Chris Brown – Turn Up The Music
If it wasn’t bad enough that this year’s Grammy Awards almost entirely neglected multiple winner Amy Winehouse’s death because of Whitney Houston’s, I also discovered that a young man can make mistakes and be forgiven. Right? Wrong.
The slick beats, synthesisers and Chris Brown’s lightning feet aren’t enough to distract me from the fact that he violently beat Rihanna. The song is rubbish enough to be played on commercial radio every four minutes, I’m just hoping that it only goes to no.1 in countries where it’s ok to hit women.
As for the Grammys – shame on you for the invitation, performance and wins of Chris Brown. 1.5 stars.
M.I.A – Bad Girls
M.I.A has struggled with the balance of being a badass Bollywood bohemian and top-of-the-pops Timbaland tart. Her first album was groundbreaking, yet alienating, while her second proved to be surprise hit, with her Clash-sampling “Paper Planes” assaulting the US charts. However her third album, Maya, received tepid reviews and failed to achieve airplay (because well, it was a giant wank.)
With “Bad Girls”, it appears M.I.A has nailed the happy medium. The Eastern influence is as undeniable in the tune as it is in the video, but the hip-hop percussion is Americanised enough to hear it in retail stores globally.
A welcome return to form. 3.5 stars.
Nneka – Shining Star
Nneka has been hovering around the lower parts of the UK charts for the last few years with her socially-conscious-for-the-masses, Michael Franti meets Neneh Cherry thing going on.
“Shining Star”, as twee as it could come across, is incredibly charming. Nneka’s vocals are sweet and infectious, the hip-hop-lite beat is accessible and the song could grace more cafes than a pretentious cafe blogger.
Nneka might never reach the top of the charts, but she’s at least of the top of the drab, dull mass heap of current radio. 3.5 stars.