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Juicy Blood Orange

Cupid Deluxe – Blood Orange

Devonte Hynes (Dev Hynes) has released music under various guises; Test Icicles, Lightspeed Champion and more recently Blood Orange, however, you may be more familiar with his production duties as he has twiddled the knobs for Solange “Losing You” and MKS debut/comeback single “Flatline”. Now Blood Orange/Hynes unleases the follow up to 2011 “Coastal Grooves.”

“Cupid Deluxe” features a number of artists who are as left field as Hynes himself; Adam Bainbridge, Despot, David Longstreth, Caroline Polachek & Samantha Urbani.

Chamakay opens proceedings, its lush instrumentation sets the scene for the rest of the album. This slinky number gets embedded in your brain. The lyric “I’m nothing if not subtle..” suits this song to a tee. Hynes’s breathy vocal weaves around Caroline Polachek’s understated vocal throughout the track. The video features Hynes throwing some slinky shapes in Georgetown Guyana.

You’re Not Good Enough feat Sam Urbani sees Hynes getting his funk groove on & channelling some serious Prince vibes! If you listen very carefully then you just might pick up the similarities to Solanges’s “Losing You.”

On “Uncle Ace” we get funky spoken word, not quite rapping with liberal use of the saxophone courtesy of Jason Arce. “No Right Thing” is nu soul with an edge. “It Is What It is” what it is-is sublime! Hynes’s breathy vocals are so sensual that they could make a girl quiver.

Hynes takes an old Mansun track “I Can Only Disappoint U” and effortlessly turns it into “Always Let U Down.” Hynes ends the album with “Time Will Tell” which is basically It Is What It Is part 2.

Cupid Deluxe just oozes cool & quality, even though there is a retro vibe on this album it is to Hynes’s talent that he makes it sound fresh and exciting.

Blood Orange/Dev Hynes-a Prince for our current times! Cupid Deluxe may not have the marketing budget behind it like so many recently released underwhelming albums therefore may not chart highly, however, VeReViewS reckons that Cupid Deluxe will be a fixture on critics end of year charts as being one of the best albums of 2013

VeReViewS star rating VVVV/5
VeReView Chamakay

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Muted ARTPOP Applause

Lady Gaga – Artpop (Album)

We have had the title for nearly a year, we have also had the following; An I-Tunes performance consisting solely of tracks from “Artpop,” a pop emergency, a drip feed of promotional singles, the underwhelming comeback single, X Factor performance, Graham Norton show and finally artRave now the album “Artpop” has landed but does it deserve your “Applause” or should it be banished to “Venus”

Gaga enlists some of the cream of EDM to collaborate with on “Artpop” ;Hugo Leclercq (Madeon), Anton Zaslavski (Zedd), Dino Zisis, Infected Mushroom, Paul Blair (DJ White Shadow)along with a twist of R&B and Hip Hop; R Kelly, T.I., Too Short, Twista along with long time collaborator Redone, but has Gaga forsaken melody and tunes for beats? Here is a track by track take on “Artpop”

Aura -take away the crashing beats and then we have a passable song, however, this track is easily forgettable

Venus- electro throbber, before we get to the chorus of take me to your planet leader, take me to your leader; take me to your venus, however, this track takes too long to reach any kind of melody.

G.U.Y (Girl Under You), probably would have served better as the lead off single, less gimmicky than other tracks, this is a mid tempo grower and one of the tracks that has an actual melody

Sexxx DREAMS – one of the tracks played at I-Tunes festival which appeared to have hit potential, with a tasty bass line to boot!

Jewels N’ Drugs (feat T.I. Too $hort) Gaga ventures into electro Hip Hop, this track is a hip hopping mess, this track may be better received in the states.

MANICURE, opens with a football style chant along, which continues throughout the song which sounds like a second rate “Hollaback Girl

Do What U Want feat R Kelly – an usual hook up, but it works. It is a shame that this wasnt the lead off single as this track has everything that’s missing from most of “Artpop” – a track with melody and sing-along potential plus a gritty/aggressive vocal from Gaga and an impressive turn from R Kelly. This is Gaga’s I Will Survive moment!

Artpop evokes Debbie Harry – Artpop could mean anything sums up the album!!

Swine – industrial Hi-NRG, lacking a real tune

Donatella -Gaga taking the rise out of herself at the beginning of the track and a good way 0f getting free dresses for life or having a track used on the runway of fashion shows, however, it is not the greatest tune to be remembered by!!

Fashion! Following the fashion theme with “Fashion” A cross between “Lets Dance“, “Fashion” and a myriad of early Madonna tracks a lovely piano intro- all of the aforementioned ingredients make it one of the better tracks on “Artpop”

Mary Jane Holland at the end the sound of someone lighting up, this track is somewhere between Garbage and Lady Gaga

Dope (originally known as -I Wanna Be With You)-A lovely piano intro, this is one of the slower tracks on the album, without the EDM backing  which is a relief on the ears. It also  shows Gaga at her most vunerable

Gypsy – a stand out track but sounds like what David Guetta has done many times before

Applause -you either get applause at the beginning  or the end of a show and Gaga has chosen to add it on the end of “Artpop”.  Gaga comes over like a cross between Hazel O’Connor and David Bowie.

Mary Jane is a slang word commonly used for Marijuana and Holland is known for it its liberal cafes, so Lady Gaga titles a track Mary Jane Holland and then follows this with a track called Dope, go figure

“Artpop” is high on beats and energy but is low on killer tracks. After seeing Lady Gaga’s I-Tunes show VeReViews was convinced that Artpop was going to be an Artflop, whilst not the flop it could have been as the little monsters will lap it up and profess it to be her best album yet!  VeReViews reckons her best album is ahead of her, no doubt there will be a number of singles lifted from “Artpop” in the new year and possibly an Artpop Tour.

As Lady Gaga sings My Artpop could mean anything, however for VeReViews it means a just above average album.

VeReViews Star Rating VVV/5

VeReView Applause

What Comes After Love & The Poetry Of Pain?

Marcus Reeves– The Masquerade Macabre (Album)

The title indicates that this is not going to be an ordinary album; part show – think Cabaret & Phantom Of The Opera; part glam rock – think Marc Bolan and T.Rex & David Bowie, with a generous measure of torch songs and a soupcon of jazz.

The first half of the album sets the scene, it introduces the listener into Quicksilver’s world. On the opening track “Ghosts” Reeves spits out acerbic lyrics in the verses, then we get “Welcome To The Underworld” a track that could easily grace the soundtrack of Cabaret. Reeves is on playful mode and gets his groove on on the track “Masquerade”

Not only does Reeves pay vocal tributes to the artists who have influenced him, he also pays a photographic homage to David Bowie’s album “Pin Ups” on the cover of the single Smoke & Mirrors.

The last of the more show orientated songs “The Disappearing Man” really highlights the central themes of the album; lust, love and loss. Who hasn’t seen a relationship flounder by saying those three little words too early? “Gone” a track which wouldn’t sound out-of-place on the second half of Primal Scream‘s seminal album Screamadelica, revisits these themes.

“Mistaken Identity” Reeves channels his inner Marc Bolan & T. Rex, a song about loss and moving on, Reeves dryly sings “I Knew you wanted success but soon it was clear you wanted me less” On “Mad Bad World” Reeves successfully ventures into jazz.

The wistful “After Life” closes the album. A simple and effective piano led ballad. Reeves ponders “What comes after love and the poetry of pain? What comes after life, one chance to do it all again”

An album is usually a collection of songs, however, Reeves delivers a collection of vignettes, stories that capture, entice and move you with a myriad of musical styles.

What comes “After Life?” A chance to listen to Quicksilver-The Masquerade Macabre again and again.

VeReView Star Rating VVVV/5

REBOOT, REMIXED, RECHARGED

Linkin Park – RECHARGED (Album)

Linkin Park’s brand of Nu-Metal/Rap has suited well to the addition Urban Rap; the band are not averse to playing around and mixing up their back catalogue with Reanimation and Collision Course. This time around they have taken to remixing & recharging the majority of tracks on Living Things and have incorporated Dubstep, House and EDM into the mix, however, is this money for old rope or the sound for future frat parties?

RECHARGED is book ended with the new single; A LIGHT THAT NEVER COMES; the first version is co-credited x Steve Akoi, with Mike rapping and Chester singing the verses this, melodic hybrid that gets better with each listen and closes with Rick Rubin’s Reboot which is not too dissimilar in style to heavily from Sympathy For Devil.

CASTLE OF GLASS (M.Shinoda Remix) has a hymn like quality about it, the muffled open vocals show me how to be whole again getting louder and louder and then Chester’s vocals emphasizes the hymn like feel. We get aural assault on the tracks LOST IN THE ECHO (KillSonik Remix) & VICTIMIZED (M.Shinoda Remix) although the tracks are high octane and full of energy it comes as light relief when they are over. We also get 2 versions of I’LL BE GONE- The Vice Remix feat Pusha T which starts off with a sweet vocal from Chester then a laid back rap from Pusha T followed by a fast flowing rap by Mike and the Schoolboy Remix which appears to be more house orientated.

BURN IT DOWN (Tom Swoon Remix) takes to the dance floor with gusto the track dispenses with most of the vocals, using the refrain “we are building it up” this is a remix to fill stadiums.

VeReViews is a great admirer of artists that venture into musical genres beyond the ones that they are famed for. Linkin Park purists may be divided on Recharged; claiming that the essence of the band has been remixed out of the tracks,VeReviews would counter argue that the foundations of the songs are all Linkin Park based with additional ingredients added by the remixes. VeReviews expects Recharged to be the sound of many frat house Christmas parties this year!

VeReView Star Rating VVV/5

VeReView Linkin Park x Steve Akoi –A LIGHT THAT NEVER COMES

Newman’s Wall Of Sound

John Newman – Tribute (Album)

With Plan B reverting back to hip hop; Ill Manors, there is a vacancy for a blue eyed soul boy, step forward John Newman. Tribute Fuses together northern soul, blues, gospel, break beat, house music, pop melodies, motown all given a 2013 sheen and added dance beats.

On the Tribute Tree on his website and also on the opening track Tribute Newman lists numerous acts which have inspired him from, acts as diverse as Queens of The Stone Age, The Supremes, Jackie Wilson, Solomon Burke, Otis Redding, Spencer Davis Group, New Order, Radiohead, MGMT and Rudimental to name a few and it is with Rudimental that we start as John Newman first came to prominence as the lead vocalist on Rudimental’s No.1hit Feel The Love and its follow up Not Giving In, however there are no Rudimental collaborations on Tribute.

Tribute includes Newman’s No.1 hit single Love Me Again and its follow up break up song Cheating. On Losing Sleep Newman’s delivery evokes Otis Redding. Try is another Northern Soul toe tapper with a dash of Italo House piano. I think a trick was missed by not putting Goodnight Goodbye last on the running order of this album. All I Need Is You feels like a distant relation of Primal Scream’s Movin On Up.

Newman’s big voice belies his young years, that’s not to say that Newman hasn’t lived, his documented brain tumour & brain surgery, his father walking out on him and two close friends dying in a car accident One minor criticism of Newman’s voice is that listening to one song it sounds supreme however stretched to nearly fifty minutes it takes on a fog hornish quality.

Newman and his producers (Mike Spencer, Steve Booker and Ant Whiting) stick to a newly acquired formula a new kind of “Wall Of Sound.” Using a close knit writing and production team means that Tribute has an even consistent feel throughout, which isn’t a bad thing but a Rudimental , conspicuous by their absence, injection would have given the album a different dimension.

Tribute is Newman’s way of thanking everyone who has inspired and helped, loved and supported him to this point in his life. Newman wont be Losing Sleep as his Tribute is set to dominate the charts and remember its all for you.

VeReView Star Rating VVVV/5

VeReView Cheating

Wanna Be Startin Some Haim

 Haim – Days Are Gone (Album)

Haim are sisters Alana, Danelle & Este who hail from Los Angeles California, they have steadily gained a devoted fan base and have been acquiring critical acclaim by the truck load with every single release.

The Haim Hype machine has been in full flow all year, as critical acclaim was bestowed upon them with each single release with those said critics salivating over the prospect of a full long player. So Days Are Gone has landed are Haim just a female Hanson with better legs or is the Haim Hype justified?

We get the opening salvo of hits Failing, Forever, The Wire, most artists would kill for tracks like these. VeReviews reckons that if you listen very closely to Falling and Forever you can hear a similarity to Michael Jackson’s Wanna Be Startin Somethin. After these tracks we get the excellent If I Could Change Your Mind; this track has the exuberance of early Madonna tracks and must be a contender for a single release.

My Song 5 is one of the most intriguing tracks on the album, it starts of like filler but then turns into the most experimental track on the album, it shows that the girls are not afraid to tack a few risks along the way. Go Slow and Running If You Call My Name feel like a tribute to Kate Bush with added Californian harmonies.

It would have been easy to knock Haim as they had been put on such a high critical pedestal as the only way seemed to be down, however, they have come up with the goods and the hype, a strong album with influences from Madonna, Fleetwood Mac and Kate Bush and the odd borrow from Wanna Be Startin Somethin; Haim have delievered a debut album that will win over the naysayers. Haim have definitely changed my mind!

VeReView Star Rating VVVV/5

VeReView The Wire

20/20 Experience Part 2of 2 …Not A Bad Thing

Justin Timberlake – 20/20 Expereince Part 2 of 2 (album)

3 singles and 6 months after the 20/20 Experience we get Justin Timberlake’s follow up Experience part 2 of 2; now anyone thinking that after taking nearly seven years away from the music scene Timberlake would only manage to gather enough material for one album think again, with most of the song writing and production credit’s virtually the same as Part1, one can only assume these are the tracks that didn’t make the final cut for Part1.

With the lead off single Take Back The Night taking a disco direction, with luscious horns, one could be forgiven for thinking that 2of 2 would take a different direction then the second single TKO was premiered, which sounded like an Aaliyah off cut leaving VeReViews with a feeling that 2 of 2 would be more of the same, Timbaland’s trademarked kitchen sink production and heavy beats with Timberlake’s Jackson aping vocals.

Part 2 of 2 weighs in at a mighty 75 minutes with 1 track – True Blood coming in at 9 minutes and 31 seconds, this track could have done with being edited down, it morphs into a sub Thriller like track but to be honest it doesn’t’ cut the mustard, this song is for hardcore fans only.

Highlights on Part 2 are Take Back The Night on which Justin does disco; Drink You Away is this the closest we have come to a commercial country track from Justin? Amnesia and Not A Bad Thing and finally the hidden track the delightful and Timbaland free Pair Of Wings

Now Timberlake and Timbaland do not scrimp on the amount of songs and minutes they give you on both experiences but sometimes less is more

VeReView Star Rating VVV/5

HearView Not A Bad Thing (Audio Only)

Boys Don’t Cry

Diana Vickers – Music To Make The Boys Cry (Album)

Diana Vickers appeared in series 5 of X Factor and has appeared on two number 1 records and saw her debut album Songs From The Tainted Cherry Tree reach Number 1 in 2010. Three years on from that and on a new record label, Vickers releases her sophomore album, Music To Make The Boys Cry. The omens for this album do not look good as the lead off single Cinderella couldn’t’t make the top 40. So does Vickers have the tunes to Make The Boys Cry with euphoria or boredom?

3 years is a long time in pop, fellow X factor finalists and finalists from other shows have been more productive than Vickers; JLS & Olly Murs have both released 3 albums, One Direction will be releasing their third album soon and Ellie Goulding, who co wrote Remake Me + You on Vickers’s debut, has released 2.5 albums, no doubt with changing labels there would have been some behind the scenes wrangling going on which could have delayed the follow-up, but has the worth the wait?

Music To Make The Boys Cry, which is also the current single release, kicks off the album nicely followed by Cinderella which had the potential to be big limped into the chart at No.55, its chorus gets better with each listen maybe a remix from one of today’s hot DJ’s could have propelled this single to greater heights. After this the album dips and picks up with the track Boy In Paris. I imagine if Debbie Gibson was still making hit records they would sound like Mad At Me. Then events take a turn southwards but pick up on the closing two songs Better in French and Blame Game. Has Vickers got an infatuation with France, as after Boy in Paris we get better in French, this a very Kylieesque number and hints at what could have been. Blame Game rounds off a pretty disappointing album.

Music To Make The Boys Cry has an impressive list of credits including Miranda Cooper, Jimmy Harry and  David Gamson on song writing and production duties, however, they cobbled a batch of electro-lite tracks which are neither one thing or the other, the record label should have been more courageous and got some tougher mixes in place. I predict a Top 50 placing and then a rapid fall, which is a shame because with this collection of songs Vickers should be hitting the heights that Ellie Goulding is currently reaching. The 3 year wait between albums is in my opinion too long for an artist like Vickers. For it to be Music To Make Boys Cry, boys would have to listen to it first and I am afraid to say that few will.

VereVeiw Star Rating VV/5

VereView Music To Make Boys Cry

Avicii Takes Dance Music to New Levels

Avicii – True (Album)

Avicii aka Tim Bergling or Tim Berg or Tom Hangs releases his first full length album; True. Like many DJ’s who make albums Avicii enlists a number of collaborators on True, however, he doesn’t’t take the David Guetta or Calvin Harris route of making an album, most of the artists on True are not what you would call household names save for Nile Rodgers, Adam Lambert and possibly Aloe (I Need A Dollar) Blacc, with this in mind has Avicii made a True classic or a True Mess?

The album starts off with the worldwide hit Wake Me Up featuring Aloe Blacc, this track set up the album nicely as Wake Me Up is not a straightforward dance track but a hybrid of Soul, folk, country and EDM; an almighty mix but Avicii and Aloe Blacc succeed in making a truly original dance track.

Addicted To You featuring Mac Davis & Audra Mae is a full on big diva house number. Liar Liar starts off as a dreamy wistful Italo house number before a 60’s inspired chorus kick in with chant Liar Liar.

It seems that any dance artist worth their salt is collaborating with Nile Rodgers, Avicii does so twice on this album first on

Shame On Me – which has a driving beat similar to The Race by Yellow. Rodgers pops up again on the enjoyable Lay Me Down. Vocals on this track are handled by Adam Lambert, this is Lambert’s second hook up with Rodgers on the cruelly overlooked Shadey. Lay Me Down will no doubt hit the top of the charts when released as a single.

Avicii offers his version of Antony And The Johnsons Hope There’s Someone, featuring Linnea Henriksson;Avicii takes a mournful ode about finding someone in the afterlife and turns it into an arms raised aloft dance number.Whilst Linnea executes the vocals well. the song doesn’t quite work for me as it fails to convey the depth of emotions of the original version which is spine tingling, however, full credit must go to Avicii for bringing this song to a new audience

Avicii has made an ambitious album, he has taken dance music into a different direction, encompassing, folk, country, soul & EDM along the way. This is not your typical dance album which makes it an intriguing listen, whilst I wouldn’t’t say True was a classic, I wouldn’t’t call True a mess either but would say it is somewhere in between.

VereView Star Rating VVV/5

VereView You Make Me

80’s Electro Bones

Chvrches – The Bones Of What You Believe (album)

Pronounced Churches but styled as Chvrches are; Martin Doherty (Samplers, Synths & vocals); Iain Cook (Guitars, Bass, Synths & vocals) and on lead vocals & additional synths Lauren Mayberry have been releasing songs since May 2012 and building up a following with their extensive touring schedule; finally get around to releasing their debut album The Bones Of You What You Believe. Chvrches have distilled their 80’s influences ranging from Depeche Mode, Erasure, Human League, Prince, so is it an 80’s electro delight or 80’s electro disaster?

The album has been pre-ceded by the following tracks which have either been  free to download or released commercially; Lies – released May 2012; Recover – released February 2013; Gun – released July 2013 – which is their best-selling single to date reaching Number 55 on the official charts and The Mother We Share – released September 2013.

The Mother We Share opens precedings – a mid tempo piece which could be viewed as speaking out about a difficult relationship with a sibling or it could be about the struggles we all endure, with the mother we share being a metaphorical mother.

After the upbeat nature of We Sink and Gun, Chvrches follow with Tether, which is the darkest track musically so far , Lauren solemnly sings I feel incapable of seeing the end, I feel Incapable of saying its over to minimal backing and then the synths kick in taking this track in a different direction and also giving the track a more optimistic feel. A track worth persevering for its glorious ending.

Under The Tide features lead vocals from Doherty, this adds another dimension to the album and is not too dissimilar from early Human League tracks. Lungs effortlessly ventures into dub step without sounding like Chvrches are jumping onto a bandwagon, VereView’s reckons that you can expect to hear an Ellie Goulding cover of this track in the near future.

The Bones Of What You Believe appears to have overwhelming themes of control and being kept against their wishes – On Tether , Lauren Sings “In a place where we don’t have a prayer, there’s a tether that’s keeping me there.” and on By The Throat Lauren sings “- If I could catch you and cut your ties, I would leave you, every time

The Bones Of What You Believe is an encouraging debut and gives each of the members of the group space to showcase their skills. There are one or two misfires but overall there is much to commend, what could have been an 80’s parodying disaster is a genuine 80’s delight.

VereView Star Rating VVV/5

VereView The Mother We Share

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