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Dog Man Star - 20th Anniversary
Dog Man Star - 20th Anniversary
Price: £107.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Early Christmas treat, 23 Oct 2014
I ordered my copy from Suede's website because I wanted to have the limited to 500 copies only collectible orange cover edition. Amazon's edition of the box set features the original cover, other than that both editions are identical. As with previous Suede box sets, this is likely to sell out before you say Brettpop, so hurry up, you don't want to miss out!
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Oct 23, 2014 11:25 PM BST

Les Greatest Hits
Les Greatest Hits
Price: £7.36

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Massive luxury overdose, 22 Oct 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Les Greatest Hits (Audio CD)
Sexy, outrageous, camp, flamboyant, risque, grandiose; if one had to find the right word to describe Army of Lovers, that would be "excessive". Any other epithet is an understatement for this "gay" band behind those hysterical crazy disco hits of the 90s. Never in the history of popular music there has ever been a group as both ambiguous and universal. AOL were so much more than just a fun trio / quartet singing and dancing, their fabulous, fluffy pop songs were pure fun, utterly entertaining, transcending boundaries, and breaking barriers. This is the most comprehensive AOL compilation out of the 3 that have been released, featuring a fantastic 18-track selection from their glorious repertoire. An essential purchase for any pop lover, even for those who are not familiar with the genius of Alexander Bard (the man behind AOL, and various other band-projects over the years), it is likely that most will crave for more. Given the sheer perfection of their material, it is totally beyond me how they have received such little recognition, when they could have exploded to become the absolute global pop extravaganza of all time. Because they were that great. Guaranteed to get even the laziest of feet tapping, and with the lyrics printed on the booklet, you'd be a fool not to groove and croon along to these stellar tunes! "Les greatest hits" is an absolute corker collection of utter pop brilliance. Purchase immediately, indulge selfishly!

The Complete Studio Albums Collection
The Complete Studio Albums Collection
Price: £32.99

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Everlasting, 20 Oct 2014
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Following the completion of the re-issues series that started in 2013, it was only inevitable that a collective set would follow, too. So here it is, "The complete studio albums" box set by the iconic pop femme fatalle Belinda Carlisle. In the tradition of most similar releases, the set gathers all 7 studio BC albums in their standard editions (not the recent - excellent in all aspects - expanded ones), presented in gatefold sleeves, simply but nicely packaged in a sturdy, elegant box case. Anyone with an interest in Belinda will have heard the music on the original releases, however I will make a few comments about each album.

BELINDA, BC's solo debut, emerged in 1986, a year after former band - and America's most successful all-female group - the Go-Go's, were gone-gone. "I have a feeling of starting out again", she said at the time. "I don't know what's going to happen. But the Go-Go's went No. 1 on their first album, so anything's possible." As was proved, it was. Fresh from rehab, and in great contrast to the Go-Go's punk image, for her own image and sound Belinda adopted a more innocent and feminine look, successfully re-introducing and re-launching herself. The album was a promising first effort, which would lead to a fruitful solo career, as subsequent releases attested. Featuring hit singles "Mad about you" and "I feel the magic", the heartbreaking "Stuff and nonsense", and the achingly melancholic "Since you've gone", "Belinda" captured the essence of Belinda, and also many hearts (mine included) along the way. (3***)

HEAVEN ON EARTH (1987), proved to be Belinda's breakthrough album internationally, and also her most successful. Single "Heaven is a place on earth" reached No. 1 all around the world; "I get weak" and the hauntingly beautiful "Circle in the sand" were smashes, too. Clean of drugs, happy with her husband, and basking in the adoration of millions of fans while on Good Heavens! tour, Belinda's confidence was newly restored since the Go-Go's split, taking her to great - personal as well as professional - heights. Along with Madonna and Michael Lackson, Belinda was on top of her game during those years, establishing her name for good with her slickly 1980's power pop-rock quality. "Nobody owns me" she claims on one of the album highlights, and that was possibly true then. "Heaven on earth" could not have been more prophetic as a title, a heavenly record in every sense. (4****)

RUNAWAY HORSES arrived 2 years later. Although it maintained Belinda's popularity, it did not reach the commercial peak of "Heaven". Apparently, there were disagreements regarding promotional tactics; it did not help either that US so-called music experts snubbed it at the time. Still, "Horses" sold very well worldwide, reaching gold, platinum and double platinum status in many markets. It spawned 6 (!) hit singles (arguably all 10 songs could have been released as singles), an impressive accomplishment on its own, even more so considering the circumstances. The pop brilliance encountered on this record is unparalleled, that is why it is considered to be Belinda's magnum opus, a bona-fide record, a pop landmark; it is indeed all of the above. Her personal favourite song is included here ("Summer rain"), mine, too ("Vision of you"). 1989 was a great year for pop music, "Horses" is one of the reasons. Hop on and enjoy the ride. (5*****)

1991's LIVE YOUR LIFE BE FREE found Belinda in the midst of a severe drug problem. Interestingly, and ironically enough, this set of songs is her most optimistic and carefree; plus, she looks at her absolute best on videos and photo shoots from that era (the unforgettable "Do you feel like I feel" video is simply iconic). Dangerously poptastic, full of catchy choruses and addictive melodies, the album sounds effortlessly engaging. Considering the cancellation of the promo tour due to her pregnancy, it faired pretty well, despite Belinda claiming later on that this is her least favorite record. Obviously this has to do with the fact that she was not pleased with how her label was handling her music at the time. But with so many brilliantly crafted pop gems one after another, "LYLBF" is one of her all-time best, a close second to "Horses". And what a great statement the anthemic title track makes, thanks for that Belinda! (5*****)

REAL followed in 1993. More guitar-based and raw, it was a departure from the perfectly polished pop of previous albums. Affected by motherhood, Belinda consciously chose to change direction with this, offering a more personal and mature set of songs, which lacked the immediate, broad commercial appeal of past albums. A change on her image was obvious, too, hardly wearing any make-up on the stark cover and inside photos, as if she is trying to strip altogether (hmmm, please do!). Contributing to the overall sincerity is the fact that she co-wrote most of the songs, which also explains the intensity of her delivery. "Lay down your arms" and "One with you" are the record's instant grabbers, the rest of the album calls for repeated listenings before coming to appreciate it. "Too much water" and the almost religious "Where love hides" are favourites. Although it failed to make an impact, "Real" is the real deal ...real-ly. (4****)

After briefly re-uniting with the Go-Go's, Belinda returned to the recording studio, and resumed working. In 1996, she released her 6th solo album, A WOMAN AND A MAN. Consisting of sleek, finely-crafted, perfectly accessible songs, this is Belinda's most safe and balanced album. This was her gift to the faithful fans, who stood be her since the very beginning (thanks, our pleasure!). Showcasing an artist at her most confident and alluring state, on this album she shines vocally, exhibiting precision and emotion simultaneously. I fondly remember her tres-chic UK TV appearances for the promo of "Always breaking my heart", where she wore some lovely dresses with cherry prints on them, what a classy lady! The album included several hits, and revitalized her solo career in Europe. As a result of this success, it was released in the US, a year later, but with no much luck. A fan-favourite. (4****)

In 2007, Belinda released her 7th album, VOILA, her first full-length solo studio album in more than 10 years. "After discovering and coming to love French music, I decided to record these amazing songs myself, with a playful, contemporary feel.", she said. The result is a most unexpected surprise, but a rather pleasant one! Living in France explains her almost impeccable pronounciation, but it is her trademark tremulous vibrato that matches those songs in a most impressive manner, breathing sexiness and sophistication to standards which have been re-interpreted countless times, such as "Ne me quitte pass" and "Avec le temps". This was certainly an out-of-the-box choice, one risky task which she skillfully accomplished. "Voila" is magnificent, just like Belinda herself. Merci et bravo, Belinda, vous êtes une chanteuse magnifique! Felicitations! (4****)

From her punk roots to a French language album, Belinda Carlisle has certainly come a long way. Regardless of her personal weaknesses, her remarkable artistic progression, and the fact that she kept a healthy distance from the demands of the industry (occasionally paying the price for it), they say a lot. Pop may be frivolous and fleeting, but she is acknowledged as an iconic popstress, though an underrated one. This is a collection guaranteed to entertain casual listeners, and excite pop fannatics. Anyone who is in for a pop trip, they will treasure this forever. Me, I will be forever in love with this flame-haired beauty with the razor sharp cheekbones.

PS: For those who wish to explore further Belinda's catalogue, and enjoy her even more, I would recommend the recent expanded re-mastered 2CD+DVD combos. All 7 of them are immaculate, thoroughly comprehensive and meticulously assembled, without doubt the best re-issues of recent years.

Chapter One (Deluxe Version)
Chapter One (Deluxe Version)
Price: £11.00

15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A revelation!, 13 Oct 2014
It has been quite sometime since someone who is coming from a talent show, showed true artistry and released an album not made to be massively consumed, but instead created with care, aiming to showcase material that is worthy of the artist's true potential. In Ella Henderson's case, that was somewhat inevitable. Choosing to sing one of her own songs in the X Factor auditions proved that she was in a different league, and as the show progressed, her talent shone through. She may not have won, but based on these songs, she is destined to enjoy the greatest success of any other fellow contestant. Her anticipated debut record is a meticulously assembled, polished product, packed with beautifully crafted songs (most of which she co-writes), merging together a variety of styles in the most effortless and enjoyable manner.

Even more impressive are her performances. Ella is a young girl turning into a woman, yet her voice is so full that is beyond anyone's expectations how she is bursting with genuine emotion, singing her heart out in the most engaging way. One can literally hear her voice break on the verge of tears, and cannot help but wonder of what's to come from her in the future, if she can already exhibit such fervour, and deliver with such consistency. I could argue that Ella Henderson is without doubt the best reality show non-winner ever, and "Chapter one" is easily the best debut album from one. Take a look at her on the cover, and notice the little detail under her right eye; sure, that sign of a tear is intentional, but it is the subtlety with which it is portrayed that makes it special. A sheer pop revelation, bound to soar.

Here's to many more chapters to come.

Songs Of Innocence
Songs Of Innocence
Price: £11.99

9 of 13 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars All that they had left behind, 13 Oct 2014
This review is from: Songs Of Innocence (Audio CD)
Nothing scarier than marketing strategies these days. Using as cover art a photo of a man (drummer Larry Mullen) embracing the lower area of another man's semi-naked body (his son) can only be perceived as a suspiciously cheap trick to engender controversy rather than an artistic statement. Pretty ironic when the album in question is called "Songs of innocence", and it is by one of the biggest bands worldwide. Automatically installed directly to no less than 500 million people's music libraries, provided that they were Apple customers / subcribers, "SOI" inevitably made history upon its release. And, although the songs were made available at no cost, it was no secret that this unprecedented move was part of a negotiated deal between the American technology giant and the band's label - one that is reported to worth $100 million. Going to your local record store to purchase your favourite album never seemed so last century. Songs of innocence, signs of innocence lost, no doubt.

"I don't believe in free music, music is a sacrament.", were Bono's words on the day, making it all the more confusing. Actually, the power of the album is to be found within its sacramental atmosphere. It seems that the key to understanding and appreciating the new record, is to leave all names, facts, prejudice and hype aside. Because the biggest surprise about it is not the way it was released; it is how good its songs are. Less textured musically and more sonically appealing than most of their recent efforts, the new album harkens back to the musical style of the early days. While it pays tribute to their musical inspirations, "SOI" is recalling the group members' youth in Ireland, being reflective of the band discovering themselves, finding their place in the world, and touching on their childhood experiences. Bono finally lays down his political megaphone, and writes personal and vulnerable lyrics that come across naturally, highlighting the emotive essence of the record.

"Songs of innocence" is not radical in the ways that ie "Achtung baby!" was, but it is their most personal, inspired, cohesive and enjoyable album since then. It is doubtful that it will win them any new fans; in fact, the lack of ambition and innovation will probably disappoint some of the old ones. They grasped at success so tightly in the last decade, not realizing they had lost it. Here, they throw out their past conventions, focusing instead on what they do best, and producing one of the greatest collections in their catalogue. Former soul-less corporate rock gives place to a deep, intimate concept record, one which is likely to be remembered as their promised rebirth. Fresh, honest, freed from political convictions, U2 present on here most of what was mostly missing from recent albums, proving that they can still be compelling when not crushed under the weight of their own ponderousness. Catapulting them back to their status of the past, as one of the greatest rock bands around, "SOI" is a triumph.
Comment Comments (7) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Oct 19, 2014 8:50 PM BST

Price: £11.28

3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Raw and adored, 6 Oct 2014
This review is from: Adore (Audio CD)
Originally released sporting a black and white photo depicting a bowing girl in front of what looked like an umbrella, "Adore"'s re-issue cover presents the complete picture frame in colour; that girl apears to be one of the petals of a blossomed red rose. How poetic, indeed. The Smashing Pumpkins have always incorporated poetic elements in their work, but on "Adore" poetic they became. Whereas previous albums were punchy, in-you-face affairs, on this, their 4th record, a dark, melancholic, melodic, introspective quality runs through each of the 16 songs, appropriately, as during that time the band were dealing with death and seperation (frontman Billy Corgan's mother's death, his divorce, the reunion with his father, asking drummer Jimmy Chamberlin to leave the band etc.). Experimenting with electronic sounds, fusing a 70s rock essence with 80s synth-sounds and 90s techno-tempos was, indeed, a strange change in direction for the band, especially considering the phenomenal success of their multi-platinum and critically acclaimed previous 2 records.

"Adore" sounds nothing like "Siamese dream" or the magnificent "Mellon collie and the infinite sadness" opus. Actualy, it is entirely different to any former or subsequent SP album. Even B. Corgan's signature angry scream here is replaced with a voice that sounds warm and human. Despite being poorly received by critics and fans alike upon its 1998 release, it really attained the very same heights as their "MCATIS" album. Brimming with creativity and emotion, and transcending all expectations, this conceptual album was conceptualized in the most unexpected and alternative manner. Raw usually means hard, but it can also mean fine and beautiful; that is exactly what "Adore" is. Probably the most underrated rock album of the 90s, possibly one of the finest. The definition of true art. (Listening to the tinkly piano melody cut short in the end of the set will make you never forget them). This brand new re-issue is a first class opportunity to introduce / revisit the Smashing Pumpkins brilliance, they will effortlessly melt your heart, if you let it open. Mine is still bleeding.

Offered by Fulfillment Express
Price: £10.82

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Singing the body electric, 2 Oct 2014
This review is from: Paradise (Audio CD)
This year's "Ultraviolence", a most diverse, slow-burner of an album, showcased that Lana Del Rey is an artists' artist, sheer proof that she is not a random mega-seller. Otherwordly mesmerising, utterly compelling, helplessly addictive, "Born to die" is without doubt THE pop record of this decade. "Paradise", an 8-track EP released a few months after the original record, enhanced the mystery about this dark angel, being deeper, darker and dirtier than its predecessor. And, at least 2 of its songs also proved that Lana can do even better than "Born to die"; the beautifully vulgar "Gods and monsters", and the cinematic "Body electric", whose inspiration probably came from the same-titled poem of the great American poet Walt Whitman. In fact, I am certain that LDR would totally identify with him, when he said: "Nothing can happen more beautiful than death". Listening to these songs feels exactly as if death is the only salvation from the troubles of her mortal existence. In fact, that seems to be the case for listeners as well. Because that is exactly what happens to those who listen to these songs. Infatuation guaranteed.
Comment Comments (3) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Oct 4, 2014 12:49 PM BST

Born To Die [Explicit]
Born To Die [Explicit]
Price: £4.99

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Born to soar, 2 Oct 2014
Lana Del Rey: Insatiable bitch, damned diva, innocent lolita, dark angel, femme fatale, desolate princess, American trash, universal Goddess, revolutionary, provocateour, icon, bimbo, siren, mermaid, human, alien. Ultimately, THE most controversial artist of this decade.
"Born to die": Haunting, somber, uninhibited, eclectic, sultry, hypnotising, brooding, euphoric, otherwordly mesmerising, masterfully epic, heavenly sublime, helplessly addictive, bona-fide masterpiece, magnum opus. Ultimately, THE pop record of this decade.
Comment Comments (3) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Oct 3, 2014 11:32 PM BST

Offered by Champion Toys
Price: £2.59

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Progressed, literally!, 25 Sep 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Progressed (Audio CD)
Following their reform in 2006, Take That returned with "Beautiful world" and "The circus", both of which featured soft adult pop-rock/folk songs, developing from the pop-orientated material that established and made them a true sensation in the nineties. "Progress" sounds nothing like these 2 albums, being a straight-up electronic record with a more upbeat synth-driven sound. Continuing their way forward, the increasing maturity in lyrics, the beautifully written melodies, the gorgeous vocal harmonies, the experimental and soul-baring qualities, were quite a deparure altogether from the typical Take That style of former records, introducing them to a more adult audience. Singles "The flood" and "When we were young" rank among the group's finest moments, unanimously. Many were initially unpleasantly surprised upon the album's release. However, most soon came round to admitting that this change in sound was rather necessary for them as a band in order to take another leap forward. Inevitably, Robbie Williams' influence was also seen with reserve, causing both positive and negative criticism.

Living up to its title, with "Progress" Take That broke new territory, and some records, too (the second fastest-selling album ever in the UK, and best-selling album of 2010 in Europe). The album is considered to be among Take That's boldest efforts, though it is not their strongest. This, "Progressed", the subsequent re-package enhanced interest (and boosted sales evenmore, resulting in total UK sales of 3 milion!), boasting 8 new tracks, most of them sitting more than comfortably alongside the original 10; a serious extension of this album, rathen than a simple addition to the original set. A mention about the exquisite, minimalistic artwork, too. Both the yellow cover of "Progress"and the red of "Progressed", depicting the human/Take That evolution, are equally striking and bold, making a clear statement, and emphasising the context of the songs. "Progress" and "Progressed" not just re-inforced the belief that Take That is not just a boy band anymore, but established them as an exciting band with creativity and longevity. Rather impressive, not just for their standards.

Cheek to Cheek
Cheek to Cheek
Price: £12.99

14 of 19 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Jazzy GaGa: The Lady is a champ, 22 Sep 2014
This review is from: Cheek to Cheek (Audio CD)
On her triumphant pop debut she paid homage to metal band Mötley Crüe. She launched, and also titled, her sophomore with a song-declaration about LGTB acceptance ("Born this way"). And she unabashedly became herself the main visual for the concept of her mighty-titled "Artpop" project. That is Lady GaGa, certainly not your typical artist. In fact, not typical, period. She has more diversity than any of her contemporaries, and is able to fuse many styles into her work and image, and she does it flawlessly. Taken for granted because of her unique sense of visual artistry and fashion, she is definitely a much better singer than people give her credit for. She seems to make fun of the whole pop culture as much as she embraces it, and though her singles are mainly generic, though most enjoyable, chart-toppers, the core of her albums is pretty diverse.

It only makes sense then that her love for jazz, which she has been singing since her early teens, resulted in a proper jazz/swing album, where she and the legendary Tony Bennett perform a set of classics. "Cheek to cheek" shows what GaGa has always done best. Her most honest deliveries came when singing her slower songs or covers from other artists with just her sat at the piano. Jazz takes a lot of musicality, character and training to sing. This album reveals the warmth and depth of her voice, her vocal precision is admirable. She and Bennett play it straight and safe, the record is just two accomplished vocalists having fun, with neither radical reboots, nor mediocre redos. He is exhibiting his trademark suave, while GaGa proves a revelation. They bond best on the uptempo tracks particularly, sounding carefree, energetic and fun.

It is questionable if GaGa fans want this from her. I did not, since I am a fan because of her original music, Lady GaGa pop. This is Lady GaGa jazz. Many famous artists struggle with chart success, but she probably does not care if this does not hit the charts. And so many will find this as an opportunity to trounce her once again, accusing her of being a monstrous money-making music machine. Regardless of success or money, she will stand proud as long as she stays true to her vision. Noone else is able to combine so many different musical and visual styles, and so perfectly match them all, like GaGa does. She is the ultimate chameleon, ra-ra ah ah ah roma rum mama GaGa ooh la la!

Note: The German edition of "Cheek to cheek" (an 18-track special edition) contains additionally the superb duet "The lady is a tramp" from TB's "Duets II".
Comment Comments (3) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Sep 25, 2014 5:48 AM BST

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