XX - Co-exist
Angels is a pretty Ballard & Sunset is ghostly and spacey and te lyrics seem to come from real experiences this time round and can easily be related to, Romy & Oliver's vocals are more confident as is the production more sharp and less raw but its just sad that no song grabs your attention or comes out of the comfort zone.
I really wanted to like this album but after four listens and trys none of the tracks seem to stand out and no progression has been made, it's far from bad yet not a ground breaking sophomore effort either, I would rather this have been their first and XX their second.
The group have found a formula that works great for them and sets them apart from other bands yet I hope on the third album at least there is room for experimentation to try other sounds, it's interesting to watch the group grow from indie unknowns to stars in their own right gracing covers of magazines ( Dazed, Arena Homme, Clash, Fantastic Man etc) yet not sell out and go down the pure pop route.
Rita Ora- Ora
The name Rita Ora has drifted around for years popping up on Craig David tracks and appearing in Drake videos and eventually and most promisingly signed by Jay Z a few years back. Most music enthusiasts have been waiting to hear her sound. Her first full song was to provide guest vocals on DJ Fresh's Hot right now which leaped to number one and then came the Drake penned & Nneka sampled R.I.P featuring Tinie Tempah and afterwards the US single ' Party & Bullshuit' which failed to garner much attention in America so was released over here and again came the commercial acclaim with every song Ora touches thus far becoming a UK number one.
It all seemed so promising although none of her number ones have been outstandingly unique and with all the talk of big time producers and talent from Diplo, Will I am, J Cole, Sia, The Dream & Ester Dean among others what Ora seems to be is a half baked product there is talent in her voice but where is Rita. There is claims that this young singer is also a songwriter yet the albums credits only credits her with three co-writes.
Highlights include the Diplo produced Facemelt which sounds fresh and gets Ora's British edge across talking about clubbing and popping e-pills yet is cut short and serves only as an intro if only there was other tracks akin to this. Roc the Life is another track that glitters its paired down yet the studio version fails to capture the true essence as her live performances does, none the less its still a sweet track both an ode to being young and slowly becoming famous, Been Lying is pretty self analysis an uptempo ballard of sort as is Shine Ya Light the most rock pop sounding song on the album.
The worse singles seem to appear when Ora work s with the biggest names, Fall in Love is repetitive and dull with lazy vocals and production its a shame that Will I am couldn't pull out something a little better, whilst The Sia penned track Radioactive is a club anthem that says nothing new and fades into most of the other tracks out there at present
For a debut artist there seems to be a lack of originality, all the tracks that are good are far from great and in order for her to become a bonafide pop star needs a bit more development The Diplo tracks are the most interesting and it would be good to see her steer in this direction as I really want to like what Ora does but it seems being signed to Roc Nation has been both a gift and curse with high expectations across the board that could possibly to high, yet it has allowed her access to the best talents within the industry and press coverage across the best print media and on prime time TV slots but its a sad case of more style than substance. All Britishness has been white washed from her sound in an attempt to make her more global or American sounding a prime example is 'Party & Bullshit', The UK has embraced her and there is still time for a stronger US push with Radioactive being the perfect candidate single to help Ora blend in.
They can sing, they can dance, they look good and have had a string of successful hits including five number ones, as much as you would like to like JLS there is a key ingredient missing from them and that is good songs and possibly good producers.
3 albums in and their sound is the same as when they debuted as is their lyrics. There hasn't been much of a progression here and that is where the boys seem to falter. The fact is there was much talks of possible collaborators such as Rihanna & Bruno Mars and all there is Dev. At the end of the day critical success hardly matters as there fans will flock to buy this and send them rocketing up the charts but if there is any hopes of cracking other markets and bigger countries a step up is needed.
Possibly a perfect album for a fan base dying to hear new music but sadly for others there is nothing new here.
Cher Lloyd- Sticks & Stones
Cher Lloyd caused a stir on last years X-Factor blowing many a way with Keri Hilson get your swag on making it to the live round & dividing many who just couldn't seem to like or get her although she gave a few interesting and memorable performances when she stripped it down took away the rapping such as Shakespeare's Sisters'stay' and the same could be said with this Album when she lets others rap and herself sing those are the tracks that remain the strongest.
There is no denying that Cher can sing and it is that she does best at just 18 she shows she has the talent & co-writing much of the album it seems she knows pretty much what she wants & is in control of her image & sound.
The album is aimed at a young audience yet remarkably it seems older than Jessie J's output with influences from dubstep sprinkled all the way through, the best track has to be Dub on the track where Cher is joined by the likes of Mic Righteous, Dot Rotten & Ghetts with Superhero one of her best vocals on the album.
Its an interesting debut that moves Cher into a different league than just another manufactured x-factor reject
Dub On The Track
THE WANTED- BATTLEGROUND
The Wanted burst onto the scene and filled what was really missing within the UK, a good boyband (apart from JLS). Now with the albeit younger One Direction, The Wanted prove they still have their place within the market. With several hits two number one singles and a even larger profile and boots to fill it seems the band succeeds growing and moving forward with their style and sound.
Battleground's debut single 'Glad you came' topped the chart and was an amazingly catchy piece of brit pop and the boys most dance floor friendly track to date and also on the album, Although Weekend speed-ed up wouldn't be out of place in a club yet is far from a contender to Glad you came. It has its ballads strongest being Warzone & Last To Know proving that the boys are all talented and in more ways then one stepping up to the plate and with some members co-writing tracks.
Favorite tracks include
Glad you came,
Last To Know,