Marketed and distributed by Universal

When One Republic first hit the charts with the Timbaland reworking of Apologise – it was hard to escape them. Numerous hit singles and nearly three years have passed and this extraordinary band is back. Lead vocalist, Ryan Tedder (responsible for such hits as Leona Lewis’ Bleeding Love, Jordin Sparks’ Battlefield, Kelly Clarkson’s Already Gone and the similarly sounding Beyonce’ hit, Halo) now returns with OneRepublic for their sophomore offering, Waking Up.

The first single, All The Right Moves is already on heavy rotation on music radio and TV and delivers all the right ingredients: sing along melodies, Tedder’s distinctive falsetto and heart-felt song writing. Apart from the first single, Good Life is another goodie with a very Jason Mraz-ie sound but the inclusion of the stripped down live version of Tear’s For Fear’s Shout is probably the stand out song on the album. I struggled, however, to find more than a few memorable tracks.

Tedder seems to have more success with writing songs for other singers, but there’s no doubt that – with or without his band – he’ll be churning out the hits for a while to come yet. This CD is cool for driving away from all your problems or in the background during a braai on a Sunday afternoon.

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Marketed and distributed by Universal

I really like Jason Hartman – he’s cute, fills out a pair of jeans pretty nicely and is an extremely talented singer and (now) songwriter. Of course, he will always be associated with that ridiculous Idols tie with Sasha-Lee (who duets with him on one track – shame!) – but this local talent is definitely on the rise.

Surprisingly (and ironically), Today, the duet with Sasha-Lee, is a fabulous funked-up track which highlights how well their voices go together, and should do well on radio. With the exception of just three songs, including crowd pleaser, Hotel California (the sign still says No Stairway to Heaven) and the first chart topper, Break the Silence, all the others are written by Hartman himself. On the Run – the second hit and Chasing Stars are already on everybody’s lips. The CD is a fine debut and the tracks work well to showcase Hartman as the talent he truly is.

Hopefully Hartman will go from strength-to-strength. On the run is a great addition to the SA music playlist, proving again that “Local is indeed Lekker.”

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Marketed and distributed by Sony

From our latest Idol to the guy who started it all – Will Young. I remember after he won and came out he was quoted as saying something along the lines of “George Michael called, Boy George sent flowers and even Billy Connelly said, ‘Who gives a fuck!’” – which I think talks to the spirit of this multi-talented performer. He just got on with it. He didn’t really care what people thought and didn’t put himself through the angst of tabloid conspiracy mongers constantly speculating, “is he or isn’t he?”

Young’s sheer talent has carried him with few apparent repercussions because of his sexuality. An instantly recognisable voice, he has also parlayed his success into movies (with Mrs Henderson Presents), being a columnist for The Times and even a critically acclaimed stage actor. He’s responsible for four multi-platinum albums and Evergreen is still the 12th best selling single of all time in the UK; not bad for someone who was a drama student at Exeter University and then, thanks to Pop Idol, went global.

This collection has 14 tracks and a DVD with 13 videos. All the hits (the clue is in the title) are here and it was cool to note that some of the classics (can a song be a classic after less than a decade?) were even penned by Young himself. These tracks include the slightly lesser known gems; Your Game, Changes and Grace. All the other songs you would expect on a collection of this nature are on here too, the aforementioned Evergreen, Light My Fire, Leave Right Now, All Time Love, and Friday’s Child.

As I write this, it is freezing in Joburg and it seems fitting that this CD is blaring through the house – a perfect soundtrack to echo the general atmosphere of autumn in Joburg. As always with Greatest Hits packages, this is probably one to “complete the collection” – but I enjoyed hearing all these songs again. Perfect for afternoon tea or lying on the couch reading the papers.

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Marketed and distributed by Reprise/Warner

I love Michael Buble’. The first time I saw him was just after he released his debut CD, It’s Time and South Africa was the first country in the world to give it platinum status – so he threw a band together and literally was on the next plane out here. The show was at the His People Centre in Goodwood Cape Town and I managed to wangle a ticket in the second row.

There were less than 1000 people in the audience that night and it was sensational. As I left, two little old dears remarked they hadn’t had so much fun since they saw Bea Arthur (Dorothy in The Golden Girls) at The Theatre on the Bay the week before. The same thought went through my mind. And then almost simultaneously it occurred to me that I was now hanging out and having “fun” with octogenarians. It was this that saw me make a bee-line for Bronx and surround myself with men at least closer to my age.

How things have changed. Buble’ is now a household name – he has won two Grammys, sold 25 million CDs and can now fill stadia all over the world. Crazy Love is his fourth studio album and contains the very catchy self-penned hit, Haven’t met you yet which he wrote for fiancée’ Luisana Lopilato. But Buble’ is best known as the protector of “The Great American Songbook” (ironically he is Canadian) so standards like Cry Me a River, Georgia on My Mind and All of Me make this one for fans of great music. In my mind he can do no wrong.

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Marketed and distributed by Sony

And the Idols-theme continues… When Adam Lambert failed to win American Idol last season, it seemed like the entire world, i

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