In the four years since his debut in 2008, Sam Sparro‘s done a lot of growing as an artist. And by that, I mean he has a mustache now.
No, no–he’s matured, his sound and style has developed further, and “I Wish I Never Met You”–the lead single from his upcoming album Return to Paradise–represents that overall evolution. Stripping away the extra synthesizers but maintaining the sleekness of “Black & Gold,” Sparro’s latest is an unbelievably well-crafted marriage between soulful ’70′s disco, piano-led balladry and chilly blasts of Euro-tinged 21st century electronica (a bit Kleerupian, if you will).
The song, which was co-written by Swedish singer-songwriter Erik Hassle (so you already know it’s good), sees Sparro alternating between aggression and anguish as he laments his last love affair. It’s just amazing.
Actually, it’s so amazing, I just started listing out bits and pieces of its amazingness, including (but not limited to):
A NEW O’DAY HAS COME.
Almost exactly one year since Aubrey O’Day first slayed our entire lives with her scorching dance-pop solo debut “Automatic” back in April of 2011, the outspoken chanteuse and current Celebrity Apprentice Boss Bitch returns with her long awaited follow-up: “Wrecking Ball.”
This time around however, there shall be no beat going boom–nay, not even a single booty pop–because Mizz O’Legend is serving us early ’00′s power-pop ballad realness.
Co-penned and produced by Pia Toscano (American Idol), singer-songwriter Steven Miller and former Evanescence member David Hodges, “Wrecking Ball” delivers the kind of earnest crooning that wouldn’t be at all out of place on the tracklisting of a JoJo, Katharine McPhee or Jordin Sparks record. (Or perhaps Jessica Simpson?)
“You think you could read my mind, but this is not another love song/Don’t even waste your time, I’m already gone,” O’Day angrily cries out on the chorus.
The shocker for most, of course, will be Aubrey’s genuinely flaw-free delivery (although O.G. fans of Ms. O’Day are already well aware of the songstress’ ability to croon, as evidenced throughout Making The Band and later as one-fifth of Danity Kane–RIP.) The fact is that she really can sing, and this is the most impressive showcase of her vocals yet.
While I generally prefer my Aubrey flashing diamonds and putting her body on automatic (as I’m sure she will for bulk of her upcoming debut), lady friend’s clearly on a mission to prove all the ex-lovers and haters wrong–and I’ll be damned if she didn’t just do exactly that. U MAD?
“Wrecking Ball” was released on April 23. (iTunes)
Time to cut your hair, paint your toes and cry those happy tears once again, ladies and ladyboys: Miss Cheryl is back!
Following two massive lead solo singles–2009′s “Fight For This Love” and 2010′s “Promise This” (both of which peaked at #1)–the gorgeous Girls Aloud chanteuse and former X Factor UK darling is going three-for-three with her Calvin Harris-produced single: “Call My Name,” the lead track from her upcoming album A Million Lights.
If it wasn’t already clear from Ne-Yo‘s “Let’s Go and the Scissor Sisters‘ “Only The Horses,” it is now: Calvin’s sticking to a template–namely, Rihanna‘s “We Found Love” (and soon to follow, “Where Have You Been”)–and he’s not letting go anytime soon.
“How d’you think I feel when you call my name? You got me confused by the way I change!” Cheryl cries out on repeat over the Ibiza-friendly beat breakdown of a chorus. It’s got the exact same electro-Caribbean rhythms and hands-aloft euphoric energy as “We Found Love,” and nearly the same melody too–but for some reason, I don’t necessarily mind the lack of innovation. It’s a banga, and Cheryl owns the track in her own right…even if it doesn’t quite reach to a higher level.
The song seems to fizzle out a bit early as well, leaving Mizz Cheryl to ad-lib like a ’90′s House queen (“OOH-oh-oh-OH!“) for about a minute or so. It’s an unusual way to close out the track (where’s the bridge, Chezza?!), but once again, I can’t say I mind that much either. Actually, the ’90′s influence throughout is the best part.
Although unadventurous (can’t cope with the “We Found Love” comparisons? Try PopJustice’s 7 Stages of the Cheryl Single), “Call My Name” is still a solid, repeat-friendly (if not by-the-numbers) production from an artist back where she belongs: On the dance floor.
And keep your eyes peeled for what’s next: The Anthony Mandler-directed clip for the song hits Vevo on May 2.
BREAKING (1 PM): Cheryl’s “Call My Name” sounds VERY GOOD in a car with the windows down. Score adjusted accordingly.
BREAKING (2 PM): I CANNOT STOP PLAYING THIS SONG.
WE FOUND CHERYL IN A HORSE’S PLACE.
“Call My Name” will be released on June 10. (iTunes UK)
Erik Hassle, the Swede-pop prince behind the massive 2008 Swedish smash “Hurtful” (which also saw some lukewarm lovin’ in the US and the UK back in 2010), is back for another round of gorgeously crooned torment.
Penned by Malin Dahlström of Niki & The Dove, “Stay” is Hassle’s devastating lead single from his forthcoming second studio album due out in late spring. “Stay with me/You don’t have to go,” Hassle pleads during the song’s chorus. More stripped than “Hurtful,” the production relies on a haunting piano melody, strings and a slow-soldiering beat, as Hassle agonizes over lost love: “If you love someone, you should not let it show.”
At one point, he offers a quiet exchange between the two, almost like the bridge of Robyn‘s “Be Mine”: “How you doin’ now?/I said ‘It’s been a while and I’m fine’/You said ‘Are you happy? But are you happy?’/Wait, wait/Just wait, don’t tell me you’re in love!” he cries.
For those who found themselves sobbing to Adele‘s “Someone Like You” last year (and really, how could you avoid it?), consider this one an apt tear-addled companion.
“Stay” was released on April 16 in Sweden. (iTunes Sweden)
Three months ago, the boys (and über-fierce girl!) of Scissor Sisters unveiled “Shady Love”, their swaggerific electro-disco smut strut featuring Azealia Banks. Now, the troupe returns with their first official single off of their upcoming fourth studio album Magic Hour: “Only The Horses.”
Produced by Calvin Harris and Boys Noize, “Only the Horses” is essentially the Scissor Sisters’ own version of “We Found Love”: From the verses, to the soaring chorus, to the Ibiza-ready beat breakdown.
“Only the horses can bring us back home tonight,” Shears yelps during the chorus before the euphoric House synthesizers come blaring into the speakers.
On the one hand, it’s amazing: “Horses” might be the Sisters’ most mainstream-friendly effort yet, which could make for major chart success abroad (and perhaps even stateside). On the other, it demonstrates the slightly troubling fact that Calvin’s stuck on a template–and he’s not budging anytime soon. His new-ish song with Ne-Yo, “Let’s Go,” is almost exactly identical to this, which is already identical to Rihanna‘s 2011 smash.
Still, even if “Horses” may not be quite as innovative as “Shady Love, it’s still a smashing surge of energy. Just don’t yell too much when you’re sing-shouting that chorus–you might get a little hoarse. (See what I did there? AHAHA!!1!!!1)
“Only the Horses” will be released on May 13. (iTunes)