Category Archives: Album Reviews

ALBUM REVIEW: Cheryl Cole – Messy Little Raindrops

‘Messy Little Cumshots’ I-I mean ‘Messy Little Raindrops’  – I absolutely thought it’s a brilliant album name but never would’ve thought in a million years that Cheryl’s going to name her album like this. It’s not bad for an album full mainly of personal maladies about a broken marriage, being sick with malaria and a budding romantic affair. She’s got 12 tracks to prove she won’t be called a ‘National Treasure’ as the Brits call it for nothing. Here’s a semi track by track commentary on CHEZZA’s new record.

The 43 minute record starts with the lead single, ‘Promise This’ in which she cleverly used the French word ‘Alouette’ to metaphorically describe basically ‘Derek’ for everything that has happened to her life in the past few months. It’s not bad entirely but it really sounded like a rushed piece of dance record that doesn’t present any premise of a lead single. Unlike ‘Fight for This Love’, ‘PT’ didn’t show a lot of ‘infectious parts’ except for the French phrase she utters throughout the track. In totally it really just fits in in the ‘okay’ level.

Moving on, is the 2nd track, ‘Yeah Yeah’ which features Travie McCoy on this 90’s disco sound infused with a hip-hop influence coming from McCoy’s unnecessary verses. There’s nothing much to adore in this except that it did sound different from the other tracks in the LP. Probably not your choice for single #3 but it’s a nice album filler but shouldn’t be placed ahead of the better songs.

The Flood’ is unarguably the best track on the record in which Cheryl shows every bit of vulnerability she has. I think she just sang it with sincerity and conviction that you wouldn’t notice that this track might have been done before melodically. ‘But you can’t hold on to water that fills you up but never stays.’ – Cheryl sings with purity as she grasps for love. I’m not sure why she’s doing this because I think we can all show some love for her anytime eh? Unless you’re a hater – it’s quite understandable.

I think most of us are expecting that ‘Amnesia’ is a cover of a Britney track when the tracklisting came out for ‘MLR’. I actually won’t mind if that happen because the original was a bore and I thought Cheryl might have done something more with it. Vocally, there’s something I’m concerned about. She’s actually singing these tracks with minimal productions that it exposes her flaws as a singer. Her inability to reach the high notes in these songs makes her sound too trying hard for it. Especially ‘Raindrops’, in which she sounded like her vocal chords are gonna tear-up anytime soon.

Moving on, I commend Cheryl for putting off the misery from our backs towards the latter half of the LP. ‘Hummingbird’ – the LP’s 8th track started the happy, a little bit joyful moments of the mostly bleak record. But to be honest, the latter parts of the song are quite painful to hear. She’s using enough of her narrow vocal range that it sounded like she’s shouting towards the end of the track.  But I have to admit, this really put a smile on my gutted face while listening to the record.

Another collaboration, ‘Better To Lie’ – plays into the safe side as she’s starting to redeem herself from the mediocrity she has been lingering on from the first parts of the record. The collaboration isn’t what I have expected but these are the songs Cheryl should sing. It didn’t push her vocals too hard and it just fits everything. A hip, very radio-friendly R&B track is what she needed after all this.

‘Let’s Get Down’ is actually a fun track to deal with. Cheryl rapping with her Geordie accent – what more could you ask for? Plus you can totally imagine what she’d be wearing if this had a video. ‘Uhl me Leydeis, uhl my gerls, uhl my hunnies, uhl my betchis and meh leydeis’ – it’s a total breath of fresh air to be gleefully honest. I’m quite happy she’s doing tracks like this but I’m not sure but it can be looked as too contrived. But overall, I think it’s lovely to hear her have some fun despite all the drama in her life.

Cheryl keeps the swag on until the last track ‘Waiting’ – a surprisingly Vanessa Carlton sampled pop/dance track. I’m afraid to say this but I think these tracks are what Cheryl should be singing. Fun, upbeat tracks that won’t require her narrowed vocal range to be torn out into pieces. It’s jumpy, fresh and possible dance floor filler. It’s definitely one of the best ways to end an entirely depressing record. I really hope she sticks to this kind of music it fits her vocally.

In totality, ‘Messy Little Raindrops’ maybe filled with sobby, drama inflicted anthems about Cheryl being person, but this record isn’t entirely atrocious. It’s not unusual for pop singers to get personal in their second album or future albums especially if they’ve undergone such media attention because of their personal mishaps. With artists like Cheryl you don’t actually expect their albums to blow you away in terms of its musicality. It’s just that you have to give them the benefit of the doubt whether they’ll deliver or not. But in this case, she didn’t.

RELEASED: November 1, 2010

LABEL: Polydor Records

DOWNLOAD THIS: ‘The Flood’, ‘Waiting’, ‘Better To Lie’

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Album Review: Robyn – Body Talk Pt. 1

Even though I have been ranting about Miss Kylie Minogue’s ‘Aphrodite’ this past few days, my ‘Body Talk Pt. 1’ has been long overdue so I think I have to put aside the brilliance of ‘Aphrodite’ and reassess the magnanimity of Robyn’s latest offering.

I have known Robyn for quite some time now. As a 90’s baby, I fortunately came across her first material when it was released in the mid 90’s. ‘Show Me Love’ and ‘Do You Really Want Me’ where the first tracks I’ve ever heard from her. Unfortunately, I kind of lost track of her music when the millennium started until I knew about the release of 2007’s ‘Robyn’. It just shook me that I have to follow her immensely because her music is just f*cking brilliant.

So the Swedish pop star decided to come back after 3 years of absence since the release of ‘Robyn’. The announcement was a big anticipation for music critics alike since everybody thought her 2007 album was one of the bests that year. The new album, ‘Body Talk’ will be released in 3 instalments. The first one, ‘Body Talk Pt. 1’ – proves of something that’s quite epic in ginormous proportions. A trilogy that you’d absolutely want to put beside your favourite classic albums from The Beatles, Elvis Presley or even Britney if you like.

The first instalment starts with the energetically pumping, ‘Don’t Fucking Tell Me What To Do’. It might be explicit upon first encounter but I assure you it’s something you won’t regret dancing to. It’s a strong start that proves of a cohesive, abnormally brilliant and insane tunes that a pop album must have. Well, most of those released today are tad as boring and cheap yet they reach #1. FFS.

Following the epic ‘DFTMWTD’ is the first track to be released to the public as a teaser. ‘Fembot’ and I think everybody knows how the track fits into this brilliant introduction right? The single, ‘Dancing On my Own’ is still as pulchritudinous as always even though it might leave you teary eyed after hearing it. The melancholy jabbed in the track makes it more likable than ever like what she did on ‘Be Mine’, ‘Who’s That Girl’ back in 2007. It’s sheer brilliance doesn’t mind to be one of the best tracks to be released this year. Hands down!

Fellow Scandipop artists, Royksopp did return a favour in their new collaboration with Robyn. ‘None of Dem’ possesses a nice hip hop attitude yet still sounds absolutely like something Robyn can do. The pulsating bass thumps are an absolute treat to the ears with the matching cocky attitude she delivered in the verses. Might as well include the superfluous reggae inspired ‘Dancehall Queen’ co-produced by Diplo – you’re half in listening to the 8-track LP yet you feel you’ve been listening to something you’d never heard before.

‘Cry When You Get Older’, still one of my favourites from this semi-LP is blessed with enough synths, harmonising bass beats, elevating waves and an undermining brilliance incorporated in its lyrics and for some reason I can hear the track with some Scottish/Irish beats in the background – weird me. Well this proves that at least 7 out of the 8 tracks are massive potential singles and I think most of you are with me on this right?

The mini LP ends with two slow-paced tracks. ‘Hang With Me’, the next single slows down the hype and pulse presented in the half-hour masterpiece. Another tear-jerking experience, Robyn does so well in these acoustic numbers. And a Swedish traditional ballad that I thought was some kind of a requiem is spine tingling yet prepares us to hibernate to something more brilliant in parts 2 and 3.

RELEASED: June 14, 2010 (UK)

LABEL: Konichiwa Records / Island Records

EPIC TRACKS: ‘Dancing On My Own’, ‘None of Dem’, ‘Cry When You Get Older’


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Album Review: Charice – ‘Charice’ [Listen to the LP in FULL]

FOREWORD: This review is based upon my opinion about the LP. Fuck off and get a life if you don’t intend to respect what you read. Again, I don’t have anything against this girl. Clear? – Crystal Clear.

Charice has been described as ‘the little girl with a big voice’ – that’s quite true and haters can hate about this lass. The Filipina singer is one of those artists that needed the help of YouTube to be able to feel the success they’re meant for. The girl went from being a reality show competition reject to an internet sensation that brought her to guest on massive tv shows across the globe. Oprah, Ellen DeGeneres, Paul O’Grady – you name it she might have starred in it. Now, with the help of Warner Brothers and her financers (ahem) Oprah Winfrey and David Foster namely Charice unleashes her debut album. Not for the Filipino audience but for the entire world to see. Currently, she’s striving to get big in the US as her self-titled debut CD alongside with her latest single, ‘Pyramid’ is being promoted this month.

For some reason, Charice embeds a bit of Goosebumps to everyone every time she belts out her Whitney covers – not that you have to be a fan of Whitney to appreciate it but hearing that voice coming from a little girl is such a fascinating thing. Well at least, for me. Her album sports 12 tracks on the standard edition that depicts emotions coming from relationships, family, friendship and anything you can think of what a young girl can experience – minus the sex of course.

PYRAMID (feat. Iyaz) (A-)

The album opens with the debut single, ‘Pyramid’ which features vocals from British Virgin Islander Iyaz. It’s quite intriguing why the single had 2 versions. The current version somehow sports an increase in tone compared to the first version that was made available to download on Amazon during the first week of its release. ‘Pyramid’ creates a really nice introduction about how she can really sound good at. It’s radio friendly, chart ready and totally appealing to everyone who hears it.


‘Reset’ is actually one of the better tracks in the LP. Sporting the same vibe ‘Pyramid’ has presented – it’s not dull, syrupy or even not to gimmicky except for the fact that includes a snippet of her first language, ‘Filipino’. The only thing negative about this song is the rap bridge which happens to sport the Filipino lyrics. She could’ve done it in full Filipino or just in English so it could not be that confusing. What’s good about this is that the writers are clever enough to use metaphors of a computer system to describe a broken relationship to rise from the ashes.


And the syrupy ballads started. ‘In This Song’ doesn’t clearly do much impact except from her incredibly high-pitched vocals and ala-American Idol-finale feeling it projects. It’s big yes, but lacked enough substance to make it as a good album track.


It actually seemed that it is a Ryan Tedder production for some moment. It’s definitely some Jordin Sparks would definitely sing. Again, she tries to be musical as she implied lyrics such as finding her melody, turning the radio up and eventually changing to an iPod. It’s good, and what’s surprising is that you may find that for some reason there’s a different artist singing in this track. Great vocal arrangement then.


Bollocks. Period.


During the course of the LP, you might actually notice she really likes to show off her vocal chops aren’t she? Surprisingly, it’s actually a nice pop song to begin with. Other than that, she eats her words in times that it’s hard to fathom the words she’s uttering. This is good but again, not good enough.


Sounds a bit of a rock production isn’t it? It’s surprising that this girl really sounded like an American for most parts of the LP. Again, this track sports a high-pitched vocal interpretation that for some point gets irritating already.


Bollocks again. Sorry.


Definitely one of the better tracks in the LP alongside Reset and Pyramid – it possesses a teen-popstar attitude. It has beautifully controlled vocals (a bit surprising, yeah?) and this definitely fits her personality as artist although I’m still confused as of the moment. It’s chart-ready, very pop but still not unique.


Please stop this.


Sounds a whole lot of crap. Next track please.


Finally, something better to finish of the album. And yes, it’s a cover. The track is considered her first promotional single. If I may remember she launched it on the Oprah Show. ‘Note To God’ peaked at #44 in the Billboard HOT 100 based on Digital sales alone. Well, the Dianne Warren written track is brilliant, hair-raising and it seemed like it’s a gospel track, which I find totally pleasing.

In the end, I get why Charice was signed with a  record deal. The mad vocals are definitely overflowing yet sometimes it may sound a bit in dire need of chopping off. There were high points in the album but there were absolutely a lot of let downs. There might be a couple of hits here but if you really dig deep enough you’ll find a lot of points to improve on. Having said that, we should commend her for doing such a great job singing these songs – and admit it, with that voice she can do a whole lot better.

RELEASED: May 11, 2010 (US), May 7, 2010 (Australia and New Zealand)

LABEL: Reprise Records

DOWNLOAD THIS: Pyramid, Reset, Nothing, Nobody’s Singin’ To Me


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Album Review: Diana Vickers – Songs From The Tainted Cherry Tree

The near 2 years that Diana Vickers disappeared from the media public created a doubt, whether she would be actually venturing in the pop music world. Well, a lot of things happened really.  Eoghan flopped and was dropped from his label (*chuckles*), JLS soared with two number 1 singles and Burkey’s career was on a so-so since ‘Bad Boys’ topped the singles charts and her album went #1. The big question was, how in the world the Blackburn teenager will present herself in the entertainment world? Her debut single, ‘Once’ became a proof of a warm welcome as it soared to #1 in the UK singles charts just this Sunday. Now the question is, will her debut offering, ‘Songs From The Tainted Cherry Tree’ pay off and sell like hotcakes? That’s a question we’ll have to figure out soon.

D.Vix as I like to call her, obviously had something up in her sleeves as her debut LP sports massive production and song-writing collaborations. From Ellie Goulding to Guy Sigsworth – it’s an album full of surprises as we hear the Blackburn singer’s initial offering which led almost 2 years in the making. And if you’re wondering if the album is great, Yes. It’s verging on greatness.

The LP opened with the current single ‘Once’ which is a rock-driven pop song that celebrates Vickers’ appeal to be something relevant yet still unique. She obviously can take down that lane where Girls Aloud or the Sugababes went but she decides to give ‘Once’ that feeling yet still sound like her. Surprisingly, as we all have thought – her album might go into the alternative, mellow-pop lane she’d showered us during her X Factor days but during the course of the LP, Vickers’ delivered slick, massively pop sounding tracks that captures her relevance as a teenager yet being an artist of her own.

Vickers’ tries to be as relevant as she possibly can with tunes like ‘Remake Me & You’, ‘The Boy Who Murdered Love’, ‘My Hip’ and ‘Hit’ which are all posing influences from sounds of the 80’s and 90’s. The upbeat numbers never failed to imply what Vickers wanted to be perceived. These tracks are absolutely in line as potential singles and can in a jiffy give her a ‘national treasure’ status as the Brits call it.

With Vickers pulling off the pop/rock genre, there’s no doubt this lass can bring home the bacon with the melodramatic pop she can offer. ‘Four Leaf Clover’, the tear-jerker track that was outshined by the acoustic version she performed in her single’s EP, ‘N.U.M.B’ which carries a strong emotion through its piano-driven undercurrents as a wistful track about being empty and ‘Notice’ which puts her quirkiness aside and depicts Vickers as a girl who wants to be loved by a man.

Although throughout the course of the debut Vickers went from a strong start to a stronger middle but of course nothing’s quite perfect as she saved the weakest tracks for last. The album ended in a not so much interesting note with ‘Chasing You’ which is a bit off-key from the other tracks of the LP. In the end, Diana obviously had placed much of her effort in her first album – it’s sort of an introductory piece she wanted us to taste as she possesses a ginormous amount of sheer potential as an artist which only a few pop singers of her age has.

RELEASED: May 3, 2010 (UK), April 30, 2010 (Ireland)
DOWNLOAD THIS: ‘Once’, ‘The Boy Who Murdered Love’, ‘Four Leaf Clover’, ‘N.U.M.B’


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Album Review: B.o.B – The Adventures of Bobby Ray

Bobby Ray Simmons struts his musical chops in his debut album named B.o.B Presents: The Adventures of Bobby Ray. The album also features some collaborations from established musicians such as Rivers Cuomo of Weezer, Lupe Fiasco, T.I, Eminem, and Hayley Williams. Though B.o.B works solo only in four tracks, he still eventually manages to make sure that all the tracks are laid out perfectly.

With the guest stars in the album, it is inevitable for B.o.B to change his styles in the tracks in order to accommodate the strengths of each guest. Changing the styles actually worked in Simmons’ favor for his debut album. There is variety in the album if sound is to be considered. All the tracks have a unique vibe included. This facet could be considered as the album’s greatest feature.

Since the tracks all have unique vibes in them, I would rather discuss all the outstanding tracks from the debut album of Simmons. Debut single Nothin’ On You, a collaboration with Bruno Mars, actually made me like B.o.B’s creative musicality big time. The track is really radio-friendly with rap and R&B elements fusing together like a well-done marriage. Don’t Let Me Fall lets B.o.B’s rapping take the center stage. The track did show that he really can embrace the lights and do things superbly.

Airplanes, a collaborative effort with Paramore’s lead vocalist Hayley Williams, takes advantage of Williams’ angst in her vocals and meshes the said vocals with the rapping of B.o.B. The track ends up as one of the album’s very outstanding tracks. B.o.B dramatically slows the pace down in Lovelier Than You. The track sounds charming as B.o.B tries to go the sentimental route.

B.o.B and Grammy Award-nominated Janelle Monae try their hands on some social commentary in The Kids which samples Vampire Weekend’s The Kids Don’t Stand A Chance. The track, alongside Airplanes, may be considered as the most likable tracks among all the collaborations included in the album. Magic, which features Rivers Cuomo of Weezer, sports a fast tempo and also shows off B.o.B’s ability to rap like a crazy mad man.

The album relies on B.o.B’s versatility as a musician and it all works out very great in the end. An adventure should never be one-dimensional and the albums show that convincingly. The tracks all possess a unique vibe and that is how an adventure should end up – something loaded with variety which can induce some fun eventually.

RELEASED: April 27, 2010 (US)
LABEL: Atlantic Records
DOWNLOAD THIS: ‘Nothin’ On You’, ‘Magic’, ‘The Kids’, ‘Airplanes’

B.o.B - B.o.B Presents: The Adventures of Bobby Ray (Deluxe)

This review was written by our resident contributor, Jio Canlas. His works and other reviews can be viewed on his personal blog, The Reflective Inklings.


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Album Review: The Candle Thieves – Sunshine and Other Misfortunes

The Candle Thieves may be quite unknown to most of us right? Well, the duo from Peterborough, UK consisting of Scott McEwan and Glockienshiels (did I spell that right?) are trying to break out in the British music scene with a taste of today’s hip music. Call Mumford & Sons with Noah and the Whale accompanying them and you’ll know what I’m talking about. I would not say this is Folk Music but it captures every bit of pop attitude making it more listenable the moment you indulge in this almost 50-minute debut LP.

It’s kind of a bit shocking to see something on the first track that says ‘We Are All Gonna Die (Have Fun)’ – it suggests of you having fun while dying but it isn’t actually. The free-spirited anthem denotes of a simple yet dead-on-point meaning, enjoy every bit of life has to offer. I certainly agree on this one and it might suggest of an album that’s full of feel-good songs. Hmm – sadly, it’s not.

The band’s ingenious use of instruments that puts a certain feel-good vibe in every song is a precarious thing to do. It’s more of a front that gears you away from the deeper meaning to every track the duo had scribbled. The Sunshine Song for example, stirs every bit of chance you might think of it as a literal sunshine song but it’s not. And the devious implication of having a nightmare brought to us by a xylophone-inflicted track ‘Sharks and Bears’.

‘My Love Will Clap Its Hands For You’ can sound like it’s an endearing ballad and luckily it is. ‘MLWCIHFY’, the albums third track is one of the best moments in the LP. It may present a wistful vibe during its verses but what they wanted for the listener to feel in this record is that it’s a song for assurance that somebody loves somebody. And take note of the beat break after the bridge. I’d say this can capture me off guard any time.

As the title of LP adumbrated, ‘Sunshine’ on ‘Sunshine and Other Misfortunes’ has faded as the next tracks become very wistful, with ‘Bright Lights’ which reminded me of a Snow Patrol track pictures a near-broken relationship with crying in the bathroom, choking at the table while ambulance waits – again, it’s actually pertaining to the recurrent theme of death. Then there’s the three-part finale ‘Singapore’ which leaves the album on a very depressing note.

In the end, ‘Sunshine and Other Misfortunes’ started with a bit of sunshine and ended with more misfortunes. It’s not that I’m complaining on what they did but it’s rather mixed emotions about totally liking the album or not. I guess, they’re ingenious to use elementary instruments to make the album sound brilliant. The song-writing is exceptional but they can be more pragmatic the next time. And if you may ask it if this is enjoyable, well it is. Mostly.

LABEL: Carnival Town Records
RELEASED: April 19th, 2010
DOWNLOAD THIS: ‘My Love Will Clap Its Hands For You’, ‘Sharks and Bears’, ‘Bright Lights’

PURCHASE THE LP:The Candle Thieves - Sunshine and Other Misfortunes

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Album Review: Neon Trees – Habits

Neon Trees – a pretty cool name huh? Well, this quartet from Provo, Utah has just been signed with Mercury Records last year and they’re still quite unknown to most pop/rock listeners because they didn’t get the chance to be exposed before they were signed to a major label. With much buzz coming out this year, they’ve released a single titled ‘Animal’ and a début album, ‘Habits’ all in the first quarter of this year. The band’s repertoire might be unabashedly compared with The Killers and Muse as they present stadium-filling music – brilliantly crafted rock music suited for fans of the latter two alike.

The band’s debut single, ‘Animal’ which comes off as track number three in the 37-minute LP sounds very hip and pop compared to most of the tracks in their first offering. It’s something you’d want to lip-sync to while you’re in a music festival or something. It’s catchy yet confusing about what the band really wants the listeners to feel about their LP. Although they’d want to keep a good message through their lyrics as they discussed many sides of love in most of their tracks.

With their amazing energy that clearly shows in every track, Neon Trees can never be branded boring to be completely honest. Since it’s branded as a rock album, it’s never far that it could be a bit rambunctious at times especially ‘1983’ that might be considered an instant hook as it gets its inspiration from the punk rock music scene.

Showing off a lot of likable traits, this album presents a great collection of bad-ass pop/rock anthems most of them are possible singles which embraces the generic breed of today’s pop/rock bands. ‘Habits’ doesn’t want you to think about how you’re going to appreciate this type of music but hence makes it easier for somebody who doesn’t treats this as their cup of tea to actually like this. Having said that, it’s a no brainer that these songs aren’t something we haven’t heard before. It clearly denotes an album that’s ephemeral in nature – for some period you’d learn to love the CD but then you’ll realise you somehow forget about it eventually.

RELEASED: March 16th, 2010

DOWNLOAD THIS: ‘Animal’, ‘1983’, ‘Sins of My Youth’

BUY THE ALBUM: Neon Trees - Habits (Bonus Track Version)

LABEL: Mercury Records

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