mixtape Maestro blog. I hope he or she doesn't mind. Nice to see a blogger writing about R&B (there aren't too many doing that, unless you count MIA as R&B).

J Holiday - Bed (iTunes)

Mixtape Maestro are also pretty early on the new Natasha Bedingfield track which features Sean Kingston. This will be the first single from her second album in the US and I think could save her ailing career in the UK.

Wednesday, 26 September 2007

The Beast In Me

This is on a BBC trailer at the moment for some drama with the annoying Irish guy out of Cold Feet.

What a track though! Covered by Johnny Cash and featured on the Sopranos soundtrack which I guess is where the BBC picked up on it.

Nick Lowe - The Beast In Me (iTunes)

Thursday, 13 September 2007

updates on Natalie Merchant and Tinseltown

Natalie Merchant's song is on the Shazam chart because it was featured on Hollyoaks

and Tinseltown have now posted four songs on their MySpace - all impressive but the best one is still Skeletons

Tinseltown - Skeletons

Monday, 10 September 2007

My Skin by Natalie Merchant is no. 5 in Shazam's pre-release tag chart

I suspect this is a mistake as it's from the Ophelia album which is nine years old, but this gives me an excuse to post two wonderful tracks from the same album:

Natalie Merchant - Break Your Heart - iTunes
Natalie Merchant - Life Is Sweet - iTunes

Thursday, 6 September 2007

Vampire Weekend

This band have been written about rather a lot on the blogs already and rightly so. They sound to me like they are obviously destined success in the way that The Killers were destined for success. They have anthems that should walk on to the radio. Some people don't agree at all and see them as rather a niche band at best. I can only think this is because of the unusual lyrical themes. In their songwriting and sense of melody, they remind me of The Kinks. And I love the traditional South African element to their sound (think Paul Simon Graceland). They're also bright, nice, ambitious and good looking.

Vampire Weekend - Oxford Comma (iTunes)

Tuesday, 4 September 2007

Katie Melua

Katie Melua was the biggest selling female Brit in the world last year. Her new single If You Were A Sailboat is really rather good but I'm still not sure what to make of a career based around being Eva Cassidy but young and not dead.

If You Were A Sailboat has something in common with Foundations by Kate Nash in that it mostly comprises a rather tricksy lyric about a relationship but then floors you with something genuine and touching. Kate: "My finger tips are holding onto the cracks in our foundations/and I know that I should let go/but I can't". Katie: "You took a chance on loving me/I took a chance on loving you".

While Katie is a decent singer, Eva was one of the great singers of all time. But Katie does seem like a nice person and I'm pleasantly surprised by her positive attitude to Mike Batt, who writes many of her songs, owns her label, and broke her by spending loads of money on TV advertising. Most artists would have turned against him and belittled his contribution by now, mistakenly believing their own talent to be the primary reason for their success. Not Katie (or not so far, anyway).

My favourite Eva track that's not a cover is Anniversary Song, but her two masterpieces are her versions of Somewhere Over The Rainbow and Fields Of Gold. If you haven't got those then you must buy the classic Songbird compilation.

buy Anniversary Song from iTunes

new Nine Black Alps and another Princess Diana tribute of sorts and Jackson Browne

The second single from the second Nine Black Alps album is Bitter End and it's a good one.

But their best and poppiest track to date is the third single, Future Wife. It reminds me of when I was first listening to Radio 1 and Mark Goodier was presenting the Evening Session. Which specific band I'm not sure - maybe The Candyskins.

Future Wife - Nine Black Alps (album is released on October 22 so not on iTunes yet)

There are excerpts from five new Alps album tracks here

There are four Candyskins tracks here including Wembley (the one I first heard on the Evening Session) and Car Crash, the track that I believe should have broken them after Monday Morning scraped into the top 40. But the label procrastinated and then Princess Diana died in a car crash, making it rather difficult for UK radio to play a song called Car Crash.

Wembley - The Candyskins (iTunes)
Car Crash - The Candyskins (iTunes)

I think Car Crash was probably inspired by Song For Adam from the first Jackson Browne album. Song For Adam is one of those singer songwriter songs which make you really want to know the background to it, like Famous Blue Raincoat or The Last Time I Saw Richard.

Song For Adam - Jackson Browne (iTunes)
Famous Blue Raincoat - Leonard Cohen (iTunes)
The Last Time I Saw Richard - Joni Mitchell (iTunes)

the return of James Blunt

The first time I heard James Blunt, it was because SXSW made this track available from their website. I listened and thought "Not bad and I will try and see him at SXSW", which I didn't manage to do.

By the time UK radio started playing You're Beautiful as a finished record, I'd forgotten all about the SXSW connection but had convinced myself that James Blunt was a no-hope artist (his singles prior to You're Beautiful got almost no media support). Then I realised that You're Beautiful is one of the five pop songs of the millennium so far. It was also massively exciting for the record industry that James Blunt sold millions of albums around the world thanks to one song (not that the follow-ups were bad but it was this song that drove the sales). If someone made an album containing three songs this good, imagine what it would sell.

You're Beautiful was improved as a song between this demo and the final version. For a start, the demo is too close to Wonderful Tonight by Eric Clapton. But when I first heard You're Beautiful, I was deaf to its potential as a song. And when I heard it again as a finished UK single, for a while there I let my prejudices about the artist and campaign deafen me to its brilliance.

James has a real shot at an enduring A list career.

You're Beautiful (demo version) - James Blunt (final version on iTunes)

damn it, I missed the Diana anniversary

I can't wait another five years to post this kinda lovely, kinda weird track from Prefab Sprout who were once my favourite group.

"She tastes of apple strudel, you can tell she does".

The lyric then goes on to be rather prophetic as Chris Winn's comment on the bottom of this Telegraph article highlights.

It's from Prefab Sprout's "lost" album Protest Songs. Dublin from the same album is also lovely.

Prefab Sprout - Diana (iTunes)

Prefab Sprout - Dublin (iTunes)