Marketed and distributed by Warner Music Gallo Africa

As Savage Garden, Darren Hayes and Daniel Jones delighted the world with remarkably memorable pop songs that topped the charts globally. However, openly gay Darren Hayes’ solo albums were critically recognised but commercial flops, and many fans were baffled by the lack of commerciality from one of pop’s most gifted lyricists. However, This Delicate Thing We’ve Made is an epic musical odyssey that sees Darren Hayes return to the world of music on absolute top form. The lyrics are a 50/50 split between authentic pop mastery and illustrious flights of fantasy, but it’s the music and instrumentation that bring everything to life, at times lifting it up to a dreamy, almost surreal experience. Isolating the outstanding songs on the album is just about impossible, but I particularly like A Fear Of Going Under, Waking The Monster, Casey and Step Into The Light. My personal favourite, Sing To Me, could have been a soaring Savage Garden ballad. There are loads of electronic sounds at the heart of it all, without making it too arty and leaving the door wide open for remixers to kick even more life into it. This Delicate Thing We’ve Made is one of the best albums to see the light last year and will undoubtedly delight fans while winning Darren Hayes countless more fans. It is a triumphant return.


Marketed and distributed by SonyBMG Music Entertainment

Just when everyone thought pop music’s biggest voice might retire at Caesar’s Palace in Las Vegas, Celine Dion returns with a magnificent new album aptly titled Taking Chances. Sporting a dramatic new look, Celine’s new album sees her taking a few musical chances, especially in terms of collaborators, while keeping one foot safely in the realms we know and love. I loved Taking Chances and Surprise, Surprise (both co-written by Kara Dioguardi), the phenomenal Alone (by Billy Steinberg), My Love and New Dawn (Linda Perry) and Shadow of Love (which was co-written by Celine’s long-time collaborator, Aldo Nova). Yet while the selection of songs for the album is truly inspired, it is Celine’s voice – stronger than ever – that brings it all to life. I think releasing this album took a lot of guts for Celine: not only has she been out of pop circulation for a few years, but the music pushes her decidedly out of her comfort zone. The gamble paid off though, as Taking Chances is probably one of the best collections of songs Celine has ever released. Whether it will convert those who despise her remains doubtful, but to those of us who love her, Taking Chances merely gives us another reason to adore her.


Marketed and distributed by Universal Music SA

Not many groups survive key members leaving the band, but as with America’s Destiny’s Child, Britain’s Sugababes have survived this…twice. Hot on the heels of former member Mutya Buena’s brilliant solo debut comes the aptly titled Change, the Sugababes’ first album featuring new vocalist Amelle Berrabah. In essence, nothing has actually changed: the songs are remarkably poppy and the vocal harmonies are still top notch – which is good. First single About You Now (penned by Cathy Dennis) sets the tone for the new album, and all the subsequent songs (like Never Gonna Dance Again and My Love Is Pink) makes ample use of rock influences and electronica beats. The title track slows things down a bit, as does Back When, a power ballad that highlights all three unique voices. My favourite is the brilliantly upbeat Denial. Sugababes are the ultimate British girl group – they carry on through the bad times, are hardly ever in the tabloids and constantly release hit-packed albums. Perhaps the Spice Girls should’ve taken a leaf from their book?


Marketed and distributed by SonyBMG Music Entertainment

Have you noticed how most of the boy bands from the last decade seem to have disappeared off the face of the earth? Aside from Westlife, who seem to release a new album in time for Christmas every year, the only other remaining globally popular boy band is Backstreet Boys. The Boys have been around for 15 years, and while they’ve taken a significant break from the industry and are now short one founding member, they still sound fresh as ever. Boy bands are an acquired taste, but what I particularly liked about their new album, Unbreakable, is that their sound has matured wonderfully. Unbreakable has a very strong ballad focus, indicating that they are highlighting the areas they know they are good at – and it works brilliantly! Inconsolable, Something That I Already Know and Helpless When She Smiles are prime examples of what the boys are capable of, with You Can Let Go and Trouble Is also impressive.


Marketed and distributed by Universal Music SA

If you followed happenings in the world of pop in the late nineties, you may remember Show Me Love, Robyn’s massive dance hit from 1997. A decade later, Robyn returns with a brand new, self-titled album that is so far removed from the Show Me Love sound that you will probably also do a double-take to make sure that it is in fact the same person. Where Robyn sounded like a big black dance diva at age 18, she reminds of Tasha Baxter ten years later. Disgruntled with all the record companies she’d been signed to, Robyn founded Konichiwa Records, and funded and released her new album all on her own. The result is phenomenal: loads of electronica, a touch of drum ‘n bass and tons of quirkiness combine to make Robyn one of 2007’s biggest surprises. Handle Me, Bum Like You, Be Mine and Crash And Burn Girl are all pop masterpieces, with Who’s That Girl and With Every Heartbeat being the absolute highlights of the album. Forward-thinking and totally unique, it would be a pity if this album slips by under the radar.

visual SPINS


Marketed and distributed by Universal Music DVD SA

Based solely on the music and lyrics of their songs, it is safe to say that there is probably no modern-day band camper than Scissor Sisters. However, if you consider their often wacky lyrics to be camp and delightfully gay, you obviously haven’t seen them perform – on Hurrah: A Year of Tah-Dah, Scissor Sisters manage to wow the entire O2 Arena in London with a show that is refreshingly energetic, highly enjoyable and completely OTT. From the opening performance of She’s My Man and I Can’t Decide (both off their latest album, Tah-Dah) to old favourites like Laura and Take Your Mama, the group enthrals. There is a fantastic on-stage rap

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