DAVID GUETTA – NOTHING BUT THE BEAT
Some music critics have said that French house music DJ David Guetta has lost his edge since international found him; that he’s become something of a music sell-out. Poppycock, I say! Sure this is his first album without long-time vocal collaborator Chris Willis but Guetta is definitely still king of the collab. The line-up on this, his fifth album, is an impressive who’s who of the hip hop and R&B worlds: Snoop Dogg, Nicki Minaj, Flo Rida, Usher, Akon, Lil Wayne, will.i.am, Taio Cruz, Ludacris…you get the point.
Disc one contains the vocal stuff – all of which is brilliant, foot-tappingly cool doef doef, while disc two is a slightly less impressive offering of pure house music (for serious dance twinks only). If you haven’t heard the main songs – Where Them Girls At (with Flo Rida and Nicki Minaj), Little Bad Girl (with Taio Cruz and Ludacris) and Sweat (with Snoop Dogg), then you’ve clearly not been near a club or a radio in months. Bottom line? It’s shit hot from start to finish. Oh and a special shout-out should go to Night Of Your Life with Jennifer Hudson. Probably won’t hit radio but it’s definitely worth a listen, especially if you’re a J-Hud fan.
USELESS FACT: Guetta’s father was a Moroccan Jew and his mom is from Belgium .
RATING: 10 out of 10 (yes really!)
LADY ANTEBELLUM – OWN THE NIGHT
Let me start off with a disclaimer. I find country music about as riveting as a doorknob. It belongs in the same category as darts and Big Brother: stuff other people are really keen on but which seem to have swished right past my frame of reference. That said, Lady Antebellum isn’t pure country. The trio have, like Taylor Swift, married pop with country music’s trademark moroseness, moody lyrics and string instruments. The result is really just twangy-sounding pop music which – quelle surprise – actually works.
Own The Night is their third album and wisely contains an acoustic version of Need You Now, the song that put them on the global music map. You’ll want to check out the first two singles We Owned The Night and Just A Kiss, as well as When You Were Mine. Overall, it’s more down-tempo than fast-paced and peppy, so if you like your music with a dash of zing, this one’s about as far removed from auto-tuning and Britney as country-pop will ever get. It grew on me the more I listened.
USELESS FACT: Own The Night broke Taylor Swift’s record for the biggest opening for a country album on the Billboard 200 chart. It debuted at #1 on the chart. Impressive!
RATING: 6 out of 10
LMFAO – SORRY FOR PARTY ROCKING
They call their style of music ‘party rock’, which is basically just a clever, gimmicky way of saying a combination of hip hop, electropop and dance’. And the gimmick is working; almost every song on the duo’s second album features their calling-card phrase: “party rock”. The album has already spawned three singles – Champagne Showers, Sexy And I Know It and Party Rock Anthem (you know, the one with “Every day I’m shufflin”) and yes, they’re as cheesy as Hello Kitty, but there’s something refreshingly fun with a hefty dose of chutzpah and ‘we-don’t-care’ whatever-ness about rapper DJs Redfoo and SkyBlu.
If you like their sound there’s plenty more to listen to: grab your partner (do-si-do) and shake your tail to Sorry For Party Rocking, Hot Dog and bonus tracks I’m In Miami ***** and the crude, lude and rude Shots featuring Lil Jon. The important thing is not to take LMFAO too seriously and just have fun. They certainly are…(having fun I mean…)
USELESS FACT: Redfoo (real name Stefan Gordy) is actually the uncle of SkyBlu (real name Skyler Gordy).
RATING: 9 out of 10
COLDPLAY – MYLO XYLOTO
Here’s an interesting tidbit you probably didn’t know about British rock band Coldplay: their 2005 album X&Y was the best-selling album of 2005, selling over 8.3 million albums across the world (and they say CDs are dead, hmmmmph!). So the band is back with their fifth solo album hoping to repeat that level of success. Will they do it? Nope, unlikely – Adele will probably hold the honour of 2011’s best-selling album, but the bizarrely-named Mylo Xyloto is certain to creep onto the Top 20 if not the Top 10.
As well it should – Coldplay, who recently toured SA, are hugely popular around the world and this album of alternative rock is genius all the way. There’s some PR schpiel Chris Martin et al probably want you to know about, that it’s a concept album; a love story with a happy ending. But really it’s the music we care about it. Good news then: it’s riveting listening. All 14 tracks of it. From the singles Every Teardrop Is A Waterfall and Paradise to Princess Of China, which features Rihanna, this one rocks. Really really recommended.
USELESS FACT: The video for Paradise was shot while Coldplay were touring South Africa . Check it out here.
RATING: 8 out of 10
KELLY ROWLAND – HERE I AM
There are only ten songs on Kelly Rowland’s third studio album, which is kinda short for a full album. Is this a problem? Not really – the songs pack a punch. It’s mostly R&B with a dash of pop and the occasional dance beat thrown in for good measure, because everyone from Gaga to Madonna knows that you need a dance beat to sell singles these days. Some of it is the typical love-themed slow, smooth (some would say boring!) R&B fare. Keep It between Us and All Of The Night with Rico Love are good examples).
Thankfully these are the least exciting songs on the album, which shifts between fast-paced and down-tempo, depending on Kelly’s mood. Commander and Lay It On Me with Big Sean are dancefloor hits, and Down For Whatever with The WAV’s is heavy on the electro/hip hop beats. Also loved the opening track I’m Dat Chick. Verdict: skip the R&B ballads and listen to the club thumpers. You’ll feel like you’re at Babylon.
USELESS FACT: Rowland will go on tour in 2012 as soon as she’s finished her job as one of the judges on X-Factor UK.
RATING: 7 out of 10
VARIOUS ARTISTS – BEST CLUB ANTHEMS 2011: VOL 2
Mixed by the very capable Kevin Grenfell of EMI, Volume 2 of the Club Anthems series contains three discs, each with 16 tracks. Pre-mixed for your convenience, just pop in and play. Voila! Well, assuming you like the track listing. Disc 3 contains the heavier stuff, non-commercial house tracks, while the first two discs have tunes to both sing and dance along to.
And Kevin is on the ball when it comes to keeping it current – there’s Alexandra Stan’s Mr Saxobeat, Example’s Changed The Way You Kissed Me and Crazy White Boy’s What You Do To Me. As for the all-important remixes, they’re on point. Noteworthy ones include the Deep Sequence remix of Chian