New Music: Jessie J feat. Big Sean – “Wild”

jessiejwild

Jessie J blasts back onto the pop music scene with “Wild,” the lead single from the British singer’s upcoming second studio album.  Co-written with Claude Kelly and produced by frequent Dr. Luke collaborator Ammo (Katy Perry’s “E.T.”), “Wild” is an electrically-charged “look at me now” anthem, a kiss-off to Jessie’s haters (of which, there are many).  I understand why some people don’t like Jessie J – her guppy mouth is bigger than Steven Tyler’s and sometimes she just doesn’t know when to shut up (her over-singing makes Xtina look subtle), but she actually does exercise some refreshing vocal restraint here.  The “wild, wild, whoa-oh-oh-oh-oh-oh-oh” hook is catchy, but otherwise the song is lacking the spark of past singles like, say, “Domino” (the standard to which all Jessie J songs are now held…according to me).

I will say this: Jessie looks pretty hot strutting around with her Susan Powter buzz cut, and rapper Big Sean does provide an entertaining guest verse.  Check out the “Wild” music video below (which also features an appearance by UK rapper Dizzee Rascal).  What do you think – is it lead single material?

Download “Wild” on iTunes

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Music News: Did American Idol sabotage Angie Miller?

angiemilleryousetmefree

So if you were following American Idol this season, you know that Queen Angie Miller was wrongfully eliminated just before the finale, leaving the talented but yawn-inducing Candice Glover and Kree Harrison to limp towards the finish line.  Naturally, I was enraged, but HEY – the best person doesn’t always win these competitions and I can accept that.  What I cannot accept, however, is shady behind-the-scenes bull—-.  And I think the American Idol producers have some explaining to do.

Angie may not have been competing in the finale, but she still got her fair share of screen time, including an awesome duet with British pop star Jessie J (I’ve never used the word “awesome” to describe Jessie J before, but I really enjoyed the performance so I’m just going to go with it).  Afterwards, Ryan Seacrest announced that Angie’s original song, “You Set Me Free,” which she so brilliantly performed during auditions, would be available for download on iTunes after the show.  Huh.  So, even though this would put Angie’s single in direct competition with the winner’s single, they were still going to let her release it.  Seemed a bit odd, but I was so excited for Angie, I didn’t think much of it.  But as soon as the show drew to a close and Candice was crowned the winner and cruelly forced to ugly-cry her way through her mediocre new single, “I Am Beautiful,” the American Idol producers’ true intentions were revealed.

First, “You Set Me Free” was listed on iTunes under Angie Miler, with one L.  It could have been an honest mistake (in which case, iTunes, punish yourself), but it sure did make her single hard to find after the show.  Eventually, the misspelling was corrected, but then something even stranger happened: “You Set Me Free” wasn’t visible on the iTunes charts.  Fans quickly caught on to this problem and started tweeting Angie (who ironically just tweeted that she was hoping to wake up and see the song in the top 100), but she didn’t know what was going on either.  Eventually, Angie revealed that “You Set Me Free,” for reasons unexplained, would not be eligible to chart on iTunes period.  Hmm, could it be that the American Idol producers were afraid of Angie outshining their new winner and runner-up?  It certainly seems that way.  And I guess they were right to worry, because if you look at the numbers, it’s pretty clear whose single is resonating with the general public.

I’m so glad that we got to hear the full version of “You Set Me Free” – it’s a fantastic song, miles better than Candice’s paint-by-numbers inspirational ballad, but the American Idol producers should be ashamed of themselves for pulling this ridiculous stunt and for not being forthright with Angie.  It just makes them (and the show) look petty, sneaky, and insecure.  It’s OK, though – with her girl-next-door good looks and beautiful voice, I have a feeling Angie will have the last laugh.

Stream “You Set Me Free” via YouTube below and support Angie by downloading the song on iTunes!

New Music: Becky G – “Play It Again”

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Let me fill you in on Becky G: she’s Dr. Luke’s new protege.  When Luke should have been focusing on Ke$ha’s “Warrior,” he was spending a lot of time in the studio with this little munchkin.  She raps, with varying degrees of success in my opinion, but not in Kanye West’s!  After Becky covered his song “Otis,” Kanye took to Twitter to proclaim, “THIS GIRL IS DOPE.”  She’s worked with the likes of Cody Simpson and Cher Lloyd, and she recently released a cover version of Jennifer Lopez’s “Jenny From the Block” called “Becky From the Block.”  It’s…fine.  I think that’s about it.

So Becky just came out with a new original song called, “Play It Again.”  Produced by Dr. Luke, Cirkut, and Max Martin (this girl is so lucky), “Play It Again” is all about suffering through the verses to get to the sweet, sweet pop chorus.  And the bridge, ahh, the bridge!  Pure pop perfection.  Seriously, this song would be total ear candy if it weren’t for Becky’s rapping.  She’s like what people find annoying about Ke$ha, only magnified 100 times.  I’m not exactly sure what Luke sees in her.  Sure, she’s cute, but that voice!  I just can’t get into her yet – which is really hard for me because I love Luke and obviously he thinks there’s some real potential here!

Becky’s been working on her debut album for what seems like a long time now, but there’s still no sign of a lead single.  I think “Play It Again,” like “Becky From the Block,” was just released to create buzz.  Is it working?  I don’t think so.  But with people like Dr. Luke, Cirkut, and Max Martin behind her, this girl could definitely have a breakthrough hit – they’ve just got to find a way to tone down her annoying factor and give her an insanely catchy hook.  I’m not writing Becky G off yet.  She’s only 16, so she’s got plenty of time to figure things out.  I’m keeping an open mind.

Check out the video for “Play It Again” via YouTube below.  When the chorus inevitably gets stuck in your head, consider downloading it on iTunes.

New Music: Mariah Carey feat. Miguel – “#Beautiful”

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Finally, FINALLY Mariah has released a comeback single worthy of an actual comeback.  Is it the song I wanted?  No, not exactly, but it’s still pretty damn good.

“#Beautiful” (the hashtag 😦 ) is a feel-good, retro jam that kind of sounds like “My Girl” mixed with Mariah’s “Dreamlover.”  It’s light and understated – Mariah’s legendary vocals aren’t given much of a workout (although there is some quiet whistling near the end of the song if you listen closely).  The problem with “#Beautiful” is that it sounds a lot more like a Miguel song than a Mariah Carey song.  Hell, Miguel sings the first verse and the first chorus almost entirely by himself.  Hearing it on the radio for the first time, you’d have no idea that it’s Mariah’s track.

It’s a familiar problem – Mariah sounded like the featured artist on her last “comeback” single “Triumphant” as well.  I understand why she’s doing it – she’s been away for a while and she wants to reintroduce herself to radio in the safest way possible.  In that respect, snagging Miguel, one of the most critically acclaimed artists of last year, was a really smart move.  Still, couldn’t she have at least sung the first verse?  Mariah may not have hopped on the dance-pop bandwagon, but it feels like she’s relying a little too heavily on Miguel’s signature sound this time around.  But don’t get me wrong, I do LOVE the song.

According to the official press release, “#Beautiful” is the lead single from Mariah’s still untitled new album, due for release this summer.  The album will feature collaborations with Jermaine Dupri, Hit Boy, Mike Will, The-Dream, and Darkchild.

Check out “#Beautiful” via YouTube below or via Mariah’s official Soundcloud!  The song is available on iTunes now.  Get downloading – Mariah needs a hit and this song deserves it!

Review: Jessica Sanchez – “Me, You & the Music”

Review: Jessica Sanchez - "Me, You & the Music"

Cheesy lyrics and cluttered production plague about half of the 11 tracks on Jessica Sanchez’s debut album, “Me, You & The Music,” but her rich, powerful vocals still make it worth a listen.  Aside from lead single, “Tonight” (which I’ve raved about a couple times already), the standout song on the album is easily the Sia Furler and Toby Gad penned, “Gentleman,” which finds Jessica singing about needing a chivalrous man to come along and sweep her off her feet (err, “put it on” her).  Other favorites include the Ester Dean collaboration, “Plastic Roses,” the Benny Benassi produced, “No One Compares,” and the sickly-sweet ballad, “Crazy Glue” (which, in spite of its childish lyrics, is actually a really a fine showcase of Jessica’s incredible vocal talent).  The rest of the songs on the album range from fun mid-tempo pop (“Don’t Come Around”) to frantic, cluttered dance (“You’ve Got The Love,” which sounds like 10 different songs being played all at once).  All in all, the album’s a quick, breezy listen.  You won’t find anything groundbreaking, but Jessica always sounds fantastic.  It’s clear that with label support, she has the potential to grow into a successful pop artist in the coming years.

Unfortunately, Jessica doesn’t seem to be getting a whole lot of label support at the moment.  Interscope took a while to give “Tonight” an official radio adds date, and it’s only had one measly promotional performance so far.  No wonder the song is under-performing!  It’s not uncommon for former American Idol contestants to quickly put out a lightweight first album in order to capitalize on their fame, but if the label doesn’t have their back, they may never have the chance to show what they’re really made of on album number two.  Just ask Haley Reinhart, the American Idol alum who Interscope dropped at the end of last year just months after the release of her debut album, “Listen Up!”.  I hope Jessica doesn’t share the same fate.

“Me, You & the Music” is available for download on iTunes now,  It’s also streaming for free on Spotify.  If you’re thirsty for some new pop, it might be just the thing to tide you over until some of the bigger spring releases arrive!

New Music: Daft Punk feat. Pharrell Williams – “Get Lucky”

Daft Punk's "Get Lucky" streaming free

I like French duo Daft Punk’s new single “Get Lucky,” but couldn’t it be funkier?  I’m serious.  Like, it’s a little funky, but ultimately the song doesn’t really go anywhere.  I kept waiting for it to take it to that next level of FUNK, but it never did!  It sort of just hangs out in the same spot for 4 minutes.  Still, it’s a cute song.

It might not be funky enough for me, but it’s plenty funky for the rest of ya’ll!  “Get Lucky” climbed to the #1 spot on U.S. iTunes a mere 10 hours after its midnight release.  Pretty impressive.  I guess more people are here for Daft Punk than I realized!  “Get Lucky” is lifted from Daft Punk’s upcoming album “Random Access Memories,” available for pre-order on iTunes now.

Stream “Get Lucky” via YouTube below and let me know what you think!

Download “Get Lucky” on iTunes

New Music: Jason Derulo – “The Other Side”

Jason Derulo's "The Other Side" streaming free

I just love Jason Derulo.  There is something about him that is so real and genuine.  Watch this interview he did with Ryan Seacrest this morning and just TRY not to love him, I dare you!  It’s impossible.  Honestly, last year’s cheesy inspirational anthem “Undefeated,” which was written with the help of American Idol viewers (bleh), was legitimately one of my favorite songs of last summer.  His voice really isn’t anything special and he’s one of those guys who think that they can dance like Michael Jackson when in reality they just look like they’re doing 100 different variations of the robot, but I don’t care!  I really like him.

So Jason stopped by On Air with Ryan Seacrest this morning to premiere his new single, “The Other Side.”  Produced by Dr. Luke and Ammo (the same pair that brought us Katy Perry’s smash hit “E.T.”), “The Other Side” is an energetic dance pop track about falling in love with your best friend, and it’s got a lot of heart. “And I know we ain’t friends any more, if we walk down this road, we’ll be lovers for sure, so tonight kiss me like it’s do or die, and take me to the other side,” Jason sings on the track’s explosive chorus.  From there, the song’s all “whoooa oh whoooa oh whoa” chants and perfectly auto-tuned runs, and it just makes you want to jump up and rave.  Coming from anyone else, I might not buy it, but because it’s Jason and I know the song’s about his real life romance with former American Idol Jordin Sparks, it works.

“The Other Side” is lifted from Jason’s upcoming 3rd studio album, expected to be released some time this September.  Check out a preview of track below and if you like what you hear, download it on iTunes!

New Music: MS MR – “Hurricane”

 

I don’t know what the hell just happened, but I want to watch it again.  MS MR is a fascinating indie pop duo from New York consisting of vocalist Lizzy Plapinger and producer Max Hershenow.  “Hurricane,” a haunting song about our internal emotional storms, was originally included on the duo’s 2012 EP “Candy Bar Creep Show,” but it has recently been given new life in the form of the above arresting music video.  There’s something so chilling about the way Lizzy sings, “Welcome to the inner workings of my mind, so dark and foul I can’t disguise,” but like SJP in Hocus Pocus, her voice is so dreamy and sweet, you just want to hear more!

I had the pleasure of seeing MS MR live last summer when they opened for Marina and the Diamonds in Chicago.  They were fantastic, but when I got home and looked them up online, I couldn’t find much information.  I kind of forgot about them until a few months ago when their eerie and equally evocative song “Bones” was featured in a promo spot for HBO’s “Game of Thrones.”  I ran to iTunes to download their EP and the rest is herstory!

I’m not sure if “Hurricane” will appear on MS MR’s upcoming full-length studio album “Secondhand Rapture” (due out on May 14th), but since they recorded a new music video, I think it’s a good possibility.  Check out the new video for “Hurricane” above and then download the “Candy Bar Creep Show” EP on iTunes!

New Music: Avril Lavigne – “Here’s to Never Growing Up”

 

Here’s what you need to know about Avril Lavigne’s new single, “Here’s to Never Growing Up”: the chorus is immense.

That’s it.  The verses are unimaginative and studio magic has sucked the life from Avril’s trademark yodel, but the chorus is absolutely EVERYTHING.  Radio will love this, adults will love this, middle school students will act like they can relate and love this – it’s kind of the perfect comeback single.  We even get a little, “yeah-e-yeah!” ad lib near the end.  What more could you ask for?

“Here’s To Never Growing Up” is out on iTunes now.  Be sure to download it and help make Avril Epic Record’s first comeback success!  Five promo singles later and Ciara is still HOPING to have her album out by 2017.  She’s HOPING.

New Music: Selena Gomez – “Come & Get It”

Selena Gomez's "Come & Get It" streaming free

People are going to start to think this is a Selena Gomez fan blog.

The lead single from the Disney princess’s new album leaked yesterday afternoon, just a couple days shy of its scheduled On Air with Ryan Seacrest premiere.  Luckily, Hollywood Records moved quickly and put the song up for purchase on iTunes almost immediately.  It was good damage control, but NOTHING could stop the 11-year old Justin Bieber stans of the world from spreading download links on Twitter like it was their JOB.  Illegal downloads: the SWEETEST revenge! Continue reading