Albums: they're like singles, but longer. They last about 45 minutes in general. some are good and exciting thoughout, some are a neverending showers of crap (LMFAO I'm looking at you). Some were released recently and I didn't get time to review them properly. Here's somewhat of a round-up.
Nicola Roberts - Cinderella's Eyes
Quite tragically, since Girls Aloud members chose to embrace solo careers during the band's "break", people seem to have believed Cheryl Cole's ear-threatening marathons of musical crap were the only records worth buying. How wrong! Nadine's own album Insatiable was a trainwreck as far a everything but the music was concerned, but it had some serious tunes. It sold a bit more than 5000 copies on its first week last year, while Cheryl's ridiculous compilations of sick Taio Cruz leftovers (except the first three singles, let's be honest) sold several hundred thousands.
Nicola Roberts is the third one to try and make an impact on UK charts. Well, there ain't no justice in this world, ladies. Her own Cinderella's Eyes only shifted a little over 8000 copies but it shouldn't occult the fact it is a great pop record. I've said numerous time how much I love the first to singles (Beat Of My Drum and Lucky Day, which will end up in my 2011 top 10 for sure), and they fit the record perfectly, leading the way to an above-average number of clever and ambitious tunes. In fact the first 5 tracks on the record (the two singles + Yo-Yo, Cinderella's Eyes and Porcelain Heart) make a statement all by themselves: Nicola Roberts is one hell of a popstar. Thank God the goodness goes beyond those few songs, and the rest shows consistency as well as interesting tryouts, such as I or Sticks+Stones.
The list of producers and writers (Dimitri From Paris, Metronomy, Diplo, Dragonette etc) could seem like the must-have list for anyone who wanted to produce a trendy indie-pop record but the results tend to prove Nicola knew what she was doing all along and is a bit more clever than most popstrells in the game.
Overall the record is ambitious and maybe a bit ahead of the current trend is mainstream pop which is basically "let's throw some shit BEP-like beats together, a layer of noisy synths, some lyrics about bein' in the club with the ladies etc" and we're all set. Most of all it's not what people were expecting from a member of Girls Aloud. What people expect from a member of Girls Aloud going solo is basically Cheryl Cole. Nicola isn't that kind. 8/10 (+1 for the artwork).
Orelsan - Le Chant des Sirènes
The last time I listen to a rap album from beginning to end was when I bought Eminem's Marshall Mathers LP back in 2000 during a summer trip in Germany. I was young, I needed some street cred. Well 2011 is the year when that happened again. Except now I'm not even after street cred anymore. I like girlbands mind you.
Whether you understand French or not Orelsan's new record is shockingly brilliant and exciting. With his slightly electro-ish instru and razorsharp lyrics he kills it most of the time. I'm less excited when he tries to "sing", but at list he didn't enlist every r&bitch singer n the country to sing his choruses. Good point.
Best tracks: Rien Ne M'étonne, Mauvaise Idée, Finir Mal, Des Trous Dans La Tête, 1990/2010, Suicide Social. (listen from the player below)
Frankmusik - Do It In The Am
Well, I was excited for this one. First listen was pretty much like a cold shower. While first to singles Fear Inside and Do It In The Am are fantastic (especially the former), new single No ID is so bad it hurts. Things get better at times (Running, Struck By Lightning) but most tracks on here fail to showcase Vince's talent and production skills. Deception!
Skip The Use - Sound From The Shadow EP
This french band is just like a sonic slap in your face. Having seen them perform several times in the past few months made me confident about anything they would eventually release. Initially they were set to release an album but the project was postponed to early 2012, so in the meantime Mat and his bandmates are releasing this hi-energy EP of their own material complete with a great cover of Blur's classic Song 2. This guys truly have potential to make it big and are that kind of act who will win people with their live shows. Look out for Skip The Use, there's more to come.