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Alex A.C.M (Chelmsford, Essex)

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Sweet About Me
Sweet About Me

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Victim to a pigeon-holing industry she ain't..., 25 Feb 2008
This review is from: Sweet About Me (Audio CD)
In the increasingly fickle music business, we are always bombarded with all these "hot tips" from the likes of Edith Bowman or *shudders* Fearne and Reggie as to who will arrive in a cloud of hype and millions of record sales in the new year. BBC News' recent Sound of 2008 poll was a disappointment - the tuneless, po-faced Adele came top, followed by the "new Dusty Springfield" Duffy, suggesting to me that this so called new music had become something of all style and no substance and record companies deciding there and then what the trend was and following it like the sheep that they are.

Thankfully, there's a couple of exceptions to every rule. The exception here being part Antipodean part Greek chanteuse Gabriella Cilmi, who's quietly been beavering away on her forthcoming debut album "Lessons To Be Learned" with Girls Aloud hitmakers Xenomania since 2006.

However, whilst the pigeon holing comparisons to Amy Winehouse will be inevitable (and this next sentence is in no way dismissing Amy Winehouse, because she is an equally talented artist herself) but Cilmi is in a musical field of her own. With a voice that radiates a charm well beyond her 16 years of age, "Sweet About Me" is a sneakily fine effort of a debut single - it's catchy without being too repetitively annoying, and the production is one of the most stripped down but elaborate ever seen in a pop song so far this year. Instinct tells me that this will definitely be one to watch out for in the charts over the next few weeks.

The Journey Continues
The Journey Continues
Offered by best_value_entertainment
Price: £6.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Why can't all dance tracks be like this?, 16 Feb 2008
This review is from: The Journey Continues (Audio CD)
There's usually two schools of thought to any musical genre; one will be more experimental and forward thinking, the other will always be more driven towards the commercial market. Dance music is no exception, as for every forward thinking dance act (see Hot Chip, Klaxons and Chromeo) there's always going to be a dance act that relies solely on a repetitive beat and "suggestive" video for the FHM readers of the nation (Basshunter, Eric Prydz et al, I'm looking at you).

Thankfully, on this new song from Mark Brown, Positiva Records' head honcho, the gap between both commercial and forward thinking is bridged up successfully. Sampling an aria from Swan Lake best known to all as the Lloyds TSB music and outstanding vocals from Sarah Cracknell (she of indie pop legends Saint Etienne), "The Journey Continues" not only has an element of trip hop cool but also has the hallmarks of a classic #1 record a la Sonique's It Feels So Good or Spiller's Groovejet (a record which incidently enough, Sarah was asked to provide vocals on). An accomplished effort, this is one of the best singles released so far this year by far.

Just / Valerie [CD 1]
Just / Valerie [CD 1]
Offered by yorkshirecoastcds
Price: £0.30

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A real UK talent continues to shine..., 5 Feb 2008
This review is from: Just / Valerie [CD 1] (Audio CD)
Say what you may about Mark Ronson, but there is something extremely unique about him that gives him a real selling point. Even if he has shot to fame with a covers album that's seen him bring in the likes of Amy Winehouse and Robbie Williams to help out, (that album being the now BRIT nominated Version) it's still better than half the albums that have come out in the last 6 months or so. This new single from it is further proof of that fact.

A cover of the old Radiohead track "Just", Ronson brings in the vocal talent of Phantom Planet vocalist Alex Greenwald, best known to all as the band behind the O.C. theme tune "California" which hit the UK top 5 in March 2005.

A slow burner that sees the vocals be just as menacing as that of Thom Yorke's on the original, it brings in, by contrast, the trademark stuttery drums and horn interludes that hallmark Ronson's 60's pop influenced numbers and, whilst is unlikely to reach the dizzying success of "Valerie" or "Stop Me" at this later stage of the album campaign, it is still a very good choice of single and another winner all round for Mark.

I Thought It Was Over
I Thought It Was Over
Price: £4.62

5.0 out of 5 stars Smart slinky pop rock from the days when MOR was still a bit disco..., 3 Feb 2008
This review is from: I Thought It Was Over (Audio CD)
According to their record company, in 2006, for one in every 5 minutes, a radio station, somewhere, was playing a single by The Feeling from their massive selling "Twelve Stops And Home" album. In 2008, this looks set to be the case once more.

Off the scene since the underperforming final single from their last album, "Rose" from this time last year, the band are back with the first single from second album "Join With Us" that sounds every inch like it's been litmus tested against every radio station going. But in a good way - in fact, make that a very very good way.

Perhaps drawing on inspiration from the band's good friend (and Richard's wife) Sophie Ellis-Bextor, "I Thought It Was Over" is a rollicking discotastic invite to the dancefloor which still carries the band's trademark 70's pop rock sound a la Supertramp. It's their best single since "I Love It When You Call" and certainly deserves a top 3 position at least.

Girls Aloud: Style [DVD]
Girls Aloud: Style [DVD]
Dvd ~ Girls Aloud
Offered by A2ZSupplies
Price: £9.75

10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Helpful hints and a whole lotta (fashion) history..., 1 Feb 2008
This review is from: Girls Aloud: Style [DVD] (DVD)
I got given this as one of my Christmas presents this year (which is just as well, seeing as I asked for it), but because I've been so busy these past few weeks it's only till last night that I've watched it properly all the way through. And, speaking as someone who nearly wore their Off The Record DVD into the ground, this has got to be the best DVD the girls have done so far.

Letting the cameras follow them around once more, "Get Girls Aloud's Style" is an enjoyable, amusing, and very helpful look into what it takes for the girls to look as fabulous as they do, be it for a premiere or for a video shoot (or a night in the tiles, in Sarah's case - sorry Sarah). It begins with the girls sitting around and discussing how their fashion sense has evolved, looking back at their fashion highs (like the red and black pencil skirts from Biology) and their fashion lows (like the spandex and foil nightmares from No Good Advice or, as Nadine says of their first post Popstars final photocall, "those cream and wine things").

And then the DVD is split down into 5 more mini-style guides - first there's Cheryl, with the girls' make up artist Chloe Butcher, who takes an in-depth look at her love of make up plus there's a chance to see where the girls got the eyelashes for the "Sexy! No, No, No..." video.

Then there's Kimberley, who gives advice on clothes shopping on the net whilst trying out a couple of her own online purchases to decipher which'd be best for a friend's wedding. Then Sarah takes us on an accessory spree, as well as to the place where they filmed the Sunsilk advert in West London.

Nadine's section is all about shoes, as we see her with her sister trying numerous pairs of day and evening footwear, as well as launching a full scale rant at Crocs (it's OK, Nadine, I hate them too). And then Nicola goes to find the perfect pair of jeans using a special computer that breaks down all your measurements and stuff.

And then what you do find interesting is the little "Top Tips" sections at the end of each mini-guide, which offer particularly helpful hints like always checking the returns policy of internet sites, never using a shop mirror to judge whether an outfit looks good (I never trust them anyway) and helpful stuff like that.

But then the DVD's piece de resistance has to be the inclusion of all the videos from "Sound Of The Underground" up to "Sexy! No, No, No..." with the option of audio commentary from Cheryl and Sarah - it's interesting to see which ones the girls prefer and certainly, when I look back, I do kind of see why videos like "The Show" and "Something Kinda Ooooh" did look a little bit cheap and rushed. Still, I'm glad I got this DVD, a perfect "night in" DVD for Girls Aloud fans everywhere.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Sep 18, 2008 2:43 PM BST

The Warning
The Warning

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars In a word, dance pop at it's peak of eccentricity..., 19 Jan 2008
This review is from: The Warning (Audio CD)
There's something about us Brits. We are almost renowned and indeed, revel in the fact that we can be eccentric little mukkers sometimes. You wouldn't, for example, see the Pussycat Dolls or Beyonce vamping it up with the horse's tail Alison Goldfrapp is so often seen wearing in their live sets, would you?

And in terms of our music, we certainly don't get more eccentric and lively than London new rave five piece Hot Chip. With their third album, "Made In The Dark" waiting in the wings for release and new single "Ready For The Floor" all over the radio like a rash, I felt it only necessary to revisit one of 2006's greatest dance pop albums - the Mercury Prize nominated "The Warning".

One of the great things about this album is the fact that, unlike some of the other recent, under par efforts from the more avant garde torch bearers of British dance (yes, Calvin Harris and Chemical Brothers, I'm looking at you) Hot Chip make the job of making an album such as theirs look like an easy job. Each song on here is so delightfully addictive and cleverly structured - cases in point for me being the hit single "Over And Over", the Kate Bush-esque ambience of "Colours" and "Look After Me" and the hard hitting big bass vibes of the album's opener "Careful".

Everything is so immediate, yet it doesn't feel like it should be classed as any one particular style of music. In a word, Hot Chip are their own style, for which they should be duly credited.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Oct 14, 2013 9:17 PM BST

Worst Case Scenario
Worst Case Scenario
Offered by jumpin_sounds
Price: £0.99

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Not quite as bouncy, but still fine within it's field..., 8 Jan 2008
This review is from: Worst Case Scenario (Audio CD)
Following the runaway success of their debut #1 album and it's two Top 5 hits, The Hoosiers return with single #3 from "Trick To Life" - entitled, rather unheard of in a pop song, "Worst Case Scenario". It's a little bit different to their previous singles - for a start, it sounds a lot more toned down than the whismical super-hype of "Goodbye Mr A" whilst remaining quite punchy.

The video's a little bit more arty than the other two (i.e. they're not running around a lot being chased by a mega-monkey or chasing after a corrupt superhero). But still, it's one of the better tracks on the album and showcases Irwin Sparke's vocal capabilities in another new light, and a wise choice of single, though I can't honestly see this going quite as stratospheric as the previous singles.

Amy Winehouse 'I Told You I Was Trouble - Amy Winehouse Live in London' [DVD] [2007]
Amy Winehouse 'I Told You I Was Trouble - Amy Winehouse Live in London' [DVD] [2007]
Dvd ~ Amy Winehouse
Offered by Fulfillment Express
Price: £12.19

54 of 54 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The definitive portrait of Britain's biggest female star right now..., 28 Dec 2007
When you are shrouded in as much publicity as Amy Winehouse is, you, the consumer, tend to think one of two things. 1) That how she's portrayed by the media is really what the artist is like and 2) that your opinion will never change of the artist thus. Well, that will be the case until you buy this DVD.

Recorded at Shepherd's Bush Empire in London earlier this year, "I Told You I Was Trouble" is living proof, if any was ever needed, why Winehouse's stellar second album "Back To Black" has been one of the biggest selling albums of the last 12 months.

Through all the haze of redtop press puppetery and constant references to how she may "have a problem" with alcohol and drugs, people fail to remember what it is that makes Amy so unique and so different - because the truth is, she can belt out a decent pop song or two.

It's evident on the stellar performances given of her Mark Ronson produced 60's girl pop stompers like Rehab, Love Is A Losing Game and classics from her 2004 debut Frank like Stronger Than Me and In My Bed. Forget the caterwauling of Leona Lewis and the like, this is where pure, raw British talent ultimately lies.

Also on this DVD is another case in point, should you need it, that Amy is at the top of her game. The fly on the wall documentary, compiled from TV footage, gig footage and personal interviews with Winehouse herself and the people around her strive to illustrate just how much of an effect she's had on us Brits as a whole since she broke onto the scene 5 years ago.

My advice to anyone still sitting on the fence about Amy would be to get this DVD, and watch with an open mind. You may just broaden your views of her that little bit more.

This Is the Life
This Is the Life
Price: £3.00

5.0 out of 5 stars One of the best new artists of 2007..., 27 Dec 2007
This review is from: This Is the Life (Audio CD)
Buying Travis' "The Man Who" aged 11, getting inspired to write songs and play guitar at 14 before getting signed to Vertigo Records (Razorlight, Dirty Pretty Things) aged 19, Scots' finest new talent of the year, Amy MacDonald, certainly seems to have lived a kind of fast forward life over the last few years.

It's an experience that translates very well into her really quite amazing debut album. Though she has had the unavoidable comparisons to the likes of Sandi Thom and Paolo Nutini she radiates a far superior ebullience than either of those two artists put together.

Some of it is due to the strong musicianship in evidence on this album - there is a distinct live, stripped down feel throughout the album that does actually sound far more authentic than most pretenders could care to have a crack at, rather like the same feeling you get listening to Alanis Morisette's acoustic albums or the late Kirsty MacColl.

Some of it is the haunting, toe tapping feel good songs that the album's given us so far - "Mr Rock 'n' Roll", the album's title track and current Top 30 hit and songs like "Poison Prince" and "Wish For Something More" are all set to become future classic radio hits. I can't quite put my finger on it, but you just know when an artist is going to be a long stayer, and from where I'm standing, Amy MacDonald looks as if she'll be around for a long while yet.

Now That's What I Call Music 2008 [DVD]
Now That's What I Call Music 2008 [DVD]
Dvd ~ Now That's What I Call Music 2008

22 of 23 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Less 2008, more a catch up on the last 2 and a half years..., 26 Dec 2007
When the people at Now Music HQ first started bringing out video compilation DVDs in 2001, they seemed to make a pretty good job. But seeing as it's been well over a year since the last one, the compilations have A) been out of sync and B) rather sparse compared to their previous efforts.

According to the promotional blurb of this DVD, "Now 2008 - The DVD" is a "compelling collection will include the biggest hits and best videos from the last 12 months". To say this is a bit of misrepresentation would be making an understatement.

Whilst I do not have a problem with the videos here, several of them are from 2006 as opposed to this year (Lily Allen's LDN, Jamelia's Beware Of The Dog, All Saints' Rock Steady, Jamie T's Calm Down Dearest and Simon Webbe's Coming Around Again) and really, they should have been on last year's compilation.

Further, there's a couple of songs here that were flops, which is strange when you consider Now don't usually include flops like Roisin Murphy's Let Me Know, Athlete's Hurricane or Unklejam's What Am I Fighting For on their albums.

There isn't, for instance, some of the bigger songs of the year, like Rihanna's Umbrella or Kaiser Chiefs' Ruby. My message to anyone, therefore, before buying this DVD, is yes, you will enjoy the videos on here, but if this a compilation of all the best videos from the last 12 months, surely it should be an accurate reflection?

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