Marketed and distributed by EMI Music

As the lead singer of British dance act Moloko, Roisin Murphy’s voice is inextricably linked to the world of dance. The dance and electronica elements featured on Overpowered, Roisin’s latest solo album, should therefore not come as a big surprise. What is surprising though is how spectacularly the album is put together. It features 13 foot-tapping tracks like You Know Me Better, Footprints, Checkin’ On Me, Cry Baby and the fabulous Let Me Know, and manages to sound both ‘80s-retro and cutting-edge. There are also a few slower songs, like Primitive, Dear Miami and the gorgeous Scarlet Ribbon, which lend themselves perfectly to remixes. Roisin’s almost husky voice is perfectly suited for this style of music, which also explains why Moloko has been such a huge success on the global dance scene. While Overpowered is not the typical dance music you would find on a gay club’s dance floor, it is soulfully infectious and well worth acquiring.


Marketed and distributed by Warner Music Gallo Africa

You’ve got to hand it to Jacques Terreblanche: his perseverance after failing to win the first local season of Idols has finally paid off. This is immediately evident when holding his new album, The Colour Red, in your hands. The design and artwork is quite simply beautiful, and better than many international releases that come my way. The music is however the most delightful surprise. The Colour Red, produced by Mark Beling of Mean Mister Mustard-fame, takes a decided turn towards the funkier side of R&B, as displayed on the Justin Timberlake-ish Shake Shake, which features Tez. The first single, I Won’t Forget, is a spectacular radio track featuring Pebbles. I heard it a number of times and didn’t realise that it was our very own Jacques: think George Michael at the peak of his career. Natural Born Hustler is another surprise, not only because it so successfully masters the international sound, but also because it features Akon. I also loved Set Me Free and Turn Back Time, both destined to be big hits. Jacques has undoubtedly come a long way since competing in Idols, and The Colour Red is sure to finally put him on the map.

Marketed and distributed by Warner Music Gallo Africa

I’ve never considered myself a fan of Seal, even though most of the songs he has released to date have been outstanding. It has been a while since we last heard from him, though, and who can blame the man: he is married to Heidi Klum after all! It also seems as if his marriage and new baby have breathed new life into his music, as System is a phenomenal return to the world of music. System was produced by Stuart Price, Madonna’s main collaborator on Confessions On A Dance Floor, and as such many of the beats and even melodies immediately seem familiar. It works surprisingly well, with the more dance-orientated feel bringing a delightfully different edge to the voice that is so instantly recognizable. First single, Amazing, lives up to its name thanks to dreamy melody, while others – like If It’s In My Mind It’s On My Face, Loaded and Just Like Before – assist in creating an entirely sublime collection. I sincerely hope that Seal gets his fair share of exposure for this remarkable new album. It’s not often that a male vocalist impresses me, but Seal has done just that.

Marketed and distributed by Universal Music SA

Ledisi Young had a good year in 2007. After years of indie releases and obscure bands, her first major label release, Lost & Found, has put her firmly on the map. A brilliant collection of R&B, soul, jazz and funk, Ledisi reminds of the legendary Ella Fitzgerald, especially when she starts scatting. Ironically, Ledisi studied opera and piano for five years; the latter undoubtedly coming in very handy these days! Joy, You & Me, Best Friend and Alright all feature deliciously sexy beats and very quickly crawled under my skin. They have an almost familiar quality to them and are bound to be fan favourites. In fact, that can be said for just about all the songs, although each has something unique that stands out. Think Of You is a personal favourite. Sexy, sultry and utterly seductive, Ledisi is a phenomenal find for the world of music and very deserving of her two recent Grammy nominations.

Marketed and distributed by SonyBMG Music Entertainment

When it comes to ‘80s super groups, Duran Duran ranks near the top of the list. The band decided to make a comeback a few years ago, and while the album was a critical success, it didn’t exactly set the charts alight. Red Carpet Massacre, their latest album, could change that and is a testimony that all good things come to those who wait. While all lyrics were written by Simon Le Bon and the music composed by the band, they employed a little help from three of music’s hottest names: Nate Hills, Timbaland and Justin Timberlake. On paper it certainly sounds like an odd combination, but in execution it is sheer brilliance. It’s still undeniably Duran Duran, but there are subtle hints, like on the title track, of the beats that made Timbaland as famous as he is. Aside the title track, I also enjoyed Nite-runner, Box Full O’Honey, Tricked Out and Dirty Great Monster. Red Carpet Massacre will hopefully yield more mainstream hits for Duran Duran, and bring them a whole new group of fans. It’s a collaboration I never saw coming, but one that is simply awesome.

Marketed and distributed by Universal Music SA

Queen Latifah started her musical career as a rapper, a skill for which she won a Grammy in 1994. But that all changed with the movie version of Chicago: her role as Mama Morton earned her an Oscar nomination. Suddenly, Queen Latifah was on the map. After four rap albums, a critically acclaimed jazz album and more than twenty movies, Queen Latifah returns with Trav’lin’ Light, her sixth studio album that captures the musical styles of days gone by and features her sultry, soulful voice. Trav’lin’ Light has a number of highlights, the first being Poetry Man, a smooth and delightfully sexy track reminiscent of Diana Krall. The entire jazz-genre is not forgotten: Georgia Rose features Stevie Wonder and a wonderful harmonica, while Quiet Nights Of Quiet Stars includes brilliant brass sections that stir the soul. Another highlight is I Know Where I’ve Been, Latifah’s soaring anthem from Hairspray, as well as a gorgeous cover of 10CC’s I’m Not In Love. From big-band to old-school, Queen Latifah masters every possible popular genre on Trav’lin’ Light. It’s a truly remarkable album from a remarkable woman. <

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