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Chart Chat Album Review : ‘Diana Vickers – Music To Make Boys Cry’ (16.09.13)

Chart Chat Album Review : ‘Diana Vickers – Music To Make Boys Cry’ (16.09.13)

Diana initially came to the public’s attention as the semi finalist on the 2008 series of X Factor but she quickly showed her promise with a no.1 single ‘Once’ and no.1 album ‘Songs From The Tainted Cherry Tree’.  Subsequent singles ‘The Boy Who Murdered Love’ (#36) and ‘My Wicked Heart’ (#13) performed less well but still helped to establish her as a credible artist in her own right. Despite her early success Diana left RCA in 2011 to move to SO Recordings, a label that would give her much more creative control over her output.  This week marks the release of her second album ‘Music To Make Boys Cry’ and below we trawl through each track to give our personal opinion on how it sounds :

Music To Make Boys Cry

The album opener, title track and second single.  It’s been viewed 250k times on YouTube and could well have been a hit in its own right if it had not been released the same week as the album.  Rumours had been rife of working with the likes of Starsailor frontman James Walsh to achieve a rockier sound but this sets the tone for the remainder of the release with a dance / pop sound very much in evidence here.

Cinderella

Diana’s comeback single, and despite being a great pop song it somehow fell short of the top forty, peaking at a lowly no.76 despite several daytime TV appearances. I’m not quite sure why it didn’t set the charts alight, particularly considering the fact that the video has been viewed almost 950k times on her Vevo channel.  As with the opening track it was co-written by Norwegian producer Simen Eriksrud and his wife Simone who fronts the band D’Sound along with Miranda Cooper from Xenomania, the production team behind the majority of Girls Aloud’s hits.

Lightning Strikes

Former Scritti Politti synth player David Gamson also gets a writing credit for this one.  He has written for a variety of artists including Ke$ha, Kelly Clarkson, Chaka Khan, George Benson and Luther Vandross.  It has an uptempo pop feel to it, and continues very much in the same vein as the opening two tracks.

Dead Heat

I like this track, and immediately it sounds different to the opening three tracks.  It has arguable more of a dance edge than a pop one and the lyrics “it’s not a matter of life and death / but if I had to choose between love and breath / I’d sacrifice the sun (rise)” really stuck in my head after just the first listen. Possibly the best song so far.

Boy In Paris

David Gamson is back here, and the synth side of the song really shines through.  He is the songs producer, and not just the co-writer.  It’s not as immediate as ‘Dead Heat’ and is not a song I would immediately return to.  It’s not that bad, just that for me there are stronger tracks on here.

Mad At Me

This really sticks out from the other tracks, and has almost an 80’s sound to it.  I could imagine someone like Wendy & Lisa or Sheena Easton singing this. This time around Diana has worked with Dan Radklyffe (also known as Utters) who co-wrote three tracks on the Maverick Sabre album and the new input certainly benefits the song. “So why ya mad at me? Mad at me? It wasn’t so bad of me, bad of me” are the lyrics that you most remember, and it’s one of the albums highlights.

Smoke

I was very interested in this track as it’s the only song not co-written by Diana on the whole album.  Instead Miranda Copper shares the credits with Sam Cramer, also known as Eyes who has remixed tracks for Ellie Goulding, Limp Bizkit, Jay-Z and B.o.B.  It has a much slower feel compared to the others although it’s not an out and out ballad.

Mr Postman

Not a cover of The Marvelettes classic, but a slower song with an input from American Golden Globe winning songwriter and producer Jimmy Harry. He has worked with Britney Spears, Madonna, Kelly Clarkson and Kylie Mingoue.  Also taking credit on the track is Gez O’Connell who has previously worked with Xenomania and has written for both The Wanted and The Saturdays. The start of the song has almost a jazzy feel to it, and immediately grabs your attention.

Better In French

This has a sexy and dancier feeling to it although the edge is still present thanks to Miranda Cooper and David Gamson. You could very much imagine Girls Aloud singing this, but that’s no bad thing. “Parlez vous francais / baby walk my way / love it when you say j’taime” hold the chorus together and I could well imagine this becoming a future single.

Blame Game

The album ends on a strong note with ‘Blame Game’ , another uptempo pop song which wouldn’t sound out of place on daytime radio. It was produced by Ant Whiting who also been working on the new album by Rizzle Kicks.

In summary, firstly Diana deserves some credit for delivering for an album of original material.  You look at some of the artists coming out of the reality shows such as Andrea Begley (The Voice) and Jahmene Douglas (X Factor) and you will find their albums full of cover versions. Some of the pop songs here do sound a little similar, but there are some real stand out moments such as ‘Dead Heat’, ‘Mad At Me’ and ‘Blame Game’ and it is always encouraging when the best tracks are not just the singles. The album doesn’t disappoint, and it may even win her over a few new fans as long as the commercial stations give the tracks the airplay that they deserve.

Ian Anderson

15 September, 2013 Posted by | ChartChat | Leave a comment

Chart Chat Edition 721 – W/C 15.09.13

Chart Chat Edition 721- Week Commencing Sunday 15th September 2013 

Introduction

Welcome to edition 721 of Chart Chat, the music review site which has been running for over thirteen years.  You can find us on Twitter as @ChartChatUK so feel free to follow us and pass comment on the weeks new releases yourselves.  As always we will take a look at the current top forty followed by some reviews of the weeks new releases.  There is a new edition published weekly so if you are new here then I hope you will choose to revisit.  In response to some readers comments there is a slightly clearer layout now so that individual songs can be picked out rather than having to trawl through paragraphs of texts.

Chart Review

There were five new entries, one re-entry, ten climbers, twenty one songs going down and three non movers on this weeks chart. There was no change at the top as Katy Perry spent a second week at no.1 with ‘Burn’. However there was a surprise at no.2 as OneRepublic climbed eleven places to no.2 with ‘Counting Stars’ after six weeks on the chart.

Ellie Goulding went down one to no.3 with her former chart topper ‘Burn’ and Avicii fell one place to no.4 with ‘Wake Me Up’ spending an impressive ninth week in the top five. Drake featuring Majid Jordan climbed back up one to no.5 with ‘Hold On We’re Going Home’ and Klangkarussell featuring Will Heard fell two places to no.6 with ‘Sonnentanz (Sun Don’t Shine)’. Lana Del Rey vs Cedric Gervais fell two to no.7 with ‘Summertime Sadness’ and Miley Cyrus went down one to no.8 with ‘We Can’t Stop’. Macklemore & Ryan Lewis featuring Mary Lambert went up eleven to no.9 with ‘Same Love’ and Lady Gaga concluded the top ten falling two places to no.10 with ‘Applause’. 

There were two new entries and three climbers in what remained of the top twenty. Coldplay went straight in at no.12 with ‘Atlas’ while the other new entry went to Example at no.13 with ‘All The Wrong Places’. Arctic Monkeys went up ten to no.14 with ‘Do I Wanna Know’ and London Grammar climbed one to no.16 with ‘Strong’. The remaining climber went to  Arctic Monkeys who topped the album charts this week with ‘AM’ and celebrate by getting another climber as ‘Why’d You Only Call Me When You’re High’ went back up six places to no.20.

There were three new entries, one re-entries and four climbers in the lower half of this weeks chart. Ben Pearce went straight in at no.25 with ‘What I Might Do’ and Olly Murs climbed eight places to no.27 with ‘Right Place Right Time’.  Bastille went up nine to no.28 with ‘Things We Lost In The Fire’ and Lethal Bizzle featuring Ruby Goe got a new entry at no.29 with ‘Party Right’. Kanye West featuring Jamie Foxx continued to climb back up the charts going up three to no.33 with ‘Gold Digger’ and Chris Brown featuring Nicki Minaj went straight in at no.34 with ‘Love More’. Imagine Dragons climbed three to no.37 with ‘It’s Time’ and Swedish House Mafia featuring John Martin got the only re-entry, returning to the chart at no.40 with ‘Don’t You Worry Child’

New Releases

Avicii – ‘You Make Me’

First up this week is the important question of how do you follow up a big single like ‘Wake Me Up’? Well Swedish DJ and producer Avicii is attempting to answer that with the release of his new single ‘You Make Me’ this week. It’s only been two years since his first UK hit ‘Seek Bromance’ which was performed under the monicker Tim Berg but since then he has added two top five hits and two number ones to his name.  This single has already been released in Australia and his native Sweden, and has made the top twenty in both territories.  The track also features the talents of Salem Al Fakir who last appeared on Avicii’s top thirty hit ‘Silhouettes’ and is set to appear on his first full length studio album ‘True’.  With two no.1’s to his name in the past twelve months expectations will be high for this but I don’t think it will add a third to that tally. 

Orchestral Manouvres In The Dark – ‘Night Cafe’

It’s been a total of thirty three years since OMD first appeared on the chart with ‘Messages’ and seventeen since their last hit ‘Walking On The Milky Way’ but they are still going strong are are busy writing and performing new material. Their new single ‘Night Cafe’ is released this week and is the third to be taken from their ‘English Electric’ album which became their highest charting long player in twenty years when it peaked at no.12 earlier this year.  Both the digital and CD formats of this release contain four new mixes of the track; the Vile Electrodes ‘B-Side The C-Side’ Remix, Metrolands Nighthawks Remix, the Taoyoyo Remix and the Sin Cos Tan Remix.  Along with that they also include the b sides from all the ‘English Electric’ singles released so far.  It is unlikely to chart in its own right, but the overall package is a must have for any fans of the band. 

Jason Derulo featuring 2 Chainz – ‘Talk Dirty’

Next up this week is twenty four year old American r’n’b singer songwriter Jason Derulo has enjoyed an impressive start to his career with six top five hits to his name including the massive no.1s ‘In My Head’ and ‘Don’t Wanna Go Home’.  His last hit was ‘The Other Side’ which reached no.2 earlier this year, and both that and his new single ‘Talk Dirty’ will feature on his new album ‘Tattoos’.  The track also features a guest appearance from the hip hop artist 2 Chainz who enjoyed a top ten hit recently with his own single ‘We Own It (Fast & Furious)’. ‘Talk Dirty’ comes in with a running time of less than three minutes long and is released as a single track download with no remixes.  This looks bound to feature among the highest new entries next weekend and I think that it may well do enough to go on to become his third chart topper. 

Jessie J – ‘It’s My Party’

It’s a big week for new releases with Jessie J throwing her hat into the ring with her new single ‘It’s My Party’. It’s the follow up to ‘Wild’ which made the top five earlier this year and is aiming to give her a third no.1 hit.  It will feature on her second album ‘Alive’ which is due for release next week and it has a hard act to follow as her debut long player ‘Who You Are’ contained an impressive seven top twenty hits. She has recently been in the news for quitting her role as a judge on the BBC TV competition ‘The Voice’ and will now be concentrating full time on her career while her decision to shave her head for Comic Relief also generated considerable publicity. It’s hard to believe that it has now been five years since she appeared on stage supporting Girls Aloud on their Tangled Up tour but she is now a star in her own right and could well challenge for the top spot with this release.

Tom Odell – ‘Grow Old With Me’

Twenty two year old singer songwriter Tom Odell has already been enjoying a great year which kicked off with him receiving the Critics Choice Award at the BRITs while he was also nominated in the BBC Sound Of 2013 poll which was ultimately won by Haim.  He was selected as one of the artists to support Rolling Stones at their Hyde Park gig but unfortunately had to pull out due to illness. His album ‘Long Way Down’ topped the charts despite the NME giving it 0 out of 10 in their review.  It contained ‘Another Love’ which was his first top ten hit and also his new single ‘Grow Old With Me’. The digital EP contains the Kcrw Mbe Session version of the track alongside new songs ‘Make The Moment Last’ and ‘Little Darlin”. For me he is destined to be more of an album artist so I am not convinced that this will see him back inside the top ten. 

Chvrches – ‘The Mother We Share’

‘Gun’, the last single from Glaswegian electropop band Chvrches, became their biggest hit to date peaking at no.55.  This week sees the release of ‘The Mother We Share’ as the follow up and it is  a track which finished at no.51 on the Huffington Post top 52 of 2012.  They started off the year well by finishing fifth in the BBC Sound Of 2013 poll and their first release ‘Recover’ gave them a debut top 100 appearance. The track is released as just a single track download and also features on the bands forthcoming album ‘The Bones Of What You Believe’ which hits the shops next week. The band are currently busy touring in the States before returning to the UK in October for some headline shows. Interest in the band has certainly grown over recent months and there is a strong chance that this will manage to give them their first top 40 hit. 

Birdy – ‘Wings’

‘Wings’ is the first single to be taken from English singer Birdy’s second studio album ‘Fire Within’.  Her debut album contained a series of covers with her take on Bon Iver’s ‘Skinny Love’ becoming a chart regular over the past two years with constant re-entries following its use by singers in competitions such as The Voice of X Factor.  She has now turned seventeen and is about to release an album of original songs in an attempt to further broaden her fanbase.  Since being uploaded a month ago the video has been viewed over 2m times so there is every indication that the Belgian teenager won’t be just a one album wonder. Despite the success of ‘Skinny Love’ her other singles ‘Shelter’ (#50) and ‘People Help The People’ (#33) performed less well so I’m not sure whether or not this track will manage to reach the top forty next Sunday afternoon. 

Kye Sones – ‘Seven EP’

It’s that time of year when former X Factor contestants tend to bring out new material in the hope of capitalising on the publicity which a new series of the show generates. This week it’s the turn of Kye Sones to bring out an EP, and it contains five tracks; a cover of Swedish House Mafia’s ‘Save The World’, ‘Overdose’, ‘Keep Running’, ‘I Won’t Surrender’ and ‘No Words’.  He survived until week five of the X Factor competition last year before being eliminated when up against Rylan Clark in the bottom two. He appeared live at the Cafe De Paris in London last weekend to celebrate the release of the EP, but I fear without major label backing he will struggle to generate the kind of airplay required to break into the mainstream charts.  He does have a great voice and certainly deserves his shot at the charts but I fear that it may pass him by, on this occasion at the very least. 

The Civil Wars – ‘Dust To Dust’

Finally under review this week comes the American folk music duo Civil Wars who consist of Joy Williams and John Paul White who have just seen their self titled second album reach no.2 in the charts. They have achieved relatively little success on the singles chart both in the US and UK with their highest charting single in the States being ‘Barton Hollow’ which peaked at no.101 and was the title track from their debut album.  However they did guest on Taylor Swift’s Hunger Games single ‘Safe And Sound’ which made no.30 in the US but only no.184 in the UK.  Impressively they have two Grammy’s to their name (Best Country Duo/Group Performance and Best Folk Album). Given the success of the album and their previous poor performance on the singles chart it is hard to see this gracing the top forty next weekend. 

Next Week…

My money is on Jason Derulo featuring 2 Chainz to debut at the top next Sunday but I expect a strong challenge from Jessie J. Don’t forget to stop by next week when artists releasing new singles look set to include The Christians, Gary Numan, Haim and Panic At The Disco.  Until then have yourself a good week.

 

Ian Anderson 

 

15 September, 2013 Posted by | ChartChat | Leave a comment