Music Monday – Volume Fifty Four

1) S Club 7 – Discotek

Catchy disco track from the ‘Seeing Double’ era that never made it onto the album. Bit of a guilty pleasure, this!

2) Rachel Stevens – Heaven Has To Wait

Rachel Stevens had a great, if short, solo career. Debut album ‘Funky Dory’ contained lots of fantastic songs and was a wonderful pop album. This is an absolutely gorgeous ballad taken from it.

3) Rachel Stevens – Blue Afternoon

Love the chilled-out, jazz feel to this track.

4) S Club 7 – Show Me Your Colours

Underrated track from the ‘Sunshine’ album. A firm favourite of many fans and this should have been a single. It’s more mature than a lot of their other material and Miss Rachel Stevens sounds fantastic on it. Moody, sultry and catchy. Awesome song.

5) Lawson – We are Kings (Acoustic)

Heard a full live performance of this and wasn’t as keen. This stripped back version is absolutely stunning, however. Andy Brown has such a great voice and his falsetto is just gorgeous. Love the message in this song.

6) Little Mix – Black Magic

One of the best pop tracks I have heard in ages. Staying loyal to the Little Mix sound but adding a little more guitar and 80’s into the mix, this is a massive step forward in the right direction for them. That guitar riff is SO nicked from ‘Girls Just Wanna Have Fun’, however…

7) The 1975 (Drive Like I Do) – One Wish

This track by The 1975 from their Drive Like I Do era recently surfaced online and it’s awesome. Even their work prior to their fame is polished and faultless. You can hear the Ladysmith Black Mambazo influence on this and a bit of The Talking Heads too. It’s simple but dreamy and irresistible with great harmonies.

8) Nathan Sykes – Kiss Me Quick

Cringey intro aside, this is incredibly catchy and really showcases Nathan’s incredible voice. Funky.

9) James Bay – Your Love Keeps Lifting Me Higher and Higher

I knew before even listening that James would do this classic justice and I was not wrong! It’s a very chilled out take in true James Bay style but it’s just so relaxing and beautiful. What a talent.

10) Victoria Beckham – IOU

Co-written by one of my favourite songwriters Chris Braide, I forgot all about this beautiful song until recently. Okay so it may lack credibility and may be slightly overloaded with cheese but that’s what great pop music is all about. Apparently written for husband David, this was an album track from Victoria’s debut album. Very pretty.

Music Monday – Volume Fifty Three

1) The 1975 – Settle Down

I love every single song from The 1975’s debut album but some tracks do get more listens than others! I neglected this song for quite a while but was recently reminded of how awesome it is. The slamming beats and funky guitar riffs contribute to its catchiness.

2) Gabrielle – I Wish

90’s R&B at its best with an awesome new jack swing vibe. Smooth, soulful with a message we can all relate to, this is an underrated beauty! Gabrielle has one of my favourite voices in Pop music and is worthy of far more credit than she receives. Many only know her for ‘Dreams’, ‘Out of Reach’ and ‘Rise’ but a listen to her Greatest Hits album proves her diversity and her level of talent. Love this.

3) Broken Social Scene – Major Label Debut

I watched ‘It’s Kind of a funny story’ for the first time last week and completely fell in love with it. Funny and moving, it tells the story of a teen boy who checks himself into a mental-health clinic. These guys did the score all the way through and this song played during the credits. It’s just a great feel-good song.

4) Queen & David Bowie – Under Pressure

One of Queen’s best songs and certainly one of my favourites. Gives me plenty of fond memories from performing in my school production of ‘We Will Rock You’ and from seeing the musical live in the West End twice. Bowie is a legend too of course. Irresistibly good.

5) Janet Jackson – That’s The Way Love Goes

Smooth and sultry, this song captures everything Janet Jackson is as an artist. Awesome production, clever sampling of James Brown’s ‘Papa don’t take no mess’ and a timeless song.

6) Michael Jackson – Beautiful Girl

Stunning demo which appeared on Michael’s 2004 Ultimate Collection box set. The finished version (if it was ever fully completed) has never come to light but fans value this version greatly. Michael’s falsetto is gorgeous. Even his unreleased material was in a different league. Beautiful song.

7) S Club 7 – Sunshine

Track from the album with the same name, I’ve always adored this song. It’s so optimistic, so catchy and has an irresistible feel-good vibe. It’s a little bit more mature than some of their best known singles and Jon Lee’s voice is absolutely incredible on it. Some beautiful memories always return to me with this song.

8) S Club 7 – Have You Ever

Upon its release, I was never that fond of this track. Since their split, however, this song has found a place in my heart and it’s now one of my all time favourite S Club 7 songs. Written by one of my favourite songwriters Chris Braide along with Cathy Dennis (responsible for many of S Club 7’s material in addition to some of the best loved pop music over the past twenty years), this was released as Children in Need’s Official Single back in 2001. Beautiful, relatable lyrics, amazing vocals from Jo O’Meara and simply pop music at its best. Gorgeous.

9) S Club 7 – Two In A Million

Beautiful, mellow ballad from S Club 7’s début album and one of their more underrated singles. Jo O’Meara’s voice is absolutely incredible.

10) S Club 7 – S Club Party

This remains an absolute classic in the history of pop! Was very lucky to be able to experience this live once again when I saw a newly reformed S Club 7 perform live at the 02 Arena – the atmosphere was incredible during this song. Still much loved today.

 

NEW:

Album of the week:

Revolutionary Road: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack by Thomas Newman

Stunning score by my favourite composer, Thomas Newman. He’s been responsible for the scores of some of my favourite films e.g. American Beauty, The Green Mile & The Shawshank Redemption. His scores are always haunting and accompany any scene perfectly.

Music Monday – Volume Fifty Two

1) Usher – I don’t mind

God-damn awful lyrics aside, I love this. Slick, smooth and simple: the characteristics of the perfect pop song! Just don’t pay too much information to the lyric content and try and block out Juicy J’s completely useless rap!

2) Gary Barlow – Offer My Peace

B-Side from the Japanese release of the wonderful ‘So Help Me Girl’. It’s classic 90’s schmaltz complete with bongo-type percussion and an electric piano but that’s a lot of what makes it so endearing! Wait for that key change ;) Lovely little song.

3) Iggy Azalea & Jennifer Hudson – Trouble

Despite my best efforts not to like any of Iggy’s music, I always seem to get drawn in eventually… Despite some of her others which I won’t readily admit to enjoying, I will openly admit that I absolutely love this! Effortlessly catchy, simple, jazzy and just SO damn great. Completely forgot what an incredible voice J-Hud has. She makes it what it is, of course but there’s the perfect balance of rap and singing on it.

4) Longfellow – Where I Belong

Heard this on the radio and completely fell in love with it. It’s not ground-breakingly original but it’s a powerful song. Gorgeous falsetto on that chorus and love the piano too!

5) Janet Jackson – Let’s Wait Awhile

Critics would argue that this is classic 80’s cheese and yes it does have a particular element of that to it. Despite that, the message is still relevant today. It’s such an important song to multiple generations and utterly irresistible. Janet was an incredibly proficient artist in using her music as a means of raising awareness on many important issues back in the 80’s. This song is a part of that movement. The song’s producers Jimmy Jam & Terry Lewis also do a sterling job on this beautiful song.

6) Janet Jackson – Nothing

Beautiful simple song by Miss Jackson. The resemblance to Michael is uncanny in some places…

7) George Michael – Please Send Me Someone to Love (Anselmo’s Song)

Lovely track from George’s last album ‘Patience’. Chilled out and obviously very personal (Anselmo was George’s lover who died from AIDS related illness back in the mid-90’s)  it’s George at his best.

8) John Mayer & Katy Perry – Who You Love

Yes it may be a little cheesy but it’s such a beautiful song. Love how the lyrics come from two different perspectives by the couple and it’s lovely to hear Katy’s raw, organic vocals without any of the usual processing it receives. I love this couple so much – two of my favourite artists together.

9) JLS – Close to You

Not exactly innovative but a lovely R&B love song all the same. Really love this.

10) Usher -Burn

An often forgotten gem from eleven (was it really that long ago?!) years ago. Usher does heartbreak R&B ballads like no other. Such a beautiful song.

Music Monday – Volume Fifty One

1) Still Parade – Fields

Found this on a Spotify playlist.  Rather haunting with soft vocals and a tinny guitar sound. Great song.

2) Scarlet Pleasure – Windy

An irresistibly catchy, funky number by Danish band Scarlet Pleasure. The low-key chorus doesn’t make a big deal out of itself but it’s the scatty synths, driving bass and lead singer Emil Goll’s soaring falsetto that make it what it is. The synthesisers simulating the wind is also a clever trick. Can’t get enough of this right now.

3) Ryan O’Shaughnessy – Evergreen

Okay so this is apparently a Christmas song but it’s only loosely connected so I think I can just about get away with it! If you’ve read my previous Music Monday blogs, you’ll know how much I admire this guy’s talent. I really hope he goes onto good things. His début EP following his stint on Britain’s Got Talent fared well in the charts but I hope he’s able to experience a successful career. He deserves it, afterall. Very pretty song. This guy is so talented as a songwriter it’s unreal.

4) M.O – Preach

The UK’s hot new girl band. This is incredibly catchy. Absolutely love this.

5) Snoop Dogg – Peaches ‘n’ cream

You can hear Pharrell’s uncredited influence on this track with its retro production and old-school feel. Apparently he worked on the track but was uncredited afterwards. Charming! Love a bit of Snoop.

6) Hozier – Someone New

I know it’s an unpopular opinion but I never warmed to ‘Take Me To Church’ so I dismissed Hozier as an artist. How wrong I was. This is so soulful and uplifting it’s impossible not to enjoy listening to it.

7) Shura – 2Shy

I am unbelievably obsessed with this right now. SO chilled out, so late 80’s/early 90’s and SO Janet-esque. It’s like Janet Jackson herself has released an out-take from one of her first albums. It’s gentle, simplistic but pretty and really quite catchy.

8) OMI – Cheerleader

Just irresistibly catchy. Believe it or not, this was originally released back in 2012. The original version is good but it’s the Felix Jaehn Remix that makes it what it is and it’s this version that has shot into Number One all over the world.

9) Nickelback – Photograph

Love the chord progression in this. Great song.

10) Lawson – Royals

Not a fan of the original in the slightest (despite those pretty harmonies on ‘I rule’) but this chilled out, acoustic based version completely turns it on its head and completely revamps it. Lawson have an amazing talent in producing the most endearing, great covers and this is no exception. There’s a great summer vibe in this. Can’t get enough of this right now.

Music Monday – Volume Fifty

1) Kodaline – The One

Beautiful ballad. Simple but effective!

2) Jessie J – I need this

Powerful emotive song from Jessie’s debut album ‘Who You Are’. Originally written for Chris Brown and featured as a bonus track on his Graffiti album, Jessie sticks to his formula despite the key change and some extra nice little ad libs at the end. The piano arpeggios are pretty, the explosive guitar heavy chorus adds sheer power and the lyrics are fantastic. Awesome song.

3) Chris Brown – Don’t Judge Me

I prefer the David Aude remix of this, funnily enough, despite not usually being a fan of remixes. This past week, I have fallen in love with the original version however. Smooth, emotive and a great, great song. Very chilled. Haven’t been able to get enough of this over the past week.

4) Chris Brown – I Love U

There’s something impossibly endearing about this album track from Chris’ ‘Graffiti’ album. Whether it’s the use of an accordion, the incredibly catchy chorus or the sing-song melody, it’s just a great, great track.

5) London Grammar – If You Wait

Haunting, stunning, emotional; three things every London Grammar song tends to be. This is no exception. Absolutely gorgeous.

6) Fleetwood Mac – Sara

It’s Fleetwood Mac, what’s not to love? Soft, rather haunting with catchy piano instrumentation. Stevie Nicks’ voice is one of the greatest in history.

7) John Mayer – Gravity

Perhaps his signature song and rightly so. Blues-y, chilled out and so simple but so damn good. I’ve been able to completely relate to these lyrics this past week. Very cleverly written. The man’s a musical genius. “Gravity is working against me, gravity wants to bring me down.”

8) Ryan O’Shaughnessy – Hold Me Now

Absolutely stunning song by 2012’s Britain’s Got Talent Finalist, Ryan O’Shaughnessy. Big fan of his work and songwriting.

9) Charles Hamilton & Rita Ora – New York Raining

Really liking this right now! Very catchy.

10) Disclosure & Eliza Dolittle – You & Me

LOVE Disclosure. Still an absolute tune. Catchy and house-infused but rather haunting and beautiful at the same time.

Music Monday – Volume Forty Nine

1) Shayne Ward – My Heart Would Take You Back

Bit of a guilty pleasure, this… but I was pleasantly surprised! It’s an easy option, making an old-school styled track to win the public back over and the video’s pretty poor but it’s a nice song.

2) Kylie Minogue – Confide In Me

There’s something very eerie about this track with its sweeping strings, heavy percussion and haunting melody. Great song.

3) The Blue Nile – Saturday Night

I LOVE this band. ‘Hats’, the album this is taken from is a dream – a psychedelic, night time album and this is one of my favourites. Smooth, simple and beautiful.

4) Michael Jackson – Can’t Let Her Get Away

One of the best New Jack Swing songs from the 90’s, from MJ’s ‘Dangerous’ album. So catchy.

5) Jaki Graham – Round and Around

A piece of ’80’s music perfection. So, so good.

6) Nick Jonas – Jealous

I’m a little bit behind on this one and only checked it out because of its chart position and all of the hype. Great song though. What it lacks in originality it makes up for in charm and catchiness. Grows on me more with every listen.

7) Ariana Grande & The Weeknd – Love Me Harder

Found this by accident and really enjoyed it. Stupidly catchy and great electro infused production.

8) Vince Kidd – Sick Love

Forgot all about this song until recently! Vince was a contestant on the first series of The Voice UK. He has an incredible voice with great tone. After the competition, he re-recorded this but the original song and video is better. Scary, suggestive and sexual but such a good song.

9) Annie Lennox – Shining Light

A great song in its own right, originally by the band Ash, Annie’s version takes it to another level. Her interpretation is more camp and more gospel but it works brilliantly.

10) The 1975 – She Way Out

Repetitive maybe but so damn catchy. Always makes me want to dance.

Music Monday – Volume Forty Eight

1) James Bay – Need The Sun To Break

Beautiful song from James’ début album ‘The Chaos and The Calm’.

2) James Bay – Hold Back The River

It took me longer than most to recognise how great this song is but I’m there now! Love how the song builds and James’ vocal performance is incredible.

3) Simply Red – Fake (Single Mix)

The album version of this is great too but the single mix is more club friendly. Great song.

4) Stereophonics – Maybe Tomorrow

Such a soulful, great song which always reminds me of the summer. Love Kelly Jones’ raspy vocals and there’s something quite haunting about this beautiful song.

5) Circa Waves – Talking Out Loud

Another awesome song from Circa Waves’ incredible début album. Powerful and irresistibly catchy chorus and I love the chords in the verses too.

6) New Radicals – Someday We’ll Know

Best known for their song ‘You Get What You Give’, this was the follow up single before Gregg Alexander terminated his band to focus on producing and writing for other artists. This was later covered by legendary duo Daryl Hall & Jon Oates. Sweet acoustic-based song. Love this.

7) Adam Levine – Lost Stars

Gorgeous song from the ‘Begin Again’ soundtrack sung by Maroon 5 frontman Adam Levine and written by Gregg Alexander. Many will only know this track through The Voice UK winner Stevie McCrorie but the original really is worth a listen.

8) Semisonic – Secret Smile

One of the best pop hits from the 90’s. Just an awesome song.

9) Robbie Williams – Me and My Monkey

Paranoia-infused, bizarre and humorous, this is one of Robbie’s best songs of his career, an album track from ‘Escapology’. Upon its release, critical response to this track was mainly of confusion but most interpretations consider this a metaphor for Robbie’s dual personality when sober and high/drunk. It’s clever and Rob’s storytelling is just amazing.

10) Robbie Williams – Handsome Man

A self-parody by Robbie, this is an awesome song ridiculing his own fame and success. Witty lyrics as always and a catchy and explosive chorus too.