What's In Jamie's Shopping Cart?
Sugababes - Sweet 7: Still not sure if I'm 100% on board with Sugababes 3.0 but there are a few catchy, single-worth tracks on the album. Favorites? "About A Girl," 'Wait For You," "Thanks For The Heartbreak," and "Sweet & Amazing (Make It The Best)."
Delphic are a alterna-tronic English band and I'll be honest. I haven't listened to their album yet. I read some good stuff about them over on Popjustice and read some other good reviews and just decided to take a chance. First single "The Momentary" is pretty impressive, I gotta say so chances are good that I'm going to like these guys.
from X-Factor fame released her debut album earlier this month, taking it straight to the top of the UK Charts. The album features songwriting assistance from greats like Cathy Dennis, Eg White, Ellie Goulding, Guy Sigsworth, Nerina Pallot, Starsmith and Björk! First single "Once" topped the UK singles charts and second confirmed single, "The Boy Who Murdered Love," I'm sure will do well too. Favorites? "Once," "The Boy Who Murdered Love," "Four Leaf Clover," "Put It Together," "You'll Never Get To Heaven," "My Hip," and "Hit."
Marina & The Diamonds - Family Jewels: Perez Hilton's had been raving about Welsh singer/songwriter Marina & The Diamonds for months before I finally checked her out. I don't know what I was waiting for! Contrary to what one might assume, Marina &The Diamonds is a one-act show...not a band. The "Diamonds" are her fans (her last name, Diamandis, translated from Greek) and she loves them! "I am Marina, you are the diamonds" she says on her MySpace page. I bought her album (which peaked at #5 in the UK Charts) The Family Jewels as an import because I couldn't wait for the U.S. release (on May 25th via Chop Shop Records). Featuring production from Greg Kurstin, Ash Howes, Starsmith and others, the album is a good mix of up-tempo, and balladry. At times her vocals remind me of Regina Spektor but she's definitely got her own unique style. Her fourth UK single, "Shampain," will be released on June 28th. Favorites? "Shampain," "I Am Not A Robot," "Mowgli's Road," "Hollywood," "Hermit The Frog," "Oh No!," and "Numb."
Gabriella Cilmi - Ten: When I first heard that Aussie popstar Gabriella Cilmi was going "DISCO" for her new album Ten, I have to admit I was excited! As much as I loved her debut Lessons To Be Learned, dance pop is more my bag. With production from the likes of Xenomania, The Invisible Men, Dallas Austin and songwriting help from Greg Kurstin, Ellie Goulding, Luciana and Ian Masterson, I was practically salivating. However, upon my first listen, the young singer's new album disappointed. I don't know what I was expecting...but it wasn't this. Initially all I heard was one or two possible hit singles and the rest was filler. However, after a few more listens, I think I've gone and had a change of heart. What can I say..."hearts don't lie." In a recent interview Cilmi tells Digital Spy that while nothing has been decided yet about a third single, "there's definitely a 'Defender' vibe going on at the moment." Favorites? "On A Mission," "Hearts Don't Lie," "Love Me Cos You Want To," "Robots," "Superhot," "Glue," and "Sweet About Me (Twenty Ten Version)."
Ellie Goulding - Lights: Ellie Goulding is a talented singer/songwriter (actually lending her talent to of my purchases above - Gabriella Cilmi and Diana Vickers). I'm so glad that she decided to release her own album, as it's fast becoming one of my favorites. I started hearing rumbling about Goulding when "Under The Sheets" was released and the hype started mounting. I started reading articles questioning whether or not the hype surrounding this talented artist was actually founded. Turns out, it was...her debut album managed to reach the top of the UK charts. Lights features songwriting from Goulding and production from Starsmith, Mark "Spike" Stent, Frankmusik, Fraser T. Smith and more. The third single, "Guns and Horses" will be released this Monday, May 17th in the UK. Here's hoping Goulding attempts a crack at the States later this year. Oh...and listen to the lyrics. I love her lyrics! Favorites? "Guns and Horses," "Starry Eyed," "This Love (Will Be Your Downfall)," "Under The Sheets," "The Writer," "Every Time You Go," "You're Biggest Mistake," and "Salt Skin."
Pixie Lott is someone to look out for here in the States. Her debut album (via Mercury Records), Turn It Up peaked at #6 on the UK charts, and her first two singles ("Mama Do," & "Boys and Girls") topped the UK Singles Chart. Not bad for a young artist! Featuring the songwriting talents of Toby Gad, RedOne, and production from Cutfather, Fraser T. Smith, RedOne and Gad, there's not a lot room for filler on her debut album. Her songs are a little bit pop, a little bit soul/R&B and a lot of fun. She actually kind of reminds me of a younger Natasha Bedingfield. Like Bedingfield, she's got a big voice and she's absolutely stunning. What's more? Lott is planning on releasing her debut album here in the States via Interscope Records. According to Digital Spy, the artist may be working on a collaboration with Timbaland, who reportedly was impressed by what he heard while Lott was recording in Los Angeles. Apparently Pixie Lott is THE hot ticket right now, evidenced by her first movie role in a movie called Fred, so the U.S. might have to wait. I think I can be patient. She's worth the wait. Favorites? "Mama Do," "Cry Me Out," "Turn It Up," "Boys and Girls," "Gravity," "My Love," "Jack," "Here We Go Again," "The Way The World Works," and "Hold Me In Your Arms."
Erik Hassle is the latest in a long run of Swedish pop stars to catch my attention. We've had Robyn, Annie...no wait...she's from Norway. Shit! Whatever. I LOVE Erik Hassle! He's got a unique look about him...and he's got a fabulous voice to boot! It's really a shame that his album Pieces failed to chart in the UK back when it was released on February 22nd. Debut UK single "Hurtful" managed to only peak at #59 on the UK Singles Charts. That's not too good! When the single was released in his native Sweden, it managed to peak at #11. Here in the States, (where his album was released digitally the same day as in the UK) the single managed to peak at #30 on the Billboard's Hot Adult Top 40 Tracks Chart. Still - not an impressive showing! I hope and pray that his label (Universal/Island) has some kind of a re-launch in the works as I'm not quite ready to say goodbye to this talented guy. Sharing songwriting credit with the 21 year old Hassle we have Max Martin, Grizzly, Tommy Tysper and more. Favorites? "Bump In The Road," "Hurtful," "Don't Bring Flowers," "Isn't It Obvious," "The Thanks I Get," "Bitter End," "First Time," "Love Me To Pieces," and "Amelia."
Carrie Underwood - Some Hearts, Carnival Ride, Play On: Yikes. Don't know what came over me! I've always kept my love of female country artists in check...well...almost always. There was that time that I bought a Dixie Chicks album...and reviewed one of Allison Moorer's CDs for my college paper...and those times I jammed out to Faith Hill and Shania Twain in high school...but besides those instances, I firmly DENIED liking country music. Then Carrie Underwood comes along and be still my heart...I couldn't resist! Admittedly I didn't watch American Idol the season Underwood one but she's always been on my radar. I think she's one of the those female country artists I keep secretly hoping will cross over into pop territory. The trigger for me was watching her video for her third single, "Undo It," off of her third album, Play On. Wow. The video was shot at a live show but still has a real music video feel to it. Her voice...undeniably...is the epitome of power house...combined with the fact that she's absolutely stunning...I was powerless...and proceeded to purchase all 3 of her albums via Amazon. In my defense, Play On is her LEAST country country album of the three. While not pop, Underwood did work with traditionally-pop songwriters like Mike Elizondo, Max Martin, Kara DioGuardi, and Chantal Kreviazuk. It was only a matter of time before I became a full on Carrie Underwood fan. Favorites? "Jesus, Take The Wheel," "Before He Cheats," "Wasted," "So Small," "Last Name," "Cowboy Casanova," and "Undo It."
Jewel - Lullaby, Sweet & Wild: Jewel is one of the few artists whom I will support and love unconditionally, no matter which musical direction she goes in. When I first heard that she was "going country" after the commercial failure that was 0304, I was devastated. Sure, This Way was a touch country, but it had a bit more ROCK to it than what I thought of as traditional country music. 0304 wasn't necessarily my favorite Jewel album, it's just that it was her first purely up-tempo pop album, where every track was practically BEGGING to be remixed (and "Intuition," & "Stand" were!) and that's the music I LOVE. The one thing I did know, after having seen Jewel perform once in college, this lady could sing anything and sound amazing, so country music wasn't going to be a be all end all for me and Jewel. Goodbye Alice in Wonderland was the singer/songwriter's last album with Atlantic Records, going indie and signing to Valory for her next release, Perfectly Clear. While neither country album really spoke to me the same way that her past folk-pop releases had, I loved the voice and the lyrics. Jewel has a knack for the written word and when she adds a melody and starts to sing...Wow. I'm putty. When Jewel paired up with Fisher Price to release Lullaby an album of...lullabies I wasn't too shocked. Jewel's voice is well suited for children's music but I was desperately hoping this wasn't the direction she was going in long term. Lucky for me, it's not! Jewel will be releasing "Sweet & Wild" (as I mentioned before) through Valory, featuring a mix of different sounds, sure to appeal to the masses and MAYBE...just maybe we'll get another remixable track. Sweet & Wild is out June 8th, but can be pre-ordered now with a special double album including acoustic tracks. The first single "Stay Here Forever" from the soundtrack to the movie Valentines Day is out now and will be followed by the second single "Satisfied." Favorites? "Sweet Dreams," "Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star," "Dreamer," "Somewhere Over The Rainbow," "Simple Gifts," "Brahm's Lullaby," "Stay Here Forever."