After debuting her US single “Party And Bullsh*t” earlier this week, Rita Ora is back with her first solo release in the UK.
With Tinie Tempah on board, the highly anticipated “R.I.P.” is set for release May 6. But after years of waiting does it live up to the buildup? I don’t want to overhype this - but yeah, it’s pretty great.
Produced by Chase & Status alongside Stargate, the Drake penned song features impressionable synths and heavy guitars, which are sampled from Chase & Status’ remix of Nneka’s “Heartbeat”. Nneka’s vocals are also sampled on the pre-chorus of “R.I.P.”, giving the song a pretty complex structure, which somehow works, despite there being so much going on in the track.
Meanwhile Tinie’s verses are clever, and Rita makes a lot more use of her powerful vocals than she does on the US single. That’s a great thing too as I’d love to hear plenty of her vocal prowess on the album. Hopefully that record won’t come too far in the distant future, but until then we’ve finally got the song that was used in all her video diaries. Thank goodness it’s not half bad flipping amazing.
Not long after the release of the brilliant “Black Treacle”, the Arctic Monkeys have brought out a new standalone single seemingly out of nowhere, with new track “R U Mine”
With big riffs and a rock n roll stance, this is the brashest track from the Arcitcs in a long time. It’s a little less vintage americana than the band’s latest material, as they’ve ditched those sunkissed California vibes for something a little more gritty on “R U Mine”.
This is getting a lot of Black Keys comparisons, which makes sense considering Alex Turner & co are supporting the band on their latest North American tour. But while this song is as instant as something from the Black Keys, it’s a little more London Sheffield and little less Nashville than something off “El Camino”. But no matter who’s influenced this song, it’s a great track which makes me wish the band would come to Belfast on their next tour.
After releasing the brilliant “Radioactive”, Marina is prepping to release “Primadonna” as the ‘first’ single off her “Electra Heart” album. Yes, you heard it - she’s calling it the first single from her new album. Does that mean that “Radioactive” won’t make the album? I hope not, but Marina seemed pretty disappointed that it didn’t do as well as she was expecting. Nevertheless, while the track was untypical from Marina, it no doubt deserves a place on her new album.
But that’s enough about that whole mess, we’re here to talk about a new Marina song which she’s giving away for free on her official website in order to stir up some buzz before she drops the new single. I was expecting “Homewrecker” to not click with me immediately, like it happened with “Fear And Loathing” - but “Homewrecker” is a whole different kettle of fish that I loved from the first listen.
Bridging the gap between commercial and alternative Marina, “Homewrecker” is a great pop song with spoken verses and a massive chorus. With sun drenched lashes of guitar against hard hitting synths and pounding drums, “Homewrecker” manages to be in your face in the subtlest of ways. I know that’s an oxymoron, but this song is like Jackal & Hyde, being half 80s laidback driving song and half pulsating Eurodance anthem.
With clever, witty lyrics that seem to play on Marina’s idea of hating society despite acknowledging that she is everything she loathes in society, “Homewrecker” sees her take the role of a heartbreaker in a particularly fun way. This is a great song in every way, and if it is any indication of what’s to come then “Electra Heart” should be a lot better than I originally thought. Use the password “ELECTRASHEART” to get the song for free from here.
After years of waiting we’ve finally got the debut single from Roc Nation signee Rita Ora, who just dropped new track “Party And Bullsh*t” fresh off her DJ Fresh (I swear that was non-intentional) collaboration hitting number 1.
Jay-Z and Rita popped into Z100 on impulse hours ago, to debut the song which is set to be the Albanian-British singer’s first release in the US as opposed to the Tinie Tempah collaboration “RIP”, which is set to be Rita’s first UK solo release.
The track is a fun uptempo number, which is a lot more poppy than I was expecting. With a catchy sing a long chorus over a breezy guitar beat and rumbling synths, “Party And Bullsh*t” has that addictive quality which made the likes of “Price Tag” and “Last Friday Night” so good. It’s not what I was expecting from Rita, but it’s a fun pop track which makes good use of instruments to help it stand out against the Dr Luke productions it resembles.
That 80s drums beat is the best part about the song, serving as the song’s structural backbone, while providing a bit of nostalgia to the fun party track. There’s some fun chanting as well, which adds to the carefree vibes which Rita gives on her debut. I can’t say I’m not more excited for the Chase & Status produced and Nneka sampling “RIP”, which should be a more risky release for British radio - but “Party And Bullsh*t” is nevertheless a great song which panders to US pop radio’s limited tastes, while still retaining some of Rita’s personal style.
Poor Yasmin can’t catch a break with all these leaks. With her album sampler and “Holding On” having leaked on top of a whole bunch of songs she’s performed, it seems that we’ve already heard half of the Scottish singer’s upcoming debut album before its release this summer.
And to make things worse I just came across another leaked track which has been floating about the internet for a few weeks. I suspect this is from the same acoustic session she performed “American Wedding” and “5 Minutes” at, so hopefully the fact that this isn’t the studio version should lesson the blow. Nevertheless, we’re still getting to hear another great song from Yasmin, who’s debut album should be a corker from what we’ve heard so far.
This acoustic led track is more along the lines of “5 Minutes” than the rest of Yasmin’s work. It’s a catchy mid-tempo with an emotional chorus and hard hitting lyrics, in which Yasmin contemplates suicide just so she can have someone by her side. There’s plenty of medical metaphors in there, making the track quite similar to the beautiful “999” lyrically. Yasmin’s tone is gorgeous throughout the track, as she lets us see an altogether more delicate side to her personality on “Suicide”.
I had previously posted about how good Jessie Ware’s debut single “Strangest Feeling” was here. I didn’t think she’d beat that on her second go, and that her next single would be a pale imitation of the first. Thanks to Mundane Insanity, who brought Jessie’s new single to my attention, I’ve discovered that the it is very different from and possibly even better than the first.
Upon hearing the opening electronic loop, I thought that “Running” would give me similar vibes to “Strangest Feeling” - but once those soft drums kicked in pretty soon after I knew this was a completely different ball game. The sharp keys combined with the track’s smooth, gradual melody instantly reminded me of Aaliyah’s “Rock The Boat”. When the guitar kicked in I got real Sade vibes, which were enhanced by Jessie’s soft, luscious vocals. It’s like an 80s power ballad that eloped with a 90s R&B track and gave us a song with the qualities of both eras combined with the chilled, lo-fi vibes modern R&B. Amazing.
Jessie’s soft, dreamy are vocals are great throughout the track, but it’s her powerful outburst during the song’s middle 8 which really steals the show. Her vocals become stronger at this point, relating well with the lyrics as she sings of how much she wants this love, even though it’s no good for her. It’s those little things, and the atmosphere created within the song which make me appreciate it so much. I pray that music continues to go in this direction.
Flashback: Christina Aguilera // Can’t Hold Us Down [Feat. Lil’ Kim]
It was 2003 and I was really starting to get into music. Christina Aguilera was everywhere - and I mean everywhere. As well as the singles from “Stripped” being all over the music channels which I spent hours watching with my brother and babysitter, she hosted the VMAs, toured with Justin Timberlake and was yet still making headlines for her ‘new’ racy image.
"Can’t Hold Us Down" was her way of getting back at all the criticism that was being spat back then. Sampling P. Diddy’s “Can’t Nobody Hold Us Down”, the track is a summer jam which tackles the issue of double standards in society. Even today guys are seen as a lad when they brag about getting with a bunch of easy girls, but when a girl acts a little sexy she’s automatically labelled a slut. Christina tackles this subject with real power and confidence, so there really was no one better to join her on the song than Lil’ Kim.
Kimmy Blanco gives a stellar verse on the track, with her contribution to “Can’t Hold Us Down” being one of the rapper’s smoothest deliveries. Christina also manages to stay cool and in control on the verses, while giving her signature power ad-libs during the song’s final chorus. This against the song’s laidback Hip-Hop beat, make for a great R&B track which is certainly overlooked in Christina’s back catalogue.
The Scott Scorch produced beat has the most amazing outro, which leads so well into “Walk Away”, as well as being the perfect album opener to set the tone for “Stripped”. I may not have appreciated this song for what it was when I was 9, but I can definitely see it for it’s worth now that I’m a little more mature. (If anyone who knows me reads this, sorry for lying about being more mature.)
"Shook Ones, Pt. II" is a track you won’t forget once you’ve heard it. Released off Mobb Deep’s second album "The Infamous", this track is the sequel to "Shook Ones", which was a promotional single the year before this was released in 1995.
With a heavy drum beat and a straying piano loop, “Shook Ones, Pt. II)” sounds particularly sinister. There’s an ominous sound about the track, with the crackling horns creeping in at certain points giving the song quite an unnerving feel. There’s undertones of repressed anger in that beat alone - you could feel the tension of this song even if it was only an instrumental; that’s just how atmospheric this track is.
The lyrics are equally as dark, dealing with inner city violence from the perspective of struggling youths. This track no doubt has some of the best verses of 90s rap, as it manages to create a story which seems as unbelievable as it is realistic. Combined with that genius instrumental, which has been sampled by the likes of Mariah Carey and even Cassie, and this song just can’t help but be barefacedly dark and gritty.
I’ve always been a massive Usher fan, but I couldn’t help but find the singles from his last album, “Raymond V. Raymond” just a little bit underwhelming. The album was nice enough, but it tried too hard to pander to commercial tastes in places after the underperformance of ‘Here I Stand’.
Now Usher’s back with a new track called “Climax”, and it might just be his best single since “Moving Mountains”, or possibly even earlier. Produced by a personal favourite of mine, Diplo, the song tells the story of a relationship which has reached its peak and just isn’t working anymore.
Diplo describes the track as “next level electrosoul”, and I can definitely see what he’s getting at with that comment. Usher’s falsetto glides over a minimalist trance beat, backed by R&B-lite snares and kicks. The track builds up during throughout the course of the song, but keeps a sensual feeling alive from start to finish by refusing to explode at any point. It’s this restraint which is the song’s top quality, as Usher gives us a track you’d expect The Weeknd to be putting out.
Hopefully this track will make Usher’s upcoming seventh album - everything from Usher’s vocals, the crisp production and the atmosphere of the song is perfect, it would be a crime if this never made the tracklisting. After the success of his last album, hopefully Usher’s next album will see him ditch Guetta & co, and produce some top quality R&B while also taking a few risks.
Before I start say anything about the song, why on earth is this part three? I get that Professor Green’s collaboration is the first part, but was I in some sort of coma when part two came out?
Anyway, bar Itunes bonus track “Tiger”, “Read All About It (Pt. III)” is the closing track on Emeli Sandé’s debut album “Our Version Of Events”. It would seem that Emeli had written this track before Professor Green added his verses to the track, as the album title, which was announced long before “Read All About It” premiered, is included in the song’s lyrics.
The lyrics are less about Pro Green’s issues with his dad on this track, and more about encouraging someone to speak up and not silence themselves and Emeli’s relationship with that person. It’s all pretty raw and emotional over a simple piano melody, as the anger of the original song is replaced by a more melancholy, yet hopeful tone. Emeli sounds so sincere on “Read All About It (Pt. III)”, a beautiful song, which is just as good as Part I.
Lily Allen // Smile Version Revisited (Mark Ronson Remix)
I’d never really liked Lily Allen much when I was younger. I’m not really sure why, I guess I just thought she was annoying. However, last year some of her material just clicked with me and I was able to appreciate ‘Smile’ for the ska-pop brilliance that it is.
With cheeky lyrics of vengeance and light reggae beats, ‘Smile’ is the perfect summer pop song. The Mark Ronson remix puts a twist on that, with extra horns and drums being added to give it his signature sound. There’s a jangly piano in there as well, which makes it it all sounds very doo-wop; a style which suits Lily’s soft vocal tone very well indeed.
It’s a funky track, which doesn’t lose the balance of carnival beats and cynical lyrics which made the original so good. The fact that Lily is singing about getting revenge on her cheating boyfriend, with a sense of irony and just a hint of vulnerability over a fun, uptempo jazz number is still genius to me.
After months of waiting after Cassie’s new single was announced, I posted the Sam Young remix of “King Of Hearts”. I thought it was good, but just a little bit lacking compared to the version used in the track’s trailer.
But finally, after years of waiting for Cassie to release a new single, we’ve got the full radio version of “King Of Hearts”. When I first played the song I wasn’t that impressed. It didn’t sound anything like the trailer and was all a bit too empty to be honest. But after a few plays I just got the song, and can’t stop playing it right now.
Sounding like an Eastern European dance record made by the likes of Inna, “King Of Hearts” starts pretty sparsely with hand claps and a simple synth beat. A heavy bassline kicks in before the some synths kick in and it all gets going. But the highlight of the song would have to be the middle 8 and the final chorus, with that amazing build up and explosion of synths. “King Of Hearts” may not be the most original of songs, but it’s a top quality dance track, and shows that Cassie isn’t for messing around this time.
I’ve been patiently waiting for Emeli Sandé’s debut album ever since I heard her on Wiley’s brilliant “Never Be Your Woman”. After anticipating her proposed debut single “Kill The Boy”, which eventually got cancelled, we finally got Emeli’s debut single in the form of “Heaven”. A perfect piece of trip-hop soul (a genre coined by none other than Yasmin), Emeli came with a bang, which is pretty ironic considering the understated nature of the track.
Two singles later and “Our Version Of Events” is finally out, albeit only in the Republic of Ireland. It would be cheating for me to listen to the album before getting my physical copy after waiting so long, but one song won’t hurt, right?
"My Kind Of Love" follows "Heaven" as track number two on the LP, and is a brilliant start to the album tracks we haven’t heard yet. Opening with a simple piano alongside Emeli’s vocals, a heavy militant drum beat soon joins in to really set the song’s tone. Soon enough there’s soaring strings and gospel style backing vocals, which really get the song going, showing that Emeli can do a real good belter of a track.
With raw, emotional vocals, Emeli really gives it her all on “My Kind Of Love”. It’s all very Alicia Keys, with a tone that harks back to the likes of “If I Ain’t Got You” and “Doesn’t Mean Anything”. And if this track is anything to go by, then “Our Version Of Events” should be an absolutely terrific record, meaning that we’ve gotten three great debuts from Lana Del Rey, Maverick Sabre and Emeli Sandé one week after another.
Man this song takes me back. I was twelve years old and doing a first year music presentation on my favourite type of music for my crazy music teacher. I chose urban music, and made this whole presentation on Hip-Hop and R&B, with the chavviest fonts you’ve ever seen. It’s hilarious looking back on it now, but what can I say….I was twelve.
Before I had an ipod and a music library in 2007, I had to download three songs off Itunes for my music project. Along with Sergio Mendes & Black Eyed Peas “Mas Que Nada” and Bow Wow & Ciara’s “Like You”, I downloaded Lupe Fiasco’s “Kick, Push” to put on that powerpoint. I burnt those songs onto a CD and listened to them non-stop in the car, as I often did due to the small amount of music I had.
Looking back this is still an amazing track. With jazzy strings and horns over a heavy drum bassline, “Kick, Push” was certainly something different back in 2006. It had a very lo-fi Hip-Hop feel, with elements of trip-hop and lounge making it a lot more subdued than most of the music out there. Plus lyrically, this track was like nothing I’d ever heard. It wasn’t wholly materialistic like so much mid 2000s commercial rap (anyone else remember J-Kwon?), plus it dealt with a subject which was very removed from rap back then.
I’ve had many a skateboarding phase during my childhood, so I guess it related to me on some level….or at least I liked to think it related to me, considering I was completely crap when it came to skating. Nevertheless, this song was way ahead of its time, and would no doubt fit into the alternative hip-hop scene which is more prevalent now than ever. It’s a pity that teacher never remembered to let me do that music presentation, but who knows, maybe that was for the best?
Daniel Merriweather would have to be one of my favourite vocalists. His voice has such a rich, soulful tone to it, and has just a little bit of roughness to it.
As a vocalist on Mark Ronson’s take on “Stop Me If You Think You’ve Heard This One Before”, Merriweather excels on giving us painful emotions on a version the song which is completely different to the original. Despite obvious differences, I felt that “Stop Me”was a refreshing take on The Smiths track, coming off as a different track in its own right.
This acoustic version allows Daniel’s vocals to take centre stage, on what yet again sounds like a different track. In stripped back mode, ”Stop Me” doesn’t sound quite as dark as the studio version. However Daniel’s vocal delivery adds a sense of hopelessness to the song, a quality which I really appreciate in a singer. Even when sampling The Supremes “You Keep Me Hangin’ On” (which is the surprise highlight of this track) Daniel still manages to keep the desperate mood of the song alive, in what is a genius combination of tracks thanks to Mr Ronson.
Originally known as ‘Follow’ for those who were lucky to enough to have a copy of Maverick Sabre’s album sampler, it’s fair to say a few fans were gutted when they didn’t see this song on the tracklisting for ‘Lonely Are The Brave’. Luckily it was figured out that the song’s name was changed to ‘Open My Eyes’, and we’d get to hear what all the fuss was about after all.
It would have been a crime had this track not made the album. It had a lot to live to, following ‘I Need’ and ‘Let Me Go’ as track number three on the LP. They’re too big songs to follow, but ‘Open My Eyes’ definitely doesn’t seem like a cut below the singles, and would be a more than suitable follow up to ‘No-One’.
With a looped piano riff and a heavy drum lead beat, ‘Open My Eyes’ introduces us to a slightly harder, moodier side of Maverick. That’s not to say this song lacks soul; his rich vocals are just mixed in with some rap verses and lyrics which despair our materialistic society. The rap/sung technique contrasts extremely well, showing us that Maverick is a pretty darn versatile artist, and a top quality one at that.
Last month I posted a ‘Better Off Dead’, a new track from the upcoming Lostprophets record up on here. My guesses that it was just a buzz were correct, as the band have released their official first single, ‘Bring ‘Em Down’ from their upcoming fifth album ‘Weapons’.
While ‘Better Off Dead’ is a good track, this one is better. It feels a lot more natural, as the soaring chorus is a lot more in sync with the verses compared to ‘Better Off Dead’. Yet again there’s those amazing pouding drums, but the swirling synths during the prechorus are an unexpected addition, adding a little more drama to the track.
My favourite part of the song would have to be the outro however. That breakdown is just too good - it’s intense. Hopefully this is another sign that the new album will be better than ‘The Betrayed’. I don’t get the hate that many Lostprophets fans seem to have towards that album - it’s a good album no doubt; but it just didn’t connect with me like their previous records did. But with another single set to be released before ‘Weapons’ drops in April, it seems the band are covering all bases with this one.
I decided to make a personal blog, where I’ll mostly just post and re-blog photos of things I like. It’s a chance for you to get to know me a little bit more, and have questions published due to me not answering them publicly on this blog.
I’ll probably write some personal stuff on the blog as well if I get bored - try and ignore that lol. And it’s called ‘wastingcredit.tumblr.com’, which was by far the most popular option from the replies I got - so thank you!
Of course this blog is still my priority, as music is what is really personal to me. However I thought it would be fun to do something fun, which is a little more carefree. So go ahead and follow it if you’d like, and I’ll have it updated pretty regularly. Plus I don’t do re-blogs on this site, so it’ll be an opportunity for me to re-blog some of the stuff you post.
I’ll make sure I get back to posting more on this blog and that I answer those questions which are still in my ask bosk - sorry for keeping y’all waiting, my laptop broke and I became even lazier.
Maverick Sabre // A Change Is Gonna Come (Acoustic)
I loved Maverick’s live lounge cover of this Sam Cooke track, and was therefore suitably ecstatic when I found out he was going to include it on his debut album.
This acoustic rendition of ‘A Change Is Gonna Home’ is the penultimate track on ‘Lonely Are The Brave’ (bar hidden ‘They Found A Gun’), fitting in perfectly with the rest of the album despite being a cover. The lyrics deal with civil rights in the 1960s, and are therefore appropriate considering much of the political content on Maverick’s album.
The song also fits in musically, as well as thematically. Maverick’s rendition of ‘A Change Is Gonna Come’ manages to be hopelessly reflective, while still having a glimpse of optimism - a trait that is rife throughout the album. Maverick’s vocals are filled with soul on this track, which is a perfect example from a record which represents a broken society.
Maverick Sabre released his debut album ‘Lonely Are The Brave’ today, and man is it good. I don’t just mean good as in good - I mean good as in this could well end up being my album of 2012. It’s just that good amazing.
'I Used To Have It All' is track number nine on the album, and an early highlight among fifteen great songs. Maverick covers issues such as sectarianism, materialism and racism in the lyrics, which are particularly relatable considering that he's from Ireland and me being Northern Irish.
Backed by an organ, horns, bass and drums, everything in this song works so well together. It all creates this sense of melancholy and bleakness - yet there’s still a glimmer of hope in there. However all of this is irrelevant when you consider Maverick’s voice. It’s just so unique, so soulful. A real breath of fresh air in this cold world.
I haven’t been able to post as much in the past week due to computer issues, but rest assured now that that’s fixed I’ll be posting plenty more tracks from ‘Lonely Are The Brave’. Check the album out, I promise you won’t regret it.
Before releasing her debut album Delilah has decided to give us an 8 track EP, featuring a remix of her last single ‘Love You So' and the brilliant 'Never Be Another’.
How Delilah has managed to give us so many great tracks before the release of her album I just don’t know. With the ‘2am-4am’ mixtape and the ‘Go’ and ‘Love You So’ EPs, she has more than enough material for a stellar album already. ‘The Gospel’ is yet another chilling song from the London singer. With a heavy drum beat and ghostly piano riff, Delilah has mastered the art of creating music filled with emotion which leaves you cold. There’s something very special about that in her songs.
There is a sense of darkness in the song which increases as that piano riff slowly builds up into an eerie electronic drone. Combined with an more prevalent trip-hop beat and undertones of guitar, Delilah manages to create a sense of fear as she urges the listener to escape the troubles they find. With unique vocals, excellent producers and haunting melodies Delilah might just be a dark horse in 2012.