A Week in Music – Rihanna Disappoints, Cee-Lo Green And The Muppets Get Us In The Festive Spirit, The Rolling Stones And Paul McCartney17 December 2012
Albums of Note... Rihanna’s seventh studio album, Unapologetic has been met with a mixed response and our reviewer reckons the Barbadian pop star phoned this one in. As her career becomes more of a marketing cash cow than an artistic endeavour, so her albums impress less and less.
Of course, there is also the ‘elephant’ that seems to appear in every room Rihanna walks into… an elephant known as ‘Chris Brown.’ He makes an appearance on the album, duetting with RhiRhi on a track called ‘Nobody’s Business.’ “Fun: it's something that's lacking a lot in this album, Unapologetic rattling on machine-like but with very little given away to the spirit of enjoyment… She doesn't have to feel apologetic for anything, but what's more concerning is that Rihanna doesn't seem to feel anything anymore, something all too apparent on this turgid LP.”
After last years The Wages of Fear, Tellison re re-releasing their debut album Contact! Contact! and even the five years that have passed have not dulled the appeal of the band’s first long-player outing. “Their formula is beyond amazing with every element down to the delightfully lush backing vocals considered with due care and attention, meaning that it never becomes formulaic; rather it becomes instantly recognisable as Tellison… These are the sorts of songs that make you wince with excitement every time you hear them and brim with annoyance at just how good they are.”
MIA 2006-2010 is a compilation of work from Rob Ellis, aka Pinch. He’s the man behind Bristol’s dubstep label, Tectonic, who have released music by the likes of Skream, Benga and Flying Lotus. MIA avoids the pitfalls of a lack of focus that you may expect from a compilation album, despite the fact that Ellis circumnavigates genres within the space of the one album. “In this version of his reality, Motion Sickness bleeps like a scion of an obscure Berlin techno dub plate, whilst Emika's Double Edge find itself re imagined as discombobulated krautrock, it's ghost radar signature wailing counter to an anonymous diva whose sampled voice comes seemingly from behind a veil.”
Rowdy Superstar’s album Battery threatens, for the most part, to be a case of style over substance. All the proclamations of being ‘a bit out there’ do the man no favours and the hit rate of living up to those claims is way less than 100% than it should be. Luckily for Mr Superstar, though there’s enough raw talent on display to rescue Battery. “all-in-all, Battery is more hit than miss. There is more than just idle posturing and ill-conceived intent… This debut album has individual moments that showcase a raw talent that has much to offer and no lack of enthusiasm to share it. As to the initial question: Rowdy Superstar? Probably, and quite soon.”
A Week in Videos... Who WOULDN’T want to watch a Christmas music video featuring The Muppets and Cee Lo Green? Hmm? Featuring Miss Piggy kissing Kermit under the mistletoe, the song itself is fairly standard Christmas chart-hungry fare, with the catchiest festive chorus since ‘All I Want For Christmas.’ A hearty slice of rock, pop and soul, spliced with brilliant interludes from The Muppets themselves, this yuletide offering gets the thumbs up from us here at Contactmusic.
The video for Jessie Ware’s latest track, ‘Sweet Talk’ shows a child version of Jessie and a young boy on production duties, working their way through the recording of the track. Taken from Jessie’s Mercury Music Prize-nominated album Devotion, ‘Sweet Talk’ is indebted to ‘80s soul. Though the star of the show is only in the video for a few seconds, it still makes for a heart-warming video, played out by one of Jessie’s gentler moments.
Skylar Grey’s video for ‘C’Mon Let Me Ride’ features Eminem rapping a verse and singing an auto-tuned version of Queen’s ‘I Want To Ride My Bicycle.’ The video itself is utterly bonkers and allows Skylar’s character to shine through; at no point is she overshadowed by the superstar rapper that she’s previously written tracks for (Skylar was responsible for helping to pen the three versions of ‘Love The Way You Lie,’ one of which was recorded by Eminem).
Mercury Music Prize winners Alt-J release Fitzpleasure, an arty, melodic number, accompanied by a video of greyed-out urban landscapes, populated by street dancers with worryingly double-jointed limbs. Always very much on the verge of taking themselves too seriously, Alt-J’s latest video is gritty and ever-so-slightly disturbing.
Interview of The Week... An interview with All The Young reveals that the guys have signed an impressive six album deal with Warners and have already released their debut album Welcome Home, drawing comparison to Oasis, Doves and Shed Seven. The band have learnt to stick to what they know and a recent dubstep mix of one of their songs most likely won’t be seeing the light of day: “It was good, but it just didn't feel right. We've had another one done more recently though, and the less said about that the better!”
Will All the Young be the band that bring their hometown of Stoke to the attention of the press, as The View did for Dundee? “WH: We played The Sugar Mill in Stoke last week and one of the lads in the support band came up to us after the show and told us that we were the reason they'd started playing music. To hear that, you can't help but be proud of what you're doing.
RD: I think if I was 16 and living in Stoke, looking at a bunch of guys in a rock 'n' roll band going off touring around Europe and Australia, then I'd say to myself: "I wanna do what they're going to be doing."
Music in the News... The big event that everyone was talking about last week was the 12-12-12 Sandy Relief benefit concert in New York. A charity concert for the victims of Hurricane Sandy, some of the biggest names in pop and rock history were there, including Bruce Springsteen, The Who and The Rolling Stones, as well as Kanye West and Alicia Keys. The star that really grabbed the headlines though was Sir Paul McCartney, who performed onstage with the surviving members of Nirvana.
80s synth-pop gods Depeche Mode have announced that they will be releasing a new album in 2013. It will have a March release date, though hasn’t got a name yet Dave Gahan and Martin Gore are enthused at the new release, with Gore remarking “The music has a similar vibe to Violator and Songs of Faith and Devotion and I think there are a few songs on the album that are among some of the very best we’ve done.”