A year has come and gone and a lot has happened in that time. There’s been a lot of good and bad, and as well as the fact that I don’t feel like posting a party song as I’m not having the New Year celebrations I’m really excited about until Monday, I thought Pac’s ‘Changes’ was a fitting song considering how different things are at the end of 2011 compared to how they were at the beginning.
A posthumous release from his 1998 Greatest Hits, “Changes” was originally recorded in 1992, and also uses lines from the track “I Wonder If Heaven Got A Ghetto” which was recorded in the same year. An interpolation of Bruce Hornsby and the Range’s “The Way It Is”, the way the two songs fit in together lyrically as well as musically combined with the impact of 2Pac’s fairly recent death are what made it such a classic.
Dealing with topics such as racism and how the government concentrating on a war against drugs while ignoring the war on poverty, Shakur wishes for a better world on this social commentary. This song really puts things into perspective, as well as and making you realise that while you may want to live in a utopian world that “some things will never change”.
90s Flashback: SWV // Right Here (Human Nature Remix)
2011 was a good year in music. Sure it had it’s low points, but there were many highlights if you just looked hard enough. One of those which wasn’t so difficult to spot was the return of Chris Brown, who provided us with his best album to date, “F.A.M.E” this year.
On that album is my favourite Chris Brown single, “She Ain’t You”, which samples Michael Jackson’s ‘Human Nature’ and in particular the Human Nature remix of SWV’s ‘Right Here’. A 90s classic, “Right Here” contains everything which is good about early 90s R&B. It’s laid back, summery, with great vocals and perfect harmonies. There’s that distinctive 90s drum beat in the background, coupled with some percussion and that infamous Michael Jackson sample which really makes the song perfect. Add a shoutout from a young Pharrell Williams and you might as well classify this as a star studded collaboration.
Speaking of collaborations, the SWV remix of Chris Brown’s “She Ain’t You” was definitely a highlight of 2011, and while I haven’t paid much attention to the band’s return, hopefully 2012 will see a resurgence in the amount of classic R&B on our airwaves.
I hope you all had a good Christmas and are ready for some music. We’ll begin with a track off Elle Varner’s album sampler for her debut album ‘Perfectly Imperfect’, which is floating about the internet. From the sound of the four tracks it’s all pretty good to say the least.
'So Fly' is another self-appreciation song, dealing with the topics of insecurity and self-acceptance. Sure we've got some great songs which dealt with this theme - 'Beautiful' and 'Who You Are' immediately spring to mind; but it was only time until this formula became diluted and we started getting the likes of 'Perfect' 'Who Says', and 'We R Who We R' jumping on the bandwagon.
Thankfully Elle Varner takes a completely different route to the above, with the song starting off as a self-depreciation song before she learns to become comfortable in her own skin by the middle eight. Talking about how she wishes she had a bigger bust, smaller waist and rid of her cellulite, Elle tackles insecurities which many people face in a tongue ‘n’ cheek way, avoiding the preachy or phony attitude which P!nk, and the gang have adopted when releasing songs of this nature.
With acoustic guitar a snared drum beat, Elle manages to wrap up those clever lyrics in a sweet shell, with a melody so irresistibile that the rhythm will go straight to your legs once you press play. With a voice reminiscent of the likes of Alicia Keys and Jazmine Sullivan Elle should have a big future ahead of her - let’s just hope the album lives up to the big names she’s been compared to.
Beyoncé fans all over the world seem to have gotten an early Christmas present with release of nine ‘End Of Time’ remixes to soundcloud. Although it may not be officially confirmed yet, the fact that Beyoncé’s official soundcloud have uploaded all these remixes should reassure fans that this absolute beast of a track will get the video treatment.
Among those remixes is an amazing version of ‘End Of Time’, reworked by RedTop. Beginning with a funky guitar intro, this remix takes it back to the 70s, giving me real Michael Jackson/Jackson 5 vibes. Surely there’s a sample in there someone? The verses are filled with percussion and synths taking us back to the 80s, with New Jack sounds reminiscent of the work of Janet Jackson and Prince.
This was never going to meet the afrobeat epicness of the original, but boy does it come close. Mixing Beyoncé’s vocals with these sounds was a genius idea - they’ve actually managed to create something that would sit perfectly alongside the likes of “Schoolin’ Life”.
I had my Itunes on shuffle today, when on came this little gem I’d added in March, played for about a week and then completely forgot about.
'Anna Sun' is a song from Ohioan quartet WALK THE MOON which has been bubbling about the internet for a about a year now. The summery dance-rock track manages to combine a vintage americana feel with the carefree indie rock of today, with catchy melodies that most bands would kill for. It's got a real 'feel good' atmosphere about it, something which should definitely be carried over into 2012.
There’s sun tinged guitar riff reminding me of The Cranberries ‘Dreams’ in the song, giving it a real sense of nostalgia and familiarity on the first play. Maybe that’s what it needs to breakthrough, but this song definitely has all the elements which make a laidback indie anthem. Hopefully all that bubbling about the internet will pay off, and ‘Anna Sun’ will eventually cross over to become the surprise hit of 2012.
DJ Khaled & Drake // I’m On One (Unicorn Kid Stadium Remix)
I’ve been loving Unicorn Kid’s exciting form of rave this year, and his remix of Drake’s part on DJ Khaled’s “I’m On One” is a perfect example of just what the Scottish producer is capable of.
It’s a big trance record, reminiscent of something you would have heard during the summer of 2001. There’s some house pianos thrown in there alongside the happiest synth arrangement you’ve ever heard. This just puts me in such a good mood, plus its available to download for free from Unicorn Kid’s soundcloud, so grab it from there before it’s too late.
As we near even closer to the big day, here is another one of my favourite Christmas songs, Maroon 5’s take on John Lennon and Yoko Ono’s classic ‘Merry Christmass (War Is Over)’.
Staying true to the original, this version of the song is simple as Adam’s voice is clear and restrained against a simple piano and acoustic guitar background. There’s a few strings thrown in there too, adding to the melancholy of the song. Despite that, there’s still a warmth to the music and all that’s associated with it. It’s just a timeless song.
'To Me' is the A-side from producer and Jamie xx favourite Ifan Dafydd's upcoming 'Treehouse' EP, set for release January 30 via Push and Run.
When this track was first played unannounced on Gilles Peterson’s Radio 1 show, many thought it was a James Blake track released under some sort of alias. Well it’s not, although there’s plenty of rumours circulating about that the mysterious producer is an ex-roommate or cousin of the aforementioned musician.
With rough piano notes, smooth strings and a disjointed drum pattern the song has a certain ominous feel about it. It’s sparse, yet heavily layered in parts - a juxtaposition which enhances the beauty of the track. This being said, I’m not surprised with the James Blake comparisons. Plus if you’re getting compared to the likes of James Blake and Jamie xx then you’re definitely on the right track in my eyes.
After gaining plenty of attention with buzz single ‘Betty’, StooShe are ready to release ‘Love Me’, the first official single from their their debut album “Swings and Roundabouts”.
The song was actually the first independent release from the group, gaining them plenty of attention from major labels, which eventually leaded to their signing with Warner. Once ‘Betty Woz Gone’ started gaining attention, they deleted this from the interweb and are now releasing a new version with buffed up production and a verse from Travie McCoy who’s jumped on board.
Despite the changes the song is as good as ever, retaining that retro motown feel and excellent production provided by musical genius FutureCut. It’s such an infectious song, with quirky lyrics that you’ll no doubt be singing along to in no time. Travie McCoy doesn’t really add much to it, but he doesn’t destroy it like he did with a certain Arctic Monkeys song. And in case you haven’t guessed ‘Love Me’ is the title of the clean version of the song and there’s a much dirtier version out there.
90s Flashback: Mariah Carey // The Roof [Feat. Mobb Deep]
'The Roof' would have to be my favourite Mariah song of all time. It's just so intense, yet understated and sultry, representing a time when Mariah was at her peak and had just gotten her first real taste of freedom with the album 'Butterfly'.
Built around a sample of Mobb Deep’s “Shook Ones part II”, the song saw Mariah further into the world of Hip-Hop and R&B as she broke away from her controlling ex-husband Tommy Mottola, who continued to make her career difficult by refusing to release her singles in the US as head of Sony. Nevertheless, this newfound independence of sorts saw Mariah create her best material, as her restrained vocals suiting the slinky feel of the song while still retaining that strength that she was so well known for.
Downbeat, gritty R&B really suited Mariah. This song has such a low-fi sound, allowing Mariah could hold back a little vocally and let her songwriting skills do the talking. All that combined with a great verse from Mobb Deep, which suited the clever sample, make this a definite highlight of 90s music for me.
After ‘Live For What I’d Die For’ failed to garner the attention it deserved, Jess Mills is prepping her next single, ‘Pixelated People’, due for release February 12.
The Sam Frank produced track is a lot more club friendly than her previous singles, with the song’s rumbling bassline and lo-fi synths creating a dark atmosphere filled with the essence of late night city life. Jess’ captivating voice still manages to create that ethereal feeling of her previous work, as hints of sadness protrude with every word that comes out of her mouth.
There’s a clear garage influence on the song, which is most apparent during the drum laden middle 8 breakdown. It adds a whole lot to the production of this icy electronic song, Sam Frank should be proud with what he’s pulled off production wise. Plus Jess’ songwriting skills add some substance, which is a trait that is thankfully becoming more common with electronic music.
'The Chambers, The Valves' is the third single from folk-punk band Dry The River's upcoming debut album 'Shallow Bed', due for release March 2012.
It’s a catchy uptempo record, filled with acoustic guitar, strings and ceremonial like drums which give the track an almost triumphant feeling. The melodic qualities of the song give it an almost gospel element, setting them apart from other folk bands which have emerged in the past few years.
The build up before the final chorus would have to be my favourite part of the song, just beating the beautiful string outro. I can’t wait to see what else is to come from this band and hope to see plenty of them in 2012.
The Weeknd released his final part of the Balloons trilogy in the wee hours of this morning with the release of his hotly anticipated new mixtape ‘Echoes Of Silence’, which is available to download from hulkshare via his twitter.
The mixtape opens with ‘D.D.’, a rendition of Michael Jackson’s ‘Dirty Diana’ from seventh studio album ‘Bad’. Covering Michael Jackson is sure a risk, but Abel manages to pull it off, putting his signature stamp on the track while still staying faithful to the original.
The track has that classic Weeknd production, with plenty of layered synths giving the track an airy, ghostly feel about it. The pouding drums give the song a certain harshness, which accompanied by Abel’s falsetto make everything pretty intense. I haven’t had time to listen to the whole mixtape yet, but if it’s anything as good as this then I’m certainly in for a treat.
'I'll Be Waiting' is the last of the new tracks I've yet to post from Delilah's 'Love You So' EP.
It’s a dark dubstep influenced track, with rumbling drums and undertones of synths. It’s got quite an understated, mysterious feeling to it, with Delilah’s vocals as well as the instrumentation of the song making it rather haunting. The track’s more along the lines of ‘Go’ and ‘Breathe’ as opposed to her piano based work, and as usual from Delilah it’s very, very good.
Here I go again, being all inappropriate and posting songs about summer near Christmas. Not to mention that 2004 is a bit premature for a flashback, but oh well.
2004 was the year I first got into Lostprophets, and this song’s really nostalgic for me as I’d only been getting into music for about a year or so. I still had a childminder, was going into my last year in primary school and was addicted to making chavved up cars on Need For Speed Underground. Good times.
'Last Summer' is a great rock track, with catchy melodies and reflective lyrics, which is fitting considering a lot of the material on their 'Start Something' album gets me in a reflective mood. It's a fun song, and I'm glad they didn't make any compromises lyrically to reach a wider audience. As this song seems to be pretty good at bringing back memories of the past, I hope it brings back fonder ones.
'Call Off The Search' is the latest song from British singer-songwriter and recent RCA signee Josh Kumra, who's busy working on his debut album which will hopefully see the light of the day sometime next year.
The track is an atmospheric midtempo, which has a very bluesy feel to it. Josh’s rich, soulful vocals suit this style of music perfectly, working perfectly with the acoustic guitar and heavy drum beats which give the track a certain feeling of warmth. Maiday, singer and writer of Wretch 32’s big hit ‘Don’t Go’ provides backing vocals, adding a slightly sensual element to the track.
In a way this song gives me the same barstool blues feeling that the Stereophonics “Maybe Tomorrow” gives me. I don’t know if it’s the tempo and bass elements of both songs or the complacency in melancholy they both portray - but whatever it is, it’s sure working.
Described as a song “describing an impossibly strained relationship flooded with cocktails, tears and regret,” ‘Off To The Races’ is a new song from Lana Del Rey’s upcoming debut album ‘Born To Die’, which is being given away as the free song of the week on UK Itunes this week.
With melancholic strings and dark beats, this song has a decidedly more Hip-Hop arrangement than Lana’s previous work. This makes the song have a lot more pace than her previous tracks, but she manages to pull it off while still wallowing in her cursed romanticism, a feeling which is present in most of if not all her tracks.
There’s random noises in the background as usual, but I think they work in her music, giving the song a more gritty feel and a sense of depth, despite being seemingly meaning. I’m a little bit unsure as to whether Lana could fill a fifteen track album with songs which seem so similar and still make it an enjoyable record from start to finish, but hopefully she’ll pull it off come January 30.
I thought it was about time I posted some Christmas music, but I’ll not sicken you with the usual lot quite yet…
'I Won't Be Home For Christmas' has been my favourite Christmas song this year so far, as I can't bear most of them at the moment. No doubt that will have changed by Christmas eve, but for now blink's anti-Christmas holiday anthem will do. Besides, it's a great song, which I must admit to having listened to at some odd months this year.
It may be the completely wrong time of year to post this, but this I’ve been spinning this hidden gem from Beyoncé all day, so I just had to post it.
Featured on her 2005 mixtape “Speak My Mind”, as well as previously on The Fighting Temptations soundtrack and taking up the role as the b-side to Crazy In Love, ‘Summertime’ is a track which pre-dates Beyoncé’s debut solo album. It’s laid back, breezy, with a catchy woodwind melody which is bound to be stuck in your head after a few minutes.
There’s a verse from P. Diddy on this track, despite the lyrics very much reflecting Beyoncé’s relationship with Jay-Z. Thankfully his laid back flow suits the vibe of the song, complementing it perfectly. This song really should have got more attention.
Among the Christmas rush it seems that Delilah’s ‘Love You So’ EP has got lost among all that Military Wives and Alex Day rubbish. It’s a pity, as she’s gave us 3 great songs, plus two remixes for only £1.99.
One of the new songs on that EP is ‘Mean To Me’, an atmospheric piano ballad which would make a much better Christmas number 1 than what we’ll ultimately end up with. Delilah’s vocals are chilling on this one, which describes someone who wants a relationship, yet continues to treat her badly. The piano melody reminds me a little bit of Coldplay’s ‘Clocks’, but that’s definitely no bad thing as it’s always been one of my favourite songs from them.
Hopefully things will pick up for ‘Love You So’ and Delilah will get a bit more attention in January - it’s just a pity that this one hasn’t taken off like ‘Go’ and a lot of great talent has been snubbed for terrible charity singles in the latter half of 2011.
Ashanti // The Woman You Love [Feat. Busta Rhymes]
Ashanti was the hottest thing on the R&B scene in the early 2000s, scoring hit after hit with her debut self-titled album. Things tailed off a little bit with the release of her next two LPs, and by the time she was releasing ‘The Declaration’ in 2008 she had more or less been forgotten about.
It was all a combination of terrible management and being out of the spotlight for too long. The latter problem still remains with Ashanti, as her forthcoming independent album won’t see the light of day until at least four years since her last record. That’s an awful long time in this day and age with the Rihanna’s of this world releasing a new album every year, but what really matters - is Ashanti giving us good music?
If first single ‘The Woman You Love’, then she’s definitely planning on coming back strong. With a pulsating beat, backed with pouding drums, the track seems to have a heavy looped sample in the background, making it sound almost like a female ‘Otis’ to me. Busta fails to let us down with a fearsome verse on the song, which deals with a relationship which just isn’t working.
If good music is anything to go by then Ashanti deserves all the success in the world. ‘The Woman You Love’ may not compete with some of her previous first singles - but they’ve been among my favourite of the 2000s, so she has a lot to live up to. This song stays true to Ashanti’s roots, while still being cutting edge and standing up to the Itunes replay button. Part of me doubts that this will get much recognition of the charts though, let’s hope I’m just being pessimistic.
Here’s an acoustic version of a new track from from Deliah, ‘Strong For Me’, which is available for free if you sign up to her mailing list, which can be accessed through her official facebook page.
Delilah’s haunting vocals stand out against a simple piano backdrop, with a little bit of guitar thrown in there towards the end. She’s managed to pack a lot of emotion in this song, which is comparable to ‘I Can Feel You’ off her ‘Go’ EP.
This woman is definitely one of the most promising UK acts with a bit of soul set to release their debut album in 2012 - hopefully there’s big things in store for Delilah.
Steve Aoki // Ladi Dadi (Part II) [Feat. Wynter Gordon]
'Ladi Dadi' is the next single taken from Newport electro house producer Steve Aoki's upcoming album 'Wonderland'.
Teaming up with none other than Wynter Gordon, Steve has decided to give us part two of the track, before giving us the first part. Odd, I know - but I guess he wants to create some hype with the club remix before releasing the main version. Nevertheless, the club remix is a party anthem, as he mixes in dubstep with his usual electro house style, making an extremely catchy instrumental.
Wynter’s vocals are great on the song too, with her infectious hook giving it some structure. Hopefully we’ll hear a little bit more of her on part one, but her collaboration with Steve Aoki on this track makes them a force to be reckoned with.
90s Flashback: Destiny’s Child // No No No (Part 2) [Feat. Wyclef Jean]
As soon as this came on the music channels came on the music channels a few days ago, I just knew I had to post it up here.
'No No No' was of course the debut single from Destiny's Child, and is probably most known in its remix form. Known as Part 2, this version features Wyclef Jean of 'Hips Don't Lie' fame (don't worry, I'm joking y'all!) and a decidedly more Hip-Hop production compared to the R&B vibes of the original.
The oldschool Hip-Hop vibe of the track is laid back, yet the percussion just makes you wanna move. It’s a classic 90s track, which is an excellent example of the amazing harmonies Destiny’s Child were capable of. Plus, without this track we wouldn’t have superstars such as LeToya, Farrah Franklin, Michelle Williams and Kelly Rowland. Plus some other chick called Beyoncé.
'Electrify' is the first single from Dubstep producer Jakwob's upcoming second album, and is set to be released February 12 2012.
The track features a female vocal over an extremely catchy Indian sample which gives the the song a real catchiness, as well as making in extremely memorable. Jawkob manages to combine all sorts of dance music on the track, with dubstep being prominent at the beginning before a big ravey bit in the middle and a drum ‘n’ bass outro, which really completes the song.
After his amazing remix of Ellie Goulding’s ‘Lights’, it seems as if Jakwob’s been getting a lot more attention. Hopefully that will give him his biggest hit yet with the genre-crossing ’Electrify’.
'Awkward' is the first single from Australian indie-poppers San Cisco's upcoming EP, and is great song which will no doubt be stuck in your head upon first listen.
The boy-girl back and forth conversation between songwriter/vocalist Jordi and drummer/vocalist Scarlett is refreshing, while the “do-do-do-do” and “da-da-da-da” parts are insanely catchy. It’s a fun track which is bound to put you in a good mood no matter what you’re it, I can’t wait to see what else the EP has in store.
The upbeat, indie vibes of this track remind me of a summer listening to a lot of Two Door Cinema Club - so if you like them, you should definitely give San Cisco a try.
'Seven Stars' is the first song we've been given from Air's upcoming seventh album 'La Voyage Dans La Lune'.
The track features vocals from Beach House lead singer Victoria Legrand, and is the first song I’ve listened to from the French duo since their critically acclaimed ‘Moon Safari’ LP. Her vocals are dreamy, complimented by soft live drums and an immediate piano medlody.
The group’s distinct sound is however still there, as there’s plenty of bleepy synths on the track, giving it that unique spacey sound. It’s an impressive track, which has me anticipating the album, despite remaining fairly clueless as to what it will sound like.
I’m not gonna lie, bar the MK Ultra remix of ‘Why Don’t You Love Me’, we didn’t exactly get the best remixes from Beyoncé during the ‘I Am…Sasha Fierce’ era. Luckily with some stellar remixes of ‘Run The World (Girls)’ and now ‘Countdown’, Beyoncé seems to be back at offering her fans great remixes.
The Reggae Rewind remix of ‘Countdown’ puts a whole new spin on the track, giving it a laidback, bouncy and of course distinctly reggae feel. When I first heard about this I didn’t think it would work at all, but the bass undertones of this dancehall jam really do something for the song.
We mightn’t be getting something something quite as epic as the Freemasons remixes during the B’Day era, but this is a sure improvement over most of the remixes from Beyoncé’s last album, and a darn good song in its own right.
'Nobody's Perfect' has been announced as the third (fourth if you include 'Who Dat') single off J. Cole's 'Cole World: The Sideline Story', and is a great choice if you ask me.
The guitar driven midtempo features Missy Elliott singing and half-rapping on the track’s chorus, which was stuck in my head after the first listen. There’s heavy bass on the track, which has a distinct 90s rap meets early Kanye vibe about it. You just wanna blast this while cruising around in your car - although since I have no money, can’t drive and it’s the middle of Winter that doesn’t seem so likely.
It’s great to see Missy back on a track after so long with this one, she’s really been missed. Hopefully her appearance on this laidback track is one of many to come, and we’ll also get plenty more singles from Cole’s album.
'Falling Down' is the first single from producer Nick Douwma aka Sub Focus' upcoming second album, set to be released sometime next year.
Featuring plenty of dubstep moments suited towards both the clubs and radio airwaves, the track has some sick drops, which are complemented by vocalist Kenzie May’s melodies. There’s a great rave moment which ensures that the balance between the harder dubstep elements and softer dance parts of the song is just right.
With his current Chase & Status collaboration doing the rounds right now, hopefully there’ll be some more hype around this release. It’ll certainly be getting it from Radio 1, as this track is Zane Lowe’s hottest record of the day.
I was so excited when I came home today and saw The Black Keys new album sitting on my desk. Thank you brother, It’s a great record. Plus it’s amazing the amount of people carriers or minivans, in Yank speak that they managed to get into the album booklet.
Out of the album tracks, my most played as of yet is track number two, ‘Dead And Gone’. A thumping, bluesy rock anthem the track sees the duo at their finest with producer Danger Mouse yet again. My brother pointed out that it’s very Queens of the Stone Age, but that’s my no means a bad thing in our eyes.
Saying that, the whole album’s a very good progression on ‘Brothers’ and is definitely one of many new releases you should pick up this week.
With initial rave reviews of her debut album ‘Heaven’, could Rebecca Ferguson become the first X Factor contestant to become a critical darling? The album’s been released today, and it certainly lives up to the warm reception.
Rebecca’s definitely found her sound with this one. She hasn’t been put into the SyCo machine and released an uninspired batch of tracks ala Matt Cardle, she’s created an emotional LP, which has been tailored around her voice. And man is that voice amazing.
It really stands out on initial album highlight, ‘Teach Me How To Be Loved’. The piano ballad sees a reluctant Rebecca step into love. With rich, soft vocals, Rebecca puts so much emotion into those low notes, which evoke the sense of reluctance and fear which the song describes. It’s a perfect piece of British soul, which will hopefully shift her a bucketload of albums this Christmas.
With the video currently production, it seems that ‘Look Around’ is the third single to be taken from the Red Hot Chili Peppers’ tenth studio album ‘I’m With You’.
It’s about time they released this one, personally I think it would have made a much better lead single than ‘The Adventures Of Rain Dance Maggie’. The funky bass driven track is probably the catchiest song on the album, with its wild, shouty bits being slightly reminiscent of ‘By The Way’.
Hopefully this song, which retains the scratchy elements found in ‘Monarchy Of Roses’ will prick up some more interest in the album - saying that however, their recent concert in Belfast I couldn’t afford to get tickets for sure did.
Amelia Lily’s performance of this on X Factor has sent the song flying up the Itunes charts more than 8 years after its release - and thank goodness for that, we needed something like this for this cold December.
'I'm With You' has always been one of my favourite, if not my favourite Avril Lavigne songs. Melancholic strings and dramatic vocals are packed into this power ballad of epic proportions, which was the first showing of Avril's more mature side. There's a country twang to the song, and Avril's vocals on the final chorus manage to pack in an immense amount of emotion into it.
Maybe one of the reasons I’ve always loved this song is because it was all over the music channels when I first really started to get into music. That was a real good time. Nevertheless, the feeling of isolation which is described and overcome in the song’s lyrics is completely relatable. Avril managed to portray it all so genuinely at the only age of seventeen - quite a feat if you ask me.
With Yasmin’s debut album seemingly not getting released until after a fourth single in the first quarter of 2012, here’s a recently leaked demo she recorded, which may or may not make the album’s final tracklisting.
'Holding On' is a laidback funky track, with just a hint of house music about it. It's a bit more dance compared to most of Yasmin's work - not in a generic way though, think of like something Katy B would record.
Yasmin’s vocals sound smooth against an array of percussion and just a hint of bass. The song sounds like something which would have been released in about 2001, which is a very good thing in my opinion. This is the kind of subtle laidback late summer jam which suits Yasmin to a tee.
Given all the buzz, I’d been meaning to post this song for a while now. Despite it being such a hot track, there’s only a certain amount of swearing I can take on a track. But now I’ve hunted down a radio edit of ‘212’ and am jumping onto the bandwagon rather late with this post.
If you haven’t heard the song already, ‘212’ sees Harlem’s Azealia Banks spit some fearsome bars over bouncing electro beats. It’s all pretty awesome. However the highlight of the track for me is that amazing middle 8, when she sings and everything slows down for a bit. It’s such a contrast compared to the rest of the track. Genius.
I’m not gonna lie, I was hoping we’d get some sort of ironic radio edit with animal noises or references to eating burgers, but this’ll do fine until her debut album drops next year. She’s working with none other than Paul Epworth on it, which definitely came as a bit of shock to me. Should be interesting.
Fresh off its premiere on Fearne Cotton’s show and an interesting audio clip on youtube, here’s Lana Del Rey’s second single, ‘Born To Die’, from her upcoming debut album of the same name.
The follow up to ‘Video Games’ retains Lana’s 50s kitsch sound, adding an almost industrial, trip-hop beat into the mix, which gives the song a little more drive than the former song. Combined with strings which wrap themselves Lana’s husky voice, this song is intense. And with lines such as “let me kiss you hard in the pouring rain, you like your girls insane” and “you and I, we were born to die,” the lyrics are definitely just as cutting.
Following up a song with as much buzz as ‘Video Games’ is certainly a task, but Lana Del Rey’s done a pretty good amazing job at it. ‘Born To Die’ is enchanting. It has a mood about it which just sends chills up my spine. With an atmosphere like that I might just end up preferring it to ‘Video Games’.
'Who Knows' is the debut single from vocalist Simon Smith aka Youngman, released on Shy Fx's Digital Soundboy imprint on January 5 2012.
Produced by Skream, the song is a subdued dubstep track with R&B falsetto vocals on top. There’s a looped female vocal in the background to finish things off, making this a very good track indeed.
He’s been described as the male Katy B, and it’s not difficult to see why, with his catchy dubstep-lite tracks and catchy melodies. This one might not be quite hard hitting enough for him to catch the attention of the mainstream, but it’s definitely a good start for a promising artist.
I wasn’t planning on posting anything from the leak of Amy’s ‘Lioness: Hidden Treasures’, but the original version of ‘Tears Dry On Their Own’ is just so gorgeous that I had to put it up here.
Recorded in November 2005, the original version of the Salaam Remi produced track features a much stripped back production, with added strings. While the magic and bittersweet quality of the finished version on ‘Back To Black’ is lost in some way, the heartbreak in Amy’s voice really shines in this older version. It’s got a real sad tone about it, something which Amy has always been able to convey with such honesty. Pick up the album on Monday for plenty more hidden gems.