Marketed and distributed by Universal Records

He’s Hot! He’s Latino! He water-skied naked after Spain won the FIFA World Cup Soccer 2010 (TM)! After selling a gazillion (i.e. 55 million) albums in both English and Spanish, and signing a $48,000 000 multi-album deal, everyone’s favourite Spanish heartthrob has returned. Enrique Iglesias has had four Billboard Hot 100 top five singles including two number ones, and holds the record for charting 21 number one Spanish-language singles on the Billboard’s Hot Latin Tracks. Euphoria is Iglesias’ ninth album and his first with songs in both English and Spanish. The first single I Like It featuring Pitbull has been doing great business both here and abroad and was recently used as the base for DJ Earworm’s commissioned mash-up for the Airtel Champions League in South Africa, at which Enrique recently performed. Euphoria has Enrique enlisting some celebrity friends like the aforementioned Pitbull, Pussycat Dolls’ Nicole Scherzinger and Usher. The overall sound mirrors the current trend of mixing synth-heavy 80’s pop and 90’s trance. Does it work? Yes. Will you play this CD in six months let alone six years? Probably not. The collaborations are cool, especially Dirty Dancer with an on-form Usher (Welcome back Usher!) and the Spanish tracks are, well, like a nicely cooked paella; look great, are very filling, but you wouldn’t go back for seconds. Perfect to listen to as a guilty pleasure… – Chris Verrijdt

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Marketed and distributed by Mercury Records

When I was in Matric, a couple of friends and I went down to the V&A Waterfront to go and watch the (then) Uber-Fashionable Dali Tambo present his show, Night Moves (pre-recorded) live. He featured Texas with, on lead vocals, a lovely young Scottish lass, Sharleen Spiteri. At that point they’d only had one hit, the sultry smooth and rock-popping hit, I Don’t Want a Lover. Texas would later go on to bigger things in the late Nineties/early Noughties with a slightly adjusted sound (songs like Summer Sun, In Demand and Black-eyed Boy) and a thriving lesbian fan base. Then, after two less successful albums in the Noughties, they took a hiatus. In 2008 Ms Spiteri released her debut album which got to #15 in Belgium (go figure!) and this year she released The Movie Songbook. In my mind releasing a covers album featuring songs from the movies is cheap and tacky. And soulless. This is unfortunately my opinion of The Movie Songbook. Like most of Nicholas Cage’s movie performances, it feels like she phoned in her contribution. And it pains me to say that. All the gutsy, ballsy, rock ‘n roll of Texas is gone and replaced with fluff. Or the stuff they put in fluff to make it, well fluffy! From the opener, Xanadu, to Sounds of Silence, What’s New Pussycat and Take My Breath Away – the album either sounds like a really bad karaoke effort or too much like the original to warrant a comparison. Sharleen we love you! But this time you shouldn’t have bothered. – Chris Verrijdt

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Marketed and distributed by EMI Music South Africa

Katheryn Elizabeth Hudson, aka Katy Perry, aka Mrs Katy Brand, has managed to become a major pop artist in just three years. This, her second album, stays true to the recently married singer’s roots and gives us a confection of mostly catchy and ultimately likeable pop tracks – sometimes with a rock edge. You’ve undoubtedly heard the first two singles California Gurls (Feat. Snoop Dogg) and the title track. While Gurls is a great summer anthem, Teenage Dream is the more classic pop tune – thanks to clever lyrics and heartfelt sentiment. It’s grown on me like a bad rash – and I’m incapable of hearing it without singing along. Thankfully, there are other standouts on the CD. Circle the Drain is a fuck you to a drug-addicted ex-boyfriend (said to be Travis McCoy of the hit Billionaire fame) and features some hard-hitting lyrics – “Wanna be your lover, not your fucking’ mother”. Peacock is a fun demand for a guy to show Perry his “Peacock…cock, cock…” and is reminiscent of something you might find on Gwen Stefani’s brilliant first album. It’s silly but, you guessed, it catchy. Then, there’s Firework (the third single) – essentially Perry’s version of Xtina’s Beautiful. Lyrically, it’s a little simple, but pair it with a moving music video (with two boys kissing) and repeat airplay and it’ll be a hit. Her usually very flexible voice does get a bit grating at times on this track though. My bet is on Last Friday Night (T.G.I.F.) as the fourth single. This funny ode to partying into oblivion makes the best of Perry’s smart song-writing talents. The rest are all reasonable album fillers. Teenage Dream is an enjoyable CD with some highlights that show that Mrs Brand has bucket loads of talent. With some commitment to her craft she could easily blow away her contemporaries. – Luiz DeBarros

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Marketed and distributed by Universal/Island Records

When Keane burst onto the music scene about six years ago, I was completely enamoured. Their combination of clever songwriting, piano-heavy melodies and catchy choruses made me an instant fan and a lover of all future compositions. Crystal ball, off their Under the Iron Sea album, was my anthem through a(nother) messy break-up in 2007 and resonated with what I was going through at the time. Over the years, their songs have been used on many US TV shows from Smallville, Kyle XY, Brothers & Sisters to the ubiquitous Grey’s Anatomy, which featured the track My Shadow. When I heard it, I thought, “Yup, definitely a scene at the end of an episode just before the water-works come on…” Night Train is a fantastic collection of songs – albeit there are only eight of them. Two of the tracks, Looking Back and the first awesome single, Stop for a Minute, also feature Canadian Wavin’ Flag singer K’Naan – just when you thought it was safe! This album has the Keane sound we are all familiar with, but with an organic move to a more electro-80’s feel. There are influences from Depeche Mode to Pet Shop Boys – with even a bit of Radiohead thrown in for good measure. This is definitely one worth buying. Perfect for a drive out of town on the way to the coast for the Summer holidays. – Chris Verrijdt

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