He’s baaaaaack bitches! And, oh boy, are we happy to hear that Robbie Williams hasn’t lost his pop/rock edge. Take The Crown is Robbie’s first album in three years and follows on from 2009’s flaccid Reality Killed the Video Star and before that 2006’s epic flop Rudebox. In between, he’s gone UFO-spotting, gotten married and become a dad, and good news kiddies, he still knows how to rock it. Sure, there’s nothing new here but Robbie knows how to give his fans what they want: hip-swaying, anthemic pop/rock tracks. He’s even going on tour with the album, which is a good sign (hold thumbs he adds SA to the tour list!)
We pretty much loved all 11 tracks. And, make no mistake; some are poppier than others, while others are guitar-laden and fierce. Definitely your first point of play is the album’s debut single, the deliciously upbeat Candy. Also listen out for Different (recently confirmed as the second single), Shit On The Radio, Hey Wow Yeah Yeah (an uninspired title sure, but a fun song), Be A Boy and In The Silence. Overall, it’s a little like U2’s rock edge melted into Adam Lambert’s sense of fun. A definite and welcome return to form! Yay!
USELESS FACT: Irish music producer/DJ/guitarist Jacknife Lee produced all 11 songs. He’s previously worked with U2, R.E.M. and Snow Patrol. Hence the rockier influence.

RATING: 9 out of 10


Fact #1: Taylor Swift has a long list of Hollywood male conquests. We’re talking big names here people: Twilight’s Taylor Lautner, Joe Jonas, Jake Gyllenhaal, John Mayer, Connor Kennedy and more recently One Direction’s curly-haired cutie Harry Styles. Fact #2: She’s only 23-years-old. Fact #3: she’s known for singing heartfelt, emotion-riddled break-up songs. Conclusion: Taylor Swift is a man-eating, relationship-destroying crazy bitch. Think about it. Any girl who runs away from Lautner and Gyllenhaal has got to be meshugah.
Luckily for us, her escapes make for quite the opposite in her music. She may be young, but girl can sing. And she either wrote or co-wrote all the songs on her new album Red. The title, by the way, is the colour T-Swift herself has assigned to all the emotions she’s singing about: anger, jealousy, rage, passion. And don’t be put off by the country singer label. T-Swift extends beyond this on Red, bringing in pop and even a little rock on tracks like We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together, State Of Grace, I Knew You Were Trouble, 22, the bouncy Stay Stay Stay and country-depro single Begin Again.
USELESS FACT: Red is a massive success. It became the fastest-selling album in over a decade after over a million copies flew off the shelves in its first week.

RATING: 8 out of 10


Boy bands – sigh! Which hot-blooded homo doesn’t love it when not one, not two, but three (or more) good-looking lads get together in the name of good music and, probably, a love song. Which makes this 20-track compilation a must-mention. Especially if you wanna stuff your Xmas stocking with something pretty. And what with the current revival of the boy band, thanks in part to the likes of One Direction, The Wanted and the recent hugely successful reformation of Take That, this is a no-brainer. If you like your boybands pre-2010. The tracks are a bit more early 2000s-meets-90s nostalgia (with a splash of 80s cheesiness) and modern boy bands like One Direction are notably missing.
So who did make the ‘essential boy bands’ cut? Backstreet Boys (Everybody -  Backstreet’s Back), Westlife (Flying Without Wings), Indecent Obsession (Kiss Me), Five (Everybody Get Up), Blue (One Love), New Kids On The Block (Hangin’ Tough), Savage Garden (Truly Madly Deeply), Hanson (Mmmbop), N’Sync (It’s Gonna Be Me) and Wham! (Wake Me Up Before You Go Go). In other words, it’s heavy on the cheese. In fact, this reviewer merrily listened to it while stringing tinsel on his Christmas tree…
USELESS FACT: Er, it’s a compilation, so I don’t really have one. But I will say that it should’ve been a double disc, for extra cheesy good times.

RATING: 7 out of 10


Admit it – you think John Travolta is gay, right? And releasing a Christmas album isn’t doing anything to make those man-on-man rumours go away. Especially not a Christmas album of duets with his former Grease co-star and certified faghag Olivia Newton-John. The 13-track album is just plain wrong on so many levels – from John’s odd-looking plastic hair on the cover to the cheesy grins on the inside sleeve. And don’t get me started on the fact that a Scientologist is making a Christmas album. Does he even believe in Santa Claus? (methinks he might like an older guy with a large sack though…just saying…)
And then there’s JT’s singing abilities, which are poor to average. Which is surprising considering we’ve seen him belt em’ out in countless movie musicals. Problem is that his voice is suited to panto, not a mainstream album (even a Christmas one…). John and Olivia’s voices don’t gel, although things are marginally better on the occasional threesomes which rope in Barbra Streisand, Kenny G, Cliff Richard and James Taylor. It all smacks of a bizarre publicity stunt to make ‘Mr Pulp Fiction’ seem like a nice, normal (ie hetero) family guy. But this Xmas album is more of a turkey.
USELESS FACT: All of the album tracks were recorded in one take, according to We say: you can tell.

RATING: 4 out of 10


Scottish DJ Calvin Harris might not have the biggest big-name music collaborators on this, his third studio album, but what he lacks in A-listers he more than makes up for in solid, upbeat, catchy dance tunes. There are 15 tracks on the album’s standard edition but if you’re a true dance-head we’d recommend getting the deluxe which has a stunning 53-minute ’18 Months Continuous Mix’, a mish-mash of tracks from disc one.
So what should you be listening to? Well, you’ve probably already heard many of the album’s singles as they’ve been all over radio like Hugh Hef on a blonde with big tattas. But let’s recap anyway: there’s Bounce (featuring Kelis on vocals), We Found Love (with Rihanna), Let’s Go (with Ne-Yo), Sweet Nothing (with Florence + The Machine’s lead singer Florence Welch) and Feel So Close, where Calvy does the vocals himself. But not to be outdone, we also recommend Thinking About You with Ayah Marar, I Need Your Love with Ellie Goulding, Iron with Nicky Romero (very dubstep!) and Drinking From The Bottle with Tinie Tempah. Totally on par with the big boys of dance…
USELESS FACT: Ayah Marar (who sings the album’s closing track) is a Jordanian singer, songwriter, performer, radio show host and record label owner.

RATING: 9 out of 10


She’s been called the next Rihanna. Wrong! Rita Ora might do sexy R&B-dance style pop and there might even be a slight resemblance both in the looks and vocals department, but there’s one big diff between RiRi and Rita: While RiRi is unashamedly slutty, dirty even, Rita is wholesome enough for the parentals to enjoy. Ora, the Yugoslavian/British singer’s unimaginatively titled debut album, bristles with party anthems and radio-friendly hits.
There’s her dance-pop hits How We Do (Party), R.I.P featuring Tinie Tempah, Radioactive, Shine Ya Light and the song that brought her household attention across the globe, Hot Right Now, a track she did vocals on for the UK’s DJ Fresh. For the hip hop-inclined, you’ll want to focus on Uneasy, Love And War (which features J Cole) and Fall In Love which has Black Eyed Pea doing some rapping. It’s a little all over the place, so if you can handle that, then go for it. Rita Ora is definitely a name to watch.
USELESS FACT: Rita says her musical influences include Beyonce, Gwen Stefani, Christina Aguilera, Madonna, Tina Turner, Celine Dion, David Bowie and Ella Fitzgerald.

RATING: 6 out of 10

Get the Mamba Newsletter

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Send this to a friend