Singles Club

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Welcome back to Singles Club, a safe place on the interweb free from any mention of the new Pope. Apart from that one. But it’s OK, because Pope Francis is a Man Of The People and his favourite popster, Nicole Scherzinger, also happens to be first up in this week’s roundup. Coincidence? You decide…
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Emeli Sandé – Our Version Of Events

2012 is most definitely London’s year, but it seems to us that it could also be a landmark 12 months for Emeli Sandé. The Scottish singer has already been named as the Critics’ Choice at this year’s Brit awards, following in a long line of success stories including Adele and Jessie J. Having had her debut album on rotation for the past few weeks, I can tell you that award is richly deserved – Our Version Of Events is an album stamped with quality, Sande’s glorious vocal talent soaring throughout…
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Lady GaGa – Born This Way

Since the release of her first album The Fame back in 2008, much has changed for Stefani Germanotti aka Lady GaGa. She’s worn a dress made of meat for a start, and jumping out of coffins on-stage in now de rigeuer. She’s also sold the small matter of around 15 million copies of The Fame – give or take the odd one – so her fans and the watching world are pretty curious to see what new album Born This Way will sound like. GaGa herself has stated that this album will be full of “sledgehammering dance beats” and on first listen, she’s true to her word with the odd flamenco and europop moment thrown in for good measure…
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Britney Spears – Femme Fatale

Britney Spears is 30 this year – whisper it, but in pop years she’s almost dead. Our Brit knows that she’s used up a few of her pop lives already though, so for her seventh studio album she’s taking no chances, ushering in the production powerhouse of Max Martin and Dr Luke as well as an ocean of top writers. The result is a thumping party album flushed with a stack of bang-up pop tunes. If you don’t have your hands in the air for most of this, check your pulse, it might be you that’s dead…


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Bruno Mars – Doo-Wops & Hooligans

The boy from Hawaii has been all over the radio in the past 12 months, penning and producing a bundle of worldwide smashes for himself and a raft of others including Cee-Lo Green, B.o.B. and Travie McCoy. Let’s just say if he wanted to be a billionaire, this year will have done no harm to his bank balance. Mars’s talent for penning a tune is what shines through on this debut, coating every note and lyric. Doo-Wops & Hooligans breaks no new ground but ensures that every song is a tiny, perfectly formed pop tour de force…
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Album Review: Take That – Progress

Since Robbie returned to the Take That fold, the hoopla surrounding the now fab five has spiralled further into the dizzying distance with every passing day. They thought The Circus tour was big, but Progress broke all records last week, selling ten squillion tickets in three minutes flat. And the Progress album is deemed too gold to be sent out to journalists – instead, we have to troop to offices for listening sessions under the watchful eye of grinning PRs. Things ain’t like they used to be. But then again, maybe that’s because Take That, judging from this album, ain’t what they used to be either. The Circus was a polite album, full of knees-up choruses and Barlow balladry. This time round though, with Robbie on-board, Take That have taken a giant leap into the unknown, embracing electronic wizardry, meandering lyrics, military drumbeats and chiselled production…


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Air – Love 2

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The natty French duo of Nicolas Godin and Jean-Benoit Dunckel who make up Air know what they like and like what they know. Lounge-style downtempo chamber pop is their stock in trade and seeing as they do it so well, why change a good thing? That’s the mantra behind their latest opus Love 2, which caresses your ears from the off radiating a hearty glow of recognition to fans and a full-blown charm offensive to the uninitiated. Sure, it doesn’t take too many risks, but why fix what isn’t broken?


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Portishead – Third

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I’ve always had a fixed, uncompromising image of Portishead in my mind. They always feature in black-and-white – like they’re too cool to be in colour and they’re always a bit melancholy and, well, earnest. They produce music that makes your brain hurt and happy, music that’s edgy and eerie, uplifting and solemn. And when their fans discuss them, it’s always with the hushed reverance that my mum uses when she talks about M&S ready-meals. So being in the presence of their third album a week before its release was quite an event. To mark it, I dusted down the shiny silver disc, shut out the sun, lay flat on the floor palms facing upwards and waited for greatness to enter my world…


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Sigur Ros – Meo Suo I Eyrum Vio Spilum Endalaust

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As catchy album titles go, this one isn’t up there. Do not adjust your eyes though – we haven’t sat on our keyboard. Rather, it’s in Icelandic, and translated the long list of letters actually mean ‘With A Buzz In Our Ears We Play Endlessly’. After listening to this album, I’d be happy if Sigur Ròs did just that. Their music is bewitching, beguiling and broodingly beautiful…


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Will Young – Let It Go

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And so we come to Will’s fourth album (third if you discount the Pop Idol schmaltz of his first effort, which you really should). And with the advent of his fourth album, cue many commentators unveiling the fact that Will is morphing into George Michael. I beg to differ. Sure they’re both gay and both still (bafflingly) whip straight women into a frenzy, but that’s where the similarity ends. And frankly, I don”t see Will getting caught with his pants down in a public loo anytime soon – he’s far too discreet for that…


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