Marina and The Diamonds “Electra Heart” Album Artwork and Tracklisting

Sometimes with Marina Diamandis, you gotta be prepared to take the good with a load of wanky artist talk. But I’m now convined that somewhere inside all of this is an intelligent, fulfilling pop music listen that I don’t want to miss out on.

The critically-lauded British singer/songwriter has unveiled the artwork and final tracklisting for her sophomore album Electra Heart, which we’ve all heard murmurs about since late last year.

During the promo circuit for her last single ‘Radioactive’, Marina went to great lengths to depict Electra Heart as some complex, philosophical and high-brow pop album. There was a three-part music video trilogy uploaded on YouTube to foreshadow the album. It looked like a lot of thinking had gone into it but it wasn’t necessarily packaged in the most appealing way.

Basically, ‘Radioactive’ was the first take of Marina speaking to her indie music following in a parlance of mainstream dance/pop beats. I don’t think it was quite what they ordered. 

To be honest, it took me a second to get where she was going with this polished A-list production [Editor’s note: Dr Luke, Cirkut, Stargate, Diplo and Greg Kurstin are just some of the heavyweights involved]. But it just clicked when I heard her newest album track ‘Homewrecker’ and went back to ‘Fear and Loathing’.

Fingers crossed for more similar lightbulb moments when she launches the project’s official first single ‘Primadonna’ , which is set for a 16April release in the UK.

Check out the final tracklisting for Electra Heart:

1 – Bubblegum Bitch
2 – Primadonna
3 – Lies
4 – Homewrecker
5 – Starring Role
6 – The State of Dreaming
7 – Power and Control
8 – Living Dead
9 – Teen Idle
10 – Valley of The Dolls
11 – Hypocrates
12 – Fear and Loathing

Listen to the new album track ‘Homewrecker’:


 
Footnotes:

Marina and The Diamonds will launch Electra Heart in the UK on 30 April. Stay tuned for an Aussie drop date.

Guy Sebastian returns with ‘Don’t Worry Be Happy’

Right, y’guys. I’ve had a few beers and have kept this on playback for a good two or three times – can we all now discuss the new Guy single?

“Is it really that bad? Really that bad? I don’t think it’s really that bad. Come on, get with it.”

The consistently verbose X Factor judge kinda caught me off guard with this one because I wasn’t expecting for him to unveil any new material this year. Not that he’d have any excuse not to, seeing as he’s had all year to work on an album and he’d be crazy to pass up on another lucrative X Factor cross-promo.

‘Don’t Worry Be Happy’ is very much a signature present-day Guy Sebastian radio single. It’s feel good, sun-soaked and universally appealing in a way that you’d expect for an artist of his brand and following to be.

Sonically, it’s very pleasing to hear him stick to a more Bruno Mars-style pop. The warmer musical textures complements Guy‘s voice like you won’t believe, as previously demonstrated in ‘Elevator Love’, ‘Like It Like That’ and ‘All To Myself’.

At this stage, I feel like I’m the only one who’s enjoying ‘Don’t Worry Be Happy’. Judging by last night’s Twitter response, it seems like most of y’all are a little put off by the cheesy lyrics. Look, here’s the deal. I actually quite like a good pop song with a message. There aren’t too many singles floating around the Top 40 right now that’s flaunting storytelling of this calibre.

Listen to ‘Don’t Worry Be Happy’, which Guy said was inspired after he copped a road rage earbashing:


 
Any pop song game enough to name-check KFC and rhyme it with GFC (global financial crisis), gets my snap of approval. ‘Don’t Worry Be Happy’ is very much a guilty pleasure listening but I reckon that’s exactly how it was intended to be.

‘Don’t Worry Be Happy’ is not here to snatch wigs, alter pop music trends, or fanfare a bold new direction for Guy. The concept really is as simple as the message behind the song – just a basic reminder to celebrate the simple things in life.

Call me soft but this is actually what I need after a long ass work week. This is the T.G.I.F. anthem for grown ups.

Footnotes:

Guy Sebastian‘s ‘Don’t Worry Be Happy’ is now out on iTunes.

Kreesha Turner returns with “Tropic Electric”

Canadian soul/rhythmic pop siren Kreesha Turner is back and she ’bout to make it rain with a new look and sound.

I have to say, I’ve been in love with this girl ever since her stunning breakthrough album Passion caught my ears a few years back. Vocally, she reminds me of a more sophisticated and polished version of Jade Macrae. There were so many potential global smashes on that album, y’guys. If this is your first peek, do yourselves a favour and immerse in ‘Don’t Call Me Baby’ and ‘Bounce With Me’ – the latter got a good run in a phone commercial.

Where that first venture served a smorgasbord of fresh-faced R&B, Tropic Electric sees Kreesha taking more risks with a flavoursome blend of Jamaican rhythmic influences and present time electro beats. The project has been deliberately sectioned into two parts with a vague clustering of more tropical rhythmic beats on the first disc and more Western pop/dance tracks on the second.

If Tropic Electric‘s designed as some round-the-world trip of different beats, then consider Kreesha‘s infallible vocals as your guide and constant in a changing soundscape. There are fluid movements from rump-shaking Jamaican beats in ‘Rock Paper Scissors’ to euphoric European house in ‘Love Again’, and mandatory balladsville in ‘I Could Stay’.

Check out the tracklisting for Tropic Electric:

Disc one

1 – Rock Paper Scissors
2 – I Feel My Darling (feat. Courtney John)
3 – My Kryptonite
4 – Don’t Leave Me Now
5 – Come My Way

Disc two

1 – I Could Stay
2 – Love Again
3 – Away From You
4 – Wherever You Are
5 – Killer In The Club

The project has to date spawned two singles, in true I Am… Sasha Fierce fashion, one from each disc. Take a look at the videos for ‘Rock Paper Scissors’ and ‘I Could Stay’ – both flaunting different sides of Kreesha‘s new afro-ed beauty look.

‘Rock Paper Scissors’ – who run the world?


 
‘I Could Stay’ – she’s a glamazon.


 
Footnotes:

Kreesha Turner‘s Tropic Electric is now out in Canada. Fingers crossed for a worldwide release sometime down the line.

Parade’s Self-Titled Album Tracklisting and Details

I shudder to peep how badly this is gonna flop but burgeoning British girl band Parade are forging ahead with an album release anyway, despite only having one short-lived Top 10 hit.

The well-styled quintet appears to have the charisma, nerve and flavour to be the next best girl band – except, they’re sorely missing the all important right songs.

Parade presents a colourful and very current kind of teen girl pop the market could do with now that The Saturdays have ascended to appealing to twentysomethings and Sugababes are well over the hill. They’ve gigged hard for most of the year – supporting Shakira, the Black Eyed Peas and, come December, Melanie C. Surely they owe it to their ever growing fan base to put something out before this year’s X Factor girl band du jour, Little Mix, graduates and threatens to snatch serious wigs.

Parade‘s self-titled debut will feature their first single ‘Louder’ (a Top 10 smash in the UK) and delightful follow up ‘Perfume’, which I quite enjoyed (especially the Wideboys Remix). There’ll also be other future dance/club smashes in ‘Stars’ and ‘Rollercoaster’, coupled with some sensible heartfelt pop like ‘Rokstar’ and future hit-in-waiting ‘Like You’. Some producers involved include The Fairground (who has worked with Alesha Dixon), Greg Kurstin (Kylie Minogue and Kelly Clarkson), Sandy Vee (Rihanna and David Guetta), and Steve Mac (Aggros Santos and The Saturdays).

Check out the final Parade album tracklisting:

1 – Louder
2 – Like you
3 – Ticking On It
4 – Perfume
5 – Just A Girl
6 – Knock on My Door
7 – Stars
8 – Mr Right Now
9 – Shoes
10 – Pretty Ugly
11 – Weatherman
12 – Yes You Are
13 – Rokstar
14 – Rollercoaster

Listen to an acoustic performance of their album track ‘Rokstar’:


 

I quite like the sound of ‘Rokstar’ but it’s very much a grown woman’s ballad. Something you’d pitch to LeToya Luckett, not a bunch of teeny bopper girls dressed in floral tops and jeans shorts.

The girls’ label – Asylum Records – isn’t at all known for handling pop acts. In fact, Alesha Dixon was probably as pop as they went before they dropped her after The Entertainer flopped hard earlier this year. With a roster full of hip hop acts like Gucci Mane and Ginuwine, I really hope they know what they’re doing with these young ladies.

Not to piss on their Parade or anything [Editor’s note: such a tireless pun] but is this album supposed to simply drop its raw ass on UK shelves with no single to support its release? An extremely questionable move, if you ask me. Especially given that their last single ‘Perfume’ flopped at #38 over four months ago. Ain’t nobody gonna turn up to this Parade.

Footnotes:

Parade will release their self-titled album on 14 November. Are you on board?

Rihanna “Talk That Talk” Standard and Deluxe Album Tracklistings

Say what you will about Rihanna‘s back-to-back album releases but when Talk That Talk arrives, y’all would be listening.

Last week, the Barbadian bombshell shook off any ennui that might’ve come with her continuous chart presence when she dropped the stunning video for ‘We Found Love’. It’s clear that there’s now renewed incentive to be watching this space as Rihanna continues to take more creative risks and evolve into the one popstar that effectively represents her generation.

Talk That Talk is Ms Fenty‘s sixth studio album and sonically, I’d just be really happy if it can carry the edge and cohesion of her critically lauded Rated R and marry that with the immediate pop sensibilities of Loud. At the moment details about the record’s direction, who she has collaborated with and such are so well on lock – I’m actually surprised that we’re even peeping this tracklisting.

Update (as now confirmed by RiRi’s camp).

Talk That Talk standard edition tracklisting:

1 – You Da One
2 – Where Have You Been
3- We Found Love (featuring Calvin Harris)
4 – Talk That Talk (featuring Jay-Z)
5 – Cockiness (Love It)
6 – Birthday Cake
7 – We All Want Love
8 – Drunk on Love
9 – Roc Me Out
10 – Watch N’ Learn
11 – Farewell
12 – We Found Love [Extended Mix]

And here is the deluxe edition tracklisting:

1 – You Da One
2 – Where Have You Been
3- We Found Love (featuring Calvin Harris)
4 – Talk That Talk (featuring Jay-Z)
5 – Cockiness (Love It)
6 – Birthday Cake
7 – We All Want Love
8 – Drunk on Love
9 – Roc Me Out
10 – Watch N’ Learn
11 – Farewell
12 – Red Lipstick
13 – Do Ya Thang
14 – Fool In Love
15 – We Found Love [Extended Mix]

Footnotes:

Rihanna‘s Talk That Talk – both standard and deluxe versions – will arrive on 18 November in Australia and 21 November in the US and UK.

Hurts “Happiness (Deluxe Edition)” CD + DVD Tracklisting and Details

It has just been over a year since Hurts dropped their defining debut album Happiness and now it’s all about to get bigger.

The British synthpop duo enjoyed great critical acclaim and blogosphere love when they pulled up to the bumper with their single ‘Wonderful Life’ but no one could’ve really imagined that their brand of icy electronica was to be as huge as it was.

When the album Happiness debuted at #4 last year, it quickly became the fastest-selling debut album of 2010 by a band in the UK. Hurts also, quite astonishingly, became the fastest-selling new British band in the world – selling 800,000 copies of Happiness across the globe and racking up a million singles sales.

This glossy deluxe edition package is a nice way to cap off the project’s very successful last 12 months – bearing additional tracks and a DVD of live concert performances and Hurts‘ seven stunning music videos. Fuck me, there’s even their cover of Kylie‘s ‘Confide In Me’ in here.

In case you can’t picture how it goes, this is Hurts performing ‘Confide In Me’ for The Sun‘s Biz Sessions:


 

Check on the official CD/DVD tracklisting for Happiness (Deluxe Edition):

CD – Disc One

1 – Silver Lining
2 – Wonderful Life
3 – Blood, Tears and Gold
4 – Sunday
5 – Stay
6 – Illuminated
7 – Evelyn
8 – Better Than Love
9 – Devotion
10 – Unspoken
11 – The Water
12 – Verona
13 – Confide In Me
14 – Happiness
15 – Mother Nature
16 – Affair
17 – Devotion (Demo)
18 – Sunday (Demo)
19 – All I Want For Christmas

DVD (Live from Berlin Zitadelle) – Disc Two

1 – Intro
2 – Silver Lining
3 –  Wonderful Life
4 – Happiness
5 – Blood, Tears and Gold
6 – Evelyn
7 – Sunday
8 – Verona
9 – Unspoken
10 – Mother Nature
11 – Devotion
12 – Confide In Me
13 – Illuminated
14 – Stay
15 – Gloomy Sunday
16 – Better Than Love
17 – Wonderful Life (Original Version) (Music Video)
18 – Better Than Love (Music Video)
19 – Wonderful Life (Music Video)
20 – Stay (Music Video)
21 – Sunday (Music Video)
22 – Illuminated (Music Video)
23 – Blood, Tears and Gold (Music Video)

Footnotes:

HurtsHappiness (Deluxe Edition) will be released on 31 October, according to CD Wow.

Bic Runga “Belle” Album Tracklisting and Details

New Zealand’s finest music export Bic Runga is finally back with her first studio album in over five years.

No one does wistful strummy la la with such effortless grace like Ms Bic and if you guys haven’t already experienced her defining Beautiful Collision and Birds albums – do yourselves a favour right away.

Belle sees the Kiwi singer/songwriter throwing herself back into her art after taking four years off to focus on motherhood. This time away helped inspire a creative rebirth and get back that hunger for making music and touring again.

“Motherhood is very nice. But there comes a point where it would be really easy to lose your identity, and if you didn’t return to your art you’d just become a pain to everyone around you,” she said. And what a shame it would be if she hadn’t picked it back up again.

Watch Bic Runga‘s gorgeous ‘Hello Hello’ music video:


 

Belle is Bic Runga‘s fourth studio album and on board, we’ve got collaborations with Dan Hume of Evermore – who co-wrote the project’s lead single ‘Hello Hello’. The Kiwi artiste also enlisted Kody Nielson from New Zealand rock band The Mint Chicks to produce the entire album. The pair had previously worked together on a side project titled Kody & Bic, an album of originals that came out last year. In fact one of the tracks from the project – ‘Darkness All Around Us’ – will be re-released on BelleBic also roped in indie pop artist Lawrence Arabia to work on the epic track ‘This Girl’s Prepared for War’, which was first released on the My Wedding & Other Secrets soundtrack.

Check out the tracklisting for Belle:

1 – Tiny Little Piece of My Heart
2 – Hello Hello
3 – If You Really Do
4 – This Girl’s Prepared For War
5 – Everything Is Beautiful and New
6 – Good Love
7 – Devil On Tambourine
8 – Belle
9 – Darkness All Around Us
10 – Music and Light

Ever since ‘Drive’ broke out 15 years ago, Bic has enjoyed tremendous commercial and critical success. All three of her albums have reached #1 on the New Zealand charts – 1997’s Drive certified seven times platinum, 2002’s Beautiful Collision went 11 times platinum, and 2005’s Birds gone three times platinum.

The Kiwi music sensation has also toured with the likes of Neil and Tim Finn, seen her records released worldwide, and was even been honoured by The Queen as a member of the New Zealand Order of Merit in the New Zealand New Year’s Honour List.

I absolutely can’t wait to hear Belle. It’s good to have mama back.

Footnotes:

Bic Runga will release Belle on 14 November in New Zealand. Stay tuned for an Australian release date.