Marketed and distributed by SonyBMG Music Entertainment

Never one to follow the trends, Pink’s image and music has always set her apart from the everyday pop princesses and rock chicks. A mix of pop and rock fused with punk and hip-hop, Pink’s second album, M!ssundaztood, put her firmly on the map, with her third album, Try This, struggling to achieve the same levels of success (a few hit singles aside). So here we have I’m Not Dead, Pink’s fourth album, and like many others, I’m delighted that the Pink we all came to know and love is in fact not dead. As is now tradition, the first single is a fun, pop-track (Stupid Girls), with the follow-up a tad more serious (Who Knew). Already on the third single (the fantastic U + Ur Hand), I’m Not Dead is probably Pink’s best effort yet. The title-track is a delightfully moody song, with Leave Me Alone (I’m Lonely), bonus track Fingers, Long Way To Happy, and Nobody Knows also worth a mention. More mature and sounding better than ever, I’m Not Dead is a welcome return from pop’s black sheep.


Marketed and distributed by Universal Music

Aside from the singles that received airplay on radio and television, the self-titled debut album from the Scissor Sisters passed me by. The songs I did hear (Take Your Mama Out & Comfortably Numb to name but two) were fun, catchy and memorable, but alas I have nothing to compare their latest album, Ta-Dah, against. But, I don’t think fans will be disappointed – it’s a collection of colourful, camp, retro-pop songs that will stick in your subconscious for weeks. Jake Shears emits a strange sexual energy throughout the album and would probably be the perfect guy to do a Bee Gees tribute. First single I Don’t Feel Like Dancing is undoubtedly the best track on the album (co-written and featuring Sir Elton John himself); its beat urging you to get up and dance in contrast to its lyrics. She’s My Man, with its delightful two-step rhythm, is another highlight as is I Can’t Decide. Also worth mentioning is Lights, Intermission, Kiss You Off and Might Tell You Tonight. Ta-Dah is exactly what you’d expect from Scissor Sisters.


Marketed and distributed by SonyBMG Music Entertainment

It’s hard to believe that Back To Basics is only the third English-language album by Christina Aguilera. She won the 2000 Grammy Award for Best New Artist, with her self-titled debut (released in 1999) spawning four singles and selling 12.5 million copies worldwide. Her second album, Stripped, was a radical departure from the Christina we knew, raunchy first single, Dirrrty, helping the album to sell 9.5 million copies and spawning another five singles (including Beautiful). Back To Basics sees Christina once again making a radical departure from the raunch of Stripped, this time opting for a classy, old school appearance and sound. The album is a tribute to the artists she listened to as a child (Otis Redding, Billie holiday, Ella Fitzgerald) and to the soul, jazz and blues sound of the ‘20s, ‘30s and ‘40s. Surprisingly enough, it works. Employing DJ Premier of Gang Starr-fame, Kara Dioguardi and the brilliant Linda Perry, the jazzy-sounds and clever sampling work well with her mammoth vocal range; resulting in songs that are perhaps not instantly likeable, but ultimately brilliant. First single, Ain’t No Other Man, gives a good indication of the sound to expect, but the tempos vary and a number of ballads are also included. Back To Basics is a very ambitious, well-executed project that should sell by the truckload – especially amongst hard-core fans. Expect a few Grammy nominations – it’s that good!


Marketed and distributed by SonyBMG Music Entertainment

Justin Timberlake is back and certainly doesn’t disappoint on his second solo offering, Futuresex/Lovesound. Long-time collaborator Timbaland is once again in charge of production, and while his signature sound is still evident in every track, it’s JT’s interpretation of the songs that gives it an edge. I suppose it could still be considered pop music, but the hip-hop influence is more pronounced than on Justified, making it a collection of super-funky tracks. A nifty feature are the interludes that are incorporated in the song, making the transition between tracks much smoother. Best tracks include first single SexyBack, Sexy Ladies, My Love and Lovestoned. With its decidedly different approach and influences, Futuresex/Lovesound cannot be compared to Justified. Musically it’s a major step forward in JT’s career and I wouldn’t be surprised if this album vastly outsells his debut.


Marketed and distributed by Gallo Record Company

Most people have wondered whether she can actually sing. Therefore it’s no surprise that Paris Hilton’s self-titled debut album is a collection of tracks that are not groundbreaking in any way, yet not completely awful either. Mostly straightforward pop tunes, there’s a handful of attempts at hip-hop (Turn It Up and Fighting Over Me…which is terrible even for a white girl) and a cringe-worthy cover of Rod Stewart’s Do Ya Think I’m Sexy. The reggae-ish first single, Stars Are Blind, paved the way for her on radio and the second single, Nothing In This World, is a delightful pop tune and a good example of what is to be expected on Paris. I quite enjoyed I Want You with its catchy sampling, the sing-along touch of Screwed, and the dance feel of Not Leaving Without You. Paris isn’t much worse than much of what’s available on the shelves, but she won’t be topping charts or winning Grammy’s anytime soon.


Marketed and distributed by Universal Music

When you hear his voice, you’ll be forgiven for thinking James Morrison is a black man. There’s something raw about his vocals that few white boys possess. Currently receiving lots of airplay for the dreamy, sexy, melodic You Give Me Something, it’s as if he channeled Terrence Trent D’Arby to sing on his debut album…with remarkable results. It isn’t quite pop and not quite rock either, but just about every song is worth listening to – try Under The Influence, Wonderful World, The Pieces Don’t Fit Anymore, Undiscovered, Call The Police, and This Boy to get a better idea. Comparisons to James Blunt are to be expected (they’re also similar in appearance), but they are worlds apart musically. And, to put it bluntly, James Blunt better step aside; James Morrison has arrived…and he’s here to stay!


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