lundi 23 août 2010

The Saturdays make the Headlines!

Time to review more music from the latest remaining BIG girlsband from the UK, after the split of Girls Aloud and the never stopping changing faces of the Sugababes, and this is The Saturdays.

I have first reviewed their first album Chasing lights a couple of years ago
but passed on their second one Wordshaker last year.
It is time for an update to celebrate the release of their third album, called Headlines!, which in fact is only a mini-album, made of 5 new tracks and 3 from Wordshaker including the two singles from it, Forever is over and

Made of 5 gorgeous and vocally talented girls, Frankie Sandford and Rochelle Wiseman (both from the 90's teenband S Club 8) with Una Healy, Mollie King and Vanessa White, The Saturdays look like the perfect line-up to walk in the shoes of the old Spice Girls and latest disbanded Girls Aloud to ride the top of the UK Charts.

They started sampling Yazoo with the first single If this is love (UK#8), then moved Up (UK#5) before gettin' Issues even higher (UK#4). They put on the red nose for the Comic Relief charity single and a cover version of the Vince Clarke penned Depeche Mode old hit Just can't get enough (UK#2) before gettin' on tour and lower in the charts with Work (UK#22), the last extract from their first album Chasing lights.

Three months later they were back without their trademark logo but with a Kelly Clarkson rejected song, the energetic pop/rock Forever is over, which got them back near the top of the charts (UK#2) before releasing their second album, Wordshaker and following single Ego (UK#9) and its girlpower über catchy chorus and superheroïnes themed video.
I don't know why this album didn't get milked more like their first into singles. Sure there was more potential hits included even if the global sound was less instant as their first CD. That is why I didn't make a full review for it at the time...

Although featuring beautiful heavy piano instrumentation a la When love takes over and a strong anthemic chorus, Here standing hadn't the little something to make it a hit. No one was just boring, only waking me up at the moment of the chorus. The must-have-been third single was One shot, a powerful electro pop piece of gold. I can't understand why this hadn't been released but I must not be the only one thinking this song had more potential as it is the only other song from Wordshaker that is included on the Headlines! EP, slightly remixed by Starsmith. The electro title track gained at the times votes from fans as a future single but even if it was good, it was just a good album track to me. Denial was a nice ballad with big chorus but only a perfect album filler. Open up, produced by David Kreuger & Per Magnuson like One shot, had a very near hit appeal and could have tried to have a single life too. That makes me think a full album produced by the swedish duo would have sounded a real HIT! Lose control was another good tune, catchy and modern-retro type of electro pop but it wasn't the instant song that is needed to become a single. Not good enough's chorus had it but the verses were a bit lame and it was a reject from the first album so just a filler there. Deeper was just another nice ballad and 2AM just a Motown inspired nice closing track.
This tracklisting didn't make it a bad album but a not-as-good-as their first one for sure.

Now that the Girls Aloud girls have all gone apart and solo and that Fascination has dumped their rival-in-the-making girlband Girls Can't Catch, their records company needed to get their last remaining girlband a new hit before releasing a third album that must be their make-or-break deadline. So they decided to release an 8-tracker CD with leading new single Missing you ahead.

They must have made the right decision as this summery electro mid-tempo gets them back on the UK charts podium (#3) while their EP goes straight at #2 in the album charts. Truth is Headlines! looks like a greatest hits in the making. Already including the best parts of Wordshaker with Forever is over, Ego and One shot, the CD only enlists single potential recorded songs :

Apart from the current single Missing you
, track 3 looks like the next step in the Saturdays' new chart conquering move ; Higher sounds like One shot part II, with its electro arrangements, powerful melody and catchy choruses. Penned by Arnthor 'BAG' Birgisson with the ever-relying Saturdays' sixth member-like songwriter Ina Wroldsen, that song mixes everything The Saturdays are all about since their debut without sounding nothing more than modern and perfect.
Next song, Died in your eyes, is a little more laid-back, breezy and nice in its verses but with their trademark strong power chorus. It is hard to believe it hasn't been written for them as it is in fact a second-hand song, recorded first by american singer Kristinia DeBarge on her debut album last year. As she is relatively unknown on these shores, this cover version could easily become a further single for the english girls. It'd be perfect after Higher.
Being one of their strongest selling single despite its rather low chart placing, Ego must have been a favourite in their record company's hearts (and wallets) so it is no surprise they made the same writing team a place for a new song here : the song is called Karma, the writer/producer is Steve Mac along Ina Wroldsen on the writing duties. Mr. Mac is no stranger in the Charts history as he is one of the most successfull producer of the 90s/00s years, having worked with loads of people but significantly on nearly all Boyzone and Westlife releases. This one is another catchy powerful electro sure-fire hit. WOW! There could really be strong singles released from that new CD...
Last new song (before the Starsmith remix of One shot closes the album), Puppet, is maybe the one with the less potential. It is a rather very good song with a strong chorus and good rhythm but it is a little repetitive or is it just that after so many good songs this last one sounds just like a klone of them all ?

Now I've got to wonder why Facination didn't include more on this EP ?
I understand they couldn't throw in all their newly recorded songs because of the further third full album to be released next year but why didn't they even bother add remixes ? The acoustic version of Forever is over would have been nice. The Cahill radio mix of Missing you would have been heaven on earth (these guys cannot do wrong these days in any of their remixes!!) and the 7th Heaven radio edit of One shot would have been so much greater than this Starsmith remix that adds nothing to the original... The Jason Nevins or Manhattan Clique remix or -best- a Buzz Junkies radio edit of Forever is over would have been either perfect too !
In fact, I think they may have to wait a little bit more but a full remixed singles collection sounds like a good idea as all the singles that the girls have released have been remixed by the cream of the UK remixers (Moto Blanco for If this is love, Wideboys for Up and Just can't get enough, Digital Dog for Issues, Cahill already for Work) and that these club remixes need more exposure.

So now you know what to do : order the Headlines! CD from you usual UK online retailer or download it from iTunes or wherever you can get this UK release from your own country. You just have got to have it !

lundi 9 août 2010

ULTRA FERRER : new Ysa Ferrer album (27 Sept)

Ysa Ferrer's 4th studio album, Ultra Ferrer, will hit the stores on the 27th September.

The cover looks fabulous, all glittering and glam. It looks like a vision of Ysa's dreams of success and glamour...
or maybe more a cliché of what this fake empty world of jetsetters is made :
Diva lifestyle, unwearable dress, ridiculous hairstyle and snapshots surrounding the red carpet.

Here is the official tracklisting :
2/ HANDS UP (I hope not a cover of THAT disco song...)

You can pre-order it RIGHT NOW in its limited edition (500 only copies minus mine already!!!) on her official shop with PayPal :
Ysa Ferrer's official boutique

Don't miss your chance !
It includes the original 13 tracks official CD
with a full 24 pages booklet
+ a second CD with demo versions
+ 2 bonus tracks called CETTE FILLE-LA and MILLE EXCUSES.
So it is very worthy the 29.90€ price (+p&p)

Can you ?