Thursday, April 21, 2011

Album Review: Nicole Scherzinger - Killer Love

Nicole Scherzinger - Killer Love

The former Pussycat Doll joins a growing list of high-energy, chart friendly female pop acts with this, her debut album Killer Love. In a market already saturated with your Britneys, Rihannas, Beyonces and Alexis Jordans, is there really room for another dance-pop diva?

Well, Killer Love proves that the answer may be 'yes'. There's absolutely nothing original on this album, but the quality control is at a high level meaning that this is a pretty decent collection of songs. Singles Poison and the excellent Don't Hold Your Breath are highlights, whilst the remainder of the album chugs along with a breathless stream of radio friendly fodder.

A misjudged duet with Sting - Power's Out - is a low point, and there are more ballads here than you might expect. Saying that, Scherzinger can certainly sing and the producers have wisely backed off (in a way that, say, Alexis Jordan's didn't) meaning that the vocals stand out strongly.

All in all Killer Love is basically daft pop fluff. However, as daft pop fluff goes, this is of a perfectly acceptable quality.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Album Review: Britney Spears - Femme Fatale

Britney Spears - Femme Fatale

She's packed a fair bit into her 29 years, old Britney. Notwithstanding all the trouble in her personal life, Femme Fatale is Spears' seventh album which is not bad going for someone who has staged more comebacks than Status Quo.

Femme Fatale is a timely reminder that Spears remains one of the queens of high NRG pop music. Whilst much of the album is auto-tuned, the production and writing team still know how to crank out a decent disco stomper and there are plenty on this 16 track album.

Opening singles Til The World Ends and Hold It Against Me are terrific pop records (notwithstanding the corny Carry On-esque lyrics of the latter) and there's the obligatory collaboration (the creaky and repetitive Big Fat Bass).

The mid paced Criminal recalls Supertramp's Logical Song whilst Up'N'Down samples Inner City's 1988 hit Good Life. Gasoline stretches an extended petrol metaphor about as far as it can go, whilst How I Roll (written by the team responsible for Toxic) is destined to be a single at some point.

Femme Fatale seems to be something of a victory for quantity over quality although there are some decent tracks here. It's not the best record ever - the decent stuff is spread a bit thin - but it proves that Britney has plenty of attitude (and plenty of lyrical sexual innuendo) left in the tank.

Monday, April 04, 2011

Album Review: Ronan Keating - When Ronan Met Burt

Ronan Keating - When Ronan Met Burt

Sometimes, cover albums can be great. Artists get to bring their own talents and personality to great songs and to reinterpret them in interesting and unusual ways.

However, sometimes cover albums can be lazy, sub-karaoke nonsense. Sadly, When Ronan Met Burt falls squarely into the latter category.

It's a shame, really. I love the work of Burt Bacharach and the legendary composer also produced this record. The problem is that Keating's voice - whilst technically fine - is too middle of the road to bring anything to these songs. The production is lazy and safe which leaves you with a selection of brilliant songs reduced to something you'd be likely to hear on a long lift journey.

Despite Keating's choice of some of Bacharach's best songs - Arthur's Theme is arguably my favourite Burt track - you find yourself desperately hankering for the vocals of Dusty Springfield, Scott Walker or Jackie DeShannon. Keating manages to squeeze all the beauty and joy out of these songs and it's only the quality of the compositions themselves that prevents this being absolutely hideous. As it is, it's not great.